45 days in Nicaragua & Costa Rica Itinerary

45 days in Nicaragua & Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America travel route builder
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Fly to Augusto C. Sandino (Managua) International Airport, Drive to Esteli
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Esteli, Nicaragua
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Diriamba, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Tola, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
Drive
4
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
— 6 nights
Bus to San Jorge, Ferry to Isla de Ometepe
5
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
— 5 nights
+2
Bus to Barrio Lourdes, Foot to Ciudad Quesada, Bus to El Castillo
6
El Castillo, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
Drive
7
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive
8
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Drive
9
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive
10
Quepos, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Taxi
11
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Drive
12
Cahuita, Costa Rica
— 2 nights

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Esteli, Nicaragua — 4 nights

Sitting up in the north central highlands, Esteli enjoys a fairly mild climate throughout the year.
Go for a jaunt from Esteli to Somoto to see Cañón de Somoto about 1h 40 min away. There's much more to do: stroll through Reserva Natural Miraflor, take in the dramatic scenery at Esteli Waterfall, and hike along El Jalacate.

For ratings, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read our Esteli tour planner.

Orlando, USA to Esteli is an approximately 11.5-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST), which is usually a -1 hour difference. Expect little chillier temperatures when traveling from Orlando in September; daily highs in Esteli reach 80°F and lows reach 67°F. You'll set off for Diriamba on the 24th (Fri).
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Parks · Nature · Trails · Wildlife
Side Trip
Find places to stay Sep 20 — 24:
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Diriamba, Nicaragua — 3 nights

Diriamba is a municipality in the Carazo department of Nicaragua, with a population of 57,542 (2005). Kids will enjoy Chocoyero-El Brujo Natural Reserve and Gaia Estate. Step out of Diriamba to go to San Rafael del Sur and see Playa de Pochomil, which is approximately 1h 5 min away. Next up on the itinerary: take in the natural beauty of Hervideros de San Jacinto and enjoy the sand and surf at Playa La Boquita.

To see where to stay, photos, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Diriamba trip planner.

Drive from Esteli to Diriamba in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 27th (Mon), you're off to Tola.
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Parks · Wildlife · Beaches · Outdoors
Side Trips
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 27:
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Tola, Nicaragua — 3 nights

Tola is a municipality in the Rivas department of Nicaragua. Bring the kids along to Playa Redonda and Popoyo Beach. Explore Tola's surroundings by going to Playa y Cuevas Punta de Piedra (in Cardenas) and Museo de Antropologia e Historia (in Rivas).

For traveler tips, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Tola trip planning app.

You can drive from Diriamba to Tola in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, shuttle, and taxi; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Thu) to allow time for the car ride to San Juan del Sur.
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Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Nature
Side Trips
Find places to stay Sep 27 — 30:
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San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua — 6 nights

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.
Nica Sail & Surf The Catamaran has been added to your itinerary. Kids will enjoy La Flor Beach Natural Reserve and San Juan del Sur Beach. And it doesn't end there: head outdoors with Da' Flying Frog Extreme Adventure, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa el Coco, don't miss a visit to Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers.

For where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the San Juan del Sur trip maker tool.

Traveling by car from Tola to San Juan del Sur takes an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. In September, daily temperatures in San Juan del Sur can reach 87°F, while at night they dip to 77°F. You'll set off for Isla de Ometepe on the 6th (Wed).
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Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife
Find places to stay Sep 30 — Oct 6:
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Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua — 5 nights

Isla de Ometepe may be small in size, but it boasts two large volcanoes that dominate its landscape and influence the local lifestyle.
Kids will enjoy Volcan Concepcion and Laguna Charco Verde. There's much more to do: find something for the whole family at Chico Largo Adventure, examine the collection at Museo Ometepe, get impressive views of Volcan Maderas, and step off the mainland to explore Isla Ometepe.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, use the Isla de Ometepe trip itinerary site.

Do a combination of bus and ferry from San Juan del Sur to Isla de Ometepe in 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 11th (Mon) to allow time for travel to El Castillo.
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Parks · Nature · Beaches · Outdoors
Find places to stay Oct 6 — 11:
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El Castillo, Nicaragua — 3 nights

El Castillo is known for parks, sightseeing, and wildlife. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: don't miss a visit to Castillo de la Inmaculada Concepción and stroll through Reserva Silvestre Privada Montecristo.

To find reviews, photos, and tourist information, go to the El Castillo road trip planning website.

You can take a bus from Isla de Ometepe to El Castillo in 8.5 hours. On the 14th (Thu), you're off to Playas del Coco.
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Wildlife · Parks
Side Trip
Find places to stay Oct 11 — 14:
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Playas del Coco, Costa Rica — 3 nights

Coco Beach

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.
Attractions like Playa Conchal and Playa Hermosa make great kid-friendly stops. Change things up with these side-trips from Playas del Coco: Costa Rica'n Art Craft (in Liberia) and Rio Negro Hot Springs (in Rincon de La Vieja). There's much more to do: get impressive views of Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and stop by Cata Chocolate.

To find where to stay, maps, photos, and other tourist information, use the Playas del Coco trip planner.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from El Castillo to Playas del Coco. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.
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Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Nature
Side Trips
Find places to stay Oct 14 — 17:
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Monteverde, Costa Rica — 5 nights

Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Your day by day itinerary now includes Free Spirit Costa Rica as well as Venado Caves. Family-friendly places like Curi Cancha Reserve and Butterfly Garden at Selvatura Park will thrill your kids. The adventure continues: stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, explore the galleries of Alas y Raices, stop by Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde, and admire the natural beauty at Jardin de Orquideas San Bosco.

To find other places to visit, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, read our Monteverde sightseeing website.

You can drive from Playas del Coco to Monteverde in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to San Jose.
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Parks · Wildlife · Nature · Zoos & Aquariums
Side Trips
Find places to stay Oct 17 — 22:
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San Jose, Costa Rica — 3 nights

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.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and Jade Museum. You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Jose: Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca) and Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center (in Alajuela). And it doesn't end there: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Irazu Volcano National Park, view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu, explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, and stroll around Parque La Sabana.

For traveler tips, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip planner.

Drive from Monteverde to San Jose in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. In October, plan for daily highs up to 80°F, and evening lows to 65°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Mon) so you can catch the bus to Quepos.
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Parks · Museums · Nature · Zoos & Aquariums
Side Trips
Find places to stay Oct 22 — 25:
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Quepos, Costa Rica — 2 nights

The tourist-oriented town of Quepos marks the entrance for many travelers looking to explore the nearby Manuel Antonio National Park.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Jaco Beach and Rainmaker Park. Next up on the itinerary: capture your vacation like a pro with Birding Spots Manuel Antonio and kick back and relax at Playa Espadilla Norte.

To find reviews, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, read our Quepos trip itinerary maker app.

Getting from San Jose to Quepos by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.
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Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Beaches
Side Trips
Find places to stay Oct 25 — 27:
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Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica — 4 nights

The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Endemic Bird Expert Costa Rica has been added to your itinerary. Family-friendly places like Playa Manuel Antonio and Beso Loco Boutique de Playa will thrill your kids. Take a break from Manuel Antonio with a short trip to Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge in Uvita, about 1h 5 min away. And it doesn't end there: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, take in the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio Hot Springs, stroll through Playas Gemelas, and kick back and relax at Playa Biesanz.

For more things to do, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio trip itinerary site.

Manuel Antonio is just a short distance from Quepos. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Sun) so you can go by car to Cahuita.
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Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours
Side Trip
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Cahuita, Costa Rica — 2 nights

With its dusty streets and simple (read affordable) lodgings, Cahuita bustles as a hub of backpacker tourism in southeastern Costa Rica.
Your day by day itinerary now includes Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica as well as Nature Observatorio. Kids will enjoy Cahuita National Park and Playa Puerto Viejo. There's lots more to do: take in nature's colorful creations at Finca La Isla, stroll through Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, and enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Cocles.

For more things to do, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Cahuita holiday planning site.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Cahuita in 6.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 85°F in November, and nighttime lows around 72°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) early enough to travel back home.
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Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Wildlife
Side Trips
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Nicaragua travel guide

4.3
Churches · Volcanos · Specialty Museums
Still emerging as a major tourist destination, Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, entices travelers with its rich history and remarkable natural beauty just waiting to be discovered. A holiday in Nicaragua allows you to explore a vibrant culture, scenic beaches, and plenty of spots off the beaten path. Majestic volcanoes, lakes, and forests offer numerous chances for exploration and exciting adventures, while major cities boast splendid colonial architecture. With access to coastlines on both the Pacific and the Caribbean, a vacation in Nicaragua appeals to those looking for thrilling surfing experiences, dramatic views, or a chance to spread out on a deserted tropical beach.
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Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.
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Quepos travel guide

4.5
The tourist-oriented town of Quepos marks the entrance for many travelers looking to explore the nearby Manuel Antonio National Park. A number of tour operators and outdoor experience companies have set up shop in the town, offering sightseeing tours and adventure activities in the biologically rich landscape, staples of the vast majority of Quepos itineraries. The town itself has a burgeoning nightlife and scene, and a welcome number of eateries serving local delicacies. The pleasant streets of the town provide the chance to meet the friendly locals and pick up trinkets and handicrafts at the folk markets.
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