54 days in Central America & South America Itinerary

54 days in Central America & South America Itinerary

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Route & dates

Start: London, United Kingdom
Train + Fly:  15 h
1
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 6 nights
Drive:  3 h
2
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  6 h
3
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
drive:  3 h
4
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
Drive:  3 h
5
Granada, Nicaragua
— 2 nights
Drive:  5 h
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 6 nights
Drive:  3 h 30 min
7
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 6 nights
+2
Taxi + Bus + Fly:  7 h
8
Panama City, Panama
— 4 nights
Shuttle + Fly:  2 h
9
Cartagena, Colombia
— 4 nights
Fly:  4 h
10
Medellin, Colombia
— 5 nights
Fly:  1 h 15 min
11
Bogota, Colombia
— 9 nights
End: Bogota, Colombia

6
nights
San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose ©
A trip to San Jose, the capital, commercial center, and cultural hub of Costa Rica, gives you a chance to experience the lively atmosphere and rich cultural past of this vibrant country.
Toucan Rescue Ranch has been added to your itinerary. Step out of San Jose to go to Vara Blanca and see Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, which is approximately 1h 20 min away. The adventure continues: take an in-depth tour of Museo Nacional De Costa Rica and examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.

To see where to stay, maps, photos, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose visit planner.

London, UK to San Jose is an approximately 15- hour combination of train and flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of train, bus, and flight. The time zone changes from Greenwich Mean Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -6 hour difference. Prepare for much hotter weather when traveling from London in January: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 30°C and lows are around 21°C. On the 10th (Sun), you'll travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Toucan Rescue Ranch, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz
Find places to stay Jan 4 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Jade Museum ©
Jade Museum

3
nights
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio ©
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Manuel Antonio: Jaco (Canyoning & Rappelling Tours & Mirador de Jaco). Next up on the itinerary: stroll through Playa Manuel Antonio and enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Biesanz.

For traveler tips, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. On the 13th (Wed), you're off to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Jaco
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz

5
nights
Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates has been added to your itinerary. There's much more to do: kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, indulge your thirst for a good beer at Volcano Brewing Company, let little ones run wild at Nanny Garden, and stroll through Playa Avellana.

For ratings, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Tamarindo travel planning site.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. On the 18th (Mon), you're off to Isla de Ometepe.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates

3
nights
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Isla de Ometepe
Isla de Ometepe may be small in size, but it boasts two large volcanoes that dominate its landscape and influence the local lifestyle.
Volcan Maderas has been added to your itinerary. There's much more to do: contemplate the geological forces at Volcan Concepcion, contemplate the waterfront views at Laguna Charco Verde, head off the coast to Isla Ometepe, and admire the local landmark of Ojo de Agua.

Plan a Isla de Ometepe trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Explore your travel options from Tamarindo to Isla de Ometepe with the Route module. On the 21st (Thu), you'll travel to Granada.

Things to do in Isla de Ometepe

Nature Parks
Find places to stay Jan 18 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Isla Ometepe
Isla Ometepe
Volcan Concepcion ©
Volcan Concepcion
Laguna Charco Verde ©
Laguna Charco Verde

2
nights
Granada, Nicaragua

Granada ©
The lakeside city of Granada has the look and feel of a historically important economic and political center, with grand colonial architecture, a unified look, and many cultural attractions.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Mombacho. Kick off your visit on the 21st (Thu): take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia de La Merced. On your second day here, get impressive views of Mombacho and then see the interesting displays at ChocoMuseo Granada.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, read our Granada trip itinerary maker.

Drive from Isla de Ometepe to Granada in 3 hours. On the 23rd (Sat), you'll travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Granada

Historic Sites Museums Nature
Find places to stay Jan 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Iglesia de La Merced ©
Iglesia de La Merced
Mombacho ©
Mombacho
ChocoMuseo Granada ©
ChocoMuseo Granada

6
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

Set against the backdrop of the imposing Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos offers visitors a chance to explore diverse natural landscapes and sample some delicious local produce.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Arenal Natura Ecological Park as well as Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. There's lots more to do: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, explore the activities along Lake Arenal, take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall, and stroll through Proyecto Asis.

For traveler tips, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

Traveling by car from Granada to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Fri) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano National Park
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

6
nights
Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde ©
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Monteverde is known for adventure, parks, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), appreciate the extensive heritage of Santa Elena Skywalk, and stop by Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery.

For maps, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde day trip planning site.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Thu) early enough to travel to Panama City.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 29 — Feb 4:
Highlights from your plan
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve ©
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Zipline
Santa Elena Skywalk ©
Santa Elena Skywalk

4
nights
Panama City, Panama

Panama City ©
Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
Take a break from Panama City with a short trip to Asociacion Panamericana para la Conservacion in Gamboa, about 36 minutes away. The adventure continues: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Soberania National Park, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia del Carmen, make a trip to Templo Hindu, and snap pictures at Bridge of the Americas.

To see where to stay, photos, and tourist information, use the Panama City route planner.

Traveling by combination of taxi, bus, and flight from Monteverde to Panama City takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Monteverde to Panama City is 1 hour. In February, daily temperatures in Panama City can reach 37°C, while at night they dip to 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Mon) early enough to travel to Cartagena.

Things to do in Panama City

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Asociacion Panamericana para la Conservacion
Find places to stay Feb 4 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Panama La Vieja ©
Panama La Vieja
Soberania National Park ©
Soberania National Park
Metropolitan National Park ©
Metropolitan National Park

4
nights
Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena ©
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 05 min away). There's still lots to do: explore the historical opulence of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, make a trip to Torre del Reloj, and pause for some serene contemplation at Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver.

To see where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Cartagena day trip planning site.

Traveling by combination of shuttle and flight from Panama City to Cartagena takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle, flight, and bus. In February, daytime highs in Cartagena are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Fri) early enough to travel to Medellin.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Playa Blanca, Oceanario
Find places to stay Feb 8 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas ©
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
Walled City of Cartagena ©
Walled City of Cartagena
Boat Tours & Water Sports

5
nights
Medellin, Colombia

Medellin ©
Nestled between rising hills in a narrow valley, Medellin serves as an energetic melting pot of people from all socio-economic classes.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Medellin: Parque Tematico Replica del Viejo Penol (in Penol) and Piedra Del Penol (in Guatape). There's still lots to do: get the lay of the land with Walking tours, contemplate the waterfront views at Laguna de Guatape, take an in-depth tour of Museo de Antioquia, and make a trip to Plaza Botero.

To see photos, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Medellin trip itinerary website.

Traveling by flight from Cartagena to Medellin takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Cartagena in February; daily highs in Medellin reach 32°C and lows reach 20°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Wed) so you can travel to Bogota.

Things to do in Medellin

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trips

Parque Tematico Replica del Viejo Penol, Piedra Del Penol
Find places to stay Feb 12 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Parque Explora ©
Parque Explora
Walking tours
Laguna de Guatape ©
Laguna de Guatape

9
nights
Bogota, Colombia

Colombia's heart and soul, Bogota has earned the nickname "Athens of South America" thanks to its abundance of universities, libraries, and lower-level schools.
Venture out of the city with trips to Chia (Vivero Crisalide & Ospina Park), Zipaquira (Plaza de la Independecia, Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira, &more) and Parroquia San Francisco de Sales (in San Francisco). There's still lots to do: examine the collection at Gold Museum (Museo del Oro), walk around Parque El Lago, make a trip to Zona T, and admire the masterpieces at Museo Botero del Banco de la Republica.

To find other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Bogota travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by flight from Medellin to Bogota takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Traveling from Medellin in February, expect Bogota to be little chillier, temps between 24°C and 9°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 26th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Bogota

Museums Tours Parks

Side Trips

Zipaquira, Chia, Centro de Memoria El Cuartico, Basilica Del Señor de los Milagros, Parroquia San Francisco de Sales
Find places to stay Feb 17 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Food Tours
Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) ©
Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)
Monserrate ©
Monserrate

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