17 days in Cartagena, Manuel Antonio & Tamarindo Itinerary

17 days in Cartagena, Manuel Antonio & Tamarindo Itinerary

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Fly
1
Cartagena, Colombia
— 4 nights
Fly
2
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Shuttle to San José, Fly to Tamarindo
3
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 8 nights
Fly

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Cartagena, Colombia — 4 nights

City of Heroes

The site of the continent's first Spanish colony, Cartagena retains much of its colonial flavor thanks to a World Heritage-listed old town, encircled by old walls and protected by imposing fortresses.
Change things up with a short trip to Playa Blanca in Isla Baru (about 1h 5 min away). And it doesn't end there: step into the grandiose world of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, take an in-depth tour of Museo del Oro Zenu, contemplate the long history of Walled City of Cartagena, and don't miss a visit to Torre del Reloj.

To find where to stay, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Cartagena trip maker site.

Mexico City, Mexico to Cartagena is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Mexico City to Cartagena. When traveling from Mexico City in December, plan for a bit warmer days and much hotter nights in Cartagena: temperatures range from 37°C by day to 28°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 22nd (Thu) to allow enough time to fly to Manuel Antonio.
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Historic Sites · Outdoors · Tours · Parks
Side Trip
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 22:

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica — 3 nights

The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Change things up with these side-trips from Manuel Antonio: Jaco (Aurora Yoga & Canyoning & Rappelling Tours). There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Manuel Antonio, stroll around Parque Nahomi, look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, and glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Manuel Antonio using our trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Cartagena to Manuel Antonio takes 10 hours. The time zone difference when traveling from Cartagena to Manuel Antonio is minus 1 hour. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 25th (Sun) to allow time for travel to Tamarindo.
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Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Beaches
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 25:

Tamarindo, Costa Rica — 8 nights

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Explore Tamarindo's surroundings by going to Nosara (Room Escape Games, Playa Guiones, &more), Playa Conchal (Playa Conchal, Garra de Leon Golf Course, &more) and Playa Samara (Samara Beach & Playa Buena Vista). There's much more to do: wander the wide-open spaces of Pura Aventura, view the masterpieces at Costa Rica'n Art Craft, relax in the rural setting at Cafe Tio Leo, and see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To see ratings, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Tamarindo road trip website.

You can do a combination of shuttle and flight from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in December, and nighttime lows around 32°C. On the 2nd (Mon), you'll travel back home.
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Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours
Side Trips
Find places to stay Dec 25 — Jan 2: