38 days in Costa Rica & Panama City Itinerary

38 days in Costa Rica & Panama City Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip itinerary builder

Plan created by another user.Make it yours

Route & dates

Start: Vancouver, Canada
Fly:  14 h 45 min
1
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  1 h 45 min
2
Playa Samara, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 45 min
3
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 45 min
4
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
5
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Drive:  4 h 15 min
6
Drake Bay, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  7 h
7
Vara Blanca, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Drive:  3 h 15 min
9
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h 45 min
10
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Fly:  4 h 15 min
11
Panama City, Panama
— 6 nights
Fly:  13 h
End: Vancouver, Canada

3
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Playa Conchal and Playa Mina. Explore hidden gems such as Scuba & Snorkeling and Playa Dantita. Take a break from Tamarindo with a short trip to Fishing Charters & Tours in Playas del Coco, about 1h 30 min away. There's much more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana, tour the pleasant surroundings at Tamarindo Beach, and take in the exciting artwork at Lydia Beech Art Boutique.

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read Tamarindo road trip planning website.

Vancouver, Canada to Tamarindo is an approximately 11.5-hour flight. You can also drive. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time (PST) to Central Standard Time (CST), which is usually a 2 hour difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Fishing Charters & Tours, Playa Dantita
Find places to stay Jan 21 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Scuba & Snorkeling
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

3
nights
Playa Samara, Costa Rica

Playa Samara ©
A beach town with just enough development to be comfortable for families accustomed to the trappings of modern life, Playa Samara has the resorts you'd expect to find in such a scenic area, but they don't hinder the relaxing atmosphere.
Escape the urban bustle at Samara Beach and Playa Guiones. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Koss Art Gallery and MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY. Explore Playa Samara's surroundings by going to Playa Garza (in Garza) and Stand-Up Paddleboarding (in Nosara). Next up on the itinerary: kick back and relax at Barrigona Beach, stroll through Playa Buena Vista, and admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Playa Samara day trip planner.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playa Samara in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Tue) early enough to go by car to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Nosara, Playa Garza
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Guiones ©
Playa Guiones
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Playa Garza ©
Playa Garza

2
nights
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste ©
Start off your visit on the 29th (Wed): stroll through Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands. Keep things going the next day: get impressive views of Miravalles Volcano.

For ratings, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste trip itinerary app.

Drive from Playa Samara to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste in 3 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Parks Nature Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Miravalles Volcano ©
Miravalles Volcano

4
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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Chorotega Arts & Crafts and Ecological Sanctuary. Get in touch with nature at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Valle Escondido Preserve. Change things up with these side-trips from Monteverde: Middle Earth Thermal Springs (in Quebrada Grande) and Sustainability Demonstration Center (in Guacimal). Spend the 3rd (Mon) exploring nature at Up in the Cloud Forest. It doesn't end there: stroll through Monteverde Frog Pond and stop by Souvenir Rosewood-Info Center.

To see reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Monteverde trip website.

Traveling by car from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste to Monteverde takes 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Middle Earth Thermal Springs, Sustainability Demonstration Center
Find places to stay Jan 30 — Feb 3:
Highlights from your plan
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve ©
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Sustainability Demonstration Center ©
Sustainability Demonstration Center
Valle Escondido Preserve ©
Valle Escondido Preserve

4
nights
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Escape the urban bustle at Playa Manuel Antonio and Nature & Wildlife Tours. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and River Rafting & Tubing. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Manuel Antonio: Dominical (Parasailing & Paragliding & Parque Reptilandia) and Playa Ventanas (in Ballena). The adventure continues: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, explore the striking landscape of Manuel Antonio National Park, and get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio holiday maker website.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) early enough to drive to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Dominical, Waterskiing & Jetskiing, Playa Ventanas
Find places to stay Feb 3 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

3
nights
Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Drake Bay ©
Take a break from the city and head to Corcovado National Park and Dolphin & Whale Watching. Spend a day of island exploring on the 9th (Sun) at Cano Island.

To find maps, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Drake Bay trip itinerary maker tool.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Mon) so you can drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Nature Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Corcovado National Park
Find places to stay Feb 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Corcovado National Park ©
Corcovado National Park
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Cano Island ©
Cano Island

1
night
Vara Blanca, Costa Rica

Vara Blanca
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Tue): take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

To find where to stay, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Vara Blanca trip itinerary builder.

Drive from Drake Bay to Vara Blanca in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry, bus, and taxi; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Tue) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature Parks
Find places to stay Feb 10 — 11:

5
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

La Fortuna de San Carlos ©
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Paradise Hot Springs and Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge. Do some cultural sightseeing at Catedral de Ciudad Quesada and Onirica Art Gallery. Step out of La Fortuna de San Carlos with an excursion to Butterfly Conservatory in El Castillo--about 38 minutes away. There's lots more to do: stroll through La Fortuna Waterfall, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos, and explore by horseback at Arenal Wilberth Stables.

To see maps and other tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary website.

Traveling by car from Vara Blanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sun) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Venado Caves, Butterfly Conservatory, Catedral de Ciudad Quesada
Find places to stay Feb 11 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

1
night
Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero ©
One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Mon): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park and then learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

To find more things to do, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, read our Tortuguero trip planner.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in February, and nighttime lows around 24°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Mon) early enough to go by car to San Jose.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Museums
Find places to stay Feb 16 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

4
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to River Rafting & Tubing and Toucan Rescue Ranch. Get in touch with nature at Top Travel Costa Rica and Savegre Reserve. You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Jose: Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center (in Turrucares) and Bosque de la Hoja (in Heredia). And it doesn't end there: get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, explore the world behind art at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, and explore the engaging exhibits at Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle.

For other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, read San Jose vacation planning tool.

You can drive from Tortuguero to San Jose in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from Tortuguero in February: highs in San Jose hover around 30°C, while lows dip to 21°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Fri) so you can travel to Panama City.

Things to do in San Jose

Wildlife Parks Tours

Side Trips

Toucan Rescue Ranch, Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center, Savegre Reserve, Bosque de la Hoja
Find places to stay Feb 17 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
River Rafting & Tubing
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica

6
nights
Panama City, Panama

Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Panama La Vieja and Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis. Take a break from the city and head to Fishing Charters & Tours and Soberania National Park. Change things up with these side-trips from Panama City: Gamboa (Panama Rainforest Discovery Center & Asociacion Panamericana para la Conservacion) and Scuba & Snorkeling (in Portobelo). And it doesn't end there: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Iglesia de San José, get engrossed in the history at Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama, and admire the striking features of Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Panama City trip itinerary builder website.

Traveling by flight from San Jose to Panama City takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time, which is usually a 1 hour difference. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from San Jose in February, with highs in Panama City at 37°C and lows at 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Thu) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Panama City

Wildlife Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

Gamboa, Scuba & Snorkeling
Find places to stay Feb 21 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Panama La Vieja ©
Panama La Vieja
Nature & Wildlife Tours

Similar Plans

60 days in Costa Rica, Ecuador & Peru BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems Preferences: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife Attraction style: Hidden gems Pace: Slow & easy 60 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND November, popular sights Preferences: November Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 37 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular sights Preferences: November Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 51 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM CANADA January, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems Preferences: January Attraction style: Popular & hidden gems Pace: Slow & easy 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA January, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems Preferences: January, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife Attraction style: Hidden gems Pace: Slow & easy 59 days in United States, Central America, Mexico, South Pacific, Asia & Africa BY A USER FROM THE NETHERLANDS March, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, fast-paced, popular sights Preferences: March, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Fast-paced 57 days in Central America, South Pacific & Europe BY A USER FROM THE NETHERLANDS March, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, fast-paced, popular sights Preferences: March, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Fast-paced 59 days in Europe, Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa & Asia BY A USER FROM THE NETHERLANDS March, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife, fast-paced, popular sights Preferences: March, culture, historic sites, museums, wildlife Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Fast-paced 57 days in Caribbean, Mexico, Central America & South America BY A USER FROM CANADA March, popular sights Preferences: March Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 11 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems Preferences: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, wildlife Attraction style: Hidden gems Pace: Slow & easy 14 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, teens, kids, popular sights Preferences: December, teens, kids Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 9 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, popular sights Preferences: December, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium
See more plans