Costa Rica & Panama Canal Adventure

Uncover Central America’s tropical treasures on this exclusive small group tour featuring a cruise through the Panama Canal. On the first leg of the tour we’ll explore Costa Rica’s extraordinary tropical forests and wildlife at several destinations including Poas Volcano National Park, the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. In Panama, we’ll visit the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in one day on the spacious decks of The Pacific Queen as we traverse the Panama Canal. We’ll also go on a guided tour of Panama City and immerse ourselves in Panama’s indigenous culture at Embera Quera, where friendly natives demonstrate their way of life with music, dance, and handmade crafts.

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Hosted By: Don Shelby

Former WCCO TV Anchor

WCCO TV

View Biography

Tour Highlights
  • All airfare
  • All fuel surcharges, government fees, airport & departure taxes (minimum value of $568 per person)
  • Holiday Vacations Tour Director
  • Professional Driver/Guide
  • Exclusive small group tour
  • Baggage handling at hotels
  • $100 travel voucher for a future Holiday Vacations tour
Request a Call
Call to Book 1-800-826-2266

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Day 1 : Fly to San José

Today we board our flight to the tropical paradise of Costa Rica.

Upon arrival we meet our local guide and check-in to our well-appointed hotel in San José.

Day 2 : Doka Coffee & Butterfly Gardens

Enjoy a delicious breakfast every morning of our tour!

Enjoy a delicious breakfast every morning of our tour!

Our sightseeing begins at the Doka Coffee Estate. Here we discover the history of traditional coffee growers, also known as the Chorrear. Begin with the picking of the ripened coffee berries and follow the production to the roasting hall where heavenly scents of fresh coffee fill the air.

After, witness the metamorphosis of 15 species of butterflies from egg to adult at the Doka Butterfly Gardens. We have a chance to get a close-up look at these colorful, incredible creatures.

Enjoy sightseeing of the tropical landscape on our way to Arenal.

B,L,D.

Day 3 : Wildlife Refuge Tour

Offering a glimpse into one of the richest and most biologically diverse ecosystems in Costa Rica, the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Rio Frio houses monkeys, iguanas, sloths, turtles and more. We access this wildlife sanctuary via the village of Los Chiles, near the Nicaraguan border. Board a river adventure boat and leisurely float along on a safari through a brilliant tropical rain forest and pastures en route to a fascinating marshland.

We return to the Arenal area with dinner on our own this evening.

B,L.

Day 4 : Arenal Volcano National Park

Hike along the base of the Mountain of Fire on today’s amazing journey. Follow a paved trail through lush forest and learn about the active period of 1968 that turned a once-thriving canopy of vegetation into the small patches of green and towering summit we see today.

This evening we check-in to our accommodations in the Monteverde area.

B,D.

Day 5 : Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Today we learn about the unique amphibians and reptiles of Costa Rica at Herpetarium Adventures. View exotic frogs, toads and snakes up close.

Afterwards, explore the pleasant oceanside town of Puntarenas on our way to San José.

B,D.

Day 6 : Welcome to Panama

Say adios to the resplendent beauty of Costa Rica and board a short flight to Panama. We arrive in Panama City and are greeted at the airport by our local guide.

B,D.

Day 7 : Panama City Tour

Expansive Panama City lays out before us today as we set out on a full day city tour.

Begin with a visit to the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal. Tour the museum and take in views of the ships passing through this iconic feat of engineering.

See the historical ruins of Old Panama, originally founded by the Spanish and later famously plundered by the dreaded pirate Henry Morgan.

We also visit Casco Antiguo, seamlessly combining Italian, French and Spanish colonial architecture including the magnificent Golden Altar.

Our tour ends with a visit to Panama City’s colorful Biodiversity Museum.

We return to our hotel with dinner on our own.

B,L.

Day 8 : Panama Canal Full Transit

Travel from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean all in the same day! From the Pacific Ocean, take in the sweeping sands of the Bay of Panama and the towering skyline of Panama City before passing under the Bridge of the Americas. We then board the Pacific Queen to begin our incredible journey through the locks, where lakes and rivers traverse this waterway. Our full-day trip through carved sections of the Continental Divide provide immense history and geological wonder.

B,L,D.

Day 9 : Embera Quera Community

Captivating culture and striking scenery await us today. We reach the Embera Quera Indigenous Community by a scenic boat ride. Upon arrival in the village, a local narrator teaches us about their culture, language, and way of life. Captivating local music and dances are demonstrated before shopping their selection of handmade crafts.

Our day ends with an included Holiday Vacations Farewell Dinner and folkloric show with traditional Panamanian music and dancing.

B,L,D.

Day 10 : Return Home

We fly home with marvelous memories of our vacation in Central America.

Additional Tour Information

Your Holiday Vacations Experience Includes

  • All airfare
  • All fuel surcharges, government fees, airport & departure taxes (minimum value of $568 per person)
  • Holiday Vacations Tour Director
  • Professional Driver/Guide
  • Exclusive small group tour
  • Baggage handling at hotels
  • $100 travel voucher for a future Holiday Vacations tour

All Accommodations Featuring

  • 1 night at the Quality Real San José
  • 2 nights at the Volcano Lodge & Springs in the Arenal area
  • 1 night at the El Establo Mountain Hotel in the Monteverde area
  • 1 night at the Wyndham San José Herradura
  • 4 nights at the Las Americas Golden Tower Hotel in Panama City

Attractions & Highlights

  • Doka Coffee Plantation tour
  • Doka Butterfly Gardens
  • Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge boat tour
  • Guided hike around Arenal Volcano
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve guided hike
  • Herpetarium Adventures
  • Panama City guided tour
  • Miraflores Locks Museum
  • Panama Viejo walking tour
  • Casco Antiguo walking tour
  • Panama City's Biodiversity Museum
  • Full day Panama Canal transit aboard the Pacific Queen
  • Embera Quera Indigenous Community

19 Excellent Meals Featuring

  • Daily included breakfasts
  • Lunch with the Embera Quera
  • Holiday Vacations Farewell Dinner and folkloric show in Panama City

Tour Dates & Pricing

January 11th, 2020 - January 20th, 2020

Category - Occupancy

Price (Per Person)

Double

$5499

Single

$6499

Final Payment Date: 10/8/2019

Tour Map for Costa Rica & Panama Canal Adventure

Departure Cities

WCCO TV Pickup Locations:

Minneapolis, MN - Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport

Don Shelby

Don Shelby is a journalist and writer who worked for WCCO-TV as a reporter and anchor for more than thirty years. His investigative journalism earned two George Foster Peabody awards and three National Emmy Awards.

Don was voted Best TV newscaster in the City Pages in 2005 and 2007, and awarded the coveted Josten’s Mr. Basketball ring, an honor rarely given to an adult.

Don was inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in October 2007. He is also the author of “The Season Never Ends: Wins, Losses, and the Wisdom of the Court.”

In retirement, Don works for Twin Cities Public Television, appearing as Mark Twain in a one-man show with the chorale ensemble VocalEssence. He raised $24.5 million as the capital campaign chair for the Washburn Center for Children.

Don and his wife Barbara previously hosted several Holiday Vacations tours. Join them and other WCCO® Television viewers on this fabulous trip of a lifetime.