Blue Water Holidays
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
Experts in River and Small Ship Cruising Holidays since 2002
01756 706500 +44 1756 706500
Blue Water Holidays - ABTA - ATOL - CLIA
01756 706500
+44 1756 706500
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Puntarenas to Guayaquil

Puntarenas to Guayaquil

Fly Cruise
11 nights from £5760pp

Luxury Expedition Holiday
  • Embera village

Call us now on 01756 706500 to secure your cabin!

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Puntarenas to Guayaquil Itinerary

Day 1 - Puntarenas

This town is not on the Nicoya Peninsula, but rather on Costa Rica's mainland. It is best known as a cruise-ship port and launching pad for ferries heading southeast to the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula and for cruises sailing out on the Gulf of Nicoya. Puntarenas is also a major fishing port with a lively fish market. The town’s reputation suffers from the unimpressive parts you see from your car as you roll through town on the way to the ferry dock. But the town has a lot of character off the main drag, thanks to its illustrious past as an affluent port town and principal vacation spot for San José's wealthy, who arrived by train in the last century. Once the port was moved and roads opened to other beaches, Puntarenas's economy crashed, but it's making a comeback. Sitting on a narrow spit of sand—punta de arenas literally means "point of sand"—that protrudes into the Gulf of Nicoya, the town boasts a beautifully groomed, wide Blue Flag beach with views of the Nicoya Peninsula and spectacular sunsets, along with a public swimming pool, the San Lucas Beach Club, and a marine-life museum. Ticos arrive by bus and car to enjoy the beach and stroll the Paseo de los Turistas, a beachfront promenade lined with tree-shaded concrete benches and seafood restaurants. Crowds of locals, called porteños, cruise by on bicycles, the town’s most popular form of transport.

Day 2 - Playa Panama

Day 3 - Playa Herradura

Day 4 - Golfo Dulce

Wild, scenic and incredibly bio-diverse, Golfo Dulce is not on most tourists itineraries. The name, says it all, Golfo Dulce or sweet gulf, in English. After a well justified visit to the Golfo Dulce, located in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica, and adjacent to the Osa Peninsula, visitors will be delighted and perplexed, wondering why they would ever leave this wonderland. Several coastal hamlets reside along this enchanting gulf, namely Puerto Jiménez, Golfito, Zancudo and Pavones, as well as the Piedras Blancas National Park. This is one stop on the itinerary that won’t soon be forgotten. Easily one of the wettest and most humid sections in the country, Golfo Dulce and the southwest can receive more than 200 inches (500 cm) of rainfall per year. This assures the surrounding area will be thriving with wild and plant life, perfect for aspiring adventurers. Surrounded by Corcovado National Park to the southwest, and Costa Rica’s mainland to the northeast, Golfo Dulce serves up a large platter of entertainment for all who visit. Sprouting along the edges of the Golfo Dulce are mangroves and estuaries full of wildlife. Explore these ecosystems crowded with crocodiles, river otters, waterfowl, monkeys and much more. Fed by the Coto Colorado River, the Coto River Swamps are an excellent choice for discovering these uncanny wetlands and the secrets that lay within.

Day 6 - Darién National Park

"The remote Darien Jungle has one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. It is also one of the world’s top ten birding sites, with the colourful Crimson-collared Tanager, Chestnut-fronted Macaws, and Snow-bellied Hummingbirds found here. Mammals include tapirs and Black-headed Spider Monkeys. In this roadless stretch of forest, rivers provide the best access. Visitors to the Darien Jungle are rare with fewer than 1,000 tourists visiting each year. The Embera are one of several indigenous groups that live here in relative isolation offering ornate handcrafted baskets and carvings for sale in their traditional villages."

Day 7 - Utría National Park

The Utria National Park, located on Colombia’s Pacific Coast, is set in one of the most beautiful and unique natural settings of the country. It is a natural landmark of Colombia with striking thick rainforest, endless beaches, lush mangroves and steep mountains. During the breeding season, humpback whales raise their new-borns in the coastal waters. The park is a biodiversity “hot spot”, with a huge diversity of wildlife including monkeys, frogs, and more than 400 species of birds.

Day 8 - Utría National Park

The Utria National Park, located on Colombia’s Pacific Coast, is set in one of the most beautiful and unique natural settings of the country. It is a natural landmark of Colombia with striking thick rainforest, endless beaches, lush mangroves and steep mountains. During the breeding season, humpback whales raise their new-borns in the coastal waters. The park is a biodiversity “hot spot”, with a huge diversity of wildlife including monkeys, frogs, and more than 400 species of birds.

Day 9 - Gorgona Island

Isla Gorgona is a beautiful tropical island and a national park. Packed with lush green rainforest, palm trees and beaches full of black volcanic rocks, this little island off the Colombian coast was used by Pizarro and his thirteen followers before they eventually went south to inspect and later conquer Peru. The island is named after its plentiful supply of snakes, which might have been one of the reasons to utilize the island until the 1980s as a prison. Today only limited amounts of visitors are allowed ashore to explore the prison ruins, hike in the rainforest or snorkel.

Day 10 - Puerto Lopez

Day 11 - Machala

Several National Sanctuaries and Ecological Reserves found near Machala boast sun-drenched beaches and mangrove forests. Pelicans, frigatebirds, and egrets nest nearby as Blue-footed Boobies dive for fish further out to sea. Whales and dolphins can occasionally be seen in the vicinity. Machala, with a population of approximately 250,000 inhabitants, is moreover known for traditional Latin American foods from shrimp ceviche to fried bananas. In fact, bananas feature heavily in the culture as the city is also known as the “Capital of the Banana.” During the third week of September the ‘World Fair of the Banana’ is held here and producers and buyers from Perú, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, México, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Guatemala, Panamá, República Dominicana, El Salvado, Honduras and Ecuador attend the event.

Day 12 - Guayaquil

The second major jumping off point for the Galapagos Islands after Quito, this is a little city with a big heart. A sea port first and foremost, the city’s personality has been founded on that, and all the better it is for it too. Almost Caribbean in feeling, the clement climate coupled with the intermingling rhythms floating from the windows and abundance of fresh seafood make this a very tropical destination. Once not even considered by the travel books as a potential destination in its own right, the city has undergone something of a resurgence in the past few years. Proud Guayaquileños will not hestitate to point out the Malecón or the exciting new riverfront promenade, once a no-go area after dark, now happily (and hippily) lined with museums, restaurants, shops, and ongoing entertainment. The new airport and urban transportation network are also lauded to the happy tourists who find themselves here. As the largest and most populous city in Ecuador as well as being the commercial centre, it would only be natural that the city would have some kind of modern architecture, but it is the colourful favelas, or to use their real name guasmos, that cling to the side of the hillside like limpets that really catch your eye. A blend of old and new, the first inhabitants can be traced back to 1948 when the government cleared the area for affordable housing, these shanty towns are witness to the social and political particularities that Guayaquil has faced in the past.

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2022 Departures £ price per person based on 2 people sharing

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