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Everyone raves about Panama canal cruises...


chrismch

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We will be doing the Panama Canal full transit in December and everyone says it is a great cruise. However, there is not much feedback for excursions. I am specifically looking for info on Puntarenas. Looking at the ship's excursions, 3 look interesting - Mangrove boat excursion on the Tarcoles River, Pacific Aerial Tram, and a combo historic train, boat & bus tour. I have looked on both the Costa Rica and Panama Canal port sites and there is limited feedback there so I thought I would try here:p

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We did this in December 2005 and it was really a great excursion. It was about $100 total including transportation from ship and back and lunch. Hotel Vista Golfa is about 30 minutes by bus from Puntarenas. You could skip the horseback ride I think, but it was fun. About 1 hour ride to first zipline. We booked directly with hotel. Payed when we arrived. http://finca-daniel.com/costa-rica-activities/11-waterfalls-canopy.htm

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DW and I did the Mangrove boat tour. It was really interesting and we got to see lots of wildlife - crocodiles, birds, monkeys - and the scenery was beautiful. The only downside was the long busride from the port area to the river. I don't remember the exact time, but it was over 1 hour across very poor roads.

 

It's a good excursion if you are into photography.

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Specifically with Puntarenas we found a number of guides with vans and drivers right at the foot of the pier. If you leave first thing you can go up to the volcano before the tour buses start getting there and then make a number of stops in the town, lunch, furniture making, etc on your way back. We really enjoyed our tour (flexible stops on our part). When we got back there is a flea market on the beach next to the pier that we wandered through and then headed back to the ship. It will be hot and humid at the pier but when you leave in the van you immediately climb into the mountains and the weather is in the 70's and either sunny or rainy, but constantly comfortable. Just don't stay in Punteranas, head out from there and lots of choices even if you only do it from the pier.

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