Central America Grand Tour
highlights of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama
An 18 day trip taking in the diverse ecosystems of Panama and Costa Rica, Nicaragua's relaxing Pacific coast, and ending in the beautiful colonial city of Granada.
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Panama: Panama City and the Chiriquí highlands
Days 1-4: Spend two nights in Panama’s capital, from where you can visit the Panama canal and its amazing system of locks as well as the abundant wildlife in the surrounding forest. Fly west to David and the village of Boquete where you spend two nights in a coffee finca and can explore the birdwatching trails of these verdant highlands.
Costa Rica: Tropical rainforest and marine life
Days 5-7: Cross the border into the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica and spend 3 nights in and around the Corcovado National Park. A variety of excursions are possible, such as snorkelling and wildlife hikes in the rainforest.
Pacific beaches and pristine cloudforest
Days 8-11: A 3½ hour road transfer brings you to Manuel Antonio, where you will spend two nights and visit this unspoilt national park, home to sloths and monkeys, with two beautiful beaches. Explore the trails around the park or simply relax on a quiet shady beach before being driven north to San Gerardo de Dota, a remote cloud forest area. This a great area for self-guided nature trails and birdwatching tours: if you are lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive quetzal!
Days 12-13: A 4 hour road transfer brings you to San José, Costa Rica's capital. Spend two nights on the outskirts of the city, within easy reach of the so-called central valley, famous for its many coffee plantations, and Poás volcano with its beautiful blue crater lake.
Nicaragua: southern shores and colonial towns
Day 14-18: Fly to Liberia - in western Costa Rica - from where you are driven across the border into Nicaragua. Relax for three nights at a lodge on the coast, where turtles come to lay their eggs in season and possible activities include kayaking, riding, or forst walks. Spend your final two nights in the beautiful colonial town of Granada, before your onward flight.
In the following section you will see our suggested options for possible accommodation.
The estimated flight cost included in this itinerary (assuming international flights from the UK plus any internal flights that are necessary) is £975 per person.
Standard - £4,350
- Finca Lerida - on a coffee plantation, close to Boquete
- Hotel Victoriano - a colonial house on the sea front in San Juan del Sur
- La Gran Francia - historic hotel in the centre of Granada.
- Playa Nicuesa Lodge - accessed only by boat, this jungle lodge on the Osa Peninsula, has its own private beach and wide choice of excursions.
- Trogon Lodge - at the bottom of the San Gerardo de Dota valley, a simple base for excellent bird-watching.
Price and validity notes
We have tried to give you as accurate an idea of prices as possible, including meals where appropriate (but not when there are good local options so you don't pay for a meal that you might not want), accommodation, transfers, and any tours we have included.
All prices are per person based on two people sharing a room and are intended as a guide (local high or low seasons can cause some variation). All prices were correct when published but may vary with exchange rate fluctuations, fuel surcharges, or changes in the general economic situation.