(San José, Tortuguero, Arenal)
Bocas del Toro
(Boquete, Panama City)
Experience two jewels of Central America - Costa Rica and Panama, and immerse yourself in the stunning and diverse land and seascapes, as well as the rich culture and fascinating wildlife to be found in both of these fascinating destinations.
An authentic and unique experience through Costa Rica & Panama... From a rainforest stay amongst the canals of Tortuguero, search the edges of the canals for wildlife including caimans, monkeys, iguanas, toucans and more! Travel inland to Arenal, a nature lovers paradise! Soak in the natural hot springs after a hike around the volcano and zip through the canopies on suspended cables before returning to San Jose. Depart by flight to Bocas del Toro in Panama and spend the following days exploring this ocean paradise! Next is the beautiful countryside town of Boquete, search for the elusive Quetzal on the aptly named Queztal Trail! Complete your adventure in Panama City. Admire the great engineering feat of the locks on the Panama Canal and explore the colonial part of this metropolitan city and stay in one of the prime spots in town!
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Note: Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) Depart Panama City, Panama (PTY)
Upon your arrival you will be met by a local representative who will help you locate your vehicle.
Relax during your short, 30 minute private airport transfer in San Jose.
A welcome package with your vouchers, a country map, and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Early this morning, prepare for a day filled with adventure as you board a comfortable, shared tour bus at your hotel in San Jose. As you make your way to the Tortuguero boat dock, you will have an opportunity to enjoy breakfast in Guapiles (around 8:00 a.m.) for approximately 1 hour. You will then continue on to the Cano Blanco boat dock to enjoy an exciting 1.5 hour shared boat transfer to Manatus Lodge. Upon arrival at approximately 12:30 p.m., you will be greeted with a delicious lunch and refreshing welcome cocktail.
This service confirms that upon your arrival to the Tortuguero National Park, the set park entry fee cost has been prepaid for your convenience.
Rise and shine and enjoy the delicious included breakfast at your hotel this morning, before heading out to enjoy a shared and guided tour along the beautiful Canals of Tortuguero National Park. Over the next 2 fun-filled hours you’ll have an opportunity to view a variety of wildlife species that live amongst the picturesque flora and fauna of this National Park. From cute little red-eyed frogs to slow moving turtles, all this awaits you during this dynamic touring experience. After the tour, take time to relax and unwind as you indulge on a savoury lunch at the lodge. Next, you will experience another wonderful opportunity to explore the Tortuguero Canal onboard a shared boat. A return transfer to the hotel is provided at the conclusion of the tour, where you are free to enjoy the evening at leisure, as well as an included dinner.
Enjoy an early morning breakfast served in the lodge's restaurant (7:00am-8:00am). After breakfast you will check out of the lodge and transfer by boat (shared) along the Cano Blanco. Upon arrival to the boat dock you will transfer by bus (shared) to Guapiles for lunch. (Option to upgrade to Flight from Tortuguero to San Jose (subject to additional cost) )
A private transfer from Guápiles to Arenal is provided for today. The estimated travel time is 3 hours.
Soak in all the sights and sounds of the beautiful tropical setting of the lower Peñas Blancas River, as you glide across the natural wonderland. This 2 hour floating safari operates at a peaceful pace, providing you with the opportunity to enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings. Your expert bilingual guide will provide you with informative insight about the local flora, fauna and animal species during this tour. Be sure to keep an eye out for a variety of monkeys, caimans, iguanas, Jesus Christ Lizards (they actually walk on water) and a wide assortment of colourful bird species.
Enjoy this next activity perfect for the entire family, as you arrive at the residence of Doña Mara's for an exciting tortilla-making lesson! Doña Mara and her husband will welcome you with a tropical drink (pineapple, orange, coconut water) at her “rancho” (like a gazebo), where she will prepare a delicious, traditional lunch on her rustic, wood-fired stove. The entire family will enjoy getting their hands dirty as they mix corn masa and water to create the dough for some delicious home-made tortillas. Doña Mara will demonstrate how to flatten the masa dough into perfect circles, and get them ready for cooking. These delicious home-made tortillas will then accompany the lunch served this afternoon (included).
You will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the rain forest close to the Arenal Volcano. Enjoy a leisurely hike for 1.5 hours through the rain forest while your shared guide teaches you the history of the Arenal Volcano. This park is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano and is filled with wildlife including monkeys, toucans, coati and a large variety of bird species. Conclude the tour at the Springs Resort - soak in the hot mineral baths and relax. After a soothing soak in thehot springs, enjoy a lovely dinner at a local restaurant prepared in a colonial-style rustic kitchen. Enjoy the local cuisine for a true authentic experience. Afternoon departure (approx. 3:45pm), duration 6 hours.
You will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the tour start point. This journey through the top of the rainforest will have you "fly" from one platform to another by zipping on steel cables, while enjoying the beautiful landscapes of this primary forest from a different angle. Move through the rain forest, above the Arenal River Canyon. This tour offers an unforgettable encounter with nature. At the end of the tour you can choose to do a horseback ride and rappel. (147 ft. high) Recommended: Closed shoes, light and comfortable clothes, and in case you decide to ride a horse, wear long pants. Return to your hotel in the afternoon. Morning/Afternoon Departures, Duration 3 Hours (approximately)
•13 platforms reaching up to 130 ft. In height
•9 cables reaching up to 230 ft. high
•9 cables with a maximum length of 1033 ft.
•1 68 ft. long hanging bridge between platforms.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to San Jose. This transfer will take approximately 3 hours.
Fly from San Jose, Costa Rica to Bocas del Toro, Panama. Approximate flight duration is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Enjoy the shared boat transfer from Boca Town to Laguna Azul on Isla Popa.
Three meals a day are included during your stay at Laguna Azul. Lunch will be either at the property or a packed lunch if you are on an excursion. Snacks are available throughout the day and beverages including non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks (national).
You will also have the option to enjoy various land and water based excursions and activities during your stay. Excursions are led by local guides. Please note that the excursion descriptions below do not follow any specific order but are given merely for informational purposes.
Choose from the various optional activities available at Isla Colon; Zapatillas Cay, Red Frog Beach, Tigre Island, Dolphin Bay, Coral Cay & Isla Colon Down Town visit.
Situated within the region of Bastimentos National Marine Park and Red Frog Beach, there is ample fine snorkeling surrounding Laguna Azul. Snorkeling can easily be done at the foot of the hotel where you will discover corals, sea stars, crabs and a host of small fish swimming among the roots that surround the hotel. The calm and crystal clear waters of a deep turquoise, with an average visibility of 20 meters and between 28 and 29 degrees centigrade, make a paradise for both diving enthusiasts and snorkelers.
Experience an amazing day of swimming, snorkeling, and pure relaxation on this full day shared tour to Zapatilla Keys. Zapatilla Keys are a group of two uninhabited islands on a coral platform that are surrounded by reefs. Located inside the Bastimentos Island National Park, Zapatilla Keys are considered the most beautiful and best Caribbean beaches of the area. Tall palm trees, white sand, coral reefs and turquoise water are some of the features of these unique beaches. Recommended: snorkeling where the waters are calm to have better visibility.
Say goodbye to this piece of paradise and enjoy the views on your shared boat transfer from Laguna Azul on Isla Popa to Boca town.
Transfer from Almirante to Boquete by private vehicle and professional driver. The transfer will take approximately 3.5 hrs.
The Los Quetzales trail unites the two communities of Boquete and Cerro Punta and is one of Panama’s most visited and popular hikes, named for a particular species of bird called the Resplendent Quetzal. Quite elusive, these birds are a magnificent and rare treat to observe and are a favorite among many birding enthusiasts. In addition to the Quetzal, there are more than 220 other bird species native to the area. The tour starts with a two hours drive from Boquete to Cerro Punta where your hiking adventure on the Quetzal Trail starts. From Cerro Punta to Boquete, the 10 km hiking trail climbs steadily (roughly 800 meters) as you pass from tropical rain forest to tropical cloud forest and takes approximately 4-6 hours of hiking to complete. At the end of the hike you will be transferred for approximately 30 minutes back to your hotel.(Includes roundtrip transportation from Boquete, English speaking ornithologist guide, picnic lunch). Please note that good physical condition is required for this activity.
Travel by private car and driver to David. The transfer will take approximately 40 minutes.
Fly from David to Panama City today. The direct flight takes approximately 1 hour.
Sit back and relax on your private airport transfer with an English speaking professional driver in Panama city. This transfer should take approximately 30 minutes.
Undertake a train trip on the historical and original railway line from Panama City to Colón today. This 1-hour train ride leads you through the jungle and along the Panama Canal. Completed in 1855, the French Panama Canal company acquired the railway line in 1880, to aid in the building of the Canal. In 1904 the Americans bought the Canal and the railway line operated until 1979. In 1998, Panama privatized the railway line and renewed it completely and since 2001 it is once again in operation.
After the scenic train trip you will visit the Gatun Locks - a series of three lock chambers where the huge container vessels are lifted or lowered at a total of 26 meters. Each lock is 33.5 meters wide and 306 meters long and takes 8 to 15 minutes to fill with water. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Canal Expansion which consists onfthe construction of two new sets of locks which double the capacity of the Panama Canal and will create a new lane of traffic allowing more and larger ships. Your visit will end by the visitor center where you can have a better idea of the expansion project.
From here, continue with your guide from Colón to the port of Portobelo. This port was the gathering point of the Peruvian treasures in the 15th century and as well as being the center of control and inspection of goods which arrived from Spain, gold and silver was shipped from here towards the metropolis of the empire. The ruin complex is built in the middle of the tropical jungle and covers a set of fortresses, castles and military bases.
Lunch will be served in the pleasant restaurant of the boutique property, El Otro Lado.
After lunch you will be transferred back to your hotel in Panama city.
After your transfer from your hotel to Flamenco Resort and Marina, the partial transit starts with a motor coach ride for 45 minute to the town of Gamboa where the Panama Canal Dredging Division is located. Once in Gamboa, you will board the cruise ship to start the water portion of the tour. You will enter the canal at the north end of the Gaillard Cut, where the Chagres River flows into the canal. The Gaillard Cut (also known as Culebra Cut because its curves resemble a snake) is one of the main points of interest because it was carved through the continental divide and this section of the canal is full of history and geological value. As you transit the Cut on the way to Pedro Miguel Locks, you will be able to appreciate the continuous maintenance that this area requires, because it is very susceptible to landslides as well as admire the Centennial bridge which crosses over the Canal. In this area you will also be able to observe the work in process for the Panama Canal expansion project. Next, your ship will enter Pedro Miguel Locks, which is one of the two sets of locks on the Pacific side, and here the vessel is lowered 9 meters in one step. You will then enter Miraflores Lake, which is a small artificial body of fresh water that separates Pedro Miguel from Miraflores Locks, the latter being the final set of locks before reaching the Pacific Ocean. At Miraflores Locks the vessel is lowered 16 meters in two distinct steps.Once in the Pacific Ocean, the vessel will sail to the beautiful Flamenco Marina where you will disembark. On the way to Flamenco, you will pass under the Bridge of the Americas, and later, you will be able to admire the Bay of Panama and Panama City's splendorous skyline. Upon arrival at Flamenco you will be transferred back to your city hotel. Please note that the canal authorities often change their schedule and as such, the final rendez-vous time will be confirmed to you by our local representative the day prior.
Relax on your private airport transfer with English speaking professional driver in Panama city. This transfer will take approximately 1 hr.
Grano de Oro is the hotel of choice for those who visit San Jose, with a reputation for hospitality and fine quality. The 40 rooms are magical and full of allure, each possessing a carefully chosen color scheme and theme. Pleasant features such as a fountain or balcony add to the appeal of each room. Grano de Oro's restaurant is recognized for its culinary success, surpassing the expectations of even the most critical guest. Set under a high ceiling, or in the romance of the outdoors, each dish is prepared with local and international influences. The subtle ambiance of the restaurant is what makes visitors return. Spend time lounging on the lawn beds of the rooftop garden terrace or choose to sink into relaxation in the jacuzzi.
The finest accommodations surrounded by the natural beauty of Tortuguero. You deserve to elevate your vacation experience to the next level. The hotel is in an exciting location where you can enjoy the natural beauty of Tortuguero but also a peaceful and romantic honeymoon getaway. A vacation at another level. Manutus VIP Hotel offers you a unique combination in the area. The comfort and luxury of rooms and facilities, a delicious restaurant with an international and gourmet cuisine offering caribbean fusion food, surrounded by the exciting and romantic natural beauty of Tortuguero.
Voted #1 Resort in Central and South America by Conde Nast Traveller 2013, the Arenal Nayara Hotel & Gardens is a five star luxury boutique hotel that is widely recognized for providing premium luxury amenities and ultra-personalized service. Nayara is undenialy Arenal’s jewel and the property reflects its location and respects the ecological balance of one of the most beautiful places on earth. Located in the outskirts of the amazing Arenal Volcano, Arenal Nayara is an oasis of tranquility, where guests can experience a profound and organic immersion with nature, while living in luxury at the same time.
Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, the casitas, suites, and villas have large screened windows that open up to bring nature inside. Light flows through the interiors, from the bedroom to the private gardens with rain showers, to the private terraces with secluded Jacuzzis. Food lovers and wine connoisseurs are treated to some remarkable restaurants offering international and local cuisine, a pool bar, and a wine and tapas bar.
The intimate Laguna Azul Eco Boutique Hotel lies in a stunning position on the shores of Isla Popa, and is built right on the sea, surrounded by untouched mangrove. It has different spacious shared areas including a living room, dining room, and a beautiful terrace facing the open sea. The property has direct access to the beaches and protected waters of Bocas del Toro with the nearest beach being only a 15-minute boat ride away. The area is ideal for snorkeling or canoeing, and is home to turtles and dolphins. The floating deck/solarium allows one to enjoy sun bathing, reading or simply spend time sipping delicious cocktails and allows for contemplation and relaxation. Soak up the ambient atmosphere of sea and sunshine at this haven of serenity. World class hospitality and friendly staff assure your every need is catered for.
A historic country inn, nestled in the foothills of the Barú volcano, Panamonte Inn & Spa is the perfect base for exploring the Chiriquí Highlands with its unique ecological system and biodiversity. More reminiscent of an elegant home than a hotel, this delightful inn is renowned for its impeccable service and it has one of the best restaurants in Central America. Panamonte Inn & Spa is located in the highlands of Boquete, just outside the Baru Volcano National Park. Its stylish suites offer free Wi-Fi and terraces with stunning garden and mountain views.
Located at the heart of the Panama City’s UNESCO World Heritage Site historic district, Las Clementinas is a Casco Viejo Hotel with large, lovingly decorated one bedroom suites that sleep up to four people, a spectacular roof top view and lush gardens. Las Clementinas was originally built in the 1930s as an apartment building, and we have retained the original apartments’ layouts, giving our rooms unmatched size and volumes. Think of it as a classic small European hotel with much larger rooms, gracious finishes and no elevator. The property is also located in a quieter part of the historical part of town.
Bob More ,
April 21, 2014
"Every detail was taken care of, and all connections were on time. We were extremely pleased, couldn't stop telling everyone about our great trip. Each room / hotel was better than the last. Wow great holiday!"
Steve Walling ,
January 20, 2014
"We are home safe and sound from the best vacation I can remember. It seemed seamless to us but I know that you worked very hard to make our experience so good.
The guides and drivers were always punctual and reliable. They were very knowledgeable, personable, and funny. They provided us with very helpful information and helped us work on expanding our Spanish. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful and the rooms were very nice.
I especially appreciate our ability to update our plans while we were in Costa Rica. The zip lines were the highlight of our trip. I hate to think we almost missed out by not including it in our original plan.
You have made a friend and supporter for life. I will certainly recommend you to anyone I know going to Costa Rica.
Merrel Bowles ,
November 07, 2013
"I would highly recommend this company for overseas travel. We had personal drivers that spoke perfect English and were also very knowledgeable in conversation pertaining to their country. Drivers were always early and eager to please. Your wish was their command!!!Every tour included educated guides who knew how to make our experience fun and exciting! I loved having personal drivers and guides, as well as many inclusive meals. We will definitely use this company for future travels."
April 09, 2013
"Our Costa Rica trip was amazing. The whole family thinks its the best we've ever taken! Kensington did an excellent job of organizing everything. The two hotels they picked were amazing.
Arenal -- The Springs Resort & Spa was almost too good since as soon as the family saw it they wanted to cancel activities so they could take full advantage of all it offered. We ultimately did cancel the safari to give us a free day to spend a day at the spa, pools and Club Rio (riding the river in innertubes!). The activities Kensington setup were excellent and very adventurous. Our favorite was canyoneering (repelling), We were all terrified at the first drop-off! It's more thrilling the zip lining (also lots of fun) and river rafting (a blast as well).
Manuel Antonio -- The Preserve at Los Altos was very nice. It was like staying in a 3 bedroom apartment at a boutique hotel (same feel as Athenum in London but nicer). The drive to get there was a bit long but worth it when our driver made a surprise stop at the the "crodillio bridge". The tour through Manuel Antonio National Park is a must do for nature lovers (3 types of monkeys, sloths, etc). Our guide was excellent. If you go MA NP, try Kapi Kapi for dinner.
I'd highly recommend using Kensington (Brandi was our rep) for a Costa Rica trip. Thanks for hooking us up with them.
L Huber ,
April 03, 2013
We returned yesterday from our wonderful Costa Rican vacation and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed it. We loved staying at the El Silencio (the kids would have liked to stay even longer so we could have taken some of the nature hikes). Being surrounded by the cloud forest was an amazing sensation that really helped us to feel that we were in a completely different world and was a perfect way to begin the trip. Maria Lucia was a very kind tour guide and showed us the all sites in a huge day (the waterfalls, Poas volcano, the coffee plantation & Sarchi). The staff at El Silencio was wonderful and Jeff and I very much enjoyed the food and the very elaborate wine tasting there.
In La Fortuna the activities ruled. We loved everything, the exhilarating waterfall rappelling, the zip lining (& tiger swing - the kids LOVED IT) the volcano hike and we had a FANTASTIC time on the river safari with Gerald and his friend Tom. Gerald was a great guide and was able to share many stories while letting us see the wildlife. We saw a spectacular Toucan flock and of course the monkeys were a huge hit. Ending up at the farm was a fun end note to the trip. Of course we enjoyed the hot springs at the Tabacon - they are pretty amazing. Jeff and I had a chance to have a massage at the Tabacon spa and it was spectacular. The service at the hotel was lovely and our room did have a beautiful view of the volcano. I think the hot springs & spa are far superior at the Tabacon.
Alex drove us from both El Silencio to La Fortuna and then from La Fortuna to Punta Islita (that is a lot of driving and he did a great job - he was so friendly and made the travelling very enjoyable). On the way to La Fortuna he made a point of showing us the Iguana restaurant and it was a great wayside stop for everyone.
Punta Islita was stunning. Our villa Ilan Ilan was ideal, the view and the setting were spectacular. The kids loved the pool (when they weren't swimming & playing in the ocean), Jeff loved being able to finally drive around a bit like a native (the villa came with a small 4 wheel car), and I enjoyed waking up every morning to see the sunrise over the cliffs at the ocean's edge, and hear the incredible variety of birds (and on the last day even the howler monkeys). We enjoyed so many of the activities the hotel had to offer. Andrey & Hector and the whole staff were so warm and hospitable. They really worked hard and made every effort to make our stay so much fun. Hector helped us plan some more zip lining, surf lessons, a dolphin sighting/fishing boat trip and a sunset horseback ride which was the perfect way to wrap up the trip.
Ronald picked us up and got us to the airport in plenty of time. Ronald was very interested in showing us the wildlife as we drove through the different areas and we really enjoyed that.
Everywhere we went the people were absolutely wonderful, kind, and proud to show us their country and it made our trip spectacular.
Erika, thank you for all you did to help make the trip such a huge success.
Brian Blades ,
April 24, 2013
"Very prompt at getting information back to us and very helpful with any changes we wanted.
This trip was as good as the last trip we did with Kensington, could'nt have been any better. Our guides were excellent, especially Gerald.
Stephen Strom ,
April 22, 2013
"The transfers went flawlessly; the guides were all superb (knowledgable; thoughtful; sensitive; responsive to our needs). The recommended hotels were, with one exception (see below), also first rate and well matched to our needs and temperaments.
Our thanks for providing 3 wonderful guides: Gary Ortiz (Antigua); Carlos Antonio Lopez (Tikal and Yaxha); and Israel Canto (Belize). All of them understood that we have ‘peculiar’ tastes (for example: photographing lichen covered tree trunks while the magnificent structures at Tikal were but meters away!). It is really critical that guides not try to make sure that we see every ‘important’ thing, but recognize instead that ‘importance’ is very much a personal thing.
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