Press Centre

Stephen Fry in Central America

  • Episode: 

    4 of 4

  • Title: 

    Costa Rica and Panama
  • Transmission (TX): 

    Thu 17 Sep 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 38 2015 : Sat 12 Sep - Fri 18 Sep
  • Channel: 

  • Status: 

    Last in series
The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Tuesday 8 September.
Seven years ago, Stephen Fry travelled through all fifty states of the USA in a black cab. But he’s always been fascinated by events south of the border, so now, in this brand new four-part series, he embarks on an adventure into America’s backyard.
Travelling through Mexico and the entire Central American isthmus, to the Panamanian border with South America, it’s a remarkable trip through some of the oldest civilisations on the planet – Mayan, Aztec and Olmec.  He visits some of the most dangerous, but breathtakingly beautiful, countries as he learns all about the people, the places, the wildlife and the history.
In episode four, Stephen’s journey continues through Costa Rica and Panama.  In Costa Rica he discovers a country, which is a marked contrast to the rest of Central America. With no army or civil wars it boasts a stable democracy with an enviable living standard that has propelled it to the top of the UN Happiness Index.  
With virgin rainforests teaming with exotic wildlife and stunning natural beauty, it has become a leading light in conservation and ecotourism. 
Beginning his journey on The San Juan River, that forms the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Stephen tries his hand at tarpon fishing with Dan Wise, a retired lawyer from Mississippi, who cites his reason for coming here as being that Costa Rica is the Switzerland of Central America. 
At the La Selva Biological research station Stephen learns how to extract the queen from a colony of 4 million leaf cutter ants, meets poison dart frogs and handles the smallest bat in the world who has a nose extension, so it can eat fruit and chocolate at the same time.
He also enjoys Costa Rica’s stunning outdoors by ascending active volcanoes, white water rafting on rivers and experiencing the passion of a derby football match in the capital, San Jose. 
At the Clinico Biblico he meets a surgeon who perform keyhole operations for an increasing number of medical tourists coming from the USA and finally, gets up close and personal with baby sloths and howler monkeys at an animal rehabilitation centre.
Crossing into Panama he visits the Guna people to witness the extraordinary nightime arrival of the giant leatherback turtles, as they come ashore to lay their eggs.  Taking the train to Panama City he joins in a drug busting exercise and learns how to dredge the canal before bidding farewell to his faithful school bus at the end of his epic journey.