Isla de Coiba, Panama

It’s a day at the beach on Isla de Coiba, Panama! Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

It’s Day 6 of our UnCruise Adventures Uncharted Isthmus! Sloths, Monkeys and Mangroves itinerary aboard the Safari Voyager , and today we’re having a Beach Day in the island paradise that is Isla de Coiba, Panama.

The tiny island we dropped anchor in looks like it’s straight out of a Corona commercial. In fact, it looked too small to be able to hold us all. But Granito de Oro is indeed large enough for the 62 of us aboard the Safari Voyager, and we set out after a relaxed breakfast for a morning on this island paradise.

I always feel that UnCruise excels at adventures like this. Guests could participate in a beginner’s snorkel, or take part in one of several deep-sea snorkeling expeditions further out from the island. Or the could swim. Or stand-up paddleboard. Or sit on the beach and read a book with an ice-cold cerveza. How many Thursday mornings offer all of that, and more?

Some photos from our morning out in Paradise:

Our very own “private island”. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

This morning ,guests could indulge in the Island Life. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Tons of activities were offered, from snorkeling…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…to stand-up paddleboarding…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…to…well, other forms of relaxation. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Crystal-clear waters…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…made for excellent wildlife opportunities…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…under-water and ashore. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

This afternoon was spent cruising along the Panamanian coast en-route to the Panama Canal, where we’ll arrive late tomorrow evening. It will be the ultimate conclusion to our voyage aboard the Safari Endeavour, which arrives in Colon on Saturday morning after transiting from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Caribbean Sea. A ‘full transit’, in cruise-industry parlance.

There are two types of Panama Canal cruises you can take: full transits and partial transits. A full transit traverses the entire length of the canal from one side to another.  Partial transits typically happen from the Caribbean side, and involve turning around in Gatun Lake and exiting from the same way without transiting the full length of the Canal.

UnCruise, like other expedition lines, offers full transits of the canal on its Uncharted Isthmus! itineraries. But UnCruise also offers an itinerary dedicated soely to Panama.

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Pure Panama: Cultures, Coasts & Canal operates roundtrip from Panama City and includes a full transit of the Panama Canal. UnCruise is offering this eight-night itinerary (which includes a pre-cruise stay at the Hotel Bristol in Panama City) between July and November of this year. Additional departures in 2018 are offered between May and September.

UnCruise is also introducing a pure Costa Rica itinerary as well. The eight-night Costa Rica Beaches and Jungles voyage includes a pre-cruise hotel stay at the InterContinental San Jose coupled with seven nights aboard the Safari Voyager. This run is noteworthy for its explorations of northern Costa Rica, including the picturesque Papagayo Gulf. This itinerary operates starting on December 1, 2017, and continues into 2018 with departures in January, February, March, April, and a handful of sailings in June and July.

Safari Voyager at anchor off Isla de Coiba. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

UnCruise makes its home on the Pacific Ocean. The line’s bread-and-butter are its small-ship adventure cruises in Alaska. Three of the line’s vessels – Safari Endeavour, Safari Explorer, and Safari Quest offer all-inclusive voyages to the region, with complimentary wines, beers, spirits, and touring options ashore. Each of these vessels features more deluxe accommodations (similar to those aboard Safari Voyager) and little niceties like an onboard masseuse.

For true adventurers, three green-hulled vessels offer more active expedition voyages in Alaska. Wilderness Adventurer, Wilderness Discoverer and Wilderness Explorer offer more basic accommodations and a ‘la carte pricing for alcoholic beverages, but make up for it by offering even more ambitious itineraries that get deep into the heart of what the line likes to call, “Unseen Alaska.”

This afternoon, we spent a day at sea as we sped towards the Panama Canal for tomorrow’s transit. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

The line offers some pretty spectacular voyages to British Columbia and Washington State’s San Juan Islands during the spring and fall shoulder months, and these can be enjoyed aboard the blue-hulled “luxury” ships, as well as the green-hulled “adventure” ships.

Seasonally, UnCruise repositions Safari Explorer to the Hawaiian Islands, and sends Safari Endeavour down to Mexico’s Sea of Cortes, where she operates weeklong voyages out of San Jose del Cabo.

Tables set in the main dining room aboard Safari Voyager…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…before another delicious dinner. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Tonight, the crew of the Safari Voyager were presented to the guests for our “farewell dinner”, as tomorrow night we’ll dine under the stars in the Panama Canal. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

The crew of the Safari Voyager. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

But UnCruise also does river cruises along the Columbia & Snake Rivers. To do this, the line sends its replica coastal steamer, S.S. Legacy, on voyages from Portland, Oregon that run all the way to Hell’s Canyon in the east, and to Astoria, Oregon in the west. These voyages focus more on historical and cultural aspects of this wonderful region, along with wine and beer tastings.

Finally, UnCruise charters a ship (the petite La Pinta) down in the Galapagos Islands for a handful of voyages each year.

These are all worthy adventures in their own right; unique, small-ship explorations of places that the big ships just can’t get to. This may only be Voyage Number Two in Costa Rica, but I can tell the folks at UnCruise spent a lot of time researching and carefully planning for this itinerary. That things have worked largely like clockwork on this sailing is a testament to the company’s preparedness. It shouldn’t surprise past guests of the line one bit. For new guests, this is just how UnCruise sails along: with a refreshing amount of dedication, detail, and above all else, fun.

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Our Voyage Report aboard UnCruise Adventures’ Safari Voyager continues tomorrow with our final adventure: a transit of the Panama Canal! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog.

Safari Voyager - Costa Rica & Panama

Day 1Arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica & Embarkation in Puerto Caldera
Day 2Manuel Antonio National Park, CR
Day 3Curu National Park, CR
Day 4Oso Peninsula, CR
Day 5Golfo Dulce & Golfito, CR
Day 6Isla de Coiba, Panama
Day 7Transiting the Panama Canal
Day 8Disembarkation, post-cruise Panama City stay and recap.

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