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  • Toucan, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica Toucan, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
    Toucan, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
  • Antigua, Guatemala Antigua, Guatemala
    Antigua, Guatemala
  • Beach in Manuel Antonio Beach in Manuel Antonio
    Beach in Manuel Antonio

Discovery Of Central America

16-day cruise

Summary

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Highlights

  • Chart a course towards Huatulco in Mexico and its preserved bays edged with magnificent beaches
  • Visit Antigua Guatemala. a UNESCO World Heritage Site, overlooked by majestic volcanoes and often considered to be the country’s most beautiful
  • Visit Manuel Antonio National Park with its lush tropical rainforest, abundant wildlife and idyllic beaches.
  • Visit the pyramids of Tikal from Puerto Quetzal, a major feature of Mayan civilization and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Puerto Vallarta
  • 2 Nights At Sea
  • 1 Night Huatulco (Santa María Huatulco)
  • 1 Night At Sea
  • 1 Night Puerto Quetzal
  • 1 Night At Sea
  • 1 Night San Juan Del Sur
  • 1 Night Playa Herradura
  • 1 Night Quepos (Puerto Quepos)
  • 1 Night Golfito
  • 1 Night Cébaco Island
  • 2 Nights Fuerte Amador

About

Recommended for:
History & culture | Ocean cruise | Wildlife

Discover a condensed overview of Central America’s architectural gems and most stunning natural treasures through an exceptional itinerary. In Puerto Vallarta, board L’Austral for a 13-day cruise to 5 countries, charting a course towards Huatulco in Mexico and its preserved bays edged with magnificent beaches. From Puerto Quetzal, you will be able to visit Antigua Guatemala, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this city is overlooked by majestic volcanoes and is often considered to be the country’s most beautiful.

From San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, you will travel to Granada located at the foot of the Mombacho volcano. This town is teeming with architectural treasures, and combines Moorish, Andalusian, Baroque and neo-Classical styles.

The L’Austral will stop in Quepos, the gateway to one of Costa Rica’s finest natural treasures, the Manuel Antonio National Park. Combining lush tropical rainforest and abundant wildlife, this unspoiled park is fringed with idyllic beaches.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
UK to Puerto Vallarta

Fly overnight from London to Puerto Vallarta via Mexico City, arriving the next day

Day 2
Puerto Vallarta

Arrive in Puerto Vallarta where you will be met and transferred to your hotel fro an overnight stay

Day 3
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

On Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta is a lively seaside resort that has been very popular since the biggest movie stars of the 1970s came to film in its enchanting setting. Protected by the verdant slopes of the peaks of the Sierra Madre Occidental, the town is bathed by the gentle, calm and brilliant blue waters of the Bahía de Banderas. Don’t miss the chance to stroll along the colourful and paved little streets of old Vallarta, where many artisans and art galleries have taken up residence, and to admire the sunset over the bay from the Malecón (the promenade).

Check out of your hotel and take your included transfer to the port to embark

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: D

Days 4-5
At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Huatulco (Santa María Huatulco), Mexico

A seaside resort on the Mexican Pacific coast in the southern State of Oaxaca, the Huatulco region is made up of nine turquoise bays. Youメll be spoilt for choice with no less than 36 beaches, four of which are ecological preserves. In addition to the beautiful bays and beaches, you can explore and shop in the small communities of the Huatulco area, such as La Crucecita, Santa Cruz or old Santa Maria Huatulco (the district's municipality).

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 7
At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

Located on the Pacific coast, 100 kilometres south of the capital, the city of Puerto Quetzal is the largest port in the country. Close to the city, the ravishing little old city of Antigua, is a former colonial capital listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. You’ll admire the wealth of its historical monuments.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 9
At Sea

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 10
San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

Considered Nicaragua's surfing capital, the attractive seaside resort of San Juan del Sur is an idyllic location for chilling in the waves. You're guaranteed to fall in love with this former fishing town on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, now a popular seaside holiday spot. Less than a two-hour drive away is the city of Granada, founded in 1524 at the foot of the Mombacho volcano. Clinging to the shores of Lake Nicaragua, the town is a stunning example of colonial architecture, with its narrow streets and Al-Andalus houses painted in bright colours. Don't miss out on a tour of its La Merced church, wander around the main square and explore the San Francisco convent.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 11
Playa Herradura, Costa Rica

Herradura takes its name in Spanish from the horseshoe form of its bay, covered in lush tropical vegetation, its beauty enhanced by the hills that loom over it. This small town is surrounded by national parks that are remarkable for the rich variety of fauna and flora they protect. When your ship calls here, it will be the moment to take a journey in small covered boats along the Tarcoles River, whose banks are home to crocodiles and iguanas. This mangrove also hosts the loyal and flamboyant Scarlet Macaw, with its red, blue and yellow plumage, known for mating with the same partner for life.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 12
Quepos (Puerto Quepos), Costa Rica

Quepos allows tourists to experience a once in a lifetime nature experience in Manuel Antonio National Park without leaving any of the familiar amenities behind. The close proximity of the park, located just 4.3 miles (7 km) to the south, and a wide array of services makes Quepos the perfect place to visit for those who wish to explore this enchanting area. The amenities available include everything from banks, restaurants, hotels, gift shops, bakeries, bars, a hospital, supermarket and even a post office. The area was once dependent on banana plantations which used to line the surrounding area. After disease infiltrated the harvest, interest transferred to African Palms as the prominent crop. Now, tourism has deemed itself the major economic factor, contributing to just about everything in the area. Quepos lures in many tourists for its fantastic sport fishing. In fact, some have come solely to participate in this world class experience and have never left, but besides sport fishing, many other activities are available. Exploring this maze of wetlands by boat is amazing but not the only way to see crocodiles, monkeys, herons, raccoons and more. This small paradise has the perfect balance between nature and the comfort and facilities someone might need.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 13
Golfito, Costa Rica

The town of Golfito lies on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in the province of Puntarenas, one of the most humid regions in the world. It was occupied by the indigenous Bruncas tribe during the Pre-Columbian era. Once specialised in the export of bananas, Golfito has today become the starting point for walkers who want to reach the Corcovado National Park, one of the largest primary tropical rainforests in Central America. Meanwhile, the beaches of Golfo Dulce are some of the most beautiful in Costa Rica, with the Piedras Blancas National Park as their backdrop, along with the Vida Silvestre refuge, home to many tropical birds and monkeys as well as a variety of rare species of plants.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Day 14
Cébaco Island, Panama

Off the Pacific coast of Panama, at the entrance to the Gulf of Montijo, Cebaco Island conjures visions of paradise lost. Covered in tropical rainforest, edged by white sandy beaches, home to exceptionally rich plant and wildlife, the island offers a number of hiking routes along which to discover its pristine natural environment. Its magnificent coral reefs, located in the outlying regions of the Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are the refuge for many marine species and offer stunning underwater landscapes.

Stay: L'Austral

Meals: B L D

Days 15-16
Fuerte Amador, Panama to UK

An artificial peninsula situated at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador is the gateway to several noteworthy sites. Right near there, the impressive Miraflores Locks are a shining example of the engineering feats deployed during the construction of the Panama Canal. Further north, in villages nestling amid dense vegetation, lives the Embera tribe, guardian of the forest and of the Chagres River. This proud people have successfully preserved their traditions and their ancestral way of life, which predate the colonisation of the region by the Spanish.

Debark the ship and take you private transfer to teh airport for your overnight flight, arriving the following day.

Meals: B

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