After transiting a short distance across Golfo Dulce, we disembarked from National Geographic Quest to explore a mosaic of gardens, trails, and beaches at the site of Rio Seco. Biodiversity hummed around us. We saw scarlet macaws, golden orb spiders, palm tanagers, hairy apple trees, an endemic trogon, a spectacled caiman, and leafcutter ants marching to their ant destinies. The only challenge was deciding where to look – a wonderful problem to have.

Next, we sailed to Golfito, a short hop down the coast, where we delved into marine and mangrove worlds. Guests adventured alongside red mangroves via kayak or Zodiac, allowing for close looks at a habitat that supports an array of life, including crabs and migratory wading birds.

A peach sunset bathed National Geographic Quest in light as we left the Golfito dock and made our first move toward the coast of Panama. Today was our final day exploring Costa Rica. The rich sounds, unforgettable birds, and mosaic of colors will undoubtedly remain lodged in our collective memory.