34 days in Central America & Mexico Itinerary

34 days in Central America & Mexico Itinerary

Created using Inspirock journey planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Antigua, Guatemala
— 3 nights
Fly
2
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Chichen Itza, Mexico
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Cancun, Mexico
— 2 nights
Fly
5
San Pedro, Belize
— 3 nights
Fly
6
Roatan, Honduras
— 3 nights
Fly
7
San Salvador, El Salvador
— 4 nights
Fly
8
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive
9
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Drive
10
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
— 2 nights
Fly
11
Panama City, Panama
— 2 nights
Fly

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Antigua, Guatemala

— 3 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.
Shop till you drop at Nim Po't Centro de Textiles Tradicionales and Oakland Mall. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Palacio Nacional and Convento de las Capuchinas. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Antigua: Mall Pradera Concepcion (in Santa Catarina Pinula) and Guatemala City (La Aurora Zoo, Paseo Cayala, &more). Next up on the itinerary: contemplate the geological forces at Volcán Pacaya, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Merced, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and delve into the distant past at Arco de Santa Catalina.

Plan trip to Antigua with our itinerary maker to find out where to go and what to do.

Melbourne, Australia to Antigua is an approximately 27-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 16 hours traveling from Melbourne to Antigua. When traveling from Melbourne in August, plan for much warmer days in Antigua, with highs around 30°C, while nights are somewhat warmer with lows around 19°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) early enough to travel to Playa del Carmen.

Things to do in Antigua

Shopping · Historic Sites · Museums · Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

— 3 nights
The tourist hub of the popular Mayan Riviera, upscale Playa del Carmen remains the jewel of Mexico's Caribbean coastline.
Relax by the water at Paradise Beach and Akumal Beach. Visiting Xel-Ha Park by Xcaret and Playacar Golf Club will get you outdoors. Venture out of the city with trips to Tulum (Balam Art On Feathers, Tulum Archaeological Site, &more). The adventure continues: get in on the family fun at Xcaret and play a few rounds at El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Club.

To see reviews, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Playa del Carmen trip planner.

You can fly from Antigua to Playa del Carmen in 7.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus. You'll lose 1 hour traveling from Antigua to Playa del Carmen due to the time zone difference. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Antigua in August: high temperatures in Playa del Carmen hover around 35°C and lows are around 26°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) early enough to go by car to Chichen Itza.

Things to do in Playa del Carmen

Outdoors · Adventure · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trips

Chichen Itza, Mexico

— 2 nights
Featuring the largest archeological site of the ancient Mayan civilization, Chichen Itza remains one of the most visited tourist destinations in Mexico.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Wed): contemplate the waterfront views at Xcajum, explore the ancient world of Plataforma de Venus, contemplate the long history of Chichen Itza, then explore the ancient world of Las Monjas, then Head underground at Cenote Yokdzonot, and finally explore the ancient world of La Iglesia. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the ancient world of Temple of the Bearded Man, delve into the distant past at The Ossuary, steep yourself in history at Yaxuna, stroll through Chinchorro Reef, then delve into the distant past at Zona Arqueologica de Ake, and finally delve into the distant past at Dzibichaltun.

For maps, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Chichen Itza tour itinerary planner.

You can drive from Playa del Carmen to Chichen Itza in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Traveling from Playa del Carmen in August, expect Chichen Itza to be somewhat warmer, temps between 39°C and 30°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can drive to Cancun.

Things to do in Chichen Itza

Historic Sites · Parks · Nature · Wildlife

Side Trips

Cancun, Mexico

— 2 nights
Few destinations in Mexico dazzle visitors quite like Cancun, a modern resort town filled with glitzy hotels sitting on picturesque and well-developed Caribbean beaches.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri): go for a walk through Av Kukulkan, fulfill a lifelong dream with a swim-with-the-dolphins experience, explore the ancient world of Zona Arqueologica El Rey, kick back and relax at Playa Delfines, then browse the different shops at La Isla Shopping Village, and finally shop like a local with Kukulcan Plaza.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Cancun trip itinerary builder tool.

Drive from Chichen Itza to Cancun in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In September, daytime highs in Cancun are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) so you can travel to San Pedro.

Things to do in Cancun

Outdoors · Tours · Historic Sites · Adventure

Side Trips

San Pedro, Belize

— 3 nights
San Pedro evolved from small fishing village and now represents one of the most visited locations in Belize.
Visit Secret Beach Belize and The Split for some beach relaxation. Head to The Gallery of San Pedro and 12 Belizefor some retail therapy. Explore San Pedro's surroundings by going to Caye Caulker (Aria Kat Art & The Estuary of Caye Caulker). There's still lots to do: see the vivid underwater world at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, tour the pleasant surroundings at Mexico Rocks, make a trip to Shark Ray Alley, and take an unforgettable tour with C & S Golf Cart Rental.

To find maps, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, go to the San Pedro driving holiday planner.

Traveling by flight from Cancun to San Pedro takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. In September in San Pedro, expect temperatures between 36°C during the day and 29°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) early enough to fly to Roatan.

Things to do in San Pedro

Tours · Wildlife · Outdoors · Parks

Side Trips

Roatan, Honduras

— 3 nights
The largest of the Bay Islands, Roatan is the most developed and the most popular among its neighbors.
Get outdoors at West Bay Divers and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Diamonds International and Straw Market. And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at Little French Key, tour the pleasant surroundings at Mayan Eden, head outdoors with Sunyata Charters, and kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Roatan travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by flight from San Pedro to Roatan takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry, car, and bus; or do a combination of ferry and bus. In September, daytime highs in Roatan are 38°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to San Salvador.

Things to do in Roatan

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours · Parks

San Salvador, El Salvador

— 4 nights
The country's capital, San Salvador sits in a scenic position surrounded by impressive volcanoes.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Iglesia El Rosario and Hospital Divina Providencia Chapel. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Playa El Tunco and El Sunzal. Change things up with a short trip to Balance Yoga Center in El Tunco (about 54 minutes away). Spend the 11th (Sat) exploring nature at Parque Nacional El Boqueron. There's still lots to do: stop by Mercado Nacional de Artesanias, take in the spiritual surroundings of Catedral Metropolitana, explore the ancient world of Joya de Ceren Archaeological Park, and contemplate the geological forces at Volcan San Salvador.

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

Getting from Roatan to San Salvador by flight takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of ferry, bus, and taxi; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Expect little chillier temperatures when traveling from Roatan in September; daily highs in San Salvador reach 34°C and lows reach 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Salvador

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

— 2 nights
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Wed): take the plunge with Skydive Costa Rica, then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, and then take a memorable tour with Tours. Keep things going the next day: kick back and relax at Playa Biesanz, then stop by Jungle Avenue, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and finally get interesting insight from Tours.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio driving holiday planning app.

Traveling by flight from San Salvador to Manuel Antonio takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Adventure

Side Trip

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

— 4 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.
Escape the urban bustle at Tabacon Hot Springs and Ecotermales Fortuna. For shopping fun, head to Galeria Aguas Verdes or Coco Loco Art Studio & Gallery. Change things up with a short trip to Catedral de Ciudad Quesada in Quesada (about 58 minutes away). Next up on the itinerary: take a memorable tour with Tours, identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, get outside with El Salto, and take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To see more things to do, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip planner.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Mon) early enough to go by car to San Juan del Sur.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Nature

Side Trips

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

— 2 nights
Set in a crescent-shaped bay, San Juan del Sur has become known as a popular surfing spot and coastal holiday destination for Nicaraguan families and international visitors alike.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Tue): trot along with Rancho Chilamate, kick back and relax at Playa el Coco, enjoy the sand and surf at La Flor Beach Natural Reserve, tour the pleasant surroundings at O Parks, WildLife and Recreation, then kick back and relax at Playa Hermosa, and finally don't miss a visit to Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed): stroll through San Juan del Sur Beach, get a taste of the local shopping with The Art Warehouse, and then relax and rejuvenate at Pranamaya Yoga & Thai Massage Studio Playa Maderas.

For reviews, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the San Juan del Sur trip planning site.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to San Juan del Sur takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. In September in San Juan del Sur, expect temperatures between 36°C during the day and 29°C at night. On the 22nd (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Panama City.

Things to do in San Juan del Sur

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

Side Trip

Panama City, Panama

— 2 nights

Dubai of Latin America

Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Thu): take an in-depth tour of Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama, take a stroll through Casco Viejo, then see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Metropolitan National Park, and finally browse the different shops at Albrook Mall. Keep things going the next day: delve into the distant past at Panama La Vieja, buy something for everyone on your list at Multiplaza Pacific, take a stroll through Cinta Costera, then don't miss a visit to Amador Causeway (Calzada de Amador), then see the interesting displays at Biomuseo, and finally make a trip to Panama Canal.

To find maps, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read Panama City trip itinerary maker tool.

Traveling by flight from San Juan del Sur to Panama City takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of car and bus. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time, which is usually a 1 hour difference. In September, daily temperatures in Panama City can reach 36°C, while at night they dip to 28°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Panama City

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Neighborhoods

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.

Mexico travel guide

4.5
Ruins · Beaches · Landmarks
Tailor-made for anyone seeking that traditional sun-and-sand experience, Mexico vacations allow visitors to explore nearly 10,000 km (6,200 mi) of picturesque coastlines. Idyllic beaches and favorable year-round weather aside, this diverse country with a rich pre-Colombian history allows tourists a chance to discover a fascinating cuisine, numerous archaeological sites, state-of-the-art museums, colonial-era haciendas, and outstanding examples of 21st-century architecture. Most visitors get to know the country by its cities, but if you want a well-rounded Mexico tour, spend some time exploring its jungles, cloud forests, Caribbean reefs, snowcapped volcanoes, vast deserts, and tranquil lagoons. Life is lived outdoors in Mexico, so wherever you go, don't forget to dine alfresco and stroll the country's colonial streets.

Belize travel guide

4.5
Scuba & Snorkeling · River Rafting & Tubing · Reefs
Belize boasts a long coastline along the Caribbean Sea and serves as one of the world's top destinations for snorkeling and scuba diving. In a country providing a home for many different ethnic communities, a holiday in Belize ensures visitors experience a blend of cultures sharing a small land endowed with grand natural beauty. As you tour Belize, you'll see dense broadleaf forests sheltering a staggering variety of birds, ancient Maya ruins providing a palpable history lesson, and tiny coastal villages making up in hospitality what they lack in tourist infrastructure. Still relatively unexplored by foreigners, the country offers travelers a chance to experience pristine scenery free of big crowds and pushy souvenir vendors.

Honduras travel guide

4.5
Scuba & Snorkeling · Beaches · Zipline
A vacation in Honduras can be an affordable and exciting addition to your Central American itinerary. Often undeservedly overlooked because of the high crime rate in a few of its cities, the country boasts pristine natural wonders, a rich history, and a vibrant atmosphere. From the vivacious Afro-Caribbean culture of the north shore, to the vast mountains and cloud forests of its national parks, Honduras has a lot to offer to the adventurous tourist. Visiting the ancient Mayan ruins of Copan, diving on Bay Islands, and admiring the colonial architecture in the capital remain just some of the things to do in Honduras.

El Salvador travel guide

4.3
National Parks · Churches · Ruins
El Salvador, the smallest country in Central America, has plenty of historical and natural attractions to explore on a rich and varied itinerary. The coastal beaches attract surfers and sunbathers, while the main towns showcase colonial and indigenous cultures in their traditions, architecture, cuisine, and historical sites. Tourism in El Salvador has been stuttering for decades, first because of the Salvadoran Civil War, and now because of gang-related activities and a high crime rate. The vast majority of the country, however, remains unspoiled by the narrative that dominates international headlines. Travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-track destination, with natural and manmade highlights uncluttered by tourists and overdevelopment, find such a place in El Salvador.

Costa Rica travel guide

4.4
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.

Nicaragua travel guide

4.3
Churches · Volcanos · Specialty Museums
Still emerging as a major tourist destination, Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, entices travelers with its rich history and remarkable natural beauty just waiting to be discovered. A holiday in Nicaragua allows you to explore a vibrant culture, scenic beaches, and plenty of spots off the beaten path. Majestic volcanoes, lakes, and forests offer numerous chances for exploration and exciting adventures, while major cities boast splendid colonial architecture. With access to coastlines on both the Pacific and the Caribbean, a vacation in Nicaragua appeals to those looking for thrilling surfing experiences, dramatic views, or a chance to spread out on a deserted tropical beach.

Panama travel guide

4.1
Landmarks · Historic Walking Areas · Shopping Malls
With a lively banking sector and a booming tourism industry, Panama remains one of the most powerful nations in the Americas, though it's also one of the smallest by land area. The country boasts coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, so it's not surprising most Panama holidays include some form of seaside entertainment. With outstanding beaches all over the country, it's easy to find an ideal spot to swim, snorkel, dive, fish, sail, or simply kick back on the sand with a few cold drinks. The country's best-known landmark and one of the world's most significant shipping routes, Panama Canal tops most tourist itineraries--many choose to see this engineering wonder by traveling the length of it by train.