This year we have betrayed the much loved East for Central America and we have chosen to do a trip between Costa Rica and Panama.
In February I started looking for a plane ticket and was able to find a volo Open Jaw very affordable, around € 660 per person by the end of July.
The flight itinerary was as follows:
- Rome - Miami (short stopover in Madrid), 2 days stopover in Miami
- Miami - San Jose (Costa Rica)
- Panama City - Rome (stopover in Miami and Charlotte)
TRAVEL ITINERARY MIAMI-COSTA RICA-PANAMA
- San Jose
- Vulcano Poas
- Manuel Antonio
- San Jose
- Puerto Viejo
- Arcipelago Bocas Del Toro
- Panama City
Some tips for a trip to Costa Rica:
August in Costa Rica: does it rain a lot?
If you go to Costa Rica in August you will surely find rain, sometimes even big showers. Generally in the morning it is sunny and it rains in the late afternoon / evening, but it depends a lot on the areas. However, every day is unpredictable.
Rain hasn't been a big deal in Costa Rica, but be prepared for the high humidity this season.
ATM or Cash?
We have always used debit or credit cards.
In some branches, however, I was unable to withdraw with the Maestro circuit ATM, in that case I used a prepaid Mastercard, with which I also paid almost all the hotels.
Dangers and setbacks
In general, for what I visited, Costa Rica seemed very peaceful to me. Of course, also in Costa Rica there are more dangerous areas, for example in San josè you have to be more careful in the evening.
Important: if you take public buses, be careful and do not leave your luggage unattended especially when you stop at the stations.
For a trip to Costa Rica and in general in Central America, a few days stopover in Miami is the best way to start your tour.
A Miami we stayed for two nights at the Clay Hotel in South Beach, an exceptional location, on Espanola Way near the sea and the main streets such as Ocean Road or Collins Avenue. Highly recommended hotel for location, cleanliness and value for money.
1 AugustSAINT JOSEPH
Our first goal of trip to Costa Rica is the capital San Jose, where we stayed for one night before leaving for the Tortuguero National Park.
Let's face it, San Jose doesn't offer many attractions, we visited the National Theater, enjoyable experience, good coffee and great cheesecake in the Theater café.
In San Jose we slept at the Hotel Aranjuez (score on Booking 8.5), highly recommended, good price, 10 minutes walk from downtown San Jose. But the strength of the Aranjuez is its breakfast buffet, the best of the whole trip.
2-3 AugustTORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK
From San Jose we left for the Tortuguero National Park, with the tour organized by the German biologist Barbara Hartung.
The tour included 2 nights in the hotel (we chose the Casa Marbella), 3 hours of canoeing in the tortuguero canals, 2 and a half hours of walking in the forest and finally the exciting phenomenon of turtles laying their eggs.
Tortuguero National Park
Through Barbara Hartung we also purchased the transfer from San Jose to Tortuguero, with the Jungle Tom Safari agency, 45 $ per person with breakfast.
For more information read: Tortuguero National Park.
4 AugustVulcano Poas
From Tortuguero we left by public transport (1 Taxi Boat + 2 Bus + 1 Taxi) to San Jose airport to pick up our rental car.
We were very satisfied with the chosen car rental, we relied on AutoRental4x4 Costa Rica, managed with great professionalism by Milton and his staff.
For more information read: car rental in Costa Rica.
Once we picked up our splendid 4 × 4, we left for the Poas Volcano, less than an hour from Alajuela, the town near the San Jose airport.
To visit the Poas we chose the hotel Poas Lodge (score on Booking 8.5), 4 km from the park entrance. Never a better choice, the Poas Lodge is gorgeous, spacious rooms with very comfortable beds and a breathtaking view. Don't miss a dinner at the hotel restaurant and a glass of Chilean red wine by the fireplace.
The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we headed to the park, ready to visit the Poas volcano, but unfortunately the “Vulcan curse” hit again this year, the park was closed due to too much fog. But will we ever get to see a volcano?
At this point ours trip to Costa Rica continued towards the Pacific and in about 6 hours by car we reached Tamarindo, a very pleasant seaside resort!
We had a very good time in Tamarindo, we found 3 days of bright sunshine and we dedicated ourselves to pure relaxation, one of the most popular activities in Tamarindo.
The chosen hotel where to sleep in Tamarindo was theHotel Mamiri (Score on Booking 8.1), is in a great location, close to the sea and the center of Tamarindo, has clean rooms and good value for money.
For more information read: Tamarindo Costa Rica.
From Tamarindo we left to reach the Manuel Antonio park, but first we stopped one night in Montezuma, a small seaside village with a hippy atmosphere, with beautiful beaches, rivers and waterfalls.
Montezuma is a real tropical paradise, a small village immersed in the jungle, ideal for those who love beaches, lush nature and for those looking for a lively nightlife, with many bars and restaurants.
Unfortunately, for logistical reasons, we only stayed one night, but I recommend at least 2-3 days.
Recommended hotel in Montezuma
In Montezuma we slept atHotel El Jardin (Score on Booking 8.0), very nice hotel surrounded by lush vegetation, with swimming pool and whirlpool. Hotel located in the heart of Montezuma, a stone's throw from the beach.
Room tip: Ask for rooms near the pool or towards the hill, they are quieter, we had the one facing the main street and it was too noisy.
9-10 AugustManuel Antonio / Uvita
To reach Manuel Antonio from Montezuma, we went by car to flirting (about 1 hour 20), from where we took the ferry to Puntarenas (about 1 hour). From here we reached Manuel Antonio, in about 3 hours by car.
Orari from Flirt to Puntarenas: 5:00 – 9:00 – 11:00 – 14:00 – 17:00 – 20:30
Timetables may change so inquire first if they are confirmed.
RIO TARCOLES AND THE CROCODILES
Along this stretch of road, you will come across the Rio Tarcoles, populated by numerous and huge crocodiles that are located just under the bridge. A show like this, plus free, is not to be missed. Finding the famous Rio Tarcoles crocodile bridge is very easy, you will recognize it from the cars that stop by the roadside and from the many people on the bridge looking at the river.
Crocodiles under the bridge - Rio Tarcoles
In Manuel Antonio we slept one night at Mango Moon, (Score on Booking 7.5) Very nice hotel with stunning views and private beach.
Important: remember that the Manuel Antonio park is closed on Mondays. Having arrived on Sunday afternoon, we had to slightly vary our plans.
For more information read: Manuel Antonio National Park.
On Monday we went to Uvita, which is about 70km south of Manuel Antonio. Here is the Marino Ballena National Park, in August in this stretch of sea the whales stop to reproduce.
The trip to the Ballena di Uvita park was unforgettable we saw a mother whale of about 18 meters with the cub, many dolphins and some sea turtles.
Marino Ballena National Park - Whale Watching
In the evening we returned to Manuel Antonio and slept in theHotel Coco Beach (Score on Booking 7.1), close to the national park, 15 minutes on foot.
11 AugustSan Jose
The next morning we woke up early and went to visit the National Park,
beautiful with many animals and incredible beaches.
After the visit to the park, we took our bags back to San Jose to return the car. Here we slept again at the Hotel Aranjuez.
12-13-14 AugustOld Port of Talamanca
From San Jose we took a bus that in just over 4 hours took us to the beautiful village of Old Port of Talamanca on the Caribbean side.
We in Puerto Viejo have left our hearts, it is a small town with beautiful beaches and lots of nature. During the day you can ride a bike and visit the most beautiful beaches, in the evening you will be spoiled for choice among the excellent restaurants.
In Puerto Viejo we slept 3 nights at theHotel Blue Conga (Score u Booking 8.5), a very nice hotel, with a nice swimming pool, located 10 minutes from the town center. I fully recommend the Blue Conga!
For more information read: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: Travel Tips.
From 15th to 20th AugustBocas Del Toro Archipelago
raggiungere Bocas del Toro da Puerto Viejo, we relied on the Caribe Shuttle agency, $ 32 per person, all inclusive, transfer from our Hotel in Sixaola, taxi to Almirante and taxi boat to Bocas del Toro.
The alternative for reach Bocas del Toro is to take a bus to Sixaola ($ 3) Taxi to Almirante ($ 10 per person) and Taxi Boat to Bocas del Toro ($ 6 per person).
Given the minimal difference I recommend the agency Caribe Shuttle, they will also give you assistance at the border if you need it.
In both cases, there is a $ 8 fee to leave Costa Rica and $ 4 to enter Panama.
IMPORTANT: to enter Panama you must have already purchased a flight to your country or to other destinations. So bring the printed copy of the ticket with you, it is also fine via your smartphone.
In Bocas del Toro we stayed 2 days on the Bastimentos island and 4 days on the main Colòn island in Bocas Town.
Red Frog Beach – Isola Bastimentos
For more information read: Bocas del Toro - Panama - Information and Advice.
21-22 AugustPanama City
From Bocas del Toro we took an airplane booked on airpanama.com (about $ 100 per person).
The airport is located on the Còlon island in bocas town, the plane takes about 1 hour to get to Panamà City.
In Panama City we stayed at the Riande Granada Urban Hotel (Score u Booking 8.7), beautiful in the center of Panama, in a very safe area, full of shops and restaurants and close to the metro.
For more information read: Panama City-Where to Stay and What to Do.
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