53 days in Central America, Mexico & South America Itinerary

53 days in Central America, Mexico & South America Itinerary

Make it your trip
Fly to La Aurora Airport, Drive to Panajachel
1
Panajachel, Guatemala
— 10 nights
Drive to La Aurora Airport, Fly to Mexico City
2
Mexico City, Mexico
— 8 nights
Fly to Juan Santamaría International Airport, Drive to Montezuma
3
Montezuma, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Drive
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
+2
Drive to Juan Santamaría International Airport, Fly to Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport, Drive to Santa Marta
5
Santa Marta, Colombia
— 4 nights
Fly
6
Medellin, Colombia
— 5 nights
Fly
7
Santiago, Chile
— 3 nights
Drive
8
Valparaiso, Chile
— 5 nights
Fly
9
Cusco, Peru
— 6 nights
Fly
10
Lima, Peru
— 3 nights
Fly

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Panajachel, Guatemala — 10 nights

A little town with a thriving tourism industry, Panajachel sits on the northern shore of scenic Atitlan Lake, one of Guatemala's major vacation destinations.
For other places to visit, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Panajachel itinerary maker.

Chicago, USA to Panajachel is an approximately 13.5-hour combination of flight and car. When traveling from Chicago in April, plan for much warmer days and somewhat warmer nights in Panajachel: temperatures range from 81°F by day to 58°F at night. You will leave for Mexico City on the 15th (Fri).
Tours · Outdoors · Adventure · Parks

Mexico City, Mexico — 8 nights

Breathtakingly large, Mexico City provides a home for almost 9 million people living in nearly 1,700 distinct neighborhoods.
To find reviews, photos, and more tourist information, use the Mexico City trip itinerary planning website.

Explore your travel options from Panajachel to Mexico City with the Route module. In April in Mexico City, expect temperatures between 80°F during the day and 56°F at night. On the 23rd (Sat), you're off to Montezuma.
Museums · Tours · Nightlife · Historic Sites

Montezuma, Costa Rica — 5 nights

With a scenic position on a sheltered bay, Montezuma remains one of Costa Rica's quieter destinations, attracting mostly backpackers and other explorers averse to making detailed travel plans.
Change things up with a short trip to Playa Hermosa in Santa Teresa (about 50 minutes away).

For other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Montezuma trip itinerary planner.

Explore your travel options from Mexico City to Montezuma with the Route module. On the 28th (Thu), you'll travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.
Outdoors · Beaches · Parks
Side Trip
Highlights from your trip

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica — 3 nights

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.
On the 29th (Fri), get impressive views of Arenal Volcano and then stroll through La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs.

To find photos, maps, and other tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos route planning site.

Traveling by car from Montezuma to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sun) to allow time to fly to Santa Marta.
Parks · Nature · Spas · Wildlife
Side Trip

Santa Marta, Colombia — 4 nights

Many visitors begin their Santa Marta holiday, surrounded by urban clutter and heavy traffic, expecting little from the city in terms of historical importance.
Santa Marta is known for beaches, wildlife, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Cristal.

To see where to stay, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Santa Marta trip tool.

The Route module can help you plan travel from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Santa Marta. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time to Colombia Standard Time, which is usually a 1 hour difference. In May, daily temperatures in Santa Marta can reach 92°F, while at night they dip to 79°F. You will leave for Medellin on the 5th (Thu).
Outdoors · Beaches · Parks
Highlights from your trip

Medellin, Colombia — 5 nights

Nestled between rising hills in a narrow valley, Medellin serves as an energetic melting pot of people from all socio-economic classes.
To find reviews, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read Medellin trip planner.

Fly from Santa Marta to Medellin in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Santa Marta in May, expect Medellin to be little chillier, temps between 82°F and 64°F. You'll set off for Santiago on the 10th (Tue).
Tours · Nightlife · Outdoors · Shopping

Santiago, Chile — 3 nights

Santiago tourism thrives largely thanks to the city's big selection of cultural and entertainment options, including museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, and giant malls.
Here are some ideas for day two: take in the pleasant sights at Plaza de Armas, admire the landmark architecture of Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana), then stop by Patio Bellavista, and finally see the interesting displays at La Chascona.

To see reviews, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Santiago trip planning website.

Getting from Medellin to Santiago by flight takes about 11.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. The time zone difference moving from Colombia Standard Time (COT) to Chile Standard Time (CLT) is 1 hour. You will leave for Valparaiso on the 13th (Fri).
Shopping · Museums

Valparaiso, Chile — 5 nights

Navigating through a maze of colorful streets winding up and down steep hills remains an integral part of any Valparaiso tour.
To see maps, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, read Valparaiso trip builder tool.

Getting from Santiago to Valparaiso by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. In May in Valparaiso, expect temperatures between 62°F during the day and 50°F at night. On the 18th (Wed), you're off to Cusco.
Tours · Outdoors · Parks · Beaches

Cusco, Peru — 6 nights

Capital of the Inca Empire for three centuries, World Heritage-listed Cusco is now a major tourist destination, drawing nearly 2 million annual tourists with its well-preserved colonial architecture and proximity to Machu Picchu.
For where to stay, photos, maps, and tourist information, read our Cusco road trip website.

You can fly from Valparaiso to Cusco in 6.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Valparaiso to Cusco. Traveling from Valparaiso in May, expect nights in Cusco to be slightly colder, around 39°F, while days are somewhat warmer, around 69°F. You will leave for Lima on the 24th (Tue).
Tours · Outdoors · Shopping · Wildlife

Lima, Peru — 3 nights

Founded in 1535 by Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro, Lima represents an interesting blend of modern attractions and preserved colonial architecture, much of it clustered in the World Heritage-listed city center.
To see reviews, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Lima trip itinerary planning site.

Traveling by flight from Cusco to Lima takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Cusco in May, expect warmer with lows of 65°F in Lima. On the 27th (Fri), you'll travel back home.
Tours · Shopping · Outdoors · Nightlife

Lake Atitlan travel guide

4.5
Nature & Parks · Bodies of Water · Ruins
Lake Atitlan, a large volcanic lake, provides the setting for a wealth of interesting Mayan towns and villages. Surrounded by imposing and scenic mountains, the lake forms part of a sprawling national park, rich in wildlife and cultural attractions. The main towns and villages range from touristy gateways to authentic realms of tradition and culture, with charming local markets, rustic architecture, and a laid-back feel. Many of the towns can only be reached by boat, with trips on the lake high on most visitors' Lake Atitlan itineraries.

Mexico travel guide

4.5
Ruins · Beaches · Scuba & Snorkeling
Tailor-made for anyone seeking that traditional sun-and-sand experience, Mexico vacations allow visitors to explore nearly 10,000 km (6,200 mi) of picturesque coastlines. Idyllic beaches and favorable year-round weather aside, this diverse country with a rich pre-Colombian history allows tourists a chance to discover a fascinating cuisine, numerous archaeological sites, state-of-the-art museums, colonial-era haciendas, and outstanding examples of 21st-century architecture. Most visitors get to know the country by its cities, but if you want a well-rounded Mexico tour, spend some time exploring its jungles, cloud forests, Caribbean reefs, snowcapped volcanoes, vast deserts, and tranquil lagoons. Life is lived outdoors in Mexico, so wherever you go, don't forget to dine alfresco and stroll the country's colonial streets.

Costa Rica travel guide

4.4
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.