15 days in Colombia, Panama City & San Jose Itinerary

15 days in Colombia, Panama City & San Jose Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in Colombia, Panama City & San Jose Itinerary

Start: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Fly:  20​h 45​min
1
Barranquilla, Colombia
— 1 night
2
Cartagena, Colombia
— 4 nights
bus:  6​h
3
Panama City, Panama
— 2 nights
train + bus:  13​h 45​min
4
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Fly:  30​h
End: Sao Paulo, Brazil

1
night
Barranquilla, Colombia

Barranquilla ©
An industrial port city on Colombia's Caribbean coast, Barranquilla represents the fourth-most populous city in the country.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Fri): steep yourself in history at Castillo de Salgar, make a trip to Malecon Leon Caridi, then make a trip to Plaza de la Paz - John Paul II, and finally don't miss a visit to Todomono.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, use the Barranquilla trip planner .

Sao Paulo, Brazil to Barranquilla is an approximately 21-hour flight. You can also drive. The time zone changes from Brasilia Time (BRT) to Colombia Time (COT), which is usually a -2 hour difference. Prepare for a bit warmer weather when traveling from Sao Paulo in December: high temperatures in Barranquilla hover around 38°C and lows are around 28°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) early enough to go by car to Cartagena.

Things to do in Barranquilla

Historic Sites Shopping

Side Trip

Castillo de Salgar
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Castillo de Salgar ©
Castillo de Salgar
Plaza de la Paz - John Paul II ©
Plaza de la Paz - John Paul II
Todomono ©
Todomono

4
nights
Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena ©
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.
Change things up with a short trip to Playa Blanca in Isla Baru (about 1h 05 min away). Spend the 23rd (Sun) among aquatic life with a scuba or snorkeling tour. There's still lots to do: explore the historical opulence of San Felipe de Barajas Castle, make a trip to La Popa Monastery, get engrossed in the history at Museo del Oro Zenu, and gain insight at Plaza Santo Domingo.

To find more things to do, photos, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Cartagena vacation planner .

Traveling by car from Barranquilla to Cartagena takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. December in Cartagena sees daily highs of 37°C and lows of 29°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Cartagena

Outdoors Historic Sites Tours

Side Trip

Playa Blanca
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
San Felipe de Barajas Castle ©
San Felipe de Barajas Castle
Playa Blanca ©
Playa Blanca
Scuba & Snorkeling

2
nights
Panama City, Panama

Panama City ©
Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
Panama City is known for historic sites, shopping, museums, nature, and outdoors. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: don't miss a visit to Panama Canal, take an in-depth tour of Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama, stroll through Isla Santa Catalina, and appreciate the extensive heritage of Casco Viejo.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Panama City trip builder website .

Traveling by flight from Cartagena to Panama City takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of ferry and taxi. December in Panama City sees daily highs of 37°C and lows of 27°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Fri) early enough to travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Panama City

Parks Historic Sites Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Isla Santa Catalina
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Panama Canal ©
Panama Canal
Punta Culebra Nature Center ©
Punta Culebra Nature Center
Isla Santa Catalina ©
Isla Santa Catalina

4
nights
San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose ©
A trip to San Jose, the capital, commercial center, and cultural hub of Costa Rica, gives you a chance to experience the lively atmosphere and rich cultural past of this vibrant country.
Change things up with these side-trips from San Jose: La Paz Waterfall Gardens (in Vara Blanca) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). The adventure continues: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Costarricense, get engrossed in the history at National Museum (Museo Nacional), and view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu.

For traveler tips, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our San Jose day trip planner .

You can fly from Panama City to San Jose in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Panama City to San Jose. Traveling from Panama City in December, things will get little chillier in San Jose: highs are around 30°C and lows about 22°C. On the 2nd (Wed), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trips

Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 2:
Highlights from your plan
La Paz Waterfall Gardens ©
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
River Rafting & Tubing

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