Central America (1 month Itinerary) – 1 week Panama, 1 week Costa Rica, 2 weeks Nicaragua:
Fly into Panama City
Panama City (2 nights)
There’s lots to see in Panama City, but you can probably see it all in 2 days! Check out Casco Viejo (the old city) and take a tour around the city to see all of the high rises.
San Blas Islands (2 nights)
You can easily do a 2 night trip to the San Blas Islands from Panama City. Check out hostels around for prices. They set up the tour and will pick you up and drop you off in Panama City. It is quite a bit easier than trying to do it yourself. You can also pick longer or shorter trips to San Blas, but 2 nights is good if you only have a month in these 3 countries.
Bocas Del Toro (3 nights)
Getting from Panama city to Bocas Del Toro, you can either take a bus, or fly. We decided to fly which ended up working out very well. It was a comfortable short flight, where the airport is within walking distance of all hostels and hotels on the main island at Bocas Del Toro. You can also take a bus, which is cheaper but make sure to bring layers and sweaters as it is known to be a freezing cold 10hr overnight trip.
Puerto Viejo (2 nights)
Getting from Bocas del Toro to Puerto Viejo, you can line up a minibus from any of the surrounding hostels or information centres. They will take you on a boat to the mainland, in a bus to the border of Panama and Costa Rica, and then on the other side of the border, getting in another bus to Puerto Viejo. It is a little bit confusing, but they will direct you of where to go and what all you must to in order to pass through the border.
La Fortuna/Arenal (2 nights)
We found the smartest way to get from Puerto Viejo to Arenal was by doing the white-water rafting trip. We paid around $100USD per person for a pickup at our hostel in Puerto Viejo, 4 hours of down river rafting (which was amazing), and then dropped off at night in La Fortuna (Arenal).
Monteverde (1 night)
From La Fortuna to Monteverde, I highly recommend taking the “Jeep-Boat-Jeep”. They take you on a scenic tour straight from one to another, cutting across the beautiful lake Arenal.
San Juan Del Sur (4 nights)
We decided to take the public bus from Monteverde to the Costa Rica, Nicaragua border and then took a taxi for about $20USD to San Juan Del Sur.
Ometepe (1 night)
There are again many shuttles to Ometepe, or you can easily grab a public bus and then the ferry to the island.
Granada (2 nights)
Public bus or taxi are easy ways to get to Granada. We ended up going from San Juan del Sur to Granada in a taxi (with 4 of us) for 30USD total.
Laguna de Apoyo (2 nights)
A restful place near Granada, is easy to get to and from, as it isn’t far. It is a nice time to relax and go kayaking, sunbathe, or swimming.
Leon (1 night)
Taking a bus or a taxi from Granada to Leon is quite easy again. Take the mini bus as they are just a tad more expensive but way more convenient. You can see Leon in less than 2 days and go volcano boarding as that is the main highlight of Leon.
Las Penitas (2 nights)
From Leon, we decided to go to the quaint beach town of Las Penitas. A great place for some rest and relaxation. Get to know the expats and go to see the turtle sanctuary!
Little Corn (4 nights)
To get to Little Corn Island, you must fly from Managua. Las Penitas to Managua is easy, via Leon and then to the airport in Managua to catch your flight to Big Corn and then the ferry over to Little Corn Island.
Managua (1 night)
If you choose, and are flying back from Managua, to stay one night. There isn’t a whole lot to see in Managua, so I would recommend only using Managua as a hub to get to other places.
Check out my video from the trip!!