Central America Cruises 2019 - 2020
Experience the lush rainforests, sandy beaches, and tropical climate of Central America!
A world of contrasts awaits you on your next cruise to Central America. Boasting lush tropical rainforests, dazzling turquoise beaches, and year-round warm weather, it’s easy to see what makes Central America such a popular destination. Immerse yourself in the bustling cities, where cultures mix at the local markets, or visit ancient Mayan ruins and archaeological sites to learn about indigenous cultures, then and now. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure, awe-inspiring nature, or to simply relax and get pampered as you lounge in the sun, Central America has it all.
Uncover the jewels of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and more on an unforgettable Central America cruise. Most major cruise lines dock at Central American ports as they sail to the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Panama Canal, departing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, and more.
Puntarenas is home to Costa Rica’s most important port, and the city has a rich history of shipping, fishing and international trade. Puntarenas has a lot to offer: delicious fresh seafood, inexpensive waterfront cafes, and a beautiful beachside promenade are just some of the things visitors can look forward to. It also lies in close proximity to some of Costa Rica's most beautiful nature. Take a shore excursion to a beautiful waterfall, or bathe in a hot spring on an active volcano. Or hike through a cloud forest for a surreal journey surrounded by mist and dripping vegetation.Highlights of Puntarenas
- Enjoy year-round tropical temperatures in the upper 80s
- Savor a sweet treat while relaxing on the beach at one of the many ice cream and smoothie shacks
- Get up close and personal with the local wildlife at Reserva Biologica Carara
Puerto Quetzal is an industrial harbor city and home to Guatemala’s largest and most important shipping port. Directly on the harbor, you will find a small tourist area with restaurants, bars and shops. For those looking for a relaxing day, you don’t have to travel far to find a hammock on the beach. More adventurous travelers may want to travel to the nearby city of Antigua, a charming, Spanish city, and nature lovers won’t want to miss the sparkling waters of Lake Atitlan.Highlights of Puerto Quetzal
- Browse affordable souvenirs at the local market
- Explore a saltwater forest at the Monterrico Mangrove Natural Reserve
- Stroll through downtown Antigua and take in its colonial architecture and magnificent Spanish churches
The island of Roatan sits above the second-largest coral reef in the world, making it an attractive destination for snorkelers, scuba divers and other ocean enthusiasts eager to get a glimpse of one of nature’s most colorful wonders. Book an excursion to visit the beautiful reef by boat, or simply swim from shore – some of the coral is located just 300 feet from the beach. The white sand beaches and crystal clear water make Roatan perfect for swimming and tanning alike.Highlights of Roatan
- Swim, snorkel or scuba dive at one of the largest and most beautiful coral reefs in the world
- Get friendly with some (tame) monkeys at the Gumbalimba Park
- Ride one of the longest zip lines in Central America and get an unmatched view of the rainforest below
Home to Nicaragua’s largest port, Corinto is a picturesque city full of colorful houses, winding streets and historic buildings. Visitors often use it as a launching point to see the nearby city of Leon, Nicaragua’s second city and its de facto political and intellectual capital. Leon is best known for its beautiful historical cathedrals, built in a variety of architectural styles. A city tour with a knowledgeable guide can be a great way to learn about Nicaragua’s colorful political history.Highlights of Corinto
What better way to see the Panama Canal than by cruising through it? Sail in the wake of history as your ship navigates the locks which have been in service more than 100 years and are still functioning flawlessly today. Plagued by difficulties during construction, the final lock system was so effective, it has remained virtually unchanged throughout the years.
The entire Panama Canal crossing takes 8 to 10 hours.Highlights of the Panama Canal
- Get up early to secure your spot on the bow of the ship, where you'll have the best view of the locks as you pass through
- Capture a scenic photo of the Bridge of the Americas, the world's first non-swinging bridge to span the canal
- Learn about the exciting history of the canal, from ill-fated construction attempts in the 19th century to its most recent expansion in 2016
Puerto Limon is a bustling, industrial port city that serves as a gateway for many cruise ship passengers to Costa Rica’s natural wonders. The Veragua Rainforest is an easy day trip outside of the city, and visitors can explore it by foot on its hiking trails, by boat on a jungle canoe tour, or from above on a zipline canopy tour.
Passengers preferring to stay close to port may prefer the waterfront park Parque Vargas, or learn about local history in the Museo Etnohistoric de Limon.Highlights of Puerto Limon
- Swim, surf or sunbathe at the nearby beach of Playa Bonita
- Take a scenic driving tour of a fruit plantation and learn about the country’s biggest export
- Make an excursion into the rainforest and spot sloth, monkeys and snakes
Located on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal, Colon is home to a gleaming, modern, tourist-friendly port. Passengers will find plenty of opportunities to shop and eat near the cruise terminals, or to take a shore excursion to see some more scenic parts of Panama.
Before the completion of the Panama Canal, the overland rail route played an important role in transporting goods between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Passengers today can still take a historic train ride on the Isthmian Railway from Colon to Panama City.Highlights of Colon
- Take a scenic train ride from Colon to Panama City
- Take an excursion into the rainforest to see sloths, harpy eagles, and other exotic wildlife
- Visit the nearby town of Portobelo and explore the Spanish forts colonial houses
An island located off the west coast of Panama, Fuerte Amador is the gateway to Panama City. Sitting close to the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, it offers the perfect place to watch ships enter the locks as they begin to traverse the canal. In addition to holding numerous canal-related museums and attractions, Fuerte Amador offers easy access to Panama City, the metropolis-like capital city and heart of the nation.Highlights of Panama City
- Check out the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center to learn more about the canal, its history and its engineering
- Explore Casco Viejo, Panama City's historic quarter and a UNESCO protected site
- Learn about the importance of gold in Panama's history and see golden treasures up close at the Old Panama Museum
Cristobal is one of two ports in Colon on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Many ships stop in Cristobal before they enter the locks, or stop in Cristobal and then turn around on partial crossings. If your cruise belongs to the latter, consider booking an excursion to complete the crossing in a smaller boat to get the complete experience.
Directly next to the pier, cruise passengers will find a lively flea market with plenty of opportunities for shopping, souvenir hunting, and haggling over prices. Adventure-seekers and nature-lovers may wish to visit the beautiful Gatún Lake.Highlights of Cristobal
- Snag some deals while shopping at the local market
- Take a tour of the rainforest's canopy with the Gamboa Aerial Tram
- Visit a nearby indigenous village and learn about the local art of basket weaving
Surfers and divers from all over the world flock to San Juan del Sur for its beautiful beaches and fantastic waves. Close to port, cruise passengers can meander into town and check out the local bars and restaurants, while shore excursions and guided tours offer access to some of Nicaragua's most beautiful nature. Take a tour of the nearby city of Granada, which played an important role in Nicaragua's early colonial period. Or visit the Masaya Volcano, an active volcano inside Nicaragua's largest national park. Whether you're in to surfing, sunbathing, or learning about history, San Juan del Sur has something to offer.Highlights of San Juan del Sur
- Get pampered at Hermosa Beach, where friendly service staff wait on you hand and foot
- Meet baby sea turtles at La Flor Beach Natural Reserve
- Zipline through the treetops with a local zipline company
An industrial port which has only recently begun receiving cruise ships, Santo Tomas is the gateway to some of the most incredible experiences Guatemala has to offer. Within a short drive from the port are dazzling waterfalls, ancient archaeological sites, and beautiful jungle hikes. If you’re looking for an authentic glimpse of what life is like in Guatemala, look no further than Santo Tomas: a hidden gem which has yet to be overrun with visitors, the nearby village of Livingston is the perfect introduction to the traditional Guatemalan way of life.Highlights of Santo Tomas
- Hope on a boat tour through the Rio Dulce Canyon for a glimpse of exotic jungle wildlife
- See some 2,000-year-old Mayan artwork on a tour of the Jaguar Caves
- Make a difference on your trip with a humanitarian outreach activity, such as visiting a local school or an orphanage
Balboa is one of two cruise ports on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, located in close proximity to Panama City. Head down to the Miraflores Locks to watch the ships as they enter and exit the locks, or take a taxi into the city for excellent shopping, sightseeing and dining opportunities. Another option is a shore excursion into the rainforest – the surrounding area is a nature and wildlife preserve.Highlights of Panama City
- Take advantage of the duty-free shopping at Fuerte Amador Mall, or snag souvenirs at a local artisanal market
- Explore the Spanish and French colonial architecture in the Panama Viejo, the old part of the city
- Visit one of the city's many museums to learn about the history of the canal and the native wildlife to Panama
Once a land of banana plantations and palm oil refineries, Quepos today is a destination hotspot known for its sportfishing and for its easy access to Costa Rica’s natural wonders. The nearby natural reserve Manual Antonio National Park contains some of the best nature Costa Rica has to offer, from lush green rainforests teeming with wildlife and hidden waterfalls, to beautiful beaches inviting visitors to swim, snorkel and surf in their pristine waters.Highlights of Quepos
- Try your luck on a fishing charter and cast your line for marlin, sailfish, and tuna
- Spend the day exploring Manual Antonio National Park
- Take a boat ride through the nearby mangrove forests
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