Panama Canal/Costa Rica
Join us for this incomparable nine-day journey through the mighty locks of the Panama Canal to the Costa Rican rainforest. Cruise for seven nights from Colón, Panama, to Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, aboard the exclusively chartered, Five-Star LE CHAMPLAIN, which features the world’s first luxury underwater observatory and will launch in 2018. Experience a daylight passage through the awe-inspiring Panama Canal and visit the San Blas Islands, where indigenous Guna people have maintained their traditional lifestyle for centuries. Tour Panama City, including its Casco Antiguo (Old Quarter), a UNESCO World Heritage site, and call at rarely visited Isla Cébaco to discover the rich marine life in its vivid coral reefs. Explore the terrestrial wonders of Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park and Curú National Wildlife Refuge, and spend one night in a deluxe hotel in San José, Costa Rica. Enjoy lectures by exclusive onboard study leaders throughout the itinerary. Extend your stay with the Dynamic Panama Pre-Program and Costa Rica’s Cloud Forests and Volcanoes Post-Program Options.
U.S./Panama City, Panama
Depart the U.S. for Panama City. Upon arrival, enjoy a scenic transfer to Colón to embark LE
San Blas Islands
Cruise to the sun-drenched San Blas Islands, located on the Caribbean side of Panama and an
extraordinary testament to Panama’s commitment to the indigenous Guna Indians, also known as the Kuna Indians, and their centuries-old language, customs and culture. Villagers live in typical thatched roof huts, barter or trade in fish and agricultural products and paddle dugout canoes, their main mode of transportation. Guna women continue to hand stitch traditional colorful molas (reverse appliqué panels) and wear winis, long strings of tiny beads wrapped around their forearms and legs in striking geometric patterns. This afternoon, enjoy an opportunity to snorkel or swim the clear turquoise waters of pristine Golfo de San Blas, populated with vibrant, untouched coral reefs and rich marine life. Attend the Captain’s Reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Colón/Daylight Transit Panama Canal/Panama City
Cruise from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean through the mighty locks of the Panama Canal. Enjoy a specially arranged lecture on the history of the canal. Transit times through the
canal are controlled by the Panama Canal Authority and traffic conditions. (B,L,D)
Central America’s most attractive capital city was founded in 1519 by Spanish explorers and
rebuilt in the late 17 th century. Tour the “old quarter” known as Casco Antiguo, a UNESCO
World Heritage site, and discover a charming neighborhood with cobblestone streets, a stunning
16 th ‑century cathedral and many historic architectural edifices that remain intact. Adjacent to the Panama Canal, the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center provides an opportunity to see how the locks operate. Also visit the new Biodiversity Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry of Guggenheim fame, showcasing the ecological significance of Panama’s exotic flora and fauna. (B,L,D)
A winding coastline of pristine sandy beaches and towering palm trees front the dense rainforests that dominate the rarely visited gem of Isla Cébaco in the sparkling Gulf of Montijo. Enjoy opportunities for snorkeling in its emerald waters, where schools of vibrantly-colored fish, giant mantra rays and four different species of turtles swim amidst spectacular coral reefs. (B,L,D)
Quepos for Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Experience an unparalleled diversity of wildlife in Manuel Antonio National Park’s lush tropical
paradise, a captivating combination of rainforest, beaches and coral reefs, home to more than 100 species of mammals, almost 200 species of birds and various reptiles and amphibians. In this “Living Eden,” expert naturalists will help you spot colorful toucans, screeching howler monkeys, camouflaged iguanas, squirrel monkeys and rare and endangered species such as the scarlet macaw and quetzal, all of which are protected by law in this natural haven. (B,L,D)
Curú National Wildlife Refuge
Unlike traditional nature reserves, Curú Wildlife Refuge is a unique blend of sustainable agriculture, forest management and wildlife protection, encompassing five distinctive untouched
habitats making it the ideal place to see the intricacies of co-dependent ecosystems. Board a
Zodiac for a wet landing on the beach and enjoy a guided walk in the morning, the best time of
day to observe an abundance of wildlife including spider, howler and capuchin monkeys, the scarlet macaw and more than 230 species of other birds. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception on board this evening. (B,L,R,D)
Puerto Caldera/San José
Disembark in Puerto Caldera and enjoy a scenic transfer to San José. The horticultural diversity
of Costa Rica, the “Garden of the Americas,” is evident in the parks of this vibrant capital city.
On the city tour, see the interesting mix of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial, Moorish and Modernist. The National Theater is a regal Baroque edifice modeled on Milan’s La
Scala. The National Museum’s exhibits feature impressive pre-Columbian Central American
Artifacts. After lunch in a local restaurant, check into the hacienda-style COSTA RICA MARRIOTT HOTEL SAN JOSÉ. (B,L)
San José /U.S.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)
Meet Your Trip Host
Mike Dubin is the Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Michigan Law School.
Mike joined the University of Michigan in 2002 as the associate director of the major gifts program at the U-M College of Engineering. In 2007, he joined the School of Education as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations, and in 2015 moved to the Law School. A native of Ann Arbor, Mike graduated from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management with a business degree.
Mike has served on multiple non-profit boards and advisory committees including Greenhills School, The Ann Arbor Summer Festival and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. In addition, Mike has run eight marathons, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, conquered the Grand Canyon “Rim to Rim” one day challenge, and hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain, all while raising over $100,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation with his family in honor of his late father.
Mike worked in private industry for nine years prior to joining the University of Michigan, and co-founded a computer networking business that is still in operation.
Mike has significant travel experience hosting tours with the University of Michigan Alumni Association and is thrilled to be hosting this tour, along with his wife, Darla, who is a nurse with the University of Michigan Health System.