ENDLESS ADVENTURE AWAITS!
MAR 7-17, 2023 – PONANT LE BELLOT
The mist clings to the rainforest floor, concealing the jungle’s many secrets. You and the other Vacayans enter one by one, your hearts beating faster and faster as you come face-to-face with this mysterious new world. What’s that sound?! Teeming with more life in a square meter than any other place on earth, Costa Rica’s fabled rainforests tease at first, but then slowly awaken before your very eyes! Life is all around you and you’ll be humbled by the hidden wonders that subtly and sometimes suddenly reveal themselves to you. Go where no other LGBT+ cruisers have gone before in this never-before-seen itinerary from VACAYA.
This 5-star luxury expedition not only takes you deep into the jungles of Costa Rica and Panama, but BONUS… we also transit the Panama Canal, a modern marvel that’ll become the perfect counterpoint to all nature has in store for you. Throw in an overnight in intoxicating Cartagena, Colombia and the very best of Central America and northern South America are all yours for 10 indulgent nights! 2 Continents. 3 Countries. Endless Adventure.
The upside of cruising on an Expedition Cruise on the super yachts of PONANT is that you can visit remote ports and secret harbors accessible only to these special vessels. This allows you to get right to the heart of your chosen destination. Additionally, most remote ports of call fall into the category of Expedition Cruise and are accessed via Zodiac (inflatable 12-person lightweight motorized boat) so you’ll be some of the first people to explore these special spots. A whole new world opens up with each and every step. And what’s better is that an expedition cruise saves you money because you’re buying fewer optional excursions. The Zodiac landings and the expedition leaders are included in your cruise fare!And with super yachts, you don’t have to worry about missing out on larger ports; we can go to those, too! So you’ll enjoy plenty of variety during your journey with VACAYA. We call this the SUPER YACHT ADVANTAGE.
Incomparable Luxury on the 5-Star Le Bellot
AFT MARINA PLATFORM
(Deck 2) – The aft marina platform serves as a launch for tenders and water sports activities.
(Deck 3) The heated swimming pool offers panoramic views and is equipped with an exterior bar and lounge with armchairs and sofas.
There are currently no extensions for this cruise!
THE VALUE OF LUXURY
WHEN CRUISING PONANT WITH VACAYA, YOU’RE CHOOSING COMFORT, REFINEMENT, & DISCOVERY…
VACAYA’s 2023 Central America Cruise continues our already-robust tradition of redefining all that’s possible in the world of LGBT+ luxury travel. Of course savvy travelers recognize “value” rarely means “low price.” Instead, value is defined as getting something extraordinary for a great price. And that is exactly what VACAYA’s 2023 Central America Cruise delivers.
The Vacayans are dedicated to providing you with the very best. That’s what drives us, journey after journey. And it’s amazing what’s included:
- 10 Nights aboard the stunning Le Bellot
- All Meals, featuring subtle and audacious flavors inspired by our ports of call
- Complimentary unlimited Open Bar throughout your cruise (premium alcohol extra)
- Complimentary unlimited Open Mini-Bar in your Stateroom/Suite (premium alcohol extra)
- Complimentary WiFi/Internet
- Daily Afternoon Tea and Pastries
- 24-Hour Room Service
- 5-Star Service
- 24×7 Stateroom Service
- 24×7 Reception Desk
- Lecturers, Guides, Naturalists, and Expedition Leaders
- Zodiac Landings
- Fitness Classes
The following services are available for an additional charge:
- Optional Shore Excursions
- Optional Pre- and Post-Cruise Excursions
- Spa Treatments/Massages
- Salon Services
- Satellite Telephone Services
- Medical Services
- Commemorative voyage DVD that retraces the entire story of the trip, complete with interviews with lecturers, naturalists, and the Captain, and a stunning photographic montage from the staff photographers.
What does it mean for a cruise to be designated an “Expedition Cruise”? Made up of captivating and enthusiastic expedition leaders, naturalist guides, and experts, the PONANT expedition team will unlock the doors to pristine natural spots. During the outings on Zodiac® boats and onboard talks, the team will give you the key to discover points of interest and wildlife sightings, understand the traditions and ways of life of locals, and get up close and personal with this region.
SUPER YACHT ADVANTAGE
If you’ve ever wanted to explore the world in style in a friendly and intimate setting, VACAYA Luxe’s small-ship voyages have distinct advantages over their big-ship counterparts. Small ships gracefully dock in quaint harbors that bulkier oceangoing vessels simply can’t access, while also calling on classic destinations our guests long to visit again and again. The ability to call in ports of all sizes allows for more intriguing itineraries that become the focal point of the journey. Small ships also tend to stay longer and dock closer to town, giving you more time to explore. There are no crowds to beat, so you can see places at their most pleasant and authentic.
SMALL BOAT LANDINGS*
Each day, based on water and weather conditions, the Captain and the Expedition Leader will suggest Zodiac® outings and shore visits with a team of experienced naturalist guides to discover the infinite riches of National Parks, biodiversity, UNESCO sites, and tribes of Central America. The sturdy inflatable boats enable both water-based exploration and safe landings in otherwise inaccessible areas. You’ll need to be fairly agile to board these, but there’s otherwise no need to worry about traveling in them. Landing operations depend on favorable conditions. Since you may get wet on the Zodiacs®, we suggest waterproof pants or swimsuits. Closed-toe shoes are required on the Zodiacs® and for your comfort should be waterproof. And what’s great is that these landings are included in the cruise fare so these save you money in optional excursions you don’t have to purchase!
The ship’s experienced expedition leaders and lecturers command an in-depth knowledge of Central America and offer a rich program of included activities designed to immerse you in our destination. On a regular basis, they’ll conduct informative lectures on topics such as biology, history, and geology throughout the voyage. The lecture schedule will be announced every day in the onboard Daily Program. Expedition leaders like José Sarica bring your newfound knowledge to life in the field via the daily landings.
The ship’s onboard photographer will be there to assist you in the use of your photo equipment and to help improve your photo skills to successfully capture this incredible land. You’ll also have the option to purchase all the photographs the staff photographers capture during the voyage on a DVD that retraces the entire story of the trip, complete with interviews with lecturers, naturalists, and the Captain. A stunning photographic “Best Of” includes all the highlights.
THE FRENCH TOUCH
As the only French cruise company, PONANT is an ambassador of the “French Touch” around the world. With a French crew, discrete service, refined cuisine, and partners that embody the same spirit of excellence and refinement, PONANT does their utmost to maintain a unique cruising philosophy.
The French Touch means, above all, a French crew to welcome you and ensure your comfort and well-being throughout your cruise. In an atmosphere of elegant luxury, you’ll find 5-Star Service onboard. It’s a unique travel experience that is simultaneously authentic and refined. In addition to the attentive cabin stewards throughout the ship, all suites on Deck 6 come with additional butler service to see to your every need. They’ll even unpack your bags and repack for you at the end of the voyage!
A FRENCH WAY OF LIVING
The French Touch also means a way of living in which gastronomy takes pride of place. Every day you’ll discover fragrant flavors, carefully selected cheeses and wines, and delicious specialty breads & pastries from Maison Lenôtre. Maison Taillevent provides its fine selection of vintage wines by the glass, Maison Veuve Clicquot champagne is served at our gala cocktails, and delicious sweets from the Ladurée bakery are on offer during afternoon tea time.
Finally, the French Touch is also evident in our choice of partners, whose expertise and passion for their work is in line with our own quest for excellence: interior design by Jean Philippe Nuel, fabrics by Pierre Frey, delicate flavours from Le Palais des Thés, Hermès bath products in all staterooms and suites, spa care products by Sothy’s, and signature perfumes from Fragonard.
PONANT is regularly awarded for the quality of its services and its unique cruising concept. From Travel & Leisure and Cruise Critic to NABU and Berlitz, the list of award presenters reads like a who’s who in travel and sustainability. A growing list of French and international awards can be viewed HERE.
CRUISE WITH CONFIDENCE
On land or onboard, your safety is our top concern. This means we uphold strict health and safety measures. As the rules and regulations change and evolve, PONANT is continuing to adapt and optimize its already robust protocols, integrating all the technological, human, and material measures to ensure the provision and maintenance of a healthy bubble. This reinforced protection is based on three “shields” designed to guarantee onboard conditions, sanitary protocols, and daily monitoring (guests, equipment, and ships). For your added safety and peace of mind, doctors and nurses are present on every ship. Find PONANT’s detailed and ever-evolving protocols HERE.
*A note about small boat landings:
As privileged guests in these uncharted lands, we’re at the mercy of weather and sea conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed; they vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions of local officials.
The port of Puerto Caldera lies on the Pacific coast in the Puntarenas region at the mouth of the Gulf of Nicoya. Areas of wilderness stretch along the coast. Further inland, you’ll find countless natural wonders in the generous rainforests of Costa Rica’s national parks. In addition, Poas and Arena volcanoes majestically tower over this region. In this abundant natural setting, Costa Rica protects one of the planet’s richest biodiversities: monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, iguanas, crocodiles, waterfalls, canyons, and more than ten thousand species of tropical plants.
On the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula, the small Curú Wildlife Refuge is the oldest protected park in Costa Rica. This refuge is an exemplary site in terms of ecotourism. It’s also a research center for scientists from all over the world. It’s been at the heart of an original conservation and sustainable development project since the 1930s. After a short Zodiac trip, you’ll discover, via the paths that criss-cross the tropical forest and lead to magnificent beaches, the most emblematic species of Costa Rica: monkeys, iguanas and over 200 bird species. Since their recent reintroduction, the scarlet macaw and the spider monkey have thrived in this preserved environment.
Le Bellot will sail across the gulf of Dulce in the direction of the splendid botanical garden of Casa Orquideas, which you’ll reach by Zodiac. Golfo Dulce is one of the most intense rainforest landscapes in the world, unfolding and exposing what has been described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth.” More than 400 species of tropical birds, over 500 species of vascular plants, 140 species of tropical mammals, hundreds of butterfly species, and many more tropical organisms call this place home.
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, it’s home to exceptionally rich plant and wildlife. The island offers a number of hiking routes that give you the chance 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.
The most remote and least developed region of Panama, the province of Darien is an unspoilt land with an extremely rich variety of flora and fauna. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Darien National Park offers its extraordinary scenery of rocky coastlines, mountain ranges, mangroves, rivers, and creeks. Discover Playa Muerto, a tiny coastal village home to the Emberas Amerindian community. You’ll visit the village, attend traditional songs and dances of the locals, and admire beautiful local craft.
Aboard Le Bellot, experience something wholly unique that’s inspired the imagination of numerous adventurers in the 20th century: sailing the Panama Canal. Its construction started in 1880 under the direction of Ferdinand de Lesseps. Abandoned then resumed, this marvel of engineering was completed by the United States in 1887 and opened in 1914. The canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama and links the Pacific to the Atlantic. This modern marvel allows ships to avoid having to round Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America.
In the province of Colón, along the magnificent Caribbean coast of Panama, Portobelo is located not far from the famous canal. Given its name of “beautiful port” by Christopher Columbus, who landed here in 1502, this charming and peaceful bay was one of the most important ports for the shipping of precious metals from the New World to Spain. Don’t miss a visit to its fortifications, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town has preserved the strong religious and cultural traditions of its colonial past, such as the veneration of the Black Christ and a strongly-rooted Afro-Caribbean culture.
A splendid harbor city in the north of Columbia and a source of inspiration for the Columbian writer Gabriel García Márquez, Cartagena will win you over with its well-preserved colonial architecture and warm friendly atmosphere. You can visit the sumptuous UNESCO World Heritage fortified historical center, whose churches and houses have magnificent multi-colored façades. A witness of Spanish domination, the San Felipe de Barajas fortress stands on top of a hill from where you can admire views over the whole city. The Las Bóvedas neighborhood will charm you with its arcades, used as prison cells during the 19th century civil wars. We’ll overnight here, giving you the chance to melt into this exciting city.
Have you lived out your Romancing the Stone dreams yet? If not, you’ve got the entire morning to do so!
Beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters await you on this perfect day in Panama. After all your prior adventures, this beach day gives you the perfect break before our cruise comes to an end.
Colón is the second largest city in Panama, at the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal. Colón is an important port, and the free trade zone created in 1953 contributed greatly to the development of the city. Colón was founded in 1850 by Americans working on the Panama railroad connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coasts through the isthmus of Panama; the city rapidly overshadowed the older Caribbean ports of Panama when the canal opened.
Most guests will fly home from PTY Airport. That’s Panama City, Panama’s main international airport. While Colón does have a small regional airport (ONX), there are very few connecting flights. PTY Airport is 56 miles/91km from where our ship will be docked in Colón; estimated travel time by car is 75-90 minutes.
Staterooms for this luxury expedition cruise range from $6,497 to $13,997 Deluxe Suites. Please contact us directly at email@example.com or +17132530041 for real-time availability of spaces.