From Nicaragua to Panama ( 19 Days – 18 Nights )

This sightseeing trip with nature, cultural and soft adventure activities, includes a few days in Nicaragua, visiting both colonial cituies and spending a few days at the Caribbean side in the Corn Islands;  then, Costa Rica with the rainforest at Monteverde, Arenal volcano with its impressive natural environment, and Tortuguero, its canals and impressive wildlife. Finish the trip in Panama city, spending a few days exploring the center of Panama (Panama city, the canal and the Emberas Indians tribe).

Pace is moderate with 2/*3 nights in each site, and activities level is moderate/gentle.

day_1Day 1: Managua Airport – Managua

On your arrival at the International Airport in Managua you will be transferred to the Hotel Camino Real (complementary shuttle service to the hotel provided by the Camino Real Hotel). Arrival & check-in at Hotel Camino Real 3* sup, 1 double room, breakfast (buffet) & taxes included.

day_2Day 2: Managua – Managua City Tour – La Paz Centro – Leon

In the morning, you will gather in the lobby. Then you will go for your Managua City Tour, a very interesting visit, due to Nicaragua’s history. Then, you will go for a guided visit (3 h) of Managua, the capital of the country (2 million people: the historical center partially destroyed in the terrible earthquake of 1972 and not completely rebuilt date (entries included): historic centre, the Loma de Tiscapa, National Palace, which houses an interesting Museum of natural history; the modern business center, the popular market Roberto Huembes. Then you will visit the open-air museum and archeological site, Huellas de Acahualinca, (Footprints of Acahualinca) which is located in one of Managua’s more humble barrios, very close to the shores of Lake Managua, or Lake Xolotlán, as it’s called in the ancient native Náhuatl language. Acahualinca Museum guards an archeological gem: Footprints left more than 6,000 years ago, one of the oldest indications of human presence in Nicaragua. Then continue your trip to Leon City. On the way stop in a village to try the famous “Quesillo” (white cheese served in a tortilla, with onion and sour cream) and a “Tiste” (juice made of corn). See the way tortillas are made in the kitchen! Arrival & check-in at Hotel Flor de Sarta 2* sup, 1 double room, breakfasts & taxes included.

day_3Day 3: Leon – City Tour – Flor de Caña Factory Tour – Leon

After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at the hotel for the Leon City Tour. You will visit one of the oldest colonial cities in Central America “Leon”. Did you know…? Leon was the capital of Nicaragua for more than 200 years. You will have the opportunity to visit the main churches of Leon as well as many places of interest. In the afternoon your adventure continues with a trip to Chichigalpa area, to visit a factory where you will learn all about the Nicaraguan rum history. Transportation, Bilingual guide (Spanish – English), entrance fee & taxes included. Leave the city of León and depart toward the northwestern area of Nicaragua. After 35 minutes driving time, arrive to Chichigalpa where you will learn about the story and process of our Flor de Caña Rum, now known worldwide. During the tour, you will visit seven stations that will show you the Caña de Azucar “raw material” of rum, then you´ll see the story of the brand, the social responsibility of the company and all the secrets of this Nicaraguan rum.  Then, you will learn about the assembly process using “barrels” and see the most important area of the factory: the warehouse where the rums are aged. Last visit is intended for a museum dedicated to the history of rum Flor de Caña, where you will enjoy our best rums. Before returning to Leon, we make a quick detour to San Jacinto, small village located between 2 volcanoes which hide the “Hervideros”, these geysers whose vapor with 300°C leaves the entrails of the ground permanently (many kids of the village will propose you their “service of guide”, it is recommended to choose one of them, you can give him at the end of the visit a tip of 10 Córdoba). Then transfer back to Leon City. Overnight at your Hotel Flor de Sarta 2* sup, 1 double room, breakfasts & taxes included.

day_4Day 4: Leon – Managua Airport – Corn Island – Little Corn Island

After breakfast, meet with your driver at the lobby of your hotel. You will be transferred to the International airport in Managua. Upon arrival clear customs, and then walk to the exit. You have to take a local taxi on your own (approx. $1 pp.) to get to the docks, where you will get an open boat ($6 pp. Boat departures at 4:30pm) from Big Corn (on your own) to Little Corn. The two Corn Islands, Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island are lush with exotic fruit trees, native palms and surrounded by white sand beaches. Upon arrival a representative of your hotel will be expecting you at the dock to take you to the hotel. Arrival & check-in at Hotel Little Corn Beach & Bungalow 2*, 1 double Master Suite Gulliver cabin, room & taxes included.

days_5_-_7Day 5 to Day 7: Little Corn Island

Free time at Little Corn Island! Enjoy the white sand beaches and the fresh breeze of the Ocean. Optional activities available: such as: fishing, boat rides, beach, snorkeling and diving. Nights at Hotel Little Corn Beach & Bungalow 2*, 1 double Master Suite Gulliver cabin, room & taxes included.

day_8Day 8: Little Corn Island – Managua Airport – Masaya National Park – Masaya Handicraft – White Villages – Granada

Today go to front desk of your hotel and ask for a boat transfer to the Little Corn docks, where you have to take the tickets for the boat to Big Corn Island, once in Big Corn Island docks, you have to take a cab to get to airstrips and board your domestic flight back to Managua). Upon arrival you will you will meet with our bilingual guide and driver whom will then transfer you to Granada City, The Jewel of Nicaragua Cities! On the way to Granada we will visit the First National Park created in Nicaragua in 1979, one of Nicaragua’s most interesting and beautiful natural phenomena. It comprises an area of 54 km2 with more than 20 km of scenic roads and trails, leading to and around the one impressive volcano and five formidable craters; one of them currently displays gaseous activity and incandescent lava in its interior. You can also visit the Museum that offer interesting history and legends. Then, you will stop at the Handicraft Market where you will enjoy the creativity and variety of Nicaraguan art at bargain prices.  Later transfer to Catarina, this is a small and characteristic village of Nicaragua where people work seedling nurseries, make handcraft and raise horses. Placed on top of a hill at 520 meters over the sea level, present a very agreeable climate, the temperature is between 22 and 27 degrees, from here you can have a magnificent view of the Apoyo lagoon, Mombacho volcano, Granada and Lake Nicaragua. Lunch included in a beautiful typical restaurant amidst nature. After Catarina you will transfer to the ancient highland village of  “La Meseta” to visit the Mesa artisan’s workshops of San Juan de Oriente (artesanal ceramics). This precious town has colonial period houses, churches and a hardworking native population. Eventually arrive in Granada where you will stay at Hotel Patio del Malinche 2* sup, 1 double room, breakfast & taxes included.

day_9Day 9: Granada City Half day Tour – Granada

After breakfast your bilingual guide will be waiting for you to go for Granada City Tour. You will go for a traditional horseback carriage, pulled by two horses and conducted by a local driver. The tour will start going to La Casa de los Tres Mundos: art gallery, and a cultural academy, the convent of San Francisco Church, built in 1529 and decorated with elegant paintings, and pre- Columbian statues from Zapatera Island,  we will visit Iglesia la Merced we hike to the tower from where you can get greats views of the city, you will go to the Old Train Station that has just been restored and it’s located in front of Sandino Park, and the last place we’ll visit is La Polvora, old fort where the Spanish stores the dynamite and weapons in the 17th and 18th century to face the attacks of English and French pirates. The afternoon is at leisure in your Hotel Patio del Malinche 2* sup, 1 double room, breakfast & taxes included.

day_10Day 10: Granada – Islander for the day – Granada

See the most beautiful islands in Lake Nicaragua and their rich flora and fauna, discover some of the 356 islands “Isletas”, a must see. The islands were formed thousands years ago, after an eruption of nearby Mombacho volcano (now extinct). They are now covered with lush, tropical vegetation, some of them are inhabited by natives, others have vacation houses built on them, and others are still deserted. You will be able to observe some of the many species of tropical birds that live in the islands. The inhabitants (“Isleños) live peacefully in simple yet decent conditions and dedicate themselves to fishing and small agriculture, and now to tourism too. Arrive in a private ecological island, enjoy lunch there and time at leisure, it is a truly paradise located amidst nature, in front of the Mombacho volcano. Transfer back to the marina in a motor boat. You will be back in Granada around 4:30 PM. Note: No bilingual today but not really needed as you will spend your time in the island (can be included on request).  Overnight at Hotel Patio del Malinche 2* sup, 1 double room, breakfast & taxes included.

day_11Day 11: Granada – Peñas Blancas – Monteverde (Costa Rica) 

Today after breakfast you will meet your driver at the lobby of your hotel to be transferred to Peñas Blancas Border. Your driver will help you to get your passport stamped and will provide all the necessary assistance to cross the border and migration point. Then, you will continue with your Costa Rican driver to your hotel in the mountain zone of Monteverde, Costa Rica. On the way make a quick stop in La Cruz, go to the Mirador (Lookout) where you have a stunning view to the beaches of Nicaragua, Bahia de Salinas, Isla Bolaños, and Santa Rosa National Park. Arrival and check-in at Hotel Monteverde Country Lodge 3*, 1 double Classic room, breakfast & taxes included.

day_12Day 12 (Aug. 19): Monteverde – Sky Tram & Sky Walk – Sugar Mill Typical Tour – Monteverde

You will be picked up at your hotel to begin today’s adventure! Pick up at 7:10am. You will be driven to a natural park in Monteverde. Start with the Sky Walk; this is a guided tour, which combines trails and suspension bridges with lengths of even 984 feet and heights above the canopy of Monteverde cloud forest. The tour gives you the opportunity to enjoy the flora and fauna of the area, always joined by one of our specialized guides while reuniting all the conditions of security and confidence. End up with the Sky Tram: These gondolas rise smoothly through the rain forest, offering up endless views of the Gulf of Nicoya and the cloud forest during their mountainous ascent. On tour you will be attended by a bilingual guide who will point out different characteristics of the flora and fauna and other interesting facts. The Sky Tram travel up the mountains to arrive in a wide observation platform on the highest point of the reserve, where you can enjoy the views. In the afternoon (2:35pm) you will be picked up again to enjoy the Sugar Mill Typical Tour. Transportation, entrance fee, bilingual guide (English – Spanish) Shared Tour! This unforgettable experience will allow you to meet and share with a peasant family and learn from the Costa Rican culture. During the tour of the farm there are plantations of bananas, plantains, macadamia, cocoa, sugar cane and coffee. In the span of the walk around the farm, we explain the process involved in sugarcane, coffee and cocoa cultivation, natural history and also the opportunity to taste the product and its derivatives. To finish the tour of the plantation, you will be shown and explained the “guaro” process (cane liquor), typical trapiches (sugar cane mills with oxen), artisanal sugar cane candy and caramel. Night at Hotel Monteverde Country Lodge *, 1 double Classic room, breakfast & taxes included.

day_13Day 13: Monteverde – Van – Boat in Lake Arenal – Van to Arenal/La Fortuna

In the morning at 8:00am, you will be picked up at your hotel and will be driven to Arenal/La Fortuna. This is the most adventures way to travel from Monteverde to Arenal! The transportation starts from Monteverde, then you will be taken to Lake Arenal where you will enjoy a 30-45 minutes boat journey to the opposite side of the lake enjoying  great views of Arenal volcano and the unspoiled and tropical Lake Arenal. On arrival you will be then transferred directly to your hotel. Shared Transportation! Arrival and Check-in at Hotel Lomas del Volcan 3*, 1 Standard double room, breakfast and taxes included.

day_14Day 14: Arenal/La Fortuna – Cultour – Arenal/La Fortuna

Today learn about the relationship and interaction of the inhabitants with the Arenal Volcano, its influence on their daily life on the Cultour. Pick up time at 8:30am. Transportation, entrance fee, lunch, bilingual guide (English – Spanish) Shared Tour! You will be welcomed at the gates of La Casona, a place full with history, culture and traditions. After a short walk through the location, we will visit the sugar cane mill, where we will share a little bit more about this monument to the Costa Rican rural worker. You will know the process of the sugar cane mill as it was a bit more than one hundred years ago. Once the visit to the mill has finished, you will receive a short lesson about making a traditional coffee break; fresh made tortillas, sour cream, cheese and coffee. If desire to participate in the preparation you are welcome to do so. To move forward with the tour, you must get into a tractor pulled wagon in which we will start the journey through the real Costa Rica. During this trip you will be able to watch different plantations and at the same time they will enjoy of the scenery that, among other things, offers the warm greeting of the always modest villager. Upon arrival to the town school, you will be received by the students and immediately directed to the dining area, where you will enjoy of an artistic performance. Traditional dance and music have been prepared by the same students. After that, you will tour the rest of the school. The tour goes on the wagon to your next stop, a local farm where you will be meeting Don Dago and his family. Here we will learn about organic farming and the traditions of the Costa Rican family. Also we plan a tree! Back at La Casona, to finish you will have lunch, cooked and served in the traditional way. Eventual return to your Hotel Lomas del Volcan 3*, 1 Standard double room, breakfast and taxes included.

day_15Day 15: Arenal/La Fortuna – Guápiles – Tortuguero National Park

Early in the morning (6:15am), departure for the Caribbean Coast to Guápiles Village with a shared transfer, stop en-route for breakfast at Rio Danta restaurant (breakfast included). After breakfast, continue to La Pavona docks. You will then take the shared boat to Tortuguero National Park. Enjoy a 1 hour approx. nature cruise to your Lodge; your home for the next two nights. Shared transportation, shared boat transfer to Mawamba Lodge and taxes included. Mawamba Lodge is located on the Caribbean Coast on a sand strip between the Tortuguero Canals and the Caribbean Ocean. It is nestled a 15-acre beach front property located on the right side of Tortuguero. It is surrounded by lush gardens, rainforests, pristine beaches and the amazing Tortuguero canals. The hotel’s rustic accommodations blend perfectly with the surrounding exuberant jungle vegetation. In the afternoon enjoy a shared tour to the village of Tortuguero. Through this visit, learn about the ways of life of the local residents of this small town of approx. 1300 people. Overnight at Mawamba Lodge 3*, 1 Standard double room, breakfast, lunch, dinner and taxes included.

day_16Day 16: Tortuguero National Park – Mawamba Park – National park boat tour – Tortuguero National Park

Breakfast at your Lodge! Enjoy Costa Rican coffee, tea and a delicious breakfast at the restaurant to start your morning. Motorboat, local bilingual guide (English – Spanish), entrance fee and taxes included. Shared Tour! At 9:30am you will go with your bilingual local guide on a shared guided walk along the trails surrounding the lodge to learn more about the flora and fauna of the jungle. Learn about the delicate ecosystem and get a close up view of some of the frogs and insects that play an important part in nature’s cycle. Also see how the Lodge’s bio-digester plays a very important effort in conservation by treating the sewage waters of the Lodge and converting them into natural source of methane gas to heat up stoves. Very interesting visit! Time for lunch at the Lodge. Later at 2:00pm meet again with your guide and join the guided Canal Tour. Hop on board, sit back and prepare to witness a parade of tropical birds, reptiles and mammals as we motor through the black water canals of the Tortuguero National Park. Scan the trees for toucans; watch the shores for caimans, otters, iguanas and frogs, and look up to see monkeys sharing space with sloths. Return to the Lodge approx. at 4:15pm for some free time to relax before dinner time. Night at Mawamba Lodge 3*, 1 Standard double room, breakfast, lunch, dinner and taxes included.

day_17Day 17: Tortuguero National Park – Guapiles – San Jose

Departure in the morning (8:30am), the boat picks you up at the hotel dock to drop you off at La Pavona. From Pavona, the transfer (by minibus) to the restaurant Rio Danta (Guapiles) is included. After lunch there, continue with the shared transfer (provided by Mawamba Lodge) to San José. Overnight at Hotel Fleur de Lys 2* sup, 1 Superior double room, breakfast and taxes included.

day_18Day 18: San Jose – San Jose Airport – Panama City Airport – Panama City Tour & Miraflores Locks – Panama City

You will meet your driver for the transportation to the Juan Santamaria Airport to take your flight to Tocumen International Airport. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. Later, your English speaking guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a tour to Panama City and the Miraflores Locks. You will start the tour with a 30 minutes’ drive to Miraflores to see the huge vessels passing the Panama Canal. The busiest hours are from 9am to 10am and from 2pm to 5pm, so you will be able to see many ships getting lifted or lowered 16 meters in two distinct steps. You will enjoy the view on the Locks from a sheltered terrace and listen to the explanations of your guide. To complete the visit of the Canal you will visit the Museum and Visitor Center at Miraflores which gives you a good idea on the construction of the Canal – a masterpiece of engineering. You will also learn about the history of the canal and its significance for Panama and the entire world trade as well as on the current expansion project. After the visit to the Canal you continue with your guide to the Amador Causeway, a road that connects three Islands in the Pacific Ocean and offers magnificent views on the Canal on one side and on the skyline of Panama City on the other side. The tour continues to the Casco Viejo, Panama City’s colonial quarter. At the Casco Viejo you feel set back in time as you admire the lovely colonial houses, the narrow roads and the impressive churches. You will get a good idea about Panama’s history by driving or walking through the main attractions of this quarter. Overnight at Hotel TRYP by Wyndham Panama Centro 3* sup, 1 Standard double room breakfast and taxes included.

day_19Day 19: Panama City – Gatun Locks & Panama Canal Expansion & San Lorenzo Fort – Panama City

Today your English speaking Tour Guide will pick you up at the hotel to take you to the impressive Gatun Locks, the first set of locks situated on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. At the Gatun Locks, you will be able to admire a series of three lock chambers where the huge container vessels are lifted or lowered a total of 26 meters. Each lock is 33.5 meters wide and 306 meters long and takes eight to 15 minutes to fill with water. The tour will continue to discover the next 100 years of the Panama Canal at the Expansion Observation Centre. Here you will witness history in the making while observing the construction of the new locks of the Panama Canal, one of the most important infrastructure projects of the early 21st century. After visiting the locks, you will continue to the San Lorenzo Fort, located at the entrance of the Chagres River close to Colon. It was through this river where the notorious pirate Henry Morgan arrived to the Old Panama, to burn and loot the city. To get to San Lorenzo, it is necessary to cross the Gatun Locks and get into Sherman Fort, a former military base, surrounded by a rich jungle with a wide diversity of species. It is a special place for bird watching. To complete the tour, a delicious lunch will be served at Las Anclas restaurant. After the tour you will be transferred back to your hotel. Night at Hotel TRYP by Wyndham Panama Centro 3* sup, 1 Standard double room breakfast and taxes included.

day_20Day 20: Panama City – Emberá Village Tour – Panama City Airport – Managua Airport – Managua

Meet your guide at your hotel for your shared tour to the Emberá Quera Village. A fascinating and dense jungle will accompany you on a short boat trip to the village. Downriver, you will step out of the dugout canoes and enter the village of the Emberá Indians, one of seven indigenous tribes in Panama. The people of the Emberá tribe will welcome you at the pier and gladly give you an idea on how they still live today. The village’s chief will give you a brief explication on the history of the tribe, its traditions, cultures, believes and handicrafts. Then, a traditional lunch of fish and plantains prepared by the Emberá women will be served to you. In the afternoon you will experience a traditional Emberá dance and have the opportunity to shop for handicrafts. The sale of local products directly benefits the village and helps to pay the school fees for the children. You can also get a temporary Emberá tattoo painted on your arm or leg. After the tour you driver will transfer you back to your hotel. At 6:00pm, you will be picked up at the lobby of your hotel and will be transferred to Tocumen International Airport to board your flight CM 711 at 9:20pm back to Managua. Upon arrival in Augusto C. Sandino Airport at 10:07pm, you will be transferred to the Hotel Camino Real (complementary shuttle service to the hotel provided by the Camino Real Hotel). Arrival & check-in at Hotel Camino Real 3* sup, 1 double room, breakfast (buffet) & taxes included.

Day 21: Managua City – Managua Airport

Today you will be transferred to Managua International Airport

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Sample Itineraries

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