23 days in Central America Itinerary

23 days in Central America Itinerary

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Route & dates

Start: Montreal, Canada
+2
Fly + Bus + Taxi:  11 h
1
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 45 min
2
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  5 h 30 min
3
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 15 min
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Drive:  2 h
5
Vara Blanca, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive + Fly:  8 h 45 min
6
Flores, Guatemala
— 1 night
Shuttle:  5 h
7
Lanquin, Guatemala
— 2 nights
Drive:  6 h
8
Retalhuleu, Guatemala
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h 30 min
9
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala
— 1 night
Taxi + Bus:  2 h
10
Antigua, Guatemala
— 3 nights
+4
Bus + Foot + Bus + Foot + Fly:  11 h 30 min
End: Montreal, Canada

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Sun): tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and then stroll through Monteverde Frog Pond. Here are some ideas for day two: look for gifts at Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery, get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle, then take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and finally relax in the rural setting at El Trapiche Tour.

For reviews, maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Monteverde trip itinerary planner.

Montreal, Canada to Monteverde is an approximately 11- hour combination of flight, bus, and taxi. You can also do a combination of flight and car; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Shopping
Find places to stay Aug 1 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve ©
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour
Monteverde Orchid Garden ©
Monteverde Orchid Garden

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.
When in Manuel Antonio, make a side trip to see Isla Damas in Puntarenas, approximately Puntarenas away. And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, stroll through Playa Biesanz, and see Off-Road Tours.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio online tour itinerary planner.

Drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Quepos, Isla Damas
Find places to stay Aug 3 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Kayaking & Canoeing

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.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Fri): learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy, add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

To find photos, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip planner.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Tortuguero in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. In August, plan for daily highs up to 35°C, and evening lows to 26°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Adventure
Find places to stay Aug 6 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, stroll through La Fortuna Waterfall, get outside with El Salto, and hike along Arenal Natura Ecological Park.

To find more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

Traveling by car from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Wed) early enough to drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Aug 7 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

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.
On the 13th (Thu), admire the sheer force of La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens and then take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

For where to stay, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, read Vara Blanca trip planner.

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Vara Blanca in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Thu) early enough to travel to Flores.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Aug 12 — 13:

1
night
Flores, Guatemala

Flores ©
An island town, capital of the landlocked region of Peten, attractive Flores features pleasant architecture that complements the shimmering appearance of the surrounding lake.
On the 14th (Fri), identify plant and animal life at Ixpanpajul Nature Park, then don't miss a visit to Jorge's Rope Swing, and then get to know the resident critters at Petencito Zoo. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the ancient world of Parque arqueologico uaxactun, look for all kinds of wild species at Cerro Biotope Cahui, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Catedral de Flores.

For traveler tips, maps, photos, and tourist information, read our Flores trip site.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Vara Blanca to Flores. In August in Flores, expect temperatures between 37°C during the day and 26°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sat) so you can catch the shuttle to Lanquin.

Things to do in Flores

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trip

Cerro Biotope Cahui
Find places to stay Aug 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Ixpanpajul Nature Park ©
Ixpanpajul Nature Park
Parque arqueologico uaxactun ©
Parque arqueologico uaxactun
Jorge's Rope Swing ©
Jorge's Rope Swing

2
nights
Lanquin, Guatemala

Lanquin ©
San Agustín Lanquín, often referred to simply as Lanquín, is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. On the 16th (Sun), Head underground at Lanquin Caves and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Parque Nacional Grutas de Lanquin. On the 17th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: head outdoors with Aventura Grande, then contemplate the waterfront views at Monumento Natural Semuc Champey, and then Head underground at Grutas Las Marias.

For reviews, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, use the Lanquin route planner.

Take a shuttle from Flores to Lanquin in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 40°C in August, and nighttime lows around 28°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Retalhuleu.

Things to do in Lanquin

Nature Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Parque Nacional Grutas de Lanquin
Find places to stay Aug 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Monumento Natural Semuc Champey ©
Monumento Natural Semuc Champey
Parque Nacional Grutas de Lanquin
Parque Nacional Grutas de Lanquin
Lanquin Caves ©
Lanquin Caves

1
night
Retalhuleu, Guatemala

Retalhuleu ©
The city of Retalhuleu is in south-western Guatemala. Start off your visit on the 18th (Tue): see the interesting displays at XULIK Parque Museo, make a splash at Xocomil, and then let the kids burn off some steam at Dino Park.

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

Traveling by car from Lanquin to Retalhuleu takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. In August, daily temperatures in Retalhuleu can reach 38°C, while at night they dip to 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Tue) so you can drive to Santiago Atitlan.

Things to do in Retalhuleu

Museums Theme Parks Parks

Side Trip

Santa Cruz Mulua
Find places to stay Aug 17 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
XULIK Parque Museo ©
XULIK Parque Museo
Dino Park ©
Dino Park

1
night
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala

Santiago Atitlan ©
Santiago Atitlán is a municipality in the Sololá department of Guatemala. Start off your visit on the 19th (Wed): contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Atitlan, examine the collection at Cojolya Museum and Store, and then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Colonial Church.

For more things to do, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Santiago Atitlan online visit planner.

You can drive from Retalhuleu to Santiago Atitlan in 2.5 hours. Prepare for slightly colder weather when traveling from Retalhuleu in August: high temperatures in Santiago Atitlan hover around 30°C and lows are around 19°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) so you can travel to Antigua.

Things to do in Santiago Atitlan

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trip

Lake Atitlan
Find places to stay Aug 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Colonial Church ©
Colonial Church
Lake Atitlan ©
Lake Atitlan
Cojolya Museum and Store ©
Cojolya Museum and Store

3
nights
Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua ©
The former capital of Guatemala and a World Heritage Site, Antigua retains its colonial charm and remains one of the most visited destinations in the country.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Thu): pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Merced, contemplate the geological forces at Volcán Pacaya, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Catedral Metropolitana. On the 21st (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: delve into the distant past at Arco de Santa Catalina, then make a trip to Cerro de la Cruz, then admire the masterpieces at Casa Santo Domingo Museums, and finally look for gifts at Ileana Sotela Accesorios.

For traveler tips, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Antigua online tour itinerary planner.

You can do a combination of taxi and bus from Santiago Atitlan to Antigua in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of ferry and shuttle. In August, daytime highs in Antigua are 30°C, while nighttime lows are 19°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 22nd (Sat) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Antigua

Museums Historic Sites Nature

Side Trip

Catedral Metropolitana
Find places to stay Aug 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Casa Santo Domingo Museums ©
Casa Santo Domingo Museums
Volcán Pacaya ©
Volcán Pacaya
Cerro de la Cruz ©
Cerro de la Cruz

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