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Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama

tree frogs won’t be the only red-eyed species around! - Trip for singles

Book From   € 1,699,-
GROUP SIZE: 8-24 | 20 DAYS

Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama

Here you can find the day-to-day description for Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama

Any extensions for this tour can be found at the bottom of this page.


There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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San José

San José

San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is big, but relatively quiet city. There are many beautiful houses and lovely markets you can discover. |Costa Rica



Book a night excursion in the famous cloud forest of Monteverde and join a guide for spotting animals you cannot see over day. |Costa Rica


Rincon de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja

The park Rincon de la Vieja is a perfect place for hiking and horse riding tours, even half way to the volcano. A real kick is the canopy tour, you'll 'float' over a small canyon from one rock formation to the next in a harness. |Costa Rica

La Fortuna (Arenal)

La Fortuna (Arenal)

In the surroundings of the Arenal you can go mountain biking, horse riding, rafting, bird spotting and climb the volcano and enjoy the Baldi Hot springs. |Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio

Visit the small National Park Manuel Antonio with a guide. This park is famous for its gorgeous beaches and the great diversity of animals. |Costa Rica


Bocas del Toro



Cahuita is a pleasant Creole town at the East coast of Costa Rica and the gateway to the Cahuita National Park. There is a hiking path of 7 km that leads of the beach and through the jungle. While walking you might see and hear capuchins and howler monkeys. Sloths, iguanas and toucans are regularly spotted in this park.

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 San José San José
2 San José San José
3 Bus San José - Monteverde Cloud Forest Monteverde Cloud Forest
4 Monteverde Cloud Forest Monteverde Cloud Forest
5 Bus Monteverde Cloud Forest - Granada Granada
6 Granada Granada
7 Granada Granada
8 Bus Granada - Rincon de la Vieja Rincon de la Vieja
9 Rincon de la Vieja Rincon de la Vieja
10 Bus Rincon de la Vieja - La Fortuna La Fortuna
11 La Fortuna La Fortuna
12 Bus La Fortuna - Quepos (Manuel Antonio N.P.) Quepos
13 Quepos Quepos
14 Bus Quepos (Manuel Antonio N.P.) - Boquete Boquete
15 Boat, Bus Boquete - Bocas del Toro Bocas del Toro
16 Bocas del Toro Bocas del Toro
17 Boat, Bus Bocas del Toro - Cahuita Cahuita
18 Cahuita Cahuita
19 Bus Cahuita - San José San José
20 San José End of tour


Day 1: San José

Welcome to Costa Rica!

Your tour starts in San José, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Most of your travel companions will arrive later this first day, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 8.00 hrs A.M. on day 2 in the lobby of your hotel.

Day 2: San José

San José is set in a beautiful green valley, encircled by volcanoes. Enjoy a free day to explore this small capitals shopping streets and markets. Join a city tour to the Gold or National Museum and treat yourself to a coffee in a coffeehouse, a favourite pastime of the friendly locals. Book a day-tour to the nearby Poas  volcano.

Day 3: San José - Monteverde Cloud Forest

Today we travel by private bus to the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest nature reserve. Just the trip to 'the green mountain' is an adventure and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views. We shall stay two nights in a good hotel with an excellent restaurant and large garden. The entrance to the reserve is close by, as is the butterfly garden and a beautiful hummingbird gallery.

The Corcovado Foundation

The Corcovado Foundation organizes several projects in the Corcovado National Park (Osa Peninsula) including training and hiring (more) rangers promoting conservation. The Foundation was founded by residents of the park concerned with stopping the illegal hunting and logging there. It promotes environmental education and defends the rights of local communities.

Read More

Day 4: Monteverde Cloud Forest

Enjoy another day in the nature reserve at Monteverde. You can enjoy other activities such as visiting the frog garden, horse riding or walking the suspension bridges built high above the cloud forest. A hike in the cloud forest is also an enchanting experience you will never forget. The variety of dramatic microclimates, an extremely short distance from each other is extraordinary. Usually, a one-day hike provides alternating fog, sunshine and rain with an average temperature of 18 degrees.

Another special feature of the cloud forest is the kaleidoscope of greens. Due to the high atmospheric humidity, the giant trees are covered with an abundance of bromelia's, orchids, ferns, hart’s horns and mosses. It is also the home of the beautiful yet shy, red green feathered, quetzal.

Day 5: Monteverde Cloud Forest - Granada

Today we travel by bus and cross the border to Nicaragua. We will travel along the bank of Lake Nicaragua overlooking two impressive volcanoes, before reaching the beautiful colonial city of Granada.

We will stay three nights in an atmospheric colonial hotel with pool and air conditioned rooms. Granada lies on the banks of Lake Nicaragua, with scores of beautiful buildings and a central square with an imposing cathedral and colourful market.

Day 6: Granada

You may choose to take an optional excursion to the city of Masaya and the Masaya National Park, where you can pay a visit to an active volcano. Alternatively visit Catarina from where you will have a brilliant view over the Laguna, the Apoyo and the city of Granada or take a trip to the nearby capital Managua, and visit the cathedral, the National Museum and the colossal statue of Sandino or take a boat trip out on to Lake Nicaragua.

Day 7: Granada

Our last day to immerse ourselves in the rich cultural heritage of Granada.

Sustainable travel

As a responsible company our mission is to increase and improve sustainability in our business. Find out more about the measures that we currently take as well as our further plans to ensure we achieve our green ambitions. Read More

Day 8: Granada - Rincon de la Vieja

Today we head back to Costa Rica driving along an impressive landscape to Guanacaste province, where we arrive by the end of the afternoon. We stay two nights in a pleasant lodge surrounded by jungle and beautiful waterfalls.

How green can you go? TIP

Rincón de la Vieja National Park is a must for adventurers and nature-lovers as this tropical mountain forest is crowded with exotic birds and animals. You can choose to take wonderful hikes in the nature reserve and cross the jungle on foot or by horse. There are sulphur springs and bubbling mud pools if you know where to look!

Day 9: Rincon de la Vieja

Our second day in Rincon de la Vieja. Continue to enjoy this fascinating area! An extremely special way to travel through the forest is on the Canopy Tour, where you swing from platform to platform like Tarzan! Real go-getters can hike to the crater of Rincón volcano; weather permitting, accompanied by a local guide.

Day 10: Rincon de la Vieja - La Fortuna

Today we visit Arenal, up until recently one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and with a bit of luck, you will still hear the underground rumblings.

We spend two nights in La Fortuna village, in a lovely hotel with swimming pool and views of the Arenal. On arrival you can take a walk to a nearby waterfall for a refreshing swim or hire a horse to explore the surroundings. In the evening, it is possible to visit the hot water springs around the Arenal.

Day 11: La Fortuna

Why not join an optional excursion to the beautiful Caño Negro Reserve, a watery area abundant with birds, caimans, turtles, monkeys and reptiles.

Day 12: La Fortuna - Quepos (Manuel Antonio N.P.)

Today we drive along the coast to one of the most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica and will stay for two nights in the city of Quepos.

With an array of restaurants, soft sands and warm waters, perfect for snorkelling. Quepos is a great base from which to explore the 682-hectare Manuel Antonio National Park with its beaches, offshore islands, lush rainforest filled with monkeys, sloth and lots of birds.

What can I do?

Sustainable travel means taking into account the people, nature and culture so that travel remains possible in the future. The negative effects of tourism are increasingly palpable. 'So what can I do?', you may ask. Shoestring gives you 10 tips. Read More

Day 13: Quepos

Carry on exploring the wonders of Quepos.

Day 14: Quepos (Manuel Antonio N.P.) - Boquete

Today we cross the border into Panama and travel to the small village of Boquete, set in the highlands of the Chiriqui province. The climate is much cooler here allowing flowers, vegetables, coffee and citrus fruit to grown. On the steep slopes, the "Gnobe-Bugle" Indians, better known as the Guyami live and work on the coffee plantations. The mountains of Boquete, offer some truly breathtaking walks that you will never forget.

Day 15: Boquete - Bocas del Toro

We drive to Chiriquí Grande and take a boat to the resort of Bocas Toro on the island Isla Colón.

How green can you go? TIP

We have two days here to enjoy the magnificent snorkelling, boat tours, scuba diving, swimming, waterskiing or kayaking. There is also the option of hiring bicycles to explore this magnificent island. It is a typical Caribbean island with wooden huts on stilts and a relaxed atmosphere. The local food has definite Jamaican influences and the local population are laid back at friendly.

Day 16: Bocas del Toro

Relax in Bocas for a second day.

Day 17: Bocas del Toro - Cahuita

We head back to the Caribbean reggae town of Cahuita and chill out with the easy-going locals. Enjoy a drink or two at one of the bars, enjoy a spot of reggae music and dine in one of the welcoming restaurants. Or why not take a hike in Cahuita National Park and see if you can spot sloths, raccoons and toucans.

Beach-lovers will appreciate the wonderful bay with white sand and surfing or snorkelling on the coral reef is a must. Diving tours out to the reef can also be arranged.

Day 18: Cahuita

Treat yourself in Cahuita to some famous fruit flavoured crepes or a delicious variety of their equally well-known grilled chicken dishes. 

Day 19: Cahuita - San José

Today we travel back to San José for one final night.

Day 20: San José

The last day of your tour. You can use your hotel room in San José until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon). We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 20) is not included.

Extend your trip

  • Tortuguero (turtle) extension

    The trip can be lengthened with a four day tour to Parque Nacional Tortuguero, one of the most important breeding spots for sea turtles in the world. You will say goodbye to your travel companions in Cahuita on day 19 and stay overnight in Guapiles. The next day, after breakfast (included), you’ll be picked up by the local English speaking guide. The bus will bring you to a small harbour from which your journey continues to one of the most impressive national parks of Costa Rica on the Caribbean coast: Tortuguero. Besides turtles which will enter the beach to lay their eggs between June and October, you can spot monkeys, alligators, parrots, toucans, and many other tropical birds while sailing the pretty small jungle canals in little boats.

    On the last day (day 23) the journey will go back through the Braulio Carillo rainforest to San José for a last overnight before you travel back home.

    Included: English speaking specialised guides, all meals, transportation by air-conditioned bus, boat, and tour through the canals of Tortuguero. Three nights in a beautiful lodge: with spacious rooms including fan, private toilet/shower with hot water, swimming pool, bar and restaurant.
    *Optional evening excursions are possible to observe the sea turtles; these tours are not included in the price.

    If you want to book this tour to Tortuguero as a lengthening to your normal tour, please do so while making your booking. The additional costs are €449/£399/$609 per person. If you book by yourself, a single room supplement will be charged if no one is available from the group to share a room with. Of course you can choose for a single room yourself. The additional cost will be € 99/£89/$129.

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