Can You Take a One-way Cruise to Costa Rica?
Taking a one-way cruise to Costa Rica to enjoy an extended adventure vacation with a difference is an option that’s becoming increasingly popular. Not only does cruising offer an extra adventure in its own right but it also offers a stellar travel option for those who simply don’t wish to fly. Having said that, it may surprise you to know that whilst roundtrip cruises abound, one-way cruises to Costa Rica are much harder to find.
Below, we detail all your Costa Rica cruising options so you can best decide which one is right for you.
Roundtrip Cruises to Costa Rica – A Rewarding (Yet Fleeting) Adventure
Being so close to the Panama Canal means Costa Rica is a very popular cruising destination in Central America, with several major cruise lines (the most popular being Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess) offering itineraries that either ply the eastern Caribbean or western Pacific coastlines and, in a few special cases, both. Cruises mostly depart from Miami or Fort Lauderdale in the US and can run from anywhere between 7 and 21 days.
Where do cruises stop in Costa Rica? The main cruising port along Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline is Puerto Caldera near Punta Arenas whilst, over on the eastern coast, in the small town of Limon. These are the country’s two major ports, with marinas big enough to accommodate mega cruise liners. Choose a smaller ship, however, and your itinerary could include other (smaller) ports as well.
Which coastline is better to cruise in Costa Rica? The Pacific is the most famous, serviced and popular coastline in Costa Rica so you’ll find the majority of cruise itineraries head to the western side of the country. With an array of phenomenal destinations that are easy to reach from Punta Arenas, the Pacific coast offers the greatest array of day-trip excursions as well. Over on the Caribbean, you’ll discover a much wilder coastline, where port services are limited yet nature-based adventures phenomenal.
How much time off do you get to explore? When you choose a round-trip cruise to Costa Rica, you won’t have much time to explore, this being the main bone of contention for prospective travelers. Usually, one full day off at each port of call is all you have at your disposal when choosing these types of cruises, so although all the major lines offer an impressive array of day-trip options at every stop – everything from volcano climbing to whitewater rafting, zip-lining, kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling and hiking to stunning waterfalls (amongst many more) – you simply won’t have the time to enjoy them all.
The benefits of round-trip cruises to Costa Rica – If you’re short on time and want to visit several destinations in Central America in the one trip, then round-trip cruises that include a couple of stops in Costa Rica could be a good option. This is especially true if you’ve never traveled to less-developed countries before and are a little hesitant about an extended vacation there. If you just want a taste of Costa Rica and want to see what it’s like (to ascertain whether you’d love to come back on an extended trip) a round-trip Caribbean or Central American cruise could suit you well.
The downside of round-trip cruises to Costa Rica – This type of extended whirlwind cruises can certainly be a lot of fun (and showcase a host of exceptional places) yet, by their very nature, they can’t deliver a very comprehensive experience in any one given place. Cruises are mostly about fleeting visits to many places rather than in-depth adventures in a few chosen spots.
If your aim is to enjoy a comprehensive adventure vacation in Costa Rica and want to include a cruising experience along the way, a better option would be to take a one-way cruise instead.
One-Way Cruises To/From Costa Rica – The Best of Both Worlds
If you wish to explore Costa Rica more thoroughly yet still enjoy a cruise experience, the one-way cruising option is definitely the better choice. Travel to our shores in style and have the freedom to stay as long as you wish once you arrive. For the return journey, you could either take another cruise back or (the most popular option) fly back.
A cruise down/fly up will arguably offer you the best of both worlds.
Where do one-way cruises depart/arrive? At time of writing, only a select number of specialist cruise companies offer one-way cruises to Costa Rica although, given the increase in demand for this service, we suspect many more will be offered in the near future. The most popular options are Windstar and Variety cruises, the latter offering journeys on the stunning M/S Panorama, an exquisite three-mast motor sailor. One-way itineraries ply the route between Puerto Caldera (Costa Rica) and Colon (Panama) and last between 7 and 11 days. Windstar also offers a 10-day itinerary that departs from Miami (FL).
The benefits of one-way cruises to Costa Rica – Aside from the obvious benefit of having freedom and independence once in Costa Rica, Windstar and Variety also offer the stellar bonus of daytime sailing across the famed and historic Panama Canal. These are spectacular travel adventures on their own right!
Courtesy of Windstar Cruises
The downside of one-way cruises – The lack of extensive choice of one-way cruises means you will likely have to take the same cruise twice if you wish to cruise there and back and this is something that will not appeal to everyone. Moreover, there are only a handful of cruises on offer on any given year (usually only in December and January).
What Adventures Can You Enjoy in Costa Rica Once You Arrive?
At Costa Rica Rios, we can help you plan a week of exhilarating adventures in Costa Rica, whether you reach us by boat or plane. For ease of reference, we’ve divided up our most popular tours by travel style:
Honeymoon & Romance: Given that Costa Rica is such a popular wedding and honeymoon destination, it won’t surprise you to know that romantic adventures are among our most popular offerings. Because we know that no two couples are alike, however, our array of active honeymoon itineraries is extensive and includes super luxe, adult-only resorts, barefoot romance immersed in wilderness and weeklong itineraries that perfectly balance rest, relaxation and romance with oodles of outdoor activities for adrenaline junkies as well.
Family Vacations: With a culture that literally embraces children and a country that is tailor-made for family fun, Costa Rica is undoubtedly one of the best family-friendly destinations on the planet. On our family adventure vacations, we love to showcase the greatness of this nation and its wonderful people, planning itineraries that are unique, fun and budget-friendly, whilst focusing on activities and adventures that are suitable for everyone. For quality time together in nature, enjoying each other’s company and our wonderful country, our Costa Rica Rios family vacations are unparalleled.
Week of Rivers: Adrenalin junkies and whitewater sports addicts will have an unforgettable time on our kayaking and canoeing adventures. Not only can you experience some of the most coveted river-based adventures in Costa Rica but you can also take advantage of our non-paddling activity options to bring family and friends along for the exhilarating ride. We offer adventures on Class II to IV rapids on the world-renowned Pacuare, Sarapiqui and Pejibaye rivers, all three rated among the best whitewater sports destinations on earth.
Week of Adventures: For that adventure seeker who simply wants to do it all in a week, our adventure packages are unbeatable. From kayaking to rafting, snorkeling, wildlife-spotting, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and so much more – this is the one 8-day itinerary that packs all the best adventures Costa Rica has to offer.
Off the Beaten Path & Nature: For those who have a fervent desire to explore the remotest corners of Costa Rica, we offer exceptional adventure-packed itineraries to some of the most isolated corners of the country, including Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast and the spellbinding Osa Peninsula.
Build Your Own Vacation: Aside from our very popular group tours, we also offer bespoke adventure tours that are planned with your desires (and budget) in mind. Simply tell us where in Costa Rica you’d like to go, and what activities you’d like to try, and we’ll advise you on the best options available.
Whether you wish to simply avoid air travel or are looking for a way to combine an adventure vacation in Costa Rica with a relaxing cruise, you’ll hopefully find a cruising option to suit your needs. For more info on Costa Rica adventure packages, simply contact us to know more.