Having heard from several of my clients just how amazing Lindblad Expedition Cruises are, I decided to check out one for myself and I wasn’t disappointed! On November 30th I headed out from Wilmington, NC to San Jose, Costa Rica to join the National Geographic Sea Lion and enjoy a fabulous time exploring the Guanacaste Province and Punta Arenas.
As a travel advisor, I broke my own first rule for clients and chose not to fly into the destination the day prior to the ship’s departure from Port Caldera, and as a result had my own mini adventure actually getting to the ship, following a three plus hour delay at ILM because of a nail in the plane tire. The great news is that I truly tested the Lindblad Team’s emergency services team and they passed with flying colors! Having called at 6:15 am, believing that my expedition cruise was unlikely to even start as I would miss the ship’s scheduled departure from Port Caldera, I waited patiently to hear back from them on whether there was a way I could make the ship with a delayed arrival time of more than six hours later than originally planned. Within forty-five minutes I heard that the answer was ‘yes’, my adventure would continue 😊.
On arrival at San Jose airport I was immediately met by a representative of Lindblad and whisked off to my waiting transfer to the port. It was late evening and pitch dark out as we drove along the winding roads to Port Caldera. The driver was so friendly, explaining where we were on our journey, even though I couldn’t really see anything 😊. And, although the Sea Lion had left the port, they had planned for me to board the ship via a small boat.
My arrival was a little like something out of a James Bond 007 movie, with my bag handed down to a small tug-boat, followed by a climb down a metal ladder, with the driver enthusiastically waving me goodbye, off we headed out through the docks. I have to say I was a little unsure exactly where we were heading, but I completely trusted Lindblad Expeditions to take good care of me, which of course they did!
I was met by Captain Davis and some of his crew who safely helped me onboard the ship even with some rather choppy waters! I was shown to my cabin, and finally after a long travel day, was able to unpack and relax and prepare to start our adventures the following morning.
The next morning, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise as we cruised towards the Nicoya Peninsula for our first land experience exploring the Curu Wildlife Refuge.
This was a five-day itinerary with the Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic that took us to remote places of Costa Rica that were not easily accessible by land, providing us with some amazing opportunities to see wildlife during our various hiking options and snorkeling locations off the coast. Every day there were at least three different options for activities to enjoy, each requiring different levels of fitness so there was always something for everyone. On all the experiences we were accompanied by a superbly knowledgeable Naturalist. The Naturalists with Lindblad Expeditions are truly the best of the best. For this trip, they were almost all Costa Ricans, so with their expert knowledge and their obvious love and pride for their country, they were passionate about ensuring that we all had a brilliant time! They were very conscious to ensure that everyone was included and were part of the adventures.
I have included a video below, which I invite you to sit back and enjoy. It is a brilliant reminder of every part of our trip and is something that Lindblad will provide for a very small cost at the end of every Expedition. With a videographer and a photographer on-board the Sea Lion, you will feel as though you were there with us on the trip as you view just some of our daily activities and hear from some of the Naturalists that guided as through our Wild Escape to Costa Rica.
I would be remiss in not sharing that the ship itself, even though it is one of the older ships in their fleet, was in excellent condition, the cabins were very pleasant with great lighting, which isn’t always the case on board a ship and the beds very comfortable. The food selection was very good, with a buffet style breakfast and lunch and a three-course dinner every day, we certainly didn’t go hungry on the trip, even with all the activity. The kitchen crew were excellent at working with a couple of passengers who had special dietary needs.
Some of the most memorable and relaxed times on-board the N.G. Sea Lion were enjoying cocktails on the upper deck with fellow passengers as we watched the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean talking about some of the many experiences’ we had enjoyed during the day.
If you would like to learn more about the different Lindblad Expeditions or if you are interested in another type of travel experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Nothing makes me happier than working with clients on a future trip and then hearing all about it upon their return. Life is short and the world is so large, I encourage you to find the explorer within yourself and travel to a new destination!