17 days Tour

Costa Rica & Panama

Itinerary

Day 1-2: San Jose

Meet your group and local tour guide in San Jose, or 'Chepe' as the Ticos (Costa Ricans) call it. Don't miss the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica (national theatre) and the sweet and crispy churros (doughnuts) at Churreria Manolo's. Your trip starts on arrival in San Jose. The pre-departure meeting will be held on the morning of day 2. Please check the notice board for the time.

  • Spend free time exploring and getting acquainted with San Jose

Day 3-4: Monteverde

Do you know what a quetzal is? Apparently, it's a type of bird which is alive and well here. If, like the majority of us, you have no idea what it is, just get excited about visiting a cloud forest.

  • Climb the mountains to the Village of Monterverde
  • Journey into the Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
  • Enjoy incredible bird-watching opportunities
  • Take an 'Sky Walk' in the jungle canopy - 40 metres above ground
  • View a range of birdlife, wildlife and fauna and flora
  • Travel from the cool highland cloud forest to the dense rainforest

Day 5-6: La Fortuna - Arenal

Signs a volcano might be about to erupt: minor steam eruptions, deformed ground surfaces and the fact that your thongs have melted.

  • Stop by La Fortuna, whose main attraction is the spectacular Arenal Volcano
  • Enjoy a hike around the volcano and absorb the surrounding scenery
  • Perhaps go white-water rafting and horse riding, or set off on an optional night trek to the volcano
  • Take a dip at the waterfalls of La Catarata de Fortuna

Day 7-9: Puerto Viejo - Cahuita

Get to know your Caribbean: reggae, snorkel, surf, mountain bike, dive and meet sloths and howler monkeys at Cahuita National Park.

  • Spend three nights in the beautiful beach town of Puerto Viejo, located on the Caribbean Sea
  • Enjoy a range of optional activities including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, diving and snorkelling
  • Soak up some of the local culture, discover the local reggae or sample the indigenous handicrafts on offer
  • Take a day trip to Cahuita by public bus
  • Visit Cahuita National Park, where wildlife abounds

Day 10-11: Bocas del Toro

Take a boat ride to Colon Island. Stop giggling. There's plenty of time here to get acquainted with Panama's favourite drink, seco. It's a lot like vodka or rum, but it's about 80 proof. Mix it with milk like the locals or order a 'chichita Panama' with pineapple and grapefruit juice.

  • Cross on foot into Panama over an old train bridge (which serves as the actual border)
  • Board a public boat to the island of Colon
  • Enjoy free time on Colon Island to relax
  • Perhaps wander across to Red Frog Beach, rent a bike or go dolphin-spotting

Day 12-14: Boquete

Don't ask why we're driving you to the village of Boquete on a yellow school bus, just enjoy the randomness. If you feel you've earned a bit of pampering, head to the Caldera Hot Springs for a massage.

  • Journey on a public bus to Boquete
  • Perhaps visit the Paradise Gardens Wildlife Rescue Center, climb the rim of the Baru Volcano, take a dip in the Caldera Hot Springs or go whitewater rafting or kayaking
  • Take an informative and fun coffee tour

Day 15-17: Panama City

See the mad engineering feat of the Panama Canal. Finish things up with a Balboa beer and a final plate of yuca frita and sancocha.

Day 15

  • Travel on the Pan-American highway on a public bus to Panama City
  • Cross the Bridge of the Americas (finished in 1962) before arriving in Panama City.

Day 16

  • Visit the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Locks
  • Stop by the San Jose Church, the Plaza Bolivar and the Presidential Palace.
  • Walk around the French Quarter
  • See the Kuna Indians sell their ‘molas’ (part of their traditional costume) 
  • Perhaps jump aboard a ‘chiva’ (party bus) or head down to Calle Uruguay

Day 17

  • The trip ends today after breakfast

At A Glance

Panama Panorama

Trip Length

17 days

Trip Code

GSCP

Activities

Culture

Countries Visited

Costa Rica, Panama

Start City

San Jose, San José, Costa Rica

End City

Panama City