Take a small ship cruise to Costa Rica
and explore natures ecosystem
by Jessica Howell
Eco adventures have taken the travel world by storm, presenting exciting new options for travelers looking to connect with nature while experiencing destinations full-throttle. One great locale loaded with untapped potential is Costa Rica, Central America's tiny country that borders both the Caribbean Sea and North Pacific.
Filled with lush greenery, rugged mountains and two active volcanoes, Costa Rica is a land abundant in natural beauty. In fact, nearly 30 percent of the country's ecosystem is protected by national parks, forest reserves and Indian reservations. One way to maximize your time and travels is to tour the country on a cruise ship. Here, we've compiled some excellent options that offer the best in adventurous eco-friendly excursions: Wind Star Cruises
Wind Star Website
Lured by natural beauty, jungles teaming with wildlife and a dizzying array of flora, guests sailing on the intimate and elegant Wind Star get the best of both worlds - upscale accommodations combined with eco-adventure. A local Costa Rica naturalist sails on each trip to pass on local knowledge of the country’s unique history, culture, geography and bio diversity.
“Windstar’s Costa Rica itinerary has proved very popular,” said Diane Moore, Windstar’s vice president of marketing and sales. “We are one of the only cruise lines that offers an entire week exploring the country’s spectacular coastline, and we can visit more small bays and harbors due to the intimate size of the ship,” says Moore of the 148-guest motor sailing yacht that offers seven-night cruises along the Pacific Coast.
Available excursions include nature walks, scuba diving, floating down the Corobici River, or soaring through treetops on a zip-line tour through the rainforest. Another excursion explores the intricate ecosystem of the mangroves with monkeys, spoonbills, and a variety of other birds living in the upper canopy.
Cruise West Website
On the 100-guest Pacific Explorer, you'll visit ports of call and remote landings that other ships pass by. Hop on Cruise West's inflated Zodiac excursion crafts that take you to remote bays and deserted shorelines while you watch for blue-footed boobies and red-billed oystercatchers among canopies full of monkeys.
Meet expert Costa Rican naturalists and local contacts like the natives of the Embera village, tattooed and jungle-raised, who welcome you ashore with a smile for a true insider's view.
Linblad Expedition Website
Join Linblad Expedition's Sea Voyager for an eight night/seven day tour (Panama Canal & Wonders of Costa Rica Cruise) through Costa Rica in transit through the Panama Canal. Accompany guides from Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute as you navigate the tropical rainforest and learn about the historical building of the canal.
Excursions also include zip-lining bird tours, snorkeling, monkey treks for howler, spider and squirrel species, horseback riding, waterfall swims and more.
Most importantly, be comforted that your cruise staff, known as the expedition team, is steeped in regional knowledge, many of whom lived in Costa Rica and are always on hand for questions.
Keep in Mind
Most cruises coincide with Costa Rica's dry season that lasts from December to April, so consider traveling within the timeframe if you're planning your own trip and want to spend maximum time outdoors. Also, be sure to pack cool clothing that will stand up to outdoor activity in the tropical heat.
To find out how to make your cruise extra "eco," click here and learn how to offset your travel carbon emissions.
(Source: Wind Star, Cruise West, Linblad Expeditions)