Recently, our Media Coordinator was lucky enough to travel onboard the inaugural Central America Adventure voyage. Assisting onboard as our first ever snorkelling guide, she had an incredible trip and was excited to share a day-by-day shipboard diary with us:
Today I arrived in San Jose and we transferred to our hotel – the beautiful Marriott San Jose. Here we had a day to enjoy some relaxing time by the pool as we got to know each other. There was a wonderful group of guests and staff arriving who were just as excited as I was about this inaugural voyage.
Guests headed out on an excursion to a coffee plantation today. The rest of the staff and I took a bus on a journey out to the coast to meet the ship. We made sure to pull over and buy cold coconuts and fresh fruit along the way. It was lovely sitting and watching the Costa Rican countryside fly by. Upon reaching the ship, we boarded and got settled in, then jumped right into preparing for the guests. The excitement in the air was palpable! Once everyone was onboard we had a fun welcome reception and enjoyed glasses of bubbles while the ship sailed into the sunset. My first dinner in the dining room was very impressive and I enjoyed four delicious courses with an interesting couple from California.
We awoke to see our ship anchored just off of Tortuga Island. The jungle here was much drier, and some guests headed out to visit Curu National Park for a morning hike. The Adventure Concierge team, including me, loaded up the kayaks and SUPs and started setting up on shore. As soon as my feet hit the warm water and sand I was in heaven. As Snorkelling Guides, my cohort and I zipped off in a Zodiac to our spot to set up for the day. We were so excited to get in the water! It didn’t disappoint. We saw so many fish, including Panamanian Sergeants, King Angelfish, Wrasse and even a small Octopus. After a morning of guiding guests through the beautiful waters ogling tropical fish, we joined the other guests on the beach for a BBQ lunch. Music was playing, the food was delicious, and the sand was soft. What a day!
Since there was no snorkelling to be done today, I joined a group and we went up to Manuel Antonio National Park. Our professional guide knew exactly where the sloths were (they don’t move fast) so we were able to spot several on our nature walk. A family of monkeys jumped and played in the trees all around us, and huge butterflies floating with ease. After the hike, we headed down to the park’s famous beach and went for a dip to cool off. My group decided to walk further along in the park and we were able to spot many tropical birds, monkeys and even raccoons! Later, back on the ship, I enjoyed chatting with guests about their day during happy hour when everyone gathered around the pool bar to talk about the amazing animals and sights they had seen while watching the sunset.
Once again waking up in a new location, this time we headed out to the infamous Corcovado National Park. Although it’s on the coast, we were not permitted to anchor there so we anchored on the other side of the peninsula and caught a bus up to the park. This park was exceptionally hard to get to, so we felt lucky that we had this opportunity. I teamed up with the birding group on the voyage and one of our naturalists, known as ‘Cobra’. We decide that we would take our time and stop often to check out the amazing variety of birds. I learned so much about birds that I now have a newfound love for them. We even managed to find a little roadside stand and stop for a cup of strong Costa Rican coffee. Once we arrived at the park, we received fresh coconuts and had a little time to beachcomb and explore the jungle. I finally saw my first toucan on the ride back! Tonight, I dined with a lovely couple from Hawaii, and they told me amazing stories about their life. Dinner is never dull onboard RCGS Resolute!
The shores around us were lush with jungle, and after a fresh breakfast smoothie, we hopped into our Zodiacs to head to a little seaside town called Golfito. Today I decided to do a nature hike with a couple of journalists who were onboard with us. We learned quite a bit about the local flora and fauna, then headed into town for a little local flavour. One of the journalists wanted to speak with a local fisherman, so as we explored the town we chatted with locals and heard their stories. After a full day, we still found some energy to enjoy a yoga class on the top deck. It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy a calming stretch! I decide to have dinner at the Bistro, which has outdoor seating so I was able to enjoy the warm breezes of the Pacific while I savoured my dinner with my fellow guests and staff.
This was my favourite day! Although I wasn’t able to attend the morning hike onshore at Coiba National Park, my ‘office of the day’ was the STUNNING Granito D’ Oro for a big day of snorkelling. As guests learned how amazing the snorkelling was in these waters, we wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to experience it. As we approached the beach in our Zodiacs, a stingray leapt out of the water as if to say hello. Once in the water, we were treated to a plethora of tropical fish, and the best part- turtles!! Both Green and Hawksbill Turtles were seen, along with beautiful Moorish Idols, Parrotfish and Giant Damselfish. This was a day to remember and after we returned to the ship we sat back and listened to a special presentation by a wildlife expert and our resident Ornithologist. That night I dined with a new face and learned that her mother and my mother had worked together – what a small world! After dinner, the staff invited guests up to the pool deck, where we had a very fun ‘pirate party’, wearing silly costumes and having lots of laughs.
Good morning Panama! We began our day at sea and everyone was enjoying some relaxing time on the outer decks of the ship, watching the world go by. We anchored just off Chapera Island in the Pearl Islands by lunchtime, and we headed to shore to set up for kayaking, SUPing and snorkelling. Here the waters are very different: the shore is made from millions of crushed shells, and in the water, we were searching for fish around the volcanic rock. I saw one of my favourite fish, a porcupine fish (or ‘puffer fish’) and pointed it out to the guests. Others spotted a ray, and there were plenty of Panamanian Sergeants. On shore, we discovered some plastics that had washed up with the tide, so guests and staff jumped in for a beach clean-up. It was just wonderful to see everyone come together to try to make the world a better place, one little bit at a time. Dinner this evening was spent with a wonderful couple from Texas. Meeting awesome people from all over the world is such an amazing part of the experience.
A city skyline in the distance outside my porthole window – we had arrived in Panama City. This morning we took the tenders to shore, then learned a great deal about the history of Panama City and the building of the Panama Canal on our bus ride out to the renowned Pipeline Road. I spotted my first Agouti of the trip (a large rodent-looking mammal) as well as some neat birds. The afternoon was spent wandering around Casco Viejo, or the ‘old town’. We tried on Panama hats, enjoyed more delicious coffee and took way too many pictures of balconies with flowers dripping off of them. Back on the ship, we learned about the history of the Panama Hat from our resident Anthropologist, and after dinner, we gathered on the side decks to watch Pelicans dive bombing for their dinner.
This is something that many people have on their bucket list – the Panama Canal. It was a very interesting day, as we sat back and enjoyed our journey through this infamous feat of engineering. A huge group gathered on the top deck as we entered the first lock. Helping us along was onboard Historian Ken, who jumped on the PA system to teach us interesting facts about the Canal as we passed through it. A group took part in a yoga class on one of the side decks – yoga in a canal lock? Why not! Many of us budding photographers were reviewing our images from the trip while trying to capture the essence of travelling through the canal. This was a journey best relayed through time lapse. As we lifted up and down through the locks, we travelled through history- a truly unique experience.
It was time to leave our lovely, comfortable home, RCGS Resolute. I was sad to leave, and goodbyes were rushed as I hurried to catch my bus to the airport to get home. It was for the best, as I held back tears and wished everyone well. I had some newfound friends on the bus alongside me, and we chatted about our incredible experience and favourite moments. On this journey, I made friends, saw incredible wildlife and experienced places and activities that few have an opportunity to see. What an amazing expedition, and one I will never forget!