21 days in Nicaragua & Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Nicaragua & Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America tour itinerary maker

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Route & dates

21 days in Nicaragua & Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Brussels, Belgium
Fly + shuttle:  18​h
1
Granada, Nicaragua
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Leon, Nicaragua
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h
4
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
+3
shuttle + bus + Fly + taxi:  7​h
5
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
7
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
shuttle + Fly:  19​h 45​min
End: Brussels, Belgium

2
nights
Granada, Nicaragua

The lakeside city of Granada has the look and feel of a historically important economic and political center, with grand colonial architecture, a unified look, and many cultural attractions.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Mon): ponder the design of Parque Colon de Granada, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Merced, pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral de Granada, then soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and finally examine the collection at Mi Museo.

For maps, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Granada trip maker site .

Brussels, Belgium to Granada is an approximately 18-hour combination of train, flight, and shuttle. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle. The time zone difference moving from Central European Time to Central Standard Time is minus 7 hours. Traveling from Brussels in September, things will get warmer in Granada: highs are around 38°C and lows about 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Tue) so you can drive to Leon.

Things to do in Granada

#Spas, #Historic Sites, #Museums
Find places to stay Sep 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Spas & Wellness
Iglesia de La Merced ©
Iglesia de La Merced
Catedral de Granada ©
Catedral de Granada

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Tue): get engrossed in the history at Museum of Legends and Traditions (Museo de Tradiciones y Leyendas), see the interesting displays at Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian, and then examine the collection at Museo de la Revolucion. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 12th (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Las Penitas, then examine the collection at Museo Ruben Dario, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Church The Recollection, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Catedral de la Asunción.

To see other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read our Leon tour planner.

Drive from Granada to Leon in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 37°C in September, and nighttime lows around 28°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Thu) early enough to go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Leon

#Museums, #Beaches, #Outdoors
Find places to stay Sep 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Catedral de la Asunción ©
Catedral de la Asunción
Playa Las Penitas ©
Playa Las Penitas
Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian ©

3
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Butterfly Conservatory and Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge. And it doesn't end there: trek along Arenal Natura Ecological Park, witness a stunning natural landmark at Los Lagos Hot Springs, get impressive views of Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano), and take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery.

To find photos, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos holiday maker tool .

Traveling by car from Leon to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 16th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

#Parks, #Nature, #Wildlife

Side Trips

Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano), Butterfly Conservatory
Find places to stay Sep 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs

4
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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Nature Observatorio and Playa Cocles. Spend the 19th (Wed) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. There's much more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Chiquita, relax in the rural setting at Chocorart, and take in nature's colorful creations at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens.

For ratings, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, use the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip itinerary planner .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of shuttle and bus. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time (CST) to Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is usually a 1 hour difference. In September, daily temperatures in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 34°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

#Outdoors, #Wildlife, #Parks

Side Trips

Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, Nature Observatorio
Find places to stay Sep 16 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles
Playa Chiquita ©
Playa Chiquita
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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 20th (Thu): relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers.

For more things to do, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read Santa Teresa trip itinerary maker app .

Traveling by combination of bus, flight, and taxi from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Santa Teresa takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus, ferry, and taxi. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Santa Teresa due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

#Beaches, #Outdoors, #Parks
Find places to stay Sep 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen
Spas & Wellness

2
nights
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

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.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Sat): have unforgettable encounters with a shark diving experience and then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco.

To see traveler tips, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Playas del Coco road trip app .

Drive from Santa Teresa to Playas del Coco in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and flight; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Expect a daytime high around 37°C in September, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 24th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

#Outdoors, #Wildlife, #Adventure

Side Trip

Potrero Beach
Find places to stay Sep 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Shark Diving
Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco ©

4
nights
Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde ©
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena and Ecological Sanctuary. Get some cultural insight at Santa Elena Skywalk and Arte Jaguar Gallery. Venture out of the city with trips to Viento Fresco Waterfall (in Tilaran) and Zipline (in Punta Arenas). Next up on the itinerary: tour the pleasant surroundings at The Bat Jungle, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), and stop by Hummingbird Gallery.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Monteverde itinerary maker app .

Drive from Playas del Coco to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Monteverde

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Zipline, Viento Fresco Waterfall
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena
Zipline
Viento Fresco Waterfall ©
Viento Fresco Waterfall

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