Ponant has announced that Edie Rodriguez, the line's Americas brand chairman, will host An Exploration in Nature in Costa Rica & the Panama Canal, a 10-night / 11-day nature experience aboard the brand's new ship, Le Dumont-d’Urville, from January 6 -16, 2020. The new itinerary is part of Ponant's Quintessential Collection, a series of themed immersion cruises designed to inspire travelers to dig deeper into their destinations.
The expedition highlights Costa Rica’s efforts to preserve its natural treasures and explores the vegetation and fauna of three national parks, including Corcovado National Park. Guests will board the ship at Puerto Caldera in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, before visiting Curù Wildlife Refuge, where more than ten thousand species of plants, three hundred species of birds and two hundred species of butterflies are present. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys, vultures, brown pelicans, and Scarlet Macaw all call this area their home.
The itinerary continues with a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, before traveling to Corcovado National Park, which houses 13 different ecosystems. The ship then heads to Cebaco Island in Panama, as well as Punta Alegre to discover the Darien National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and meet the Embera people. On day eight, the ship will transit the Panama Canal for a visit to the San Blas Islands to learn about the culture and craftsmanship of the indigenous Kuna people. A visit to Holandes Cayes follows before disembarkation in Colon on day eleven.
Additionally, the sailing will offer daily talks by Paul Donahue, who has extensive experience leading birding and natural history tours all over Central and South America. He has divided his time between research and ecotourism, and with his wife Teresa Wood, has constructed rain forest canopy walkways in Peru and Costa Rica. From 1991-94 they co-directed the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research in northeastern Peru.