54 days in South America, Central America & Mexico Itinerary

54 days in South America, Central America & Mexico Itinerary

Created using Inspirock trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Cartagena, Colombia
— 6 nights
Fly to Tocumen International Airport, Drive to San Blas Islands
2
San Blas Islands, Panama
— 6 nights
Subway
3
Panama City, Panama
— 2 nights
Fly
4
Bocas Town, Panama
— 2 nights
+4
Fly to San Jose, Bus to Tica Bus Office, Foot to San Jose, Bus to Pulmitan de Liberia, Shuttle to San Juan del Sur
5
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
Bus to San Jorge, Ferry to Moyogalpa
6
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
Drive
7
San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala
— 5 nights
Drive
8
Antigua, Guatemala
— 1 night
Fly
9
Flores, Guatemala
— 3 nights
Drive
10
Caye Caulker, Belize
— 4 nights
+2
Ferry to San Pedro, Fly to Orange Walk, Bus to Tulum
11
Tulum, Mexico
— 6 nights
Fly
12
San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
— 3 nights
Fly
13
Oaxaca, Mexico
— 2 nights
Fly
14
Mexico City, Mexico
— 3 nights
Fly

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Cartagena, Colombia

— 6 nights

City of Heroes

The site of the continent's first Spanish colony, Cartagena retains much of its colonial flavor thanks to a World Heritage-listed old town, encircled by old walls and protected by imposing fortresses.
Get outdoors at Playa Puntilla and Playa de Bocagrande. Get some cultural insight at Plaza de San Pedro Claver and Photography Tours. Explore Cartagena's surroundings by going to Aviario Nacional de Colombia (in Isla Baru) and Castillo de Salgar (in Puerto Colombia). And it doesn't end there: contemplate the long history of Plaza de la Proclamacion, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de Santo Toribio, admire the striking features of Cathedral Basilica of St. Catherine of Alexandria, and wander the streets of Centro Historico.

For traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Cartagena route site.

Sydney, Australia to Cartagena is an approximately 28-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time to Colombia Standard Time is minus 15 hours. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Sydney in January; daily highs in Cartagena reach 36°C and lows reach 28°C. You'll have a few hours on the 23rd (Thu) to wrap things up before traveling to San Blas Islands.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites · Outdoors · Neighborhoods · Parks

Side Trips

San Blas Islands, Panama

— 6 nights
San Blas Islands represent the offshore area of the indigenous province of Guna Yala.
Step off the beaten path and head to Isla Pelicano and Isla Chichime. There's still lots to do: head off the coast to Isla Perro.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, use the San Blas Islands trip itinerary planning site.

Explore your travel options from Cartagena to San Blas Islands with the Route module. In January in San Blas Islands, expect temperatures between 38°C during the day and 26°C at night. On the 29th (Wed), you'll travel to Panama City.

Things to do in San Blas Islands

Nature · Parks · Wildlife · Beaches

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.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Wed): pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de la Merced, kick back and relax at Playa Veracruz, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Bahai Temple.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Panama City trip maker website.

Take a subway from San Blas Islands to Panama City in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In January, daytime highs in Panama City are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. You'll have a few hours on the 31st (Fri) to wrap things up before traveling to Bocas Town.

Things to do in Panama City

Historic Sites · Parks · Beaches · Outdoors

Bocas Town, Panama

— 2 nights
The colorful and relaxed Bocas Town has a welcoming atmosphere, with the modestly sized urban area showcasing typical Caribbean clapboard houses and home to a mixed community from across the world.
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Fri): relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas. On the next day, kick back and relax at Wizard Beach.

To see reviews, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Bocas Town vacation maker tool.

You can fly from Panama City to Bocas Town in 2.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of bus and ferry. Prepare for much colder weather when traveling from Panama City in January: high temperatures in Bocas Town hover around 13°C and lows are around 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun) to allow time to travel to San Juan del Sur.

Things to do in Bocas Town

Outdoors · Wildlife · Museums · Tours

Side Trip

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

— 3 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.
The Art Warehouse and Iglesia de Xalteva are good opportunities to explore the local culture. You'll get in some beach time at Playa el Coco and Popoyo Beach. Go for a jaunt from San Juan del Sur to Granada to see Zipline about 1h 40 min away. The adventure continues: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, don't miss a visit to Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia, and stroll through La Flor Beach Natural Reserve.

For traveler tips, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the San Juan del Sur online road trip planner.

Traveling by combination of flight, bus, and shuttle from Bocas Town to San Juan del Sur takes 13.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry, car, and bus; or do a combination of ferry, bus, and car. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST), which is usually a -1 hour difference. When traveling from Bocas Town in February, plan for a bit warmer days and slightly colder nights in San Juan del Sur: temperatures range from 36°C by day to 28°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Isla de Ometepe.

Things to do in San Juan del Sur

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trips

Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

— 3 nights
Isla de Ometepe may be small in size, but it boasts two large volcanoes that dominate its landscape and influence the local lifestyle.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Fri): take a stroll through Los Ramos, get in on the family fun at Chico Largo Adventure, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Punta Jesus Maria. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see the interesting displays at Museo Ometepe, explore the activities along Rio Istian, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Cascada de San Ramon.

To find maps, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Isla de Ometepe trip planner.

Traveling by combination of bus and ferry from San Juan del Sur to Isla de Ometepe takes 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) so you can travel to San Lucas Toliman.

Things to do in Isla de Ometepe

Parks · Nature · Neighborhoods · Theme Parks

San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala

— 5 nights
San Lucas Tolimán is a municipality in the Sololá department of Guatemala. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Colonial Church and Church of St Francis. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Tzantizotz Nature Reserve and Parque Ecologico Chuiraxamolo. Explore San Lucas Toliman's surroundings by going to Panajachel (Museo Arqueologico Azul Maya, Museo Lacustre de Atitlan, &more), Cojolya Museum and Store (in Santiago Atitlan) and Cerro de Oro (in Solola). There's much more to do: stroll through El Pico de Cielo, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia Catolica de San Juan La Laguna, look for gifts at Aj Toooneel Ixoq, and experience rural life at Cafe La Voz.

To see where to stay, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the San Lucas Toliman online journey planner.

Drive from Isla de Ometepe to San Lucas Toliman in 17.5 hours. Expect a daytime high around 28°C in February, and nighttime lows around 15°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Fri) early enough to travel to Antigua.

Things to do in San Lucas Toliman

Parks · Museums · Nature · Outdoors

Side Trips

Antigua, Guatemala

— 1 night
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.
To see photos, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Antigua tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from San Lucas Toliman to Antigua takes 2.5 hours. In February in Antigua, expect temperatures between 28°C during the day and 15°C at night. You will leave for Flores on the 15th (Sat).

Things to do in Antigua

Tours · Outdoors · Shopping · Nightlife

Flores, Guatemala

— 3 nights
An island town, capital of the landlocked region of Peten, attractive Flores features pleasant architecture that complements the shimmering appearance of the surrounding lake.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Cultural Triangle Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park and Sitio Arqueologico Tayazal. Take a break from the city and head to Cerro Biotope Cahui and Actún Can. Change things up with a short trip to Dos Pilas in Peten (about 44 minutes away). There's still lots to do: see the interesting displays at Museo del Islote Santa Barbara, explore the ancient world of Parque arqueologico uaxactun, get outside with Mirador del Rey Canek, and pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral de Flores.

To find more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Flores online travel route planner.

Traveling by flight from Antigua to Flores takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or drive. Traveling from Antigua in February, plan for a bit warmer nights in Flores, with lows around 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Tue) early enough to travel to Caye Caulker.

Things to do in Flores

Historic Sites · Parks · Nature · Outdoors

Side Trips

Caye Caulker, Belize

— 4 nights
At just under 8 km (5 mi) long and 1.6 km (1 mi) wide, the limestone coral island of Caye Caulker offers a small but perfectly formed getaway 32 km (20 mi) offshore from Belize City.
Explore hidden gems such as Fishing Charters & Tours and Spas. Take a break from the city and head to Shark Ray Alley and The Estuary of Caye Caulker. Venture out of the city with trips to Museum of Belize (in Belize City) and San Pedro (Belizean Arts, Belize Chocolate Company, &more). There's still lots to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Secret Beach Belize, kick back and relax at The Split, take in the exciting artwork at Aria Kat Art, and surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour.

To find photos, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, read our Caye Caulker trip itinerary planning website.

Traveling by car from Flores to Caye Caulker takes 5 hours. Traveling from Flores in February, expect a bit warmer with lows of 25°C in Caye Caulker. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) early enough to travel to Tulum.

Things to do in Caye Caulker

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Shopping

Side Trips

Tulum, Mexico

— 6 nights
The only Mayan site built to overlook the ocean, Tulum remains a coastal paradise preserving the last vestiges of a pre-Hispanic civilization.
Museo de la Prehistoria Parque Dos Ojos and Art Gallery Miniature are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Step out of the city life by going to Paradise Beach and Climbing Tours. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tulum: La Playa Xpuha (in Xpu-Ha), Cozumel (Punta Sur Eco Beach Park & Fishing Charters & Tours) and Scuba & Snorkeling (in Puerto Aventuras). And it doesn't end there: find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, head outdoors with Samula Cenote, view the masterpieces at Balam Art On Feathers, and explore the activities along Parque Dos Ojos.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, use the Tulum attractions planner.

You can do a combination of ferry, flight, and bus from Caye Caulker to Tulum in 8 hours. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time is 1 hour. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Caye Caulker in February since evenings lows in Tulum dip to 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) so you can travel to San Cristobal de las Casas.

Things to do in Tulum

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Beaches

Side Trips

San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

— 3 nights
San Cristóbal de las Casas, also known by its native Tzotzil name, Jovel, is a town and municipality located in the Central Highlands region of the Mexican state of Chiapas. Get some cultural insight at Steps in San Cristobal and Museo Jtatik Samuel. Step off the beaten path and head to Museo de Trajes Regionales and Spas. Step out of San Cristobal de las Casas to go to Tuxtla Gutierrez and see Mirador Manos Que Imploran, which is approximately 1h 30 min away. There's still lots to do: examine the collection at Museo Centro Cultural Altos de Chiapas, ride a horse along El Rancho Evergreen Guest Ranch, appreciate the extensive heritage of Historic Center, and make a trip to El Arcotete Parque Ecoturístico.

To see ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read San Cristobal de las Casas trip planning tool.

Traveling by flight from Tulum to San Cristobal de las Casas takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. While traveling from Tulum, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in San Cristobal de las Casas, ranging from highs of 38°C to lows of 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) so you can travel to Oaxaca.

Things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas

Museums · Outdoors · Parks · Trails

Side Trip

Oaxaca, Mexico

— 2 nights
Capital city of the eponymous state, Oaxaca relies heavily on its colonial charm, its core a maze of tree-shaded alleys flanked by photogenic mansions, government buildings, and old churches.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Mon): trek along Coyote Aventuras, then view the masterpieces at Voces de Copal, then explore the world behind art at Alvarez Bravo Photographic Center, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Del Amor. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the ancient world of Yagul, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and then trot along with a tour on horseback.

To find traveler tips, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Oaxaca trip planner.

Traveling by flight from San Cristobal de las Casas to Oaxaca takes 8 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a bit cooler evenings in Oaxaca when traveling from San Cristobal de las Casas in March, with lows around 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) early enough to travel to Mexico City.

Things to do in Oaxaca

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Wildlife

Side Trips

Mexico City, Mexico

— 3 nights

City of Palaces

Breathtakingly large, Mexico City provides a home for almost 9 million people living in nearly 1,700 distinct neighborhoods.
Get outdoors at Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl National Park and Grutas La Estrella. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Museo Trick Eye and Playa La Virgen. Go for a jaunt from Mexico City to Amecameca to see Paso de Cortes about 1h 30 min away. There's lots more to do: stop by Tlalpan, stroll through Lago del Bosque de Chapultepec, take in the pleasant sights at Plaza San Jacinto, and take a stroll through Colonia Roma.

To see where to stay, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Mexico City online attractions planner.

Traveling by flight from Oaxaca to Mexico City takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. When traveling from Oaxaca in March, plan for slightly colder days in Mexico City, with highs around 28°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 12°C. You'll have a few hours on the 7th (Sat) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Mexico City

Parks · Nature · Neighborhoods · Outdoors

Side Trips

Colombia travel guide

4
Historic Sites · Landmarks · Specialty Museums
Diverse in terms of landscapes, climates, and cultures, Colombia remains one of South America's least explored tourist destinations, overshadowed by its more popular southern neighbors. Combining the best of what the continent has to offer, a vacation in Colombia allows you to blend outdoor adventures with tours of picture-perfect cobblestoned towns dating back to the colonial era. Tourists on a Colombia holiday can easily hop from sun-kissed coastal spots to the hilly coffee-growing region, where thriving plantations quickly give way to a landscape of snow-covered volcanic peaks and the paramo--alpine ecosystems sheltering some of the rarest plants growing above the continuous forest line.

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.

Bocas del Toro Province travel guide

4
Scuba & Snorkeling · Beaches · Outdoor Activities
Bocas del Toro is a province of Panama. Its area is 4,643.9 square kilometers, comprising the mainland and nine main islands. The province consists of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Bahía Almirante (Almirante Bay), Chiriquí Lagoon, and adjacent mainland. The capital is the city of Bocas del Toro (or Bocas Town) on Isla Colón (Colón Island). Other major cities or towns include Almirante and Changuinola. The province has a population of 125,461 as of 2010.Christopher Columbus and his crew first visited the area in 1502. Bocas del Toro borders the Caribbean Sea to the north, Limón Province of Costa Rica to the west, Chiriquí Province to the south, and Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca to the east. The Río Sixaola forms part of the border with Costa Rica. An old railroad bridge spans the river between Guabito and Sixaola, Costa Rica. The bridge is a border crossing used by tourists going between destinations in Bocas del Toro and Costa Rica.

Source

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.

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.

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.

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.