27 days in Guatemala & Costa Rica Itinerary

27 days in Guatemala & Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip itinerary planner

Make it your trip
Bus to Tijuana, Fly to Antigua
1
Antigua, Guatemala
— 4 nights
Taxi to Cocales, Bus to Retalhuleu
2
Retalhuleu, Guatemala
— 1 night
+2
Bus to Fuerza Aerea, Fly to Flores, Shuttle to Tikal National Park
3
Tikal National Park, Guatemala
— 1 day
+2
Shuttle to Flores, Fly to San Jose, Taxi to Monteverde
4
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive
5
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Drive
6
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive
7
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Drive
8
Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Fly
9
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Fly

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Antigua, Guatemala

— 4 nights
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.
Kids will enjoy La Aurora Zoo and Museo Ixchel del Traje Indigena. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Antigua: Guatemala City (Palacio Nacional, Catedral Metropolitana, &more). There's lots more to do: pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Merced, don't miss a visit to San Jose El Viejo, delve into the distant past at Convento de las Capuchinas, and contemplate the geological forces at Volcan de Agua.

Discover how to plan a Antigua trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

San Diego, USA to Antigua is an approximately 12-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of tram and bus. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a 2 hour difference. When traveling from San Diego in January, plan for somewhat warmer days in Antigua, with highs around 74°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 53°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Retalhuleu.

Things to do in Antigua

Historic Sites · Museums · Parks · Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Retalhuleu, Guatemala

— 1 night
The city of Retalhuleu is in south-western Guatemala. Start off your visit on the 22nd (Fri): try out the rides at Xocomil, get in on the family fun at Xetulul Theme Park, and then delve into the distant past at Tak'alik Ab'aj.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Retalhuleu road trip planner.

Traveling by combination of taxi and bus from Antigua to Retalhuleu takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Traveling from Antigua in January, things will get a bit warmer in Retalhuleu: highs are around 91°F and lows about 68°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Fri) to allow time to travel to Tikal National Park.

Things to do in Retalhuleu

Theme Parks · Historic Sites

Side Trip

Highlights from your trip

Tikal National Park, Guatemala

— 1 day
Take a trip to Tikal National Park and discover an ancient city in the thick tropical jungle.
To see reviews, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Tikal National Park road trip planning site.

Traveling by combination of bus, flight, and shuttle from Retalhuleu to Tikal National Park takes 10 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. On the 23rd (Sat), you'll travel to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tikal National Park

Tours · Historic Sites · Outdoors · Wildlife

Monteverde, Costa Rica

— 3 nights
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Attractions like Zipline and The Bat Jungle make great kid-friendly stops. Next up on the itinerary: tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, look for gifts at Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery, take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and snap pictures at Santa Elena Skywalk.

For reviews, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Monteverde vacation maker.

Getting from Tikal National Park to Monteverde by combination of shuttle, flight, and taxi takes about 12 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of bus, car, and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Tours · Adventure

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

— 4 nights
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Playa Manuel Antonio and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Explore Manuel Antonio's surroundings by going to Jaco (Mirador de Jaco & Zipline). There's lots more to do: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, stop by Altair Souvenir & Gallery Shop, and see Off-Road Tours.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio online itinerary planner.

You can drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Sun) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure · Parks

Side Trips

Tortuguero, Costa Rica

— 1 night

Costa Rica's Amazon

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 1st (Mon): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

For where to stay, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Tortuguero tour 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 ferry. In January, daily temperatures in Tortuguero can reach 83°F, while at night they dip to 70°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Mon) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature · Parks
Highlights from your trip

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

— 5 nights
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.
Kids will enjoy Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna Waterfall. When in La Fortuna de San Carlos, make a side trip to see Arenal Eco Zoo in El Castillo, approximately El Castillo away. There's much more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, tour the pleasant surroundings at Proyecto Asis, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Arenal, and snap pictures at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park.

To see ratings, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos planning site.

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. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Poas Volcano National Park.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trips

Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

— 1 night
A trip to Poas Volcano National Park allows you to see one of the world's largest craters, trek through a lush rainforest, and visit a coffee plantation all on the same day.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Sun): head outdoors with Parque Recreativo Los Manantiales and then get impressive views of Poas Volcano.

For more things to do, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Poas Volcano National Park trip itinerary builder.

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Poas Volcano National Park by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) to allow enough time to fly to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Poas Volcano National Park

Outdoors · Nature · Parks
Highlights from your trip

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

— 5 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Tamarindo Beach and Playa Conchal. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Playa Guiones (in Nosara) and Playa Hermosa (in Playa Hermosa). The adventure continues: see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Avellana, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

For ratings, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Tamarindo trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Poas Volcano National Park to Tamarindo by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Fri) to allow time to fly back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Tours

Side Trips

Guatemala travel guide

4.5
Landmarks · Volcanos · Ruins
Land of Eternal Spring
Offering a chance to discover a rich history, remarkable landscapes, and a vibrant culture, a holiday in Guatemala remains a great choice for a wide range of travelers. The heart of the Maya civilization, Guatemala boasts stunning ancient ruins and traditional villages that blend with the Spanish heritage of the colonial-era and its stately cathedrals and town halls. While the cities boast splendid architecture and cultural heritage, they make up a small percentage of the mountainous Guatemalan landscape. Adventurous travelers and nature lovers will have plenty of things to do in Guatemala, from boating on the rushing rivers and scenic lakes, to exploring caves, picturesque beaches, and lush national parks.

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.