21 days in Panama & Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Panama & Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip planner

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Route & dates

21 days in Panama & Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Vancouver, Canada
Fly:  13​h 15​min
1
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
4
Montezuma, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h
5
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 15​min
6
David, Panama
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  3​h 30​min
7
Bocas Town, Panama
— 2 nights
+3
ferry + taxi + Fly + Drive:  5​h 45​min
8
Santiago de Veraguas, Panama
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
9
El Valle de Anton, Panama
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
10
Panama City, Panama
— 3 nights
Fly:  12​h
End: Vancouver, Canada

3
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.
Get a sense of the local culture at Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum and Metal Church. Discover out-of-the-way places like Bosque de la Hoja and Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co.. There's lots more to do: enjoy the scholastic atmosphere at Universidad de Costa Rica, examine the collection at INBioparque, and get interesting insight from Tee Times Costa Rica Golf Tours.

To see maps, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the San Jose road trip planner

Vancouver, Canada to San Jose is an approximately 13.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Pacific Standard Time to Central Standard Time is 2 hours. In January, San Jose is much hotter than Vancouver - with highs of 30°C and lows of 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 13th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

#Breweries, #Golf, #Tours

Side Trips

Tee Times Costa Rica Golf Tours, INBioparque, Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum, Bosque de la Hoja, Metal Church
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co. ©
Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co.
Metal Church ©
Metal Church
Bosque de la Hoja ©
Bosque de la Hoja

3
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.
Get outdoors at Venado Caves and Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Catedral de Ciudad Quesada and Wood and Art Gallery. There's lots more to do: get interesting insight from Tours, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and stop by Souvenir Leo.

To find ratings, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos travel planner

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Playa Hermosa.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

#Wildlife, #Parks, #Tours

Side Trips

Venado Caves, Catedral de Ciudad Quesada
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Venado Caves ©
Venado Caves
Catedral de Ciudad Quesada ©
Catedral de Ciudad Quesada

3
nights
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

Playa Hermosa ©
We've included these beaches for you: Playa Conchal and Playa Hermosa. Get in touch with nature at El Viejo Wetlands and River Rafting & Tubing. Get out of town with these interesting Playa Hermosa side-trips: Church of La Ermita La Agonia (in Liberia) and Costa Rica Sailing Center (in Playa Potrero).

Start your trip to Playa Hermosa by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Playa Hermosa takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle, bus, and taxi. January in Playa Hermosa sees daily highs of 38°C and lows of 25°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Montezuma.

Things to do in Playa Hermosa

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Tours

Side Trips

Liberia, Costa Rica Sailing Center, Playa Conchal, Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
River Rafting & Tubing
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands

1
night
Montezuma, Costa Rica

Montezuma ©
With a scenic position on a sheltered bay, Montezuma remains one of Costa Rica's quieter destinations, attracting mostly backpackers and other explorers averse to making detailed travel plans.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Sat): look for all kinds of wild species at Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia.

Plan my day in Montezuma using traveler tips and tourist information provided by Inspirock.

Getting from Playa Hermosa to Montezuma by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and flight; or do a combination of bus, taxi, and ferry. On the 20th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Montezuma

#Wildlife, #Parks
Find places to stay Jan 19 — 20:
Highlights from your plan

1
night
San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose ©
To find ratings, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the San Jose trip planner

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Montezuma to San Jose in 2.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or drive. On the 21st (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to David.

Things to do in San Jose

#Museums, #Shopping
Find places to stay Jan 20 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Chieton Moren ©
Chieton Moren

2
nights
David, Panama

David ©
A base for exploring the west of the country and further afield, David benefits from the Pan-American Highway going right through town, linking it to cities in the east of Panama, and Costa Rica.
On the 22nd (Mon), identify plant and animal life at Isla Bolanos and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Catedral San Jose De David. On the next day, look for gifts at Chox Artisan Chocolate, get outside with Mirador Adventures, S.A., and then browse for treasures at The Zapadora.

To find photos, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the David day trip planner

Drive from San Jose to David in 6.5 hours. Traveling from San Jose to David, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Traveling from San Jose in January, things will get a bit warmer in David: highs are around 38°C and lows about 26°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Tue) so you can travel to Bocas Town.

Things to do in David

#Outdoors, #Wildlife, #Parks

Side Trips

Boquete, Isla Bolanos
Find places to stay Jan 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Mirador Adventures, S.A. ©
Mirador Adventures, S.A.
Isla Bolanos ©
Isla Bolanos
Catedral San Jose De David ©
Catedral San Jose De David

2
nights
Bocas Town, Panama

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 24th (Wed): relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, then see the interesting displays at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To see photos, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Bocas Town travel route website

You can do a combination of flight, taxi, and ferry from David to Bocas Town in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and flight; or fly. In January, Bocas Town is cooler than David - with highs of 10°C and lows of 10°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Santiago de Veraguas.

Things to do in Bocas Town

#Wildlife, #Tours, #Adventure
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Spas & Wellness
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute ©

1
night
Santiago de Veraguas, Panama

Santiago de Veraguas ©
Santiago de Veraguas is the capital of the province of Veraguas, in the Republic of Panama, and the district or municipality of the same name. Start off your visit on the 25th (Thu): pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de San Francisco de la Montana. Keep things going the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Torio Beach and then kick back and relax at Playa Santa Catalina.

For maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, read Santiago de Veraguas trip planner

Traveling by combination of flight and car from Bocas Town to Santiago de Veraguas takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry, taxi, flight, and car. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST), which is usually a -1 hour difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Fri) to allow time to drive to El Valle de Anton.

Things to do in Santiago de Veraguas

#Beaches, #Parks, #Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Iglesia de San Francisco de la Montana ©

1
night
El Valle de Anton, Panama

El Valle de Anton
Surrounded by lush forests and spectacular mountains, El Valle de Anton serves as the perfect spot to enjoy some of Panama's finest natural attractions.
For reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the El Valle de Anton trip itinerary maker app

You can drive from Santiago de Veraguas to El Valle de Anton in 2.5 hours. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time (CST) to Eastern Standard Time (EST) is 1 hour. In January, daily temperatures in El Valle de Anton can reach 36°C, while at night they dip to 28°C. You'll set off for Panama City on the 27th (Sat).

Things to do in El Valle de Anton

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Tours
Find places to stay Jan 26 — 27:

3
nights
Panama City, Panama

Panama City ©
Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Punta Culebra Nature Center and Ocean Sun Casino. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Casco Viejo and Iglesia de la Merced. The adventure continues: explore the ancient world of El Arco Chato, enjoy the sand and surf at Isla Santa Catalina, and look for gifts at La Praline Chocolatier.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Panama City route planner

Traveling by car from El Valle de Anton to Panama City takes 2.5 hours. January in Panama City sees daily highs of 38°C and lows of 26°C at night. You will leave for home on the 30th (Tue).

Things to do in Panama City

#Historic Sites, #Parks, #Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Isla Santa Catalina
Find places to stay Jan 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Iglesia de la Merced ©
Iglesia de la Merced
Punta Culebra Nature Center ©
Punta Culebra Nature Center
Isla Santa Catalina ©
Isla Santa Catalina

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