Caribbean Costa Rica & Panama

  • Trip Type
  • Adventure
  • Length
  • 12 Days / 11 Nights
  • When to Go
  • November - May

  • Hit the reset button

    Costa Rica and Panama: a magical combination in Central America.

    Begin your journey in  the heart of the rainforest, and get a chance to spot some of Costa Rica’s most iconic resident creatures. Next, off to the enchanting southern Caribbean beaches, where calypso and reggae rhythms dance on a coconut-scented breeze, and finally, cross into Panama to explore the spectacularly beautiful Bocas del Toro archipelago, where powder-soft sands and turquoise waters offer a quintessential island experience that you’ll never want to return from.

    Trip Highlights

    lush jungle & deserted beaches • hanging bridges, waterfall & volcano hike at Arenal • guided wildlife spotting in Braulio Carrillo • whitewater rafting Pacuare River • chocolate farm & Bribri village • Jaguar Rescue Center • uninhabited islands • snorkeling the Bocas del Toro reef • Panama Canal & historic Casco Viejo • Gatún Lake jungle cruise • beach time

    Full Package per person from:

    $2,950.00 low season (May - Oct)
    $3,700.00 high season (Nov - Apr)
    Prices vary based on departure season.

    Click a day for more details.

    • Day 1: San José - Arrival

      Touch down in Costa Rica, where we'll whisk you off to your oasis in the heart of the city, Hotel Grano de Oro, for some serious R&R.

    • Day 2: San José to Braulio Carrillo - Discover magical flora & fauna

      Following your brief stay in the city, head east, passing over the continental divide to Costa Rica’s enchanting lowland rainforests. Riding through the mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park, you'll be astonished by the scenic views, swirling mists and the vibrant sea of green that stretches as far as the eye can see. Check into your secluded jungle hideaway at Selva Verde Lodge, and spend the afternoon getting acquainted with your surroundings – a world of towering almendro trees, where mantled howler monkeys and keel-billed toucans play in the rainforest canopy. Hike into the rainforest, catch some rays poolside as you watch for toucans in the trees overhad, or reflect quietly in a hammock, enjoying a gentle tropical breeze.

    • Day 3: Braulio Carrillo - Exploring the rainforest on foot

      Today, set out early with your naturalist guide to experience first-hand the wonders of a thriving, thrilling forest full of wildlife. Follow winding jungle paths through Selva Verde’s 500-acre private reserve, learning about the secret lives and fascinating natural histories of the rainforest creatures, and spotting monkeys, mot-mots, toucans and poison dart frogs as you go.

      Once the sun sets, head back out into the jungle with your guide to search the grounds for the things that go bump in the night – tree frogs, kinkajous, bats, and much more.

    • Day 4: Braulio Carrillo to Puerto Viejo - Raft the wild rapids of the Pacuare River

      Get a taste of adrenaline today in one of Costa Rica’s wildest jungles – the river gorge surrounding the Pacuare River. Leave your luggage on the bus for safekeeping and climb into a raft for an exhilarating white water rafting adventure through one of the most scenic, untouched rivers in all of Central America. Afterwards, board the shuttle to take you further east to the pristine beaches of Puerto Viejo, where you’ll check into Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, your decadent home base for the next three nights. When you arrive, check into your luxurious suite, and head out to explore the lively Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo on foot.

    • Day 5: Puerto Viejo - Quiet coves & pristine seas

      Today is yours to explore, or relax and take it easy. Wander down the beach to the lively town of Puerto Viejo, known for consistent waves, and Caribbean-inspired cuisine. Sample dishes infused with bright, bold flavors – coconut, curry, fiery peppers and fresh, tropical fruit – while you look out over the ocean, , or head south for excellent hiking in the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Reserve. Head back in the early afternoon to end the day in the best way possible – sipping a mai-tai or savoring a cold beer at cocktail hour while the sky morphs into shades of fiery orange and cotton-candy pink.

    • Day 6: Puerto Viejo - Get up close & personal with exotic wildlife at the Jaguar Rescue Center

      Today, you’ll have an animal experience unlike any you’ve had before – the perfect cherry on top to add to a memorable trip. Visit the Jaguar Rescue Center for an enchanting up close experience with the center’s residents – rescued monkeys, wild cats, sloths, anteaters and more – as they continue their journey to rehabilitation, and eventually, their release into the wild.

    • Day 7: Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro - Cross into Panama

      After you spend some time exploring the beaches surrounding Puerto Viejo, today you’ll head south along the coast into Panama. Board a ferry to Bocas Town, a colorful tourist hub filled with local artisans, trendy bars, and international restaurants. Soak up the laid-back Caribbean vibe, before hopping aboard a boat bound for Isla Bastimentos, an idyllic jungle haven with palm-fringed beaches and offshore coral reefs. Check into your luxe bungalow at Tranquilo Bay, and spend the afternoon exploring the island’s labyrinth of trails, walking down sandy shores, or cooling down in crystal waters.

    • Day 8: Bocas del Toro - Pure white sand beaches on Cayos Zapatilla

      Wake up refreshed and raring to go, as you embark on an exploration of the Cayos Zapatillas, a pair of uninhabited tropical islands surrounded by coral reefs, and the calm, warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. These islands are so beautiful, so pristine, that their name (Slipper Cays in English) comes from a local indigenous legend that the islands were formed when God stepped down to Earth from the heavens, leaving an imprint of his shoes.

      Wander golden sand beaches, snorkel, hike and cruise around the islands, before you finish the day under a spectacular sunset at Tranquilo Bay.

    • Day 9: Bocas del Toro - Snorkel undersea splendours in Bocas del Toro

      After a restful sleep in paradise, wake up to nature’s gentle alarm clock – the sounds of waves crashing on the shore. You’ll spend your day discovering a world beneath the waves. Watch bottlenose dolphins at play, before donning a snorkel and fins, and slipping into the warm water to explore abundant coral formations that provide homes to brightly colored tropical fish, sea stars, anemones, eagle rays and nurse sharks.

    • Day 10: Bocas del Toro to Panama City - Bid the Caribbean farewell

      After a final walk along the powdery white sands of Bocas del Toro, bid the ocean farewell, and take a quick puddle-jumper flight to the bustling metropolis of Panama City. Here, you’ll be met by a driver and whisked away to the American Trade Hotel in Panama City’s old town, Casco Viejo. Check into your lavish suite, and after all the jam-packed excitement, take an afternoon to completely unwind.

      When night falls, pay a visit to the hotel’s famous jazz club, an elegant and intimate venue where foreigners and locals gather to dance, listen to chilled-out modern jazz, and sip on cocktails made with seco – Panama’s premier sugar-cane-distilled alcohol.

    • Day 11: Panama City - Explore the Panama Canal and historic Casco Viejo; discover Gatún Lake's diverse jungle wildlife

      Begin your last day in Panama with a fascinating visit to the Panama Canal’s Miraflores Locks. Learn about the construction of this impressive feat of engineering – one of the Seven Wonders of the World – before driving along the canal to Gatún Lake, a manmade lake that provides water for the operation of the canal’s lock system. Here, you’ll board an expedition boat and cruise across the lake, passing enormous cargo ships as they transit the waterway, in stark contrast with the natural surroundings.

      In the lake’s center, ride close to rainforest-covered islands in search of exotic wildlife – sloths, crocodiles, toucans, and four species of monkey – and enjoy extraordinary views of the canal while you nosh on a light local lunch onboard.

      End your adventure with an immersive walking tour through the center of Casco Viejo where you’ll learn all about the UNESCO world heritage city and discover striking architectural highlights. Dive into Panamanian culture with a walk through the artisan shopping district, in search of authentic panama hats and local cigars to take home with you as souvenirs.

    • Day 12: Panama City - Departure

      Transfer to the international airport to embark on your journey home. Adios!

    Click hotel image for details.

    What's Included?

    We'll give you everything you need, everything you want, and a few little surprises to make your trip extra special. We've got you covered, from start to finish. Unique, unforgettable destinations; private tours with local experts; authentic local cuisine; lessons, demonstrations and new cultural insights; more adventure than you can handle; perfect romantic touches; blissful relaxation; and a feeling of total freedom. We take care of everything so that you can enjoy an unparalleled, hassle-free journey without worrying about a thing.

    • Airport pickup

    • All hotel accommodation

    • Meals as indicated

    • Detailed maps and trip preparation guide

    • All special events and tours

    • All vehicle and regional air transportation from rendezvous to drop-off

    • All baggage transportation

    • All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service

    Stay Longer

    If our off-the-shelf itinerary is almost a perfect fit, but just doesn’t feel long enough, extend your stay to make it the best vacation possible. Spend a few days in the region before or after – we can customize any trip, and no ask is too big!

    Let us know what you have in mind using the contact form below, and we’ll get in touch to create your perfect travel experience.

    Know Before You Go

    • Itinerary prices are dependent on season of departure. Christmas, New Years and Easter (Semana Santa) are peak season, and prices during these periods are significantlky higher than other times of year. High season runs from November through April, and green season from May through September.

    • Arrival: hotel check-in times are at 3:00pm, but you may arrive at any time during the day. If you arrive prior to the scheduled check-in time, we will arrange for early check-in wherever possible.

    • Departure: hotel check-out times are at 9:00am. International flights on your departure day should be arranged to depart after 1:30pm.

    • All prices in USD.

    • For vaccination recommendations, please visit the CDC website.

    • For American, Canadian, and British citizens, a valid passport with 6+ months remaining is required for entry to Costa Rica.

    • Debit cards may not work in Central America, but most establishments accept major credit cards.

    • Please ensure you have immediate access to a minimum of USD $250 as an emergency fund to be used if circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster) require changes to your planned route.

    • If departing Costa Rica by air, most major airlines include exit taxes in the price of your airfare; if departing via ground or boat, departure tax is USD $29.

    • It is customary to tip service providers (waiters) around 10% depending on service. Tipping taxi drivers is not required.

    • Gratuities for guides and drivers are deeply appreciated, and provide an important supplement to their income. If you are pleased with the tour services you've received, a guideline for tipping in Central America is USD $8-10 per person per day for multiple-day tours, or USD $5-10 per person for day tours.

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    Getting There

    From North America: several airlines offer direct and connecting flights to Costa Rica’s two international airports: Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José (airport code: SJO) and Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport in Liberia (airport code: LIR). Including connection time, flights from the USA typically range from 2.5-9 hours in duration, while most flights from Canada range from 9-15 hours in duration.

    From the UK: there are currently no direct flights to Costa Rica from the UK, but there are several flight options connecting in the United States and/or Canada. Including connection time, flights from the UK typically range from 12-18 hours in duration.

    When you arrive in SJO or LIR, there will be an airport transfer waiting to take you to your hotel downtown, or in some cases, your next destination. If you have questions about flights, or require assistance booking, please contact us here. We're here to help!

    Ready to book, or just want to get more information? Let's get started! Fill out the form below, and we will send you a no-obligation quote.

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