Though Central America may be a small sliver compared to the continents above and below, it is incredibly rich with biodiversity and wildlife. In Panama, the vast Darién Gap jungle is untamed, nearly as wild and magnificent today as it was for the early conquistadors 500 years ago. Un-Cruise Adventures takes guests along the Mogue River in a motorized dugout canoe, as the expedition guide helps with wildlife spotting and cultural exchanges with local villagers throughout the largest natural protected area in Central America. A 15-day Ultimate Costa Rica and Panama tour with Un-Cruise lets you explore the Darién along with the Panama Canal, Guna Yala’s 300-plus indigenous islands and the Pearl Islands in Panama along with time spent in Manuel Antonio National Park, the wildlife refuges and the conservation areas of Costa Rica.
Because of the way Un-Cruise ships operate, there is more time to search for wildlife and enjoy the pace of the journey. According to Richard Edwards, vice president of marketing and longtime resident of Costa Rica, the reduced number of guests allows the crew to customize each day’s activities. “The crew become your friends,” he says. “They know your name and your preferences by day two. Don’t be surprised when you are offered your favorite cocktail in the hot tub or the bartender delivers your favorite wine to your dinner table.”
There may be few names that suggest the thrill of a jungle adventure more so than Monkey Island. This remote island in the Peruvian Amazon is a refuge for multiple species of monkeys, many of them orphaned or rescued from the pet trade. A fragile ecosystem of endangered species, it is imperative to go with a company committed to sustainable tourism conservation such as Abercrombie & Kent. Their environmentally intelligent approach has earned many accolades, including the Green Award for Corporate Social Leadership in Travel & Tourism from the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Monkey Island is the first stop of A&K’s Amazon Adventure: Rainforest & River Cruise, which also winds along the Tahuayo River in search of the exotic pink river dolphin. The journey traverses the source of the Amazon in an area said to contain more primate species than any other part of the mighty river. One distinct advantage of the Peruvian Amazon is that it’s always peak season, and the rainforest is perpetually lush and teeming with wildlife. It’s also home to numerous indigenous tribes, and A&K can arrange visits with several of them.
And while not the typical image of a jungle, the dense temperate rainforests of the continental United States also yield incredible natural resources and opportunities for viewing wildlife. In the Pacific Northwest, the glacial fjords, archipelagos and old-growth forests are home to seals, sea lions, orcas, gray whales, sea birds and the bald eagle. Un-Cruise Adventures takes guests on eight-day voyages with onboard experts, including renowned birding guides and the region’s foremost craft brewers — they even offer special craft beer–themed cruises several times a year. Kayaking, hiking across islands and hidden coves, snorkeling and bird-watching are all available during your adventure.
Sample Itineraries for Central America
Introduction to Central America