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Rental car round trip - Costa Rica & Panama

Costa Rica & Panama round trip - Natural Paradises

Highlights

  • Trip to two Central American countries: Costa Rica & Panama

  • Experience contrasts: Big city flair meets exotic nature

  • Discover beautiful flora and fauna

  • Relax on Costa Rica & Panama's most beautiful beaches

  • Optional San Blas Islands beach extension

Description

Come with us to Central America and we will show you the most beautiful places of Costa Rica & Panama. Bubbling volcanoes, lush green rainforests and a gorgeous coast characterize the picturesque landscape and turn your trip into an unforgettable experience. Follow the steps of the world's best coffee and we guarantee that you will get closer to this noble bean than ever before - because you will spend the night in the middle of a coffee plantation.

Destination

Central America

San José - Turrialba - Uvita - Golfito - Boquete - Boca Chica - Santa Clara - Panama City

Bienvenido to Central America! You will land in Costa Rica's capital, San José, where a representative of our partner agency will meet you after passport control. After receiving your luggage together and passing customs, your airport tour guide will be waiting to escort you to your private airport transfer. You will drive together to your first hotel: Buena Vista. Located on a hill on the slopes of the Poá volcano, the hotel offers breathtaking views of the Central Valley, which you can enjoy from the charming garden or pool.

Named after Saint Joseph, San José is the central location as well as the cultural hub of the Latin American country. The National Museum and the famous Gold Museum are among the most important cultural treasures. Surrounded by magnificent natural beauty and numerous green mountains, the metropolis is located on a plateau, close to the Poás volcano and the Braulio Carillo National Park. Both are enticing places to explore.

San José Airport - San José Hotel: about 30 minutes / about 12 km

1 night in Hotel Buena Vista***+ with breakfast in standard deluxe room, San José, Costa Rica

Today you will pick up your rental car at the hotel, which will allow you to flexibly explore the wonders of the country (Our advantage: In Costa Rica, you will receive a SIM card from us with 60 national call minutes & roadside assistance). After breakfast you can leave for the National Park of Poás Volcano, which is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. Even the approach is a real experience: make a short stop, get out of your car and enjoy the great view of the picturesque coffee plantations, which are located at the crater rim.

Tip: It is best to drive to Poás Volcano early in the morning to experience a cloud-free view of the popular volcano. Hike along large-leafed plants to the main crater with its turquoise blue lagoon and experience the crater up close from the viewing platform. You will hear the hissing sound, see the steam rise and smell the sulfur in the air - an unforgettable experience.

Aside from the Poás Volcano, Costa Rica's highest volcano, Irazu Volcano, is also easily accessible from San José. Located in the oldest national park, it is also very popular with the locals. Drive your car up to a kilometer from the crater or hike to 3,400 meters above sea level. No matter what you decide, if the weather is fine, you can enjoy a magnificent view into the huge crater, surrounded by lush green mountains, as well as see the two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific - simply magnificent.

Afterwards, you will continue along the picturesque landscapes to Turrialba.

The small town of Turrialba is located in a green valley surrounded by large mountains and dense rainforest. Known for its numerous coffee plantations, Turrialba is also the ideal starting point for adventurous excursions. Explore the volcano of the same name and experience a lot of fun on e.g. a kayak or white water tour on the nearby rivers.

San José - Turrialba: approx. 2 hours / approx. 100 km

1 night in Casa Turire**** with breakfast in a standard room, Turrialba, Costa Rica

Today’s itinerary continues to San Gerado de Dato. On the way, pay a visit to the Guayabo National Monument. This important archaeological site is located at the foot of the Turrialba volcano and shows how the country was settled before Christopher Columbus discovered the land. Visit the pre-Columbian ruins and stroll along the well-preserved streets amidst the cheerful chirping of birds and the blooming, colorful flowers.

After the great walk, continue your journey. You will pass the former capital of the country Cartago and here you can visit the imposing Basílica Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles before reaching San Gerado de Dato in the late afternoon.

San Gerado de Dato is a rural mountain village surrounded by green countryside and colorful fruit plantations, more reminiscent of the Alps than a tropical rainforest and a real paradise for bird lovers - lush green hills, small wooden houses with colorful flower pots and small trout ponds in the garden make up this unusual landscape in Central America.

Turrialba - San Gerado de Dato: approx. 2.5 hours / approx. 120 km

1 night at Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge***+ with breakfast in a standard bungalow, San Gerado de Dato, Costa Rica

Get up early today and we guarantee you won't regret it: Hike through the cloud forest and observe the more than 200 different species of birds. With a little luck, you will see the elusive quetzal, a green and red colored bird that once played an important role among the Mayas and other indigenous peoples.

Afterwards, you will fortify yourself at the rich breakfast buffet before driving along the Pacific coast and reaching your next destination, Uvita.

Located in the Ballena National Park, the small village of Uvita was named after the humpback whales that can be found here from December to April. White sandy beaches and small fincas make up picturesque coastal village and make Uvita a real hidden gem.

San Gerado de Dato - Uvita: approx. 2.5 hours / approx. 120 km

2 nights at Cristal Ballena Resort & Spa**** with breakfast in a Junior Suite, Uvita, Costa Rica

Ballena National Park was established in 1990, making it one of the youngest national parks in the country.

Explore Uvita's surroundings today and be spurred on by the various activities. From May to October, see turtles laying their eggs on the golden sand beach and discover the hidden spectacular waterfalls hidden in the lush green forest.

The landscape on your way to the inland is ideal for horseback riding. Gallop through the natural paradise and relax on the beautiful sandy beach. Various water sports activities also await you in Uvita: Kayak tours to mangrove trips and snorkeling excursions in the Pacific Ocean will turn your day into an unforgettable experience. See gorgeous coral reefs, colorful fish and numerous green underwater plants.

Enjoy the refreshing sea breeze during a romantic evening walk on the fine sandy beach and pay a visit to the nearby Corcovado National Park, home to one of Costa Rica's best preserved rainforests.

After breakfast at the hotel, you will leave this beautiful coastal paradise and continue south along the coastal road until you reach your destination today, the eco-friendly Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, in Golfito.

Esquinas has created the best balance between comfort and sustainability. The meals at the hotel are prepared with ingredients from the hotel's own garden. “Oasis in the rainforest, a perfect place for nature lover” is a description that probably encapsulates Esquinas best. The hotel's unique flora attracts an unimaginable variety of hummingbirds, as well as the scarlet tanager birds and toucans.

Affectionately called "little bay", the small port town is located on the southern Pacific coast which, despite its growing popularity among tourists, has remained a small, authentic fishing village. Beautiful sandy beaches, such as Playa Cacao, and exciting hiking routes through the lush rainforest are the main attractions of the small town that should definitely be in your itinerary.

Uvita - Golfito: approx. 1.5 hours / approx. 90 km

1 night at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge**+ with breakfast and dinner in standard room, Golfito, Costa Rica

Today a special experience awaits you - Panama.

You will drive south until you reach the border crossing, Paso Canoas, to Panama. There you will drop off your rental car and will meet with an English-speaking representative of our partner agency, who will take you to the capital of the province Chiriqui David. Here you will pick up your new rental car and depart for the mountain village of Boquete.

Boquete is located next to the Barú Volcano, 1200 meters above sea level. Unspoiled natural landscapes, fertile land and pleasant weather characterize Central America's best-kept secret. This vacation paradise is not only home to coffee plantations, where the world's best coffee is produced, but is also simply unforgettable for nature lovers: Hike through the cloud forest and catch a glimpse of the shy Quetzal bird or climb the Barú volcano. Besides interesting hiking tours through the cloud forest, Boquete also offers a wide range of adventure activities. For example, let off steam with river rafting, canopying or mountain biking.

Golfito - Paso Conoas trip: approx. 1 hour / approx. 55 km

David - Boquete trip duration: approx. 1.5 hours / approx. 100 km

2 nights at the Boquete Garden Inn*** with breakfast in a queen room, Boquete, Panama

Today your itinerary continues to another beach oasis: Boca Chica.

Fine sandy beaches, emerald green mountains and a gorgeous view of the blue Pacific Ocean transform Boca Chica's landscape into a place that makes everyone's heart beat faster. You can find excellent diving tours and the world's best fishing spots.

Organize your free day according to your personal interests and take the opportunity to go whale watching from July to October. Another interesting is a boat trip to Boca Chica's nearby islands, which will be simply unforgettable with a unique snorkeling stop through the crystal clear sea.

Boquete - Boca Chica: approx. 1.5 hours / approx. 110 km

2 nights at Boutique Hotel Bocas del Mar*** with breakfast in a standard bungalow, Boca Chica, Panama

After breakfast at the hotel, you will leave beautiful Boca and head to Santa Clara. You will drive east on the Panamericana and reach your hotel today after about 4.5 hours. After the exhausting drive, relax on the quiet sandy beach of the same name and end the day with a romantic evening walk in a dreamy setting.

Boca Chica - Santa Clara: approx. 4 hours / approx. 310 km

1 night at Villa Botero Bed & Breakfast*** with breakfast in standard room, Santa Clara, Panama

Welcome to Panama's capital, Panama City. Countless skyscrapers, noble villas, green hills and the contrast to the historic old town characterize the image of the modern metropolis. After reaching Panama's largest city, you will drop off your rental car and be transported to your hotel by our partner agency.

A stroll through the restored old town, also called Casco Viejo, is an absolute must. Casco Viejo is a place where the old and the new go hand in hand. Stroll through the small winding streets and make a short stop at the numerous historic buildings, such as the National Theater. An absolute highlight is the magnificent view of the modern skyline of the metropolis - an impressive photo stop.

Santa Clara - Panama City: approx. 1.5 hours / approx. 120 km

1 night in Central Hotel Panama**** with breakfast in a premium room, Panama City, Panama

Today your trip ends in Panama City. Over the course of the day, you will be transferred to the airport and start your flight back home with many new memories. Or, if you want, you can explore the picture-perfect San Blas Islands with an optional extension. Just ask us!

itravel - for that moment.

Hotel Buena Vista***+, San José, Costa Rica (1 night)

This charming hotel welcomes you on a plateau on the slopes of the Poás volcano and offers a dreamy view of the Central Valley, which you can admire from the hotel's garden or outdoor pool. Hotel Buena Vista has 30 comfortably furnished rooms, all decorated in neutral colors and equipped with private bathrooms.

Casa Turire****, Turrialba, Costa Rica (1 night)

Just 25 km away from the Guayabo National Monument, Casa Turire is an ideal hotel to explore Costa Rica's beautiful nature and try numerous sports activities such as rafting, kayaking and paragliding. The hotel has 16 individually decorated rooms, all with a furnished balcony and private bathroom with rain shower. Enjoy a coffee in the hotel's bar and indulge in a soothing massage at Spa Turire.

Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge***+, San Gerado de Dato, Costa Rica (1 night)

This nature-loving boutique hotel is located in the cloud forest and spoils you with great views of the beautiful nature. Look forward to modernly furnished rooms, all with cozy wooden interiors. A free internet connection, the hotel's own restaurant, "Le Tapir", as well as a whirlpool, sauna and steam bath await you at the Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge.

Cristal Ballena****, Uvita, Costa Rica (2 nights)

Just 15 minutes away from Ballena National Park, the quiet Cristal Ballena Resort welcomes you on a hillside between the Pacific Ocean and lush green rainforests. All 18 rooms are spacious and have a fantastic view of the sea. Relax by the large pool and enjoy first-class relaxation treatments in the hotel's small spa area. Look forward to local and international dishes at the bar restaurant, Pura Vida, and a beautiful sea view.

Esquinas Rainforest Lodge**+, Golfito, Costa Rica (1 night)

This cozy eco-lodge is located in the middle of the rainforest and is a real paradise for nature lovers. All 16 rooms are furnished with lots of wood and a private bathroom and have a veranda from where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the rainforest and watch the great variety of birds. Relax by the naturally landscaped pool and look forward to great hiking routes through the beautiful rainforest. At the hotel's restaurant, sample local dishes and ingredients, most of which were grown in the on-site garden. The lodge is 25 minutes away from Golfito.

Boquete Garden Inn***, Boquete, Panama (2 nights)

Just minutes from the center, this charming hotel welcomes you with a tranquil garden. The eleven rooms are individually decorated and feature flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and kitchenettes. Enjoy breakfast on the inviting terrace and catch a glimpse of a variety of birds in the garden early in the morning. There are several restaurants to choose from in the center of the small town of Boquete.

Boutique Hotel Bocas del Mar***, Boca Chica, Panama (2 nights)

Welcome to paradise. This luxurious boutique hotel is located directly on the ocean and has 20 rooms, all of which are bright and modern. All rooms are equipped with the latest technology and spoil you with a dreamy view over the sea. Relax with a refreshing cocktail at the two outdoor pools and look forward to the hotel's own a la carte restaurant.

Villa Botero Bed & Breakfast***, Santa Clara, Panama (1 night)

Just 900 yards from beautiful Santa Clara Beach, this small bed & breakfast is run by a French couple. The white sandy beach and the turquoise blue water invite you to relax. Rooms are spacious and brightly decorated, and the facility also has an outdoor pool and restaurant. Look forward to the popular breakfast buffet and start the day well with homemade bread, croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Central Hotel Panama****, Panama City, Panama (1 night)

Located in Panama City's historic district, this hotel is the ideal base from which to explore the city's cultural heritage. Each of the 135 rooms features modern furnishings and splendid views of the Plaza de la Independencia, the cathedral or the city streets. Amenities include air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a minibar, a coffeemaker, a safe, an iron/ironing board and a desk. La Central restaurant offers a wide selection of seasonal dishes and homemade pasta dishes. At the 9 Reinas restaurant, you can indulge in Argentine delicacies. Enjoy a drink here too after an eventful day or relax by the outdoor pool. At Central Hotel Panama, you can use the WiFi free of charge. A spa and a gym are also available.

Duration of the trip: 13 days / 12 nights

Included

  • Transfers and transportation in comfortable vehicles with AC or by boat, according to the program

  • 12 overnight stays according to the itinerary, with meals included according to the description

  • Detailed travel documentation with useful tips and recommendations

    Costa Rica:

  • Rental car SUV Compact (Ssang Yong Korando or similar), including Drive Relaxed Package (basic and additional insurance, local SIM card with 60 minutes for national calls, roadside assistance, WiFi), one-way fee in Paso Canoas)

  • Meals as described

  • Entrance fees for the mentioned sights and activities

    Panama:

  • Transfers according to the program

  • Meals according to description

  • 6 days with a rental car SUV (Kia Sportage 4x2) including unlimited kilometers, fully comprehensive and theft insurance (without deductible), liability insurance, local taxes and one-way fee

Not included

  • International and, if necessary, national flights for a beach extension
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned in the scope of services
  • Optional excursions and entrance fees
  • Personal expenses like minibar and tips
  • Tour guide (different guides in different countries)
  • Airport departure tax
  • Border fees on the land route (changes possible at short notice)
  • Departure tax of USD 7 per person in Costa Rica
  • Gasoline, highway tolls, parking fines, parking fees, warning fines
  • Additional insurances, such as a passenger accident insurance and tire and full glass coverage

Services & Notes

Car rental conditions:

  • Minimum age: 23
  • The renter must have a valid driver's license, passport and a valid return ticket. International driving license is recommended.
  • A widely used international credit card is required for deposit (deposit between USD 500 and US 1000).

Additional experiences

Hike through Boquete

  1. Price per person from 70 € excl. Flight
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Rafting Tour in Boquete

  1. Price per person from 90 € excl. Flight
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Canopy tour through the cloud forest

  1. Price per person from 65 € excl. Flight
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Sunset mangrove tour in the Gulf of Chiriqui

  1. Per person from 42 € excl. Flight
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Gulf of Chiriquí: Boat Excursion

  1. Per person from 82 € excl. Flight
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