36 days in Costa Rica & South America Itinerary

36 days in Costa Rica & South America Itinerary

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Route & dates

36 days in Costa Rica & South America Itinerary

Start: Christchurch, New Zealand
Fly:  29​h
1
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
+2
shuttle + bus + Fly:  9​h 45​min
4
San Andres Island, Colombia
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 15​min
5
Cartagena, Colombia
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
6
Santa Marta, Colombia
— 1 night
Fly:  9​h 15​min
7
Cusco, Peru
— 3 nights
+2
Fly + foot + shuttle:  14​h 15​min
8
Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil
— 3 nights
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  6​h 15​min
9
Brasilia, Brazil
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 30​min
10
Florianopolis, Brazil
— 4 nights
Fly:  2​h 15​min
11
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
— 3 nights
Fly:  23​h 30​min
End: Christchurch, New Zealand


4
nights
Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Step off the beaten path and head to Dolphin & Whale Watching and Costa Rica Sailing Center. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Playa Avellana and Tamarindo Beach. Step out of Tamarindo with an excursion to Playa Conchal in Playa Conchal--about 38 minutes away. Spend the 4th (Mon) exploring nature at Cesar Adventure.

To find ratings, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Tamarindo trip maker website .

Christchurch, New Zealand to Tamarindo is an approximately 29-hour flight. Traveling from Christchurch to Tamarindo, you'll gain 18 hours due to the time zone difference. Expect much warmer temperatures when traveling from Christchurch in June; daily highs in Tamarindo reach 38°C and lows reach 27°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 5th (Tue) to allow time for the car ride to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Costa Rica Sailing Center, Playa Conchal, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Cesar Adventure
Find places to stay Jun 1 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

3
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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Wed): look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. On your second day here, identify plant and animal life at Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena and then identify plant and animal life at Curi Cancha Reserve.

For photos, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Monteverde trip planner .

Getting from Tamarindo to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Fri) early enough to go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks
Find places to stay Jun 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena

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.
Step out of the city life by going to Horseback Riding Tours and Ecocentro Danaus. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Ecotermales Fortuna and Lake Arenal. There's lots more to do: trek along Arenal Natura Ecological Park, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and take in the natural beauty of Baldi Hot Springs.

For ratings, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip website .

You can drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Mon) early enough to travel to San Andres Island.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Jun 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Ecotermales Fortuna ©
Ecotermales Fortuna
Lake Arenal ©
Lake Arenal
Horseback Riding Tours

3
nights
San Andres Island, Colombia

San Andres Island ©
The coral San Andres Island boasts a rich colonial history, exotic beaches, and a laidback, tropical lifestyle.
Escape the urban bustle at Cayo Bolivar and West View. Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa de Spratt Bight and Playa de San Luis. The adventure continues: explore the gorgeous colors at Aquanautas and pause for some serene contemplation at Primera Iglesia Bautista.

To find maps, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our San Andres Island trip itinerary builder app .

You can do a combination of shuttle and flight from La Fortuna de San Carlos to San Andres Island in 10 hours. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from La Fortuna de San Carlos to San Andres Island. In June, daily temperatures in San Andres Island can reach 35°C, while at night they dip to 30°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Thu) early enough to travel to Cartagena.

Things to do in San Andres Island

Parks Outdoors Nature
Find places to stay Jun 11 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
West View ©
West View
Cayo Bolivar ©
Cayo Bolivar
Playa de Spratt Bight ©
Playa de Spratt Bight

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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Scuba & Snorkeling and Torre del Reloj. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Caribe Jewelry and Emerald Museum and Museo del Oro Zenu. There's much more to do: take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia de la Trinidad, don't miss a visit to Plaza de San Diego, deepen your understanding at Plaza Santo Domingo, and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Convento La Popa de la Galera.

To see reviews, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Cartagena itinerary planning website .

Traveling by flight from San Andres Island to Cartagena takes 3.5 hours. Expect a daytime high around 38°C in June, and nighttime lows around 30°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Mon) so you can drive to Santa Marta.

Things to do in Cartagena

Wildlife Adventure Outdoors
Find places to stay Jun 14 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Torre del Reloj ©
Torre del Reloj
Scuba & Snorkeling
Caribe Jewelry and Emerald Museum ©
Caribe Jewelry and Emerald Museum

1
night
Santa Marta, Colombia

Many visitors begin their Santa Marta holiday, surrounded by urban clutter and heavy traffic, expecting little from the city in terms of historical importance.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Mon): discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

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

Drive from Cartagena to Santa Marta in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 39°C in June, and nighttime lows around 30°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Tue) so you can travel to Cusco.

Things to do in Santa Marta

Wildlife Adventure Outdoors
Find places to stay Jun 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling

3
nights
Cusco, Peru

Cusco ©
Capital of the Inca Empire for three centuries, World Heritage-listed Cusco is now a major tourist destination, drawing nearly 2 million annual tourists with its well-preserved colonial architecture and proximity to Machu Picchu.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Wed): take in the architecture and atmosphere at The Company of Jesus Church, then delve into the distant past at Sacred Valley of the Incas, and then get to know the fascinating history of San Blas. On the next day, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, then contemplate the long history of Tipon, and then explore the ancient world of Tambomachay.

To find photos, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Cusco trip itinerary tool .

You can fly from Santa Marta to Cusco in 9.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Santa Marta in June, expect Cusco to be colder, temps between 24°C and 1°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Fri) so you can travel to Armacao dos Buzios.

Things to do in Cusco

Historic Sites Adventure Outdoors

Side Trip

Sacred Valley of the Incas
Find places to stay Jun 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Sacred Valley of the Incas ©
Sacred Valley of the Incas
Tipon ©
Tipon
River Rafting & Tubing

3
nights
Armacao dos Buzios, Brazil

Armacao dos Buzios ©
Perched on the tip of a peninsula about 175 km (109 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro, the coastal town of Armacao dos Buzios attracts visitors looking to enjoy a beachside getaway without the crowds and chaos of the big city.
Explore hidden gems such as Armacao Beach and Azedinha Beach. Visit Anjos Beach and Azeda Beach for some beach relaxation. Change things up with a short trip to Praia Grande in Arraial do Cabo (about 1h 15 min away). The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Ferradura Beach.

To find where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Armacao dos Buzios holiday planner .

You can do a combination of flight and shuttle from Cusco to Armacao dos Buzios in 14.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. The time zone difference moving from Peru Time (PET) to Brasilia Time (BRT) is 2 hours. Traveling from Cusco in June, you will find days in Armacao dos Buzios are a bit warmer (30°C), and nights are much hotter (20°C). Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Tue) early enough to travel to Brasilia.

Things to do in Armacao dos Buzios

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Arraial do Cabo
Find places to stay Jun 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Armacao Beach ©
Armacao Beach
Azedinha Beach ©
Azedinha Beach
Azeda Beach ©
Azeda Beach

1
night
Brasilia, Brazil

Brasilia ©
Although it lacks the cultural flair of Rio de Janeiro and the massive urban sprawl of Sao Paulo, Brasilia holds a fascinating place in the tapestry of Brazil.
To find where to stay, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Brasilia trip itinerary website .

You can do a combination of bus and flight from Armacao dos Buzios to Brasilia in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Traveling from Armacao dos Buzios in June, expect a bit cooler with lows of 16°C in Brasilia. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Wed) early enough to travel to Florianopolis.

Things to do in Brasilia

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jun 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Templo da Boa Vontade ©
Templo da Boa Vontade

4
nights
Florianopolis, Brazil

Florianopolis ©
Divided between island and mainland, the distinctive city of Florianopolis charms visitors on first arrival with its impressive skyline.
Step out of the city life by going to Guarda do Embau Beach and Barra da Lagoa Beach. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Ribeirao da Ilha and Praia do Rosa. There's still lots to do: hike along Lagoinha do Leste and head off the coast to Campeche island.

For reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Florianopolis holiday maker tool .

You can fly from Brasilia to Florianopolis in 4.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. When traveling from Brasilia in June, plan for a bit cooler days in Florianopolis, with highs around 24°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 16°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sun) so you can travel to Rio de Janeiro.

Things to do in Florianopolis

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Praia do Rosa, Guarda do Embau Beach
Find places to stay Jun 27 — Jul 1:
Highlights from your plan
Lagoinha do Leste ©
Lagoinha do Leste
Guarda do Embau Beach ©
Guarda do Embau Beach
Ribeirao da Ilha ©
Ribeirao da Ilha

3
nights
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro ©
Bustling with samba music and all-night street parties, no city encapsulates the spirit of Brazil better than Rio de Janeiro.
Get outdoors at Praia de Grumari and Praia de Itacoatiara. We've included these beaches for you: Mirante da Prainha and Barra da Tijuca Beach. There's still lots to do: take a peaceful walk through Parque Nacional Tijuca and steep yourself in history at Parque Lage.

Plan a trip to Rio de Janeiro easily and quickly by telling Inspirock to suggest an itinerary.

You can fly from Florianopolis to Rio de Janeiro in 2.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Prepare for a bit warmer weather when traveling from Florianopolis in July: high temperatures in Rio de Janeiro hover around 30°C and lows are around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Praia de Itacoatiara
Find places to stay Jul 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Mirante da Prainha ©
Mirante da Prainha
Parque Nacional Tijuca ©
Parque Nacional Tijuca
Praia de Grumari ©
Praia de Grumari

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