18 days in Mexico & Central America Itinerary

18 days in Mexico & Central America Itinerary

Dragoș Pop

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Route & dates

18 days in Mexico & Central America Itinerary

Start: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
+2
Train + Foot + Fly:  18 h 15 min
1
Cancun, Mexico
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h
2
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
— 3 nights
+2
Bus + Foot + Fly:  4 h
3
Belize City, Belize
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 45 min
4
Flores, Guatemala
— 1 night
Fly + Shuttle:  3 h
5
Antigua, Guatemala
— 1 night
Bus:  1 h
6
Guatemala City, Guatemala
— 1 night
Fly:  2 h 45 min
7
La Libertad, El Salvador
— 1 night
Fly + Bus:  4 h 15 min
8
Leon, Nicaragua
— 1 night
Shuttle:  2 h 30 min
9
Granada, Nicaragua
— 1 night
Drive:  5 h 15 min
10
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 45 min
11
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  4 h 45 min
12
Boquete, Panama
— 1 night
+2
Bus + Taxi + Fly:  2 h 45 min
13
Panama City, Panama
— 2 nights
Fly:  20 h 15 min
End: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

1
night
Cancun, Mexico

Cancun ©
Few destinations in Mexico dazzle visitors quite like Cancun, a modern resort town filled with glitzy hotels sitting on picturesque and well-developed Caribbean beaches.
Mayan Museum of Cancun has been added to your itinerary. On the 28th (Tue), examine the collection at Mayan Museum of Cancun, kick back and relax at Xcacel Beach, buy something for everyone on your list at Puerto Cancun Marina Town Center, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Parroquia de Cristo Resucitado, then examine the collection at Museo Subacuatico de Arte, and finally see the interesting displays at Museo Sensorial del Tequila.

For where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Cancun vacation website .

Cluj-Napoca, Romania to Cancun is an approximately 18.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of train and flight. You'll gain 7 hours traveling from Cluj-Napoca to Cancun due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Cluj-Napoca in January, things will get much warmer in Cancun: highs are around 31°C and lows about 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Playa del Carmen.

Things to do in Cancun

Museums Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Zona Arqueológica El Meco, Museo Subacuatico de Arte
Highlights from your plan
Museo Subacuatico de Arte ©
Museo Subacuatico de Arte
Parroquia de Cristo Resucitado ©
Parroquia de Cristo Resucitado
Mayan Museum of Cancun ©
Mayan Museum of Cancun

3
nights
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Playa del Carmen ©
The tourist hub of the popular Mayan Riviera, upscale Playa del Carmen remains the jewel of Mexico's Caribbean coastline.
Get outdoors at Off-Road Tours and La Playa Xpuha. Discover out-of-the-way places like Scuba & Snorkeling and Columbia Reef. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Playa del Carmen: Tulum (Mayan Beach, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, & more) and Submarine Tours (in Cozumel). Next up on the itinerary: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, pause for some serene contemplation at Nuestra Senora del Carmen Catholic Church, and explore the fascinating underground world of Cenote Chaak Tun.

For other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Playa del Carmen tour planning tool .

You can drive from Cancun to Playa del Carmen in an hour. Another option is to take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Playa del Carmen can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Fri) so you can travel to Belize City.

Things to do in Playa del Carmen

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Tulum, Cozumel, La Playa Xpuha, Scuba & Snorkeling
Highlights from your plan
La Playa Xpuha ©
La Playa Xpuha
Scuba & Snorkeling
Columbia Reef ©
Columbia Reef

1
night
Belize City, Belize

Belize's biggest urban center, Belize City is a culturally diverse seaside destination.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Sat): center your mind and body at Yoga & Pilates, then get a new perspective on nature at St John's Cathedral, then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and finally Head underground at Nohoch Che'en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve.

For maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Belize City online trip maker .

Traveling by flight from Playa del Carmen to Belize City takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or drive. Traveling from Playa del Carmen to Belize City, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in January, and nighttime lows around 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sat) early enough to travel to Flores.

Things to do in Belize City

Tours Wildlife Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Spas

1
night
Flores, Guatemala

Flores ©
An island town, capital of the landlocked region of Peten, attractive Flores features pleasant architecture that complements the shimmering appearance of the surrounding lake.
On the 2nd (Sun), get outside with Actún Can, Head underground at Actún Can, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Petencito Zoo, identify plant and animal life at Ixpanpajul Nature Park, then pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral de Flores, and finally head outdoors with Mirador del Rey Canek.

To see traveler tips, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Flores online travel planner .

Traveling by car from Belize City to Flores takes 4 hours. Traveling from Belize City in February, expect little chillier with lows of 21°C in Flores. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Antigua.

Things to do in Flores

Parks Historic Sites Outdoors

Side Trips

Mirador del Rey Canek, Actún Can
Highlights from your plan
Actún Can ©
Actún Can
Ixpanpajul Nature Park ©
Ixpanpajul Nature Park
Catedral de Flores ©
Catedral de Flores

1
night
Antigua, Guatemala

Antigua ©
The former capital of Guatemala and a World Heritage Site, Antigua retains its colonial charm and remains one of the most visited destinations in the country.
On the 3rd (Mon), get engrossed in the history at La Azotea, hike along Finca El Pilar, get impressive views of Volcan de Agua, indulge in some culinary diversions at a local gastronomic tour, then admire the natural beauty at Caoba Farms, and finally explore the ancient world of Convento Santa Clara.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read Antigua travel planner .

Traveling by combination of flight and shuttle from Flores to Antigua takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or drive. Plan for little chillier temperatures traveling from Flores in February, with highs in Antigua at 28°C and lows at 15°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) early enough to catcht the bus to Guatemala City.

Things to do in Antigua

Parks Trails Wildlife

Side Trip

La Azotea
Highlights from your plan
Volcan de Agua ©
Volcan de Agua
Finca El Pilar ©
Finca El Pilar
Convento Santa Clara ©
Convento Santa Clara

1
night
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Guatemala City ©
The largest city in Central America and the country's capital, Guatemala City contains historic sights and modern businesses.
On the 4th (Tue), view the masterpieces at Pasaje Tatuana, wander the streets of La Canada, head outdoors with Top Tee, then skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia Yurrita, and finally see the interesting displays at Museo Numismatico de Guatemala.

For ratings, photos, maps, and tourist information, read our Guatemala City road trip planner .

You can take a bus from Antigua to Guatemala City in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In February, daily temperatures in Guatemala City can reach 28°C, while at night they dip to 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Tue) early enough to travel to La Libertad.

Things to do in Guatemala City

Museums Outdoors Tours
Highlights from your plan
Museo Numismatico de Guatemala ©
Museo Numismatico de Guatemala
Casa Mima ©
Casa Mima
Iglesia Yurrita ©
Iglesia Yurrita

1
night
La Libertad, El Salvador

La Libertad ©
The coastal town of La Libertad combines grittiness with beachside tranquility to create one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Wed): buy something for everyone on your list at La Gran Via, identify plant and animal life at Furesa Fundacion Refugio Salvaje, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Walter Thilo Deininger National Park, then stroll through El Tunco, then enjoy the sand and surf at El Sunzal, and finally get outside with Atami Escape Resort.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, read La Libertad trip planner .

Traveling by flight from Guatemala City to La Libertad takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Guatemala City in February, things will get somewhat warmer in La Libertad: highs are around 39°C and lows about 25°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Leon.

Things to do in La Libertad

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Atami Escape Resort, La Gran Via, Playa El Tunco
Highlights from your plan
El Sunzal ©
El Sunzal
Atami Escape Resort ©
Atami Escape Resort
Furesa Fundacion Refugio Salvaje ©
Furesa Fundacion Refugio Salvaje

1
night
Leon, Nicaragua

Leon ©
A cultured and storied city, Leon attracts guests from all over the world, drawn to the second city's style, thriving intellectual life, and liveliness.
Salinas Grandes Day Beach Resort has been added to your itinerary.

For where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Leon online trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by combination of flight and bus from La Libertad to Leon takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In February, plan for daily highs up to 40°C, and evening lows to 25°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) early enough to drive to Granada.

Things to do in Leon

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Highlights from your plan

1
night
Granada, Nicaragua

Granada ©
The lakeside city of Granada has the look and feel of a historically important economic and political center, with grand colonial architecture, a unified look, and many cultural attractions.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Fri): delve into the lush surroundings at Mombacho Volcano National Preserve, get outside with Pico de Garza, tour the pleasant surroundings at Nicaragua Butterfly Reserve, pause for some serene contemplation at La Capilla Maria Auxiliadora, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia de Xalteva, and finally look for gifts at Galeria Mi Camara Mi Mundo.

For more things to do, photos, maps, and more tourist information, use the Granada trip planner.

Traveling by car from Leon to Granada takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Granada

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Nicaragua Butterfly Reserve ©
Nicaragua Butterfly Reserve
Pico de Garza ©
Pico de Garza
Iglesia de Xalteva ©
Iglesia de Xalteva

1
night
Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde ©
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Sat): explore the world behind art at Chorotega Arts & Crafts, tour the pleasant surroundings at Aguti Monteverde - Wildlife Reserve, get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Valle Escondido Preserve, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Sarah's Gallery.

To find traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Monteverde planning website .

Traveling by car from Granada to Monteverde takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car, bus, and taxi; or do a combination of shuttle, bus, and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Tours

Side Trip

San Luis Waterfall
Highlights from your plan
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Valle Escondido Preserve ©
Valle Escondido Preserve

1
night
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Sun): take a memorable tour with Tours, stop by Jaime Peligro Book & CD Shop, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, then witness a stunning natural landmark at Manuel Antonio Hot Springs, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Playas Gemelas.

To find maps, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio trip planner .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) so you can drive to Boquete.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Playas Gemelas ©
Playas Gemelas
Playa Espadilla Norte ©
Playa Espadilla Norte

1
night
Boquete, Panama

Boquete ©
Now known internationally for its fresh mountain air, year-round pleasant temperatures, and large community of North American expats, Boquete has changed rapidly since the start of the century, changing from a humble mountain town, into a humble mountain surrounded by gated communities and estates.
On the 10th (Mon), explore the stunning scenery at Cascada Macho de Monte, tour the pleasant surroundings at Jungla de Panama Wildlife Refuge, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, get outside with Finca Lerida Activities, then stop by Chox Artisan Chocolate, and finally explore the striking landscape at Los Ladrillos.

For maps, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, read our Boquete online trip builder .

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Boquete by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time (CST) to Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is usually a 1 hour difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) early enough to travel to Panama City.

Things to do in Boquete

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Cascada Macho de Monte ©
Cascada Macho de Monte
Jungla de Panama Wildlife Refuge ©
Jungla de Panama Wildlife Refuge
Los Ladrillos ©
Los Ladrillos

2
nights
Panama City, Panama

Panama City ©
Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
On the 11th (Tue), stroll through Asociacion Panamericana para la Conservacion, then explore the striking landscape of Soberania National Park, and then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Bahai Temple. On the 12th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, stroll through Playa Veracruz, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de la Merced, then take in the exciting artwork at Weil Art Gallery, and finally relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

For ratings, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Panama City vacation planner.

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from Boquete to Panama City takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. February in Panama City sees daily highs of 37°C and lows of 28°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Panama City

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Gamboa
Highlights from your plan
Soberania National Park ©
Soberania National Park
Bahai Temple ©
Bahai Temple
Panama Rainforest Discovery Center ©
Panama Rainforest Discovery Center

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