Puntarenas, Costa Rica - Panama Canal, Central America and Mexico Cruises

Explore Puntarenas and discover how rich this ‘Rich Coast’ really is. See the rainforest from up high during a canopy tour through wispy ferns, winding lianas and delicate orchids. You can taste nature’s bounty, too, at one of the plantations which produce the country’s famously rich coffee. Or relax surrounded by lush palms and crystal clear waters.

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Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Poas Volcano & Picturesque Sarchi

    Visit the Poas Volcano National Park, which is considered to be one of the most breathtaking sights in Costa Rica.

    Poas Volcano & Picturesque Sarchi

    Discover Costa Rica on this adventurous day-long tour, which starts with a delightfully scenic drive through exquisite countryside en route to the Poás Volcano. The road to Poás is a colourful one, and you will view sweeping coffee plantations and incredible valleys, plus sugar cane and strawberry fields, narrated by your friendly guide, while you relax on your air-conditioned coach.

    Sitting at 8,500 feet above sea level, it boasts one of the few active craters in the Americas and is famed for its geyser-like eruptions of gas and ash. The main crater, which is usually active with smoke discharges, features an enormous pit measuring 1.5 km in diameter and 300 metres deep. At the bottom of the crater, there's a hot, circular lagoon that measures 350 metres across, where water temperatures range between 40 and 70 degrees centigrade.

    Your guide will take you to the visitor's centre, and explain all about the geological exhibits, before enjoying lunch at a local restaurant. Here, you will be able to relax and sample many of the traditional Costa Rican dishes, including sweet plantain cooked in honey.

    After lunch, re-join your coach for the return journey to port, stopping at Sarchi, a delightful village that is famous for its production of brightly coloured, hand-painted oxcarts. Observe the friendly craftsmen as they paint a wide variety of woodcrafts, and then peruse the gift shop which boasts a large selection of leather goods. Take photos of the world's largest oxcart before watching the vibrant Costa Rican landscape whizz pass your coaches window on the return journey to port. If time permits, there will be one last photo-stop at the famous red-iron church in the pretty village of Grecia.


    This excursion operates by coach and on foot. The journey to Poás is 2¾ hours, with a comfort stop along the way. Due to weather conditions, the crater may not always be visible. Wear comfortable clothes and sturdy walking shoes; bring a sweater, rain coat and long trousers as it can get cold up on the volcano. Due to the high altitude and nature of this tour, this excursion is not recommended for visitors with heart conditions. There is around one hour of walking over varying terrain. US Dollars are accepted for purchases.

    Tour code

    PA4_020

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    8½ hours

  • Panoramic Puntarenas

    Capture the spirit of Costa Rica on this charming panoramic tour.

    Panoramic Puntarenas

    Embark on a sightseeing panoramic drive, heading east along the highway.

    A stop will be made in the small town of Esparza, one of the most picturesque towns in the country’s Pacific region.

    The park and church are emblematic of Costa Rica’s hardworking rural towns. Local dancers will greet you at the park with colourful dresses; enjoy the folkloric show while you learn about local traditions.

    Your journey will continue south along the coastal highway. Relax and enjoy the stretches of Pacific coastline, the mango and cashew plantations and surrounding farmland. In Costa Rica it’s easy to see how man and nature live in harmony together. A stop will be made at Orotina, where you will be offered a refreshment of local tropical fruits and coffee.

    Continuing back down to sea level, admire the views over rolling green pasture. The colourful homes with tropical plants marking borders and boundaries subtly decorate the countryside.


    This excursion will operate by coach. This tour involves limited walking, however guests must be able to negotiate steps onto and off of the coach. Those wishing to remain on the coach are welcome to do so.

    Tour code

    PA4_011

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    3¼ hours

  • Espiritu Santo Coffee Discovery

    An opportunity to learn the traditional secrets of Costa Rica's gourmet coffee.

    Espiritu Santo Coffee Discovery

    A scenic drive will take you through the Puntarenas' rustic countryside. Enjoy mountain views as you approach the Highlands of Naranjo, an area famous for the production of high quality coffee.

    Espiritu Santo Coffee Plantation covers 640 acres and is representative of the history and traditions of Costa Rican coffee. Here, you will discover the secrets of how aromatic coffee is carefully brewed. A guided tour will show you the plantation workers, undertaking their daily tasks in each stage of the production process. You will see an old Costa Rican House and learn how life once was, and the tradition of brewing coffee in past times. During your visit you will be offered a delicious cup of Costa Rican coffee.

    Afterwards, your tour will continue to the scenic town of Sarchi, for a brief photograph stop at the main square. Over a century ago, primitive local artists began painting and decorating their oxcarts in intricate and colourful designs. Here you can view the largest oxcart ever to be built.

    Your return drive will offer more scenic views of the Costa Rican countryside, before arriving at the pier.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey time to Espiritu Santo is approximately 1½ hours. This tour involves around a 1½ hours of walking over some uneven and gravel paths. Comfortable, flat shoes are recommended. Guests are advised to take a bottle of water and sun protection. US Dollars and credit cards are accepted for purchases.

    Tour code

    PA4_018

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    5½ hours

  • Sarchi Colours & Shopping

    Discover the colourful oxcarts and local crafts of Sarchi, and the unique metal church of Grecia.

    Sarchi Colours & Shopping

    Over a century ago, primitive local artists began painting and decorating their oxcarts in intricate and colourful designs. A spirited, but good-natured competition began amongst the local families to see who could create the best designs. The trend spread and soon the sturdy vehicles, hauled by a team of oxen, became the primary means of transport to carry the elegantly dressed young ladies to festivals and dances.

    In addition to the brightly painted replicas of oxcarts, Sarchi offers an immense variety of local wooden products, ranging from elaborate hand-made furniture and doors, to inlaid boxes and trays. You will see the artisans at work and there will be an opportunity to acquire a memento of your visit.

    Grecia, the sugarcane capital of Costa Rica, is also famous for its historic, dark red, metal church. A short stop will be made here so that you may photograph this memorable sight.

    A buffet of tropical fruits and coffee will be offered during your visit to Sarchi.


    This excursion will operate by coach. Journey time to Sarchi is approximately 1¾ hours. The tour involves a limited amount of walking, however guests must be able to negotiate steps onto and off of the coach. US Dollars and credit cards are accepted in all shops.

    Tour code

    PA4_002

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    • Family

      Especially suitable for families

    Duration

    5 hours

  • Forest Sky Walk

    An amazing walking experience on hanging bridges through the tropical forest.

    Forest Sky Walk

    The Sky Walk takes you into a world of green tropical forests, while surrounded by sights and sounds of the several species of birds, monkeys, butterflies and mammals that inhabit the area. The forest surrounding the Tárcoles River is a protected biological reserve, making for interesting observation.

    After a short walk you will arrive at the first of three suspended cable bridges. Each bridge stretches between 270 and 330 feet and up to 126 feet above the ground. During your one and a quarter hour walk downhill, enjoy the sights of the forest below and around you as you walk towards the ground trails.

    A buffet of tropical fruits and juice refreshments will be served during your tour. You will also have time for shopping at the indoor market before the return journey to the ship.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Guests are advised that there is 1½ hours of walking involved over varying terrain, although many stops will be made. There are several uneven steps to reach the sky walk. Comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended along with light clothing and insect repellent. Wildlife sighting is likely, but cannot be guaranteed.

    Tour code

    PA4_009

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Forest Skywalk & Pura Vida Gardens

    Step into and over the lush tropical forests of Costa Rica and delight in the natural charms of this verdant country.

    Forest Skywalk & Pura Vida Gardens

    The Sky Walk introduces you to the forest surrounding the Carara National Park. Enjoy the wonderful scenery as you walk on suspended cable bridges over the canopy of the forest. Each bridge stretches between 270 and 330 feet and up to 126 feet high. During your 1¼ hour walk between bridges and air trails you can take in the sights of the forest.

    After the walk, you will be offered a refreshment before continuing on to the Gardens.

    Manicured walkways meander beside a river and along the crest of a mountain, allowing you to see the spectacular Pura Vida Gardens. Stunning panoramic views of the coastline and surroundings along with Bijagual, one of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica, are sure to delight. Pura Vida is also refuge for Costa Rican birds that are taken care of until they can be released back into the wild.

    During your tour a delicious luncheon will be served in a local restaurant.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Guests are advised that there is 2½ hours’ walking involved over varying terrain. Although many stops will be made, there is a substantial amount of walking involved. It may on occasions, be necessary for luncheon to be served early.

    Tour code

    PA4_004

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    7 hours

  • The Best of San Jose

    Enjoy a full day of lush valleys, green pasturelands and the country's fascinating capital city, San Jose.

    The Best of San Jose

    Travel the scenic Pan American Highway, journeying through the small towns of San Ramon and Naranjo, towards lively San José.

    On the way to San José, you’ll stop at Sarchi, home of Costa Rica's famous oxcart painting tradition. It was here that, more than a century ago, primitive local artists began painting and decorating their traditional oxcarts in intricate, colourful designs.

    The Eloy Alfaro Oxcart Factory is the country's only oxcart factory whose machines are powered by a water wheel. The idea for this unique factory began with Eloy Alfaro, known fondly as Lolo, began creating oxcarts in 1923. At that time, it was the only means of transporting the precious coffee to the port for exportation. He later expanded his workshop to include the production of furniture and handicrafts. In July 2006 the world's largest oxcart was built in Eloy Alfaro's workshop. It is 42 feet long, 12 feet high and weighs more than 1½ tons. The oxcart is now on display in Sarchi's central park.

    Leaving Sarchi, you’ll make another stop at Grecia's metal church, so-called because it's made entirely of pre-fabricated red steel plates, for a memorable photo stop.

    Upon arrival in San José, you will have an hour to enjoy a regional luncheon buffet accompanied by traditional Costa Rican music, at Valle del Sol, a private colonial estate that boasts beautiful gardens and a relaxing waterfall.

    Afterwards, your scenic drive around this cosmopolitan capital continues, taking in the Metropolitan Cathedral and the incredible National Theatre, considered to be the most beautiful building in the country. Enjoy its ornate 19th Century, neoclassical architecture, elaborate murals, and gilded baroque fixtures, before visiting the National Museum. Your guide will point out the bullet riddled stone walls, as well as the vast collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, including a display of replicas and original pieces from the city's Gold Museum.

    Your return journey to Puntarenas includes a drive though San José’s exclusive tree lined Rohrmoser district, La Sabana Park and the famed Opera House, including a brief photograph stop at the National Museum for an up-close look at Costa Rica's past.


    This excursion operates by coach and on foot. The drive between Puntarenas and San Jose is approximately two hours. Tour sequence may vary to avoid overcrowding. No flash photography allowed at the theatre. Please, bring a light sweater as it may get cold on the coach. There is a staircase in the theatre's foyer.

    Tour code

    PA4_021

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    8½ hours

  • Costa Rican Rail & River Ride

    Take a scenic train journey though the lush countryside and relax on a gentle boat ride along the Tarcoles River and surrounding mangroves.

    Costa Rican Rail & River Ride

    Take a journey deep into Costa Rican culture and countryside on board the newly-restored cars of the Pacific Railroad train. Learn how this train was used to transport the country's valuable coffee harvests from the highlands to the coastal ports. Pass though small towns and the beautiful rural countryside as you enjoy your delightful rail journey.

    After arriving to Ceiba, which is famous for its tropical mangoes and oranges, you will board a coach and head to the Tarcoles River. Tarcoles is surrounded by many different varieties of mangrove and is teeming with wildlife. You will see cormorants, pelicans and frigates as you glide over the calm waters in your riverboat. Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of the shy crocodiles, huge iguanas and lizards as well as herons, egrets and storks in search of a bite to eat on the riverbanks.

    At the Mangrove Station, you will be treated to some delicious local refreshments.


    This excursion will operate by coach, train and boat. There is very little walking involved although there are four large steps to board the train.The train does not have air-conditioning. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed.

    Tour code

    PA4_013

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    5¼ hours

  • Tropical Mangrove Eco Tour

    Discover the fascinating nature and wildlife of the mangroves and rivers along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

    Tropical Mangrove Eco Tour

    The Guacalillo Estuary is noted for its mangrove forests, with four different species being found here. The low wet forests provide protection for the coastline and also a habitat for many endemic birds. This particular mangrove forest is one of the most important in the mid Pacific for the conservation of the Scarlet Macaw and is also home to 250 species of birds, crocodiles, mammals and insects.

    The Tarcoles River mouth is considered by birdwatchers as one of the richest sites for sea birds and shorebirds, specifically during the migration from October to April. Ospreys, gulls, cormorants, pelicans and frigatebirds are some of the most common species in the delta.

    During a relaxing boat ride through the estuary and mouth of the Tarcoles River, you will learn fascinating facts about the preservation of the mangroves.

    At the Mangrove Station, you will be offered some delicious local fruit and refreshments.


    This excursion will operate by coach and boat. This tour involves a limited amount of walking, however guests must be able to negotiate steps onto and off of the coach and when boarding the boat. Bird and wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed.

    Tour code

    PA4_005

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    5 hours

Our Ships

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

Christened by her namesake, Her Majesty The Queen in October 2010, Queen Elizabeth is the newest Cunard ship and the third to bear the name. Modern and spacious, she has everything you’d wish for on board.

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2

The newly Remastered Queen Mary 2 is the epitome of a luxury liner. The flagship of the Cunard fleet offers the last word in travel luxury – from the largest ballroom at sea to the sumptuous Commodore Club.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria is exactly what a Cunard ship should be. She’s sleek and contemporary, with a traditional red and black exterior. Inside is all about warmth and luxury, privacy and comfort.