From Natural Wonders to Man-made Marvels

If there is one promise that a voyage through Costa Rica and the Panama Canal can make you, it is that you are embarking on an unforgettable journey through a landscape that is like nowhere else on earth. We have all heard of the man-made wonders of the Panama Canal, but there is no preparing for the experience of being raised then steeply lowered 85 feet to cross the Canal’s massive locks – aptly dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World. Then discover the quiet islands off the coastline of this water-locked country, where the Kuna Indians survive autonomously in a world where very few remain disconnected, where spiritual leaders guide the country’s native inhabitants through the unchanged language of their people. Marvel at a sustainable world where ancient heritage is cherished, reaffirmed by the Kuna nation with each fish caught from hand-carved canoes and each woven dress made from elaborate jewel-toned textiles. A respectful and observant guest will leave Panama awed by the greatness of human innovation and inspired by the wisdom of our ancestries.

As you travel north (if your itinerary begins in Panama), you will discover the truth behind one of Central America’s greatest misconceptions. Though this subcontinent takes only .1% of the Earth’s mass to itself, it is far from homogeneous; this slender link between two of the world’s most massive continents contains cultural intricacies and complex historical relationships. Approaching Costa Rica, the country’s “green” ambitions are self-evidently rewarding. Lush and prosperous, residents enjoy a standard of living unparalleled by any other Central American nation and a standard of sustainability unrivaled by any country in the world. Visitors will be enveloped by Costa Rica’s natural beauty from the second they arrive at Golfito and savor some of the country’s most exquisite beaches. The colorful fishing villages of San Juan del Sur and Bahia Drake will charm you, the latter of which is inaccessible by land due to flooded roads the majority of the year – even native Ticos rarely discover this rugged and verdant corner of their country.  Go swimming in Corcovado National Park’s serene cove, sheltered by the rocky walls that hug the sanctuary. Snorkel off Tortuga Island’s palm-fringed beaches – marvel at the haunting call of howler monkeys in the Curu National Wildlife Reserve.

Few have the opportunity to explore Costa Rica and Panama’s most inaccessible wonders – bring plenty of film for your camera, and bring an open-minded sense of adventure.

Experience all this and more during Windstar’s 2012 Naturally Costa Rica voyages and our new Passage Through Panama voyages.

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