25 days in Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama City Itinerary

25 days in Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama City Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America travel route planner

This plan was created by another inspirock user.  Make it your plan

Route & dates

25 days in Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama City Itinerary

Start: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Fly:  14​h
1
Alajuela, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  9​h
2
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Granada, Nicaragua
— 2 nights
shuttle + Fly:  25​h
4
Big Corn Island, Nicaragua
— 8 nights
Fly:  11​h 30​min
5
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
+2
shuttle + bus + Fly:  6​h 30​min
7
Panama City, Panama
— 3 nights
Fly:  2​h 15​min
8
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Fly:  13​h
End: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1
night
Alajuela, Costa Rica

Alajuela ©
On the 12th (Tue), shop like a local with Souvenir Museum, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Cathedral, and then stop by Plaza Momentum Lindora.

To see maps, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Alajuela day trip planner .

Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Alajuela is an approximately 14-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Central European Time to Central Standard Time is minus 7 hours. Expect much warmer temperatures when traveling from Amsterdam in December; daily highs in Alajuela reach 32°C and lows reach 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Wed) so you can travel to San Juan del Sur.

Things to do in Alajuela

Shopping Historic Sites Museums

Side Trip

Plaza Momentum Lindora
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Plaza Momentum Lindora ©
Plaza Momentum Lindora
Souvenir Museum ©
Souvenir Museum

4
nights
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur ©
Set in a crescent-shaped bay, San Juan del Sur has become known as a popular surfing spot and coastal holiday destination for Nicaraguan families and international visitors alike.
You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at La Flor Beach Natural Reserve and San Juan del Sur Beach. Discover out-of-the-way places like Museum El Ceibo and Zipline. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Juan del Sur: Museo Ometepe (in Altagracia) and Los Ramos (in Isla de Ometepe). There's much more to do: make a trip to Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia, browse the collection at San Juan del Sur Library, kick back and relax at Playa el Coco Vacation Rentals, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Popoyo Beach.

For traveler tips, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the San Juan del Sur trip itinerary builder tool .

You can drive from Alajuela to San Juan del Sur in 5 hours. Traveling from Alajuela in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in San Juan del Sur, with lows of 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Sun) early enough to take a shuttle to Granada.

Things to do in San Juan del Sur

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Popoyo Beach, Museum El Ceibo, Museo Ometepe, Los Ramos
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
La Flor Beach Natural Reserve ©
La Flor Beach Natural Reserve
Zipline
Popoyo Beach ©
Popoyo Beach

2
nights
Granada, Nicaragua

Granada ©
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 18th (Mon): admire the striking features of Palacio Episcopal, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, look for gifts at Soy Nica, then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Merced, and finally examine the collection at ChocoMuseo.

To see where to stay, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Granada trip planner.

You can take a shuttle from San Juan del Sur to Granada in 1.5 hours. Another option is to drive. In December, plan for daily highs up to 38°C, and evening lows to 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Tue) so you can travel to Big Corn Island.

Things to do in Granada

Historic Sites Spas Museums
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Iglesia de La Merced ©
Iglesia de La Merced
Soy Nica ©
Soy Nica
ChocoMuseo Granada ©
ChocoMuseo Granada

8
nights
Big Corn Island, Nicaragua

The larger of the two islands, Big Corn Island offers a laid-back atmosphere and tropical island scenery.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Scuba & Snorkeling and nautilus corn island.

Discover how to plan a Big Corn Island trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

You can do a combination of bus, car, and ferry from Granada to Big Corn Island in 25 hours. Traveling from Granada in December, you will find days in Big Corn Island are little chillier (34°C), and nights are about the same (28°C). On the 28th (Thu), you'll travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Big Corn Island

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Thu): stop by Chocolatería Sibú, take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, and then stop by Chieton Moren. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 29th (Fri): catch all the local highlights with Tee Times Costa Rica Golf Tours and then cruise along Valle Dorado.

To see ratings, maps, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Big Corn Island to San Jose. Traveling from Big Corn Island in December, expect San Jose to be a bit cooler, temps between 30°C and 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Fri) early enough to travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Outdoors Tours Golf

Side Trips

Tee Times Costa Rica Golf Tours, Chocolatería Sibú
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Jade Museum ©
Jade Museum
Chocolatería Sibú ©
Chocolatería Sibú

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Sat): take in the exciting artwork at Wood and Art Gallery, take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery, then stop by Souvenir Leo, and finally take in the natural beauty of Paradise Hot Springs. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 31st (Sun): let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour and then admire the natural beauty at Arenal Natura Ecological Park.

To find reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos tour itinerary planning app .

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. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Panama City.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Outdoors Parks Tours
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

3
nights
Panama City, Panama

Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
On the 1st (Mon), get interesting insight from Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Playa Las Lajas and then buy something for everyone on your list at Metromall Panama.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Panama City fast, fun, and easy.

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Panama City takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight; or drive. The time zone difference when traveling from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Panama City is 1 hour. Expect a daytime high around 37°C in December, and nighttime lows around 27°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) to allow time to travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Panama City

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Las Lajas, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Playa Las Lajas ©
Playa Las Lajas
Metromall Panama ©
Metromall Panama

1
night
San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose ©
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Wed): get engrossed in the history at National Museum (Museo Nacional), take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Toucan Rescue Ranch. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the masterpieces at Precolumbian Gold Museum and then indulge your thirst for a good beer at Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co..

To see ratings, photos, maps, and tourist information, use the San Jose trip site .

Traveling by flight from Panama City to San Jose takes 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. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Panama City in January: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 30°C and lows are around 22°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Thu) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Breweries Parks

Side Trip

Toucan Rescue Ranch
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
National Museum (Museo Nacional) ©
National Museum (Museo Nacional)
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu

Similar Plans

29 days in South America & Central America BY A USER FROM COLOMBIA January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 30 days in United States & San Jose BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 5 days in San Jose BY A USER FROM COSTA RICA January, teens, popular sights PREFERENCES: January, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 4 days in Santa Ana & San Jose BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, popular sights PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 1 day in San Jose BY A USER FROM CANADA January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 3 days in San Jose BY A USER FROM COSTA RICA February, popular sights PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 3 days in San Jose BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 10 days in Province of Guanacaste & San Jose BY A USER FROM CANADA January, popular sights PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 12 days in Argentina, San Jose & Montevideo BY A USER FROM COSTA RICA February, popular sights PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in San Jose BY A USER FROM BELGIUM December, culture, historic sites, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, culture, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 21 days in San Jose BY A USER FROM CANADA December, outdoors, beaches, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM CANADA December, teens, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, teens, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans