9 days in Central America Itinerary

9 days in Central America Itinerary

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Route & dates

9 days in Central America Itinerary

Start: Bridgetown, Barbados
Fly:  21​h
1
Panama City, Panama
— 1 day
Fly:  4​h 15​min
2
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h
3
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 15​min
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
+2
shuttle + bus + Fly:  17​h 45​min
End: Bridgetown, Barbados

1
day
Panama City, Panama

Panama City ©
Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Wed): explore the ancient world of Panama La Vieja, then get engrossed in the history at Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama, and then get to know the fascinating history of Casco Viejo.

For reviews, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, use the Panama City day trip app .

Bridgetown, Barbados to Panama City is an approximately 21-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Bridgetown to Panama City. Expect a daytime high around 36°C in December, and nighttime lows around 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) early enough to travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Panama City

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Museums
Find places to stay Dec 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Casco Viejo ©
Casco Viejo
Panama La Vieja ©
Panama La Vieja
Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama ©

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Thu): relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, identify plant and animal life at Toucan Rescue Ranch, and then admire the masterpieces at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. On the 13th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica, then learn more about the world around you at Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle, then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia La Soledad, and finally steep yourself in history at Ruinas de Ujarras.

To find ratings, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, use the San Jose day trip tool .

Traveling by flight from Panama City to San Jose takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Panama City to San Jose due to the time zone difference. In December, San Jose is little chillier than Panama City - with highs of 30°C and lows of 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) early enough to take a bus to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Toucan Rescue Ranch, Ruinas de Ujarras
Find places to stay Dec 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Ruinas de Ujarras ©
Ruinas de Ujarras

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Sat): take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, enjoy the sand and surf at Playas Gemelas, and then view the masterpieces at El O'scars Galleria. On the next day, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, and then take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty.

To see maps, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio trip website .

Take a bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sun) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Quepos, Parasailing & Paragliding
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Parasailing & Paragliding
Nature & Wildlife Tours
River Rafting & Tubing

2
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.
On the 16th (Mon), take in nature's colorful creations at Arenal Natura Ecological Park and then indulge in some personalized pampering at Tabacon Hot Springs. On your second day here, trek along Bogarin Trail, witness a stunning natural landmark at Los Lagos Hot Springs, and then take in the natural beauty of Paradise Hot Springs.

To find maps, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos holiday planner.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs

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