Costa Rica & Panama Discovery

12 Days | Chill out in the Caribbean and soak up the sunshine

4.5 out of 5 based on 38 reviews submitted.
Explorer
From
AUD $1,671
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Get under the surface of Costa Rica and Panama with this 12-day Caribbean adventure. See it all, from jungles and beaches to local villages. From San Jose to Panama City, this laidback discovery will introduce you to some of the most beautiful spots in two Central American cultures, and then it’ll give you the freedom to explore however you want, at your own pace. You can't go wrong with your local leader to steer you in the right direction (to the best bars and surf breaks), plus a small group of adventurers to enjoy them with. Make a traditional dinner in a local’s home, look out for wildlife on a night jungle walk and soak in the local hotspots in areas seldom travelled.

Trip overview

Map of Costa Rica & Panama Discovery including Costa Rica and Panama
Start
San Jose, Costa Rica
Finish
Panama City, Panama
Theme
Explorer
Destinations
Panama, Costa Rica
Physical rating
Indicates how physically exerting a trip is, and how fit you will need to be to enjoy it. More info on physical ratings
Style
Basix
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 - Max 16
Trip code
QVRC
This trip generates 30 kg of CO2-e per person per day.
We offset these emissions on your behalf. But we know that is not enough, so we also have a carbon reduction target.

Why you'll love this trip
  • Put your chef’s hat on and help prepare a traditional Caribbean dinner with a local family in their home in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
  • Swim in clear ocean waters, stop in at shacks serving cold cerveza and kick back on sandy shores covered in starfish in the Bocas del Toro, where you spend three nights on Isla Colon.
  • Head to the coffee plantations, waterfalls and caldera hot springs of Boquete – a highland town so beautiful you’ll hardly miss the beach at all!
  • Go on a jungle walk at night with your expert trip leader in the rainforest district of Sarapiqui – look out for various snakes, sloths, and frogs.
  • Get to know Panama City during a guided stroll along the Cinta Costera, right to the city’s salty belly – the Mercado de Mariscos (seafood market).
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.

Is this trip right for you?
  • This trip is made for travellers who value their independence but also want the benefit of a local leader and a group of like-minded travellers. The itinerary includes basic accommodation and has free time for activities when your leader will offer suggestions. Please budget spending money for optional activities you want to partake in.
  • With so much to see and do, Costa Rica can sometimes be expensive. Expect to pay more than you would in other Central American countries for a lot of things.
  • Public transport is better for the environment, and you’ll get an authentic look at daily life, but keep in mind that local transport between specific locations on this trip can be pretty basic.
  • While the border crossing between Costa Rica and Panama is usually straightforward, sometimes it can take a while, so please prepare to be patient.
  • Central America is generally hot and humid year-round. At nighttime and in locations at higher elevations it can get chilly. Protect yourself from the sun, bring light clothing you can layer and a waterproof jacket, and stay hydrated. Air conditioning may not always be available in your rooms. Occasionally, properties may require an additional charge for air conditioning.

Itinerary

Map of Costa Rica & Panama Discovery including Costa Rica and Panama

Inclusions

Meals

1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, Public bus, Taxi, Shared boat

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Lodge (1 night)

Activities
  • Sarapiqui – Jungle Walk
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Puerto Viejo - Hands-on dinner in local home
  • Boquete - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Leader - led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Panama City - Leader-led walk in Casco Viejo
  • Panama City - Leader-led walk along part of the Cinta Costera (Causeway) including a visit to the Fish Market
Add on activities
  • San Jose - Pre-Colombian Gold Museum (Entrance fee) - USD16
  • San Jose - San Jose Bites and Sights Tour - Urban Adventures - USD38
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - Surf lesson (1 hour) - USD57
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - Cahuita National Park (entrance fee) - USD5
  • Bocas del Toro - Jungle Cacao Tour (guide and transport included) - USD35
  • Bocas del Toro - Zapatilla Tour including Sloth Island & snorkelling at Cayo Coral (guide and transport included) - USD45
  • Bocas del Toro - Full-day Tour including Bastimentos island, Jungle hike & Lunch with Ngobe Community (guide and transport included) - USD60
  • Bocas del Toro - Bio-luminescence Boat Tour (seasonal - guide and transport included) - USD30
  • Bocas del Toro - Colon Expedition including starfish beach & bird island - USD40
  • Boquete - Guided Bicycle Tour (guide and bike hire included) - USD55
  • Boquete - Guided Tour of Hidden Waterfalls (entrance fee, transport and guide included) - USD50
  • Boquete - Zipline (guide and transport included) - USD65
  • Boquete - Mini Canyons Tour (entrance fee, transport and guide included) - USD35
  • Boquete - Calderas Hot Springs (entrance fee and transport included, no guide) - USD35
  • Boquete - Coffee Plantation Tour (guide and transport included) - USD35
  • Panama City - Panama Canal: Miraflores Locks (entrance fee only, no guide, no transport) - USD20

Dates and availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip and is subject to availability.
2. This tour includes accommodation in multi-share rooms (triple and quad). This means travelers on the same booking may be split between rooms due to single gender allocation.
3. Please be careful when booking flights into San Jose; make sure you fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport [SJO]. Please do NOT book flights to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport [SJC] as this is located in California, United States.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Read Essential Trip Information

Reviews

4.5 out of 5 based on 38 reviews submitted.
Reviews are from travellers who have completed their trip and want to share their experience. We show all reviews, but may remove any that include profanity or inappropriate content, are unrelated to the trip or reveal personal details.

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Jennifer · Traveled May 2024
The Trip was so much fun. Jonathan did his best to make our trip the best for us. Because its basic you don’t have that much activities included but Jonathan always helped us out and got recommendations for every place. The cooking with the caribbean family was one of my highlights. Even tho it was rain season we had mostly sun and humid wheater. it rained a few times, but it was fine. Would definitely do it again! Especially with Jonathan as the Group Leader.
Review submitted 01 Jun 2024

Michel · Traveled April 2024
Knowing very little Spanish and with no experience of traveling in Central America joining this tour gave me the best opportunity to enjoy Costa Rica and Panama.My wife and I enjoyed the National Parks with so many animals we had never seen in their natural habitat..We also enjoyed swimming and snorkeling in Panama. I think all the team members felt the same. Having Olman as our team leader made all this happen. An unforgettable travel experience. ! Thanks Intrepid travel
Review submitted 09 May 2024

Joyce · Traveled February 2024
The trip exceeded my expectations. Our guide, Abby, organized activities/dinners & gave us a choice to participate. We were fortunate to have all private transportation & the hotels/cabin were fine. The shared accommodation hostile is not something I’d do again, but would definitely book my own room next time. Coiba snorkel, Chocolate tour, Panama City all so fun!
Review submitted 27 Feb 2024

Christine · Traveled December 2023
This trip far exceeded my expectations. It was full of wonderful destinations, varied activities and delicious food and our leader, Abdiel, worked tirelessly to ensure that the trip ran smoothly. A highlight for me was celebrating New Year in Panama City with a lovely group of travellers and a spectacular firework display - I'll never forget it!!
Review submitted 07 Jan 2024

Nicole · Traveled October 2023
This trip is the perfect taste test for travelling Central America. It gives you a taste of each of the Central American countries with lots adventures available in each! Coiba National Marine Park and Bocas Del Toro were absolute highlights for me
Review submitted 17 Nov 2023
Costa Rica & Panama Discovery
From
AUD $1,671