51 days in Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama Itinerary

51 days in Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip planner

Plan created by another user.Make it yours

Route & dates

1
Leon, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
2
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
3
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 6 nights
4
Playa Samara, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
5
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
6
Jaco, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
7
Uvita, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
8
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
9
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 6 nights
10
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
11
Panama City, Panama
— 6 nights

3
nights
Leon, Nicaragua

Leon ©
A cultured and storied city, Leon attracts guests from all over the world, drawn to the second city's style, thriving intellectual life, and liveliness.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian and Museo Entomologico de Leon. Take a break from the city and head to Cerro Negro Volcano and Momotombo. Next up on the itinerary: stroll through Playa Las Penitas, visit Catedral de la Asunción, steep yourself in history at Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Subtiava, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at Church The Recollection.

To find maps, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Leon visit planner.

London, UK to Leon is an approximately 18.5-hour flight. Traveling from London to Leon, you'll gain 6 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from London in December, expect Leon to be warmer, temps between °C and °C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Leon

Parks Outdoors Nature
Highlights from your plan
Playa Las Penitas ©
Playa Las Penitas
Cerro Negro Volcano ©
Cerro Negro Volcano
Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian ©
Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian

4
nights
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

Playas del Coco ©
A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Palo Verde National Park and Cataratas Llanos de Cortes. Get in touch with nature at Rincon de La Vieja National Park and Playa Hermosa. Get out of town with these interesting Playas del Coco side-trips: Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste), Nahua (in Liberia) and Rio Negro Hot Springs (in Rincon de La Vieja). There's still lots to do: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour and view the masterpieces at Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts.

To find ratings, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Playas del Coco trip builder website.

You can drive from Leon to Playas del Coco in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Expect little chillier weather when traveling from Leon in December: highs in Playas del Coco hover around °C, while lows dip to °C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Province of Guanacaste, Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, Playa Hermosa, Nahua, Rio Negro Hot Springs
Highlights from your plan
Rincon de La Vieja National Park ©
Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa

6
nights
Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Get in touch with nature at Playa Conchal and Nature & Wildlife Tours. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Playa Avellana and Pura Aventura. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: San Juanillo Beach (in San Juanillo), Adrenaline & Extreme Tours (in Playa Flamingo) and Playa Danta (in Las Catalinas). There's lots more to do: get interesting insight from Tours, take in the exciting artwork at Lydia Beech Art Boutique, play a few rounds at Garra de Leon Golf Course, and kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach.

To find more things to do, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo day trip planner.

Getting from Playas del Coco to Tamarindo by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around °C in December, and nighttime lows around °C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, San Juanillo Beach, Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Playa Danta
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

4
nights
Playa Samara, Costa Rica

A beach town with just enough development to be comfortable for families accustomed to the trappings of modern life, Playa Samara has the resorts you'd expect to find in such a scenic area, but they don't hinder the relaxing atmosphere.
You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Samara Beach and Barrigona Beach. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Horseback Riding Tours and Off-Road Tours. Venture out of the city with trips to Nosara (SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary, MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY, &more). There's lots more to do: get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, kick back and relax at Playa Carrillo, take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To see more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Playa Samara travel route planner.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playa Samara in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. In December in Playa Samara, expect temperatures between °C during the day and °C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Nosara, Playa Carrillo
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Dolphin & Whale Watching

2
nights
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Santa Teresa ©
A coastal getaway popular with surfers and young travelers, Santa Teresa spreads out from the beach and the main coastal road to a ring of newer developments on the surrounding hills.
Start off your visit on the 31st (Thu): glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Carmen. Keep things going the next day: stroll through Playa Hermosa, thentake in the exciting artwork at Bri'ah Art Gallery, and then take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To see traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Santa Teresa attractions planner.

You can drive from Playa Samara to Santa Teresa in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Fri) to allow time to travel to Jaco.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Horseback Riding Tours
Highlights from your plan
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Horseback Riding Tours

5
nights
Jaco, Costa Rica

Jaco ©
A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
Appreciate the collections at Tico Pod Art House & Gifts and Bambu. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Carara National Park and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Change things up with a short trip to Playa Bejuco in Esterillos Este (about 34 minutes away). There's much more to do: take a memorable tour with Tours, trot along with a tour on horseback, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and take in the views from Tarcoles Bridge.

For other places to visit, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, read our Jaco route planner.

You can do a combination of bus and ferry from Santa Teresa to Jaco in 3 hours. Another option is to drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Tarcoles, Esterillos Este, Carara National Park, Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding
Highlights from your plan
Carara National Park ©
Carara National Park
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Off-Road Tours

4
nights
Uvita, Costa Rica

Uvita ©
Ideal for visitors looking to escape Costa Rica's busy beaches, Uvita offers a serene atmosphere and plenty of uncrowded sand for a leisurely vacation.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Nauyaca Waterfalls and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. Take a break from the city and head to Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge and Uvita Beach. Step out of Uvita to go to Sierpe and see Kokopelli, which is approximately 52 minutes away. There's much more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, kick back and relax at Playa Ventanas, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and admire the sheer force of Uvita Waterfall.

For photos, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Uvita road trip planning tool.

Drive from Jaco to Uvita in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Sun) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Dominical, Playa Ventanas, Kokopelli
Highlights from your plan
Nauyaca Waterfalls ©
Nauyaca Waterfalls
Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge ©
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach

4
nights
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.
We've included these beaches for you: Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Espadilla Norte. Step out of the city life by going to River Rafting & Tubing and Walking tours. Change things up with a short trip to Rainmaker Park in Parrita (about 46 minutes away). There's much more to do: trot along with a tour on horseback, see Off-Road Tours, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park, and take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty.

To find photos, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio vacation builder tool.

Traveling by car from Uvita to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Thu) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Quepos, Rainmaker Park
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Walking tours

6
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.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like ChocoMuseo La Fortuna and Onirica Art Gallery. Get in touch with nature at Tabacon Hot Springs and Arenal Natura Ecological Park. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around La Fortuna de San Carlos: Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca), Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park) and Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park (in La Virgen). There's still lots to do: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, get impressive views of Arenal Volcano, take in the natural beauty of Paradise Hot Springs, and take a memorable tour with Tours.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary maker website.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Wed) so you can go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Poas Volcano, Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

5
nights
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca ©
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens and Playa Cocles. Escape the urban bustle at Veragua Rainforest Park and Cahuita National Park. There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Nature Observatorio, identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, take in nature's colorful creations at Finca La Isla, and kick back and relax at La Feria Legendaria de Playa Chiquita.

For where to stay, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca sightseeing site.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Mon) early enough to travel to Panama City.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Cahuita, Nature Observatorio, Veragua Rainforest Park
Highlights from your plan
Nature Observatorio ©
Nature Observatorio
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

6
nights
Panama City, Panama

Panama City ©
Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
Get some historical perspective at Casco Viejo and Iglesia de San José. Visiting Ancon Hill and Metropolitan National Park will get you outdoors. When in Panama City, make a side trip to see Asociacion Panamericana para la Conservacion in Gamboa, approximately Gamboa away. Next up on the itinerary: wander the streets of Cinta Costera, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia del Carmen, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Bahai Temple, and get outside with Outdoor Activities.

For where to stay, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Panama City itinerary builder tool.

You can do a combination of bus, car, and flight from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Panama City in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of car and bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Panama City. In January, daily temperatures in Panama City can reach °C, while at night they dip to °C. On the 31st (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Panama City

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Outdoors

Side Trip

Asociacion Panamericana para la Conservacion
Highlights from your plan
Casco Viejo ©
Casco Viejo
Panama La Vieja ©
Panama La Vieja
Cinta Costera ©
Cinta Costera

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