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17 days Panama & Costa Rica

Seattle, Washington
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17 days Panama & Costa Rica

Hi,

Do you have any suggestions for an itinerary through Panama and Costa Rica in August? I am flying in and out of San Jose, but I definitely want to see the Canal (I'm an engineer - I love big infrastructure). I am looking forward to wildlife watching, birding, rafting, seeing coffee and banana farms, a little beach time, and snorkeling if possible. Are there places that are less humid? I don't want to rent a car. I'm open to taking a short plane trip if that helps save time. How are overnight buses?

Thanks so much in advance!

Lenexa, Kansas
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1. Re: 17 days Panama & Costa Rica

I haven't been to Panama yet, but will comment on Costa Rica. I recommend visiting Manual Antonio National Park. While there take a tour of the park with a guide. You can hire a guide at a stand directly outside of the park. There is a nice beach inside the park which will be at the end of your tour. You can take a bus to either Monteverde and/or Arenal Volcano. I will mention that our worst tours of all vacations were in La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano area). These tours were taken on the spur of the moment and were not mentioned on Tripadvisor. The waterfall outside of La Fortuna is a must do as well as a zip line. I can provide more information if needed. You will have to fly in and out of the San Jose airport. You might choose to visit the north (Tamarindo) instead. This area has more expats.

One thing I need to mention that was not mentioned by anyone of Tripadvisor is that we found the quality of the beaches on the Pacific side to be poor. They are a little rocky (pebbles) and the rip-tide is awful. I would never go there for swimming. We enjoy the beaches so this was a disappointment.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: 17 days Panama & Costa Rica

Thanks dckion2!

It's funny though - the plan that I have now does not include any of the places you mention! I'm going to go SJ - cahuita - puerto viejo - panama city - cerro punta - uvita!

I avoided the north of costa rica so that I reduce travel times ( knowing that I'm going to panama) and I've heard that Manuel Antonio is overly developed.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Central America
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3. Re: 17 days Panama & Costa Rica

if you want to reduce travel times then betweem Nature Air and Air Panama you can reach all major points in both countries. Nature Air also has direct flights between Bocas del Toro and SJ.

Lenexa, Kansas
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2,237 posts
174 reviews
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4. Re: 17 days Panama & Costa Rica

I didn't think Manuel Antonio is overly developed. There are no high rises in the area. At the bottom of the mountain near the park is a little village with an ice cream shop, grocery store, a couple restaurants, and maybe 2 souvenir stores. There are little resorts spread out from the road from Quepos to Manuel Antonio. I didn't care for Quepos. There are a few restaurants on top of the mountain with great views of the ocean. One of the restaurants is built using a US plane that was shot down during the US Contra affair.

You are heading to the Caribbean side. What activities do you like to do? I think that would make a difference in where you visit.

Central America
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5. Re: 17 days Panama & Costa Rica

Re less humid..or at least cooler..anywhere with altitude like Boquete or Volcan.

6. Re: 17 days Panama & Costa Rica

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