17 days in Central America, South America & Africa Itinerary

17 days in Central America, South America & Africa Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Central America, South America & Africa Itinerary

Start: Los Angeles, United States
Fly:  9​h 45​min
1
Panama City, Panama
— 2 nights
Fly + Drive:  3​h
2
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  10​h 30​min
4
Barranquilla, Colombia
— 1 night
Fly:  30​h
5
Johannesburg, South Africa
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h
6
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
— 2 nights
Fly:  30​h
End: Los Angeles, United States

2
nights
Panama City, Panama

Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
On the 21st (Tue), cast your line with a fishing tour, take in the spiritual surroundings of Bahai Temple, and then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia del Carmen. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: buy something for everyone on your list at Multiplaza Pacific, steep yourself in history at Iglesia de San José, and then take a stroll through Casco Viejo.

To see other places to visit, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Panama City trip itinerary builder tool .

Los Angeles, USA to Panama City is an approximately 10-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Pacific Standard Time (PST) to Eastern Standard Time (EST) is 3 hours. Traveling from Los Angeles in July, plan for somewhat warmer nights in Panama City, with lows around 77°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) to allow time to travel to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Panama City

Historic Sites Tours Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Bahai Temple ©
Bahai Temple
Casco Viejo ©
Casco Viejo

2
nights
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca ©
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Thu): shop like a local with La Feria Legendaria de Playa Chiquita, then kick back and relax at Playa Cocles, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Punta Uva Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: look for gifts at Caribeans Coffee & Chocolate, take in nature's colorful creations at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, and then take in nature's colorful creations at Finca La Isla.

For reviews, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip itinerary maker app .

Do a combination of flight and car from Panama City to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and car. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Panama City to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens
Highlights from your plan
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach

2
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

La Fortuna de San Carlos ©
Set against the backdrop of the imposing Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos offers visitors a chance to explore diverse natural landscapes and sample some delicious local produce.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Sat): identify plant and animal life at Arenal Natura Ecological Park, then identify plant and animal life at Butterfly Conservatory, and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: identify plant and animal life at La Fortuna Waterfall, get a taste of the local shopping with Wood & Art Gallery, and then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour.

To see ratings, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos online holiday planner .

Traveling by car from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can travel to Barranquilla.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Wildlife Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Butterfly Conservatory
Highlights from your plan
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
River Rafting & Tubing

1
night
Barranquilla, Colombia

Barranquilla ©
An industrial port city on Colombia's Caribbean coast, Barranquilla represents the fourth-most populous city in the country.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Mon): steep yourself in history at Castillo de Salgar and then don't miss a visit to Plaza de la Paz - John Paul II. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the spiritual surroundings of Mormon Temple, pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral Metropolitana Maria Reina, then see the interesting displays at Museo del Caribe, and finally buy something for everyone on your list at Centro Comercial Buenavista.

To find where to stay, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, read Barranquilla trip builder website .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Barranquilla. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time to Colombia Time is 1 hour. In July, daily temperatures in Barranquilla can reach 92°F, while at night they dip to 77°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Tue) early enough to travel to Johannesburg.

Things to do in Barranquilla

Historic Sites Shopping Museums

Side Trip

Puerto Colombia
Highlights from your plan
Castillo de Salgar ©
Castillo de Salgar
Museo del Caribe ©
Museo del Caribe
Catedral Metropolitana Maria Reina ©

3
nights
Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg ©
Founded when gold was discovered in the area in the late 19th century, Johannesburg quickly grew into a bustling metropolis, South Africa's largest city and the region's economic hub.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Ukutula Conservation Center and Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre. Let the collections at Lesedi Cultural Village and Liliesleaf capture your imagination. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Johannesburg: Sterkfontein Cave (in Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site) and Union Buildings (in Pretoria). Next up on the itinerary: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, take in the exciting artwork at Mpho Art & Design House, and explore the galleries of I was shot in Joburg.

To find maps, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, use the Johannesburg day trip tool .

Explore your travel options from Barranquilla to Johannesburg with the Route module. Traveling from Barranquilla to Johannesburg, you'll lose 7 hours due to the time zone difference. Plan for much colder temperatures traveling from Barranquilla in July, with highs in Johannesburg at 67°F and lows at 40°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Victoria Falls.

Things to do in Johannesburg

Wildlife Parks Museums

Side Trips

Brits, Sterkfontein Cave, Union Buildings, Liliesleaf, Lesedi Cultural Village
Highlights from your plan
Ukutula Conservation Center ©
Ukutula Conservation Center
Liliesleaf ©
Liliesleaf
Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre ©
Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre

2
nights
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls ©
Victoria Falls, a Zimbabwean town near the eponymous waterfall, serves as one of two prime gateway points to the majestic cascade and its surrounding national park.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Mon): take in the dramatic scenery at Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls National Park, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then take in the exciting artwork at Prime Art Gallery. Keep things going the next day: get outside with Outdoor Activities, then learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Victoria Falls Snake Park, and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

To find out how to plan a trip to Victoria Falls, use our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and car; or drive. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Johannesburg in August; daily highs in Victoria Falls reach 83°F and lows reach 50°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Victoria Falls

Tours Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
River Rafting & Tubing

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