17 days in Central America Itinerary

17 days in Central America Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Central America Itinerary

Start: Phoenix, United States
+2
Fly + bus + shuttle:  12​h
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 30​min
3
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 1 day
Fly:  6​h 30​min
4
Panama City, Panama
— 1 night
Fly:  6​h 15​min
5
Belize City, Belize
— 1 night
Fly + Drive:  2​h
6
Cayo, Belize
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
7
Tikal National Park, Guatemala
— 1 night
Drive + Fly:  4​h 30​min
8
San Pedro, Belize
— 4 nights
Fly:  9​h 15​min
End: Phoenix, United States

2
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

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.
Step out of the city life by going to Tabacon Hot Springs and La Fortuna Waterfall. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal) and Salto. It doesn't end there: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour and take in the natural beauty of Ecotermales Fortuna.

To find reviews, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip site .

Phoenix, USA to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 12-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Mountain Standard Time (MST) to Central Standard Time (CST) is 1 hour. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) so you can drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)

1
night
Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero ©
One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Fri): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero online trip maker .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In September, daily temperatures in Tortuguero can reach 86°F, while at night they dip to 73°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Wildlife
Find places to stay Sep 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park

1
day
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio ©
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 28th (Sat): surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio.

To see photos, other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio route planner.

You can drive from Tortuguero to Manuel Antonio in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Panama City.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Find places to stay Sep 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours

1
night
Panama City, Panama

Panama City ©
Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Sun): explore the ancient world of Panama La Vieja, then get engrossed in the history at Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama, and then take a stroll through Casco Viejo. On the next day, take in the spiritual surroundings of Capilla San Jose, then don't miss a visit to Amador Causeway (Calzada de Amador), and then don't miss a visit to Panama Canal.

To find maps, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Panama City vacation maker site .

Traveling by flight from Manuel Antonio to Panama City takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. The time zone difference when traveling from Manuel Antonio to Panama City is 1 hour. In September in Panama City, expect temperatures between 87°F during the day and 76°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Mon) so you can travel to Belize City.

Things to do in Panama City

Historic Sites Neighborhoods Museums
Find places to stay Sep 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Casco Viejo ©
Casco Viejo
Panama La Vieja ©
Panama La Vieja
Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama ©

1
night
Belize City, Belize

Belize's biggest urban center, Belize City is a culturally diverse seaside destination.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Tue): browse the exhibits of St John's Cathedral, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Belize Zoo, and then take a memorable tour with Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: don't miss a visit to Independence Monument and then look for all kinds of wild species at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Belize City vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by flight from Panama City to Belize City takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and ferry; or drive. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Panama City to Belize City due to the time zone difference. In October in Belize City, expect temperatures between 86°F during the day and 75°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed) early enough to travel to Cayo.

Things to do in Belize City

Parks Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

The Belize Zoo, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
Find places to stay Sep 30 — Oct 2:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
St John's Cathedral ©
St John's Cathedral

2
nights
Cayo, Belize

Cayo ©
Holidays in Cayo offer adventure and history in equal measure, with a wealth of ancient sites and unspoiled environment to explore.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Thu): explore the ancient world of Xunantunich and then get a taste of the local shopping with Sak Tunich Art Gallery. On your second day here, explore the world behind art at Tanah Mayan Art Museum, then Head underground at Actun Tunichil Muknal, and then shop like a local with Cappello's Art Gallery.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Cayo trip planner.

Do a combination of flight and car from Belize City to Cayo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and car. In October, daily temperatures in Cayo can reach 86°F, while at night they dip to 75°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Tikal National Park.

Things to do in Cayo

Historic Sites Museums Parks
Find places to stay Oct 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Sak Tunich Art Gallery ©
Sak Tunich Art Gallery

1
night
Tikal National Park, Guatemala

Tikal National Park ©
Take a trip to Tikal National Park and discover an ancient city in the thick tropical jungle.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Sat): delve into the distant past at Tikal.

To see more things to do, photos, and tourist information, read Tikal National Park route planning site .

You can drive from Cayo to Tikal National Park in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) early enough to travel to San Pedro.

Things to do in Tikal National Park

Historic Sites Parks Nature
Find places to stay Oct 4 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Tikal ©
Tikal

4
nights
San Pedro, Belize

San Pedro ©
San Pedro evolved from small fishing village and now represents one of the most visited locations in Belize.
Get outdoors at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and River Rafting & Tubing. Popular historic sites such as Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve and Belizean Arts are in your itinerary. The adventure continues: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour and cast your line with a fishing tour.

To see where to stay and tourist information, use the San Pedro trip maker website .

Traveling by combination of car and flight from Tikal National Park to San Pedro takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. October in San Pedro sees daily highs of 86°F and lows of 75°F at night. On the 9th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Pedro

Wildlife Parks Tours

Side Trip

Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve
Find places to stay Oct 5 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Hol Chan Marine Reserve ©
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Scuba & Snorkeling
Fishing Charters & Tours

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