54 days in South America, Central America & Mexico Itinerary

54 days in South America, Central America & Mexico Itinerary

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Route & dates

Start: Sydney, Australia
Fly:  30 h
1
Cartagena, Colombia
— 6 nights
Fly + Drive:  9 h 15 min
2
San Blas Islands, Panama
— 6 nights
Fly:  3 h 30 min
3
Panama City, Panama
— 2 nights
Fly:  2 h 15 min
4
Bocas Town, Panama
— 2 nights
+4
Fly + Bus + Foot + Bus + Shuttle:  14 h 15 min
5
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
6
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  10 h 30 min
7
San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala
— 5 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
8
Antigua, Guatemala
— 1 night
Shuttle + Fly:  3 h
9
Flores, Guatemala
— 3 nights
Fly + Drive:  5 h 45 min
10
Caye Caulker, Belize
— 4 nights
+4
Ferry + Foot + Fly + Foot + Bus:  5 h
11
Tulum, Mexico
— 6 nights
+3
Bus + Foot + Fly + Bus:  6 h 30 min
12
San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
— 3 nights
Bus + Fly:  5 h 30 min
13
Oaxaca, Mexico
— 2 nights
Fly:  3 h
14
Mexico City, Mexico
— 3 nights
Fly:  22 h 45 min
End: Sydney, Australia

6
nights
Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena ©
The site of the continent's first Spanish colony, Cartagena retains much of its colonial flavor thanks to a World Heritage-listed old town, encircled by old walls and protected by imposing fortresses.
Get outdoors at Aviario Nacional de Colombia and Bomba Beach Club. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Playa Puntilla and Playa de Bocagrande. Go for a jaunt from Cartagena to Puerto Colombia to see Castillo de Salgar about 1h 55 min away. Next up on the itinerary: stop by Barrio Getsemani, hit the best photo ops around with an inspiring photography tour, take in the spiritual surroundings of Templo de Santo Domingo, and glide peacefully along the water with categoryPhrases.alias.some_of_the_best_stand_up_paddleboarding_in_the_area.

To find traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Cartagena trip itinerary planner.

Sydney, Australia to Cartagena is an approximately 26- hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time to Colombia Standard Time is minus 15 hours. Traveling from Sydney in January, expect Cartagena to be a bit warmer, temps between 36°C and 28°C. You will have some time to spend on the 23rd (Thu) before leaving for San Blas Islands.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Isla Baru, Castillo de Salgar
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Aviario Nacional de Colombia ©
Aviario Nacional de Colombia
Barrio Getsemani ©
Barrio Getsemani
Templo de Santo Domingo ©
Templo de Santo Domingo

6
nights
San Blas Islands, Panama

San Blas Islands ©
San Blas Islands represent the offshore area of the indigenous province of Guna Yala.
Step off the beaten path and head to Isla Pelicano and Isla Chichime. There's still lots to do: head off the coast to Isla Perro.

For maps, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, use the San Blas Islands trip itinerary planning site.

Explore your travel options from Cartagena to San Blas Islands with the Route module. In January in San Blas Islands, expect temperatures between 38°C during the day and 26°C at night. On the 29th (Wed), you'll travel to Panama City.

Things to do in San Blas Islands

Nature Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Isla Chichime ©
Isla Chichime
Isla Pelicano ©
Isla Pelicano
Isla Perro ©
Isla Perro

2
nights
Panama City, Panama

Panama City ©
Arguably the most modern of Central American cities, Panama City boasts a shimmering skyline of glass skyscrapers.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Wed): pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de la Merced, kick back and relax at Playa Veracruz, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Bahai Temple.

For where to stay, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Panama City trip maker website.

Fly from San Blas Islands to Panama City in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of ferry and bus. In January, daytime highs in Panama City are 36°C, while nighttime lows are 28°C. You'll have a few hours on the 31st (Fri) to wrap things up before traveling to Bocas Town.

Things to do in Panama City

Historic Sites Outdoors Parks
Find places to stay Jan 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Bahai Temple ©
Bahai Temple
Iglesia de la Merced ©
Iglesia de la Merced
El Arco Chato ©
El Arco Chato

2
nights
Bocas Town, Panama

Bocas Town ©
The colorful and relaxed Bocas Town has a welcoming atmosphere, with the modestly sized urban area showcasing typical Caribbean clapboard houses and home to a mixed community from across the world.
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Fri): relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas. On the next day, explore the striking landscape of Bastimentos National Park and then kick back and relax at Wizard Beach.

To find traveler tips, reviews, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Bocas Town trip builder site.

Traveling by flight from Panama City to Bocas Town takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Prepare for colder weather when traveling from Panama City in January: high temperatures in Bocas Town hover around 13°C and lows are around 13°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) so you can travel to San Juan del Sur.

Things to do in Bocas Town

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Wizard Beach, Bastimentos National Park
Find places to stay Jan 31 — Feb 2:
Highlights from your plan
Bastimentos National Park ©
Bastimentos National Park
Wizard Beach ©
Wizard Beach
Fishing Charters & Tours

3
nights
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

San Juan del Sur ©
Set in a crescent-shaped bay, San Juan del Sur has become known as a popular surfing spot and coastal holiday destination for Nicaraguan families and international visitors alike.
You'll get in some beach time at Playa el Coco and Popoyo Beach. Take a break from the city and head to Dolphin & Whale Watching and Zipline. Get out of town with these interesting San Juan del Sur side-trips: Bordport (in Tola) and Iglesia de Xalteva (in Granada). The adventure continues: don't miss a visit to Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, get a taste of the local shopping with The Art Warehouse, and look for all kinds of wild species at La Flor Beach Natural Reserve.

To see where to stay, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, read San Juan del Sur online travel route builder.

Traveling by combination of flight, bus, and shuttle from Bocas Town to San Juan del Sur takes 11 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight, car, bus, and shuttle; or do a combination of ferry, car, and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Bocas Town to San Juan del Sur is minus 1 hour. While traveling from Bocas Town, expect a bit warmer days and a bit cooler nights in San Juan del Sur, ranging from highs of 36°C to lows of 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) so you can drive to Isla de Ometepe.

Things to do in San Juan del Sur

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Tola, Granada
Find places to stay Feb 3 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Popoyo Beach ©
Popoyo Beach
Zipline
Spas

3
nights
Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua

Isla de Ometepe ©
Isla de Ometepe may be small in size, but it boasts two large volcanoes that dominate its landscape and influence the local lifestyle.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Fri): take a stroll through Los Ramos, get in on the family fun at Chico Largo Adventure, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Punta Jesus Maria. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see the interesting displays at Museo Ometepe, explore the activities along Rio Istian, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Cascada de San Ramon.

To find ratings, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read our Isla de Ometepe trip planner.

Traveling by car from San Juan del Sur to Isla de Ometepe takes 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) so you can travel to San Lucas Toliman.

Things to do in Isla de Ometepe

Parks Nature Theme Parks
Find places to stay Feb 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Punta Jesus Maria ©
Punta Jesus Maria
Cascada de San Ramon ©
Cascada de San Ramon
Los Ramos ©
Los Ramos

5
nights
San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala

San Lucas Toliman ©
San Lucas Tolimán is a municipality in the Sololá department of Guatemala. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Colonial Church and AviMuseo de Arte de Atitlan. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Tarrales Natural Reserve and Cerro de Oro. Explore San Lucas Toliman's surroundings by going to Panajachel (Church of St Francis, Museo Arqueologico Azul Maya, &more), Cojolya Museum and Store (in Santiago Atitlan) and Pintando Santa Catarina Palopo (in Santa Catarina Palopo). There's much more to do: stroll through El Pico de Cielo, don't miss a visit to The Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute, head outdoors with Parque Ecologico Chuiraxamolo, and identify plant and animal life at Tzantizotz Nature Reserve.

To find reviews, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the San Lucas Toliman online journey planner.

Explore your travel options from Isla de Ometepe to San Lucas Toliman with the Route module. Expect a daytime high around 28°C in February, and nighttime lows around 15°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Fri) early enough to travel to Antigua.

Things to do in San Lucas Toliman

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Panajachel, San Juan la Laguna, Santiago Atitlan, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Parque Ecologico Chuiraxamolo
Find places to stay Feb 9 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Volcan Atitlan ©
Volcan Atitlan
El Pico de Cielo ©
El Pico de Cielo
Volcano Toliman ©
Volcano Toliman

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.
To see traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Antigua tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from San Lucas Toliman to Antigua takes 2.5 hours. In February in Antigua, expect temperatures between 28°C during the day and 15°C at night. You will leave for Flores on the 15th (Sat).

Things to do in Antigua

Tours Outdoors Shopping
Find places to stay Feb 14 — 15:

3
nights
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.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Cultural Triangle Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park and Sitio Arqueologico Tayazal. Take a break from the city and head to Cerro Biotope Cahui and Actún Can. Venture out of the city with trips to Peten (Dos Pilas & Mirador del Rey Canek) and Centro de Conservacion e Investigaction (in Tikal National Park). There's still lots to do: Head underground at Actún Can, explore the ancient world of Parque arqueologico uaxactun, examine the collection at Museo del Islote Santa Barbara, and pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral de Flores.

To see maps, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Flores online travel route planner.

Traveling by combination of shuttle and flight from Antigua to Flores takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or drive. Traveling from Antigua in February, plan for a bit warmer nights in Flores, with lows around 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Tue) early enough to travel to Caye Caulker.

Things to do in Flores

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Peten, Cultural Triangle Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park, Actún Can, Centro de Conservacion e Investigaction, Cerro Biotope Cahui
Find places to stay Feb 15 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Sitio Arqueologico Tayazal
Sitio Arqueologico Tayazal
Cerro Biotope Cahui ©
Cerro Biotope Cahui
Actún Can ©
Actún Can

4
nights
Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker ©
At just under 8 km (5 mi) long and 1.6 km (1 mi) wide, the limestone coral island of Caye Caulker offers a small but perfectly formed getaway 32 km (20 mi) offshore from Belize City.
Explore hidden gems such as Fishing Charters & Tours and Museum of Belize. Take a break from the city and head to Shark Ray Alley and The Split. Venture out of the city with trips to San Pedro (Belizean Arts, Belize Chocolate Company, &more). There's still lots to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Secret Beach Belize, surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, and take in the exciting artwork at Aria Kat Art.

For photos, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, read our Caye Caulker tour itinerary maker site.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Flores to Caye Caulker. Plan for somewhat warmer nights when traveling from Flores in February since evenings lows in Caye Caulker dip to 25°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) early enough to travel to Tulum.

Things to do in Caye Caulker

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Museum of Belize
Find places to stay Feb 18 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Secret Beach Belize ©
Secret Beach Belize
Fishing Charters & Tours
Shark Ray Alley ©
Shark Ray Alley

6
nights
Tulum, Mexico

The only Mayan site built to overlook the ocean, Tulum remains a coastal paradise preserving the last vestiges of a pre-Hispanic civilization.
Museo de la Prehistoria Parque Dos Ojos and Art Gallery Miniature are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Step out of the city life by going to Punta Sur Eco Beach Park and Scuba & Snorkeling. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tulum: La Playa Xpuha (in Xpu-Ha), Skydiving (in Playa del Carmen) and Fishing Charters & Tours (in Cozumel). And it doesn't end there: see the sights as you ascend with a climbing tour, Head underground at Cenotes Sac Actun, glide peacefully along the water with categoryPhrases.alias.some_of_the_best_stand_up_paddleboarding_in_the_area, and kick back and relax at Mayan Beach.

To see ratings, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Tulum attractions planner.

You can do a combination of ferry, flight, and bus from Caye Caulker to Tulum in 7.5 hours. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time is 1 hour. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Caye Caulker in February since evenings lows in Tulum dip to 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) so you can travel to San Cristobal de las Casas.

Things to do in Tulum

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Cozumel, Scuba & Snorkeling, La Playa Xpuha, Skydiving
Find places to stay Feb 22 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
La Playa Xpuha ©
La Playa Xpuha
Scuba & Snorkeling

3
nights
San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

San Cristobal de las Casas ©
San Cristóbal de las Casas, also known by its native Tzotzil name, Jovel, is a town and municipality located in the Central Highlands region of the Mexican state of Chiapas. Get some cultural insight at Museo de Trajes Regionales and Steps in San Cristobal. Step off the beaten path and head to El Rancho Evergreen Guest Ranch and Museo Jtatik Samuel. Step out of San Cristobal de las Casas to go to Tuxtla Gutierrez and see Mirador Manos Que Imploran, which is approximately 1h 25 min away. Next up on the itinerary: appreciate the extensive heritage of Historic Center, get outside with Grutas de Rancho Nuevo, see the interesting displays at Museo Centro Cultural Altos de Chiapas, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To see ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the San Cristobal de las Casas road trip tool.

Do a combination of bus and flight from Tulum to San Cristobal de las Casas in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Tulum to San Cristobal de las Casas due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Tulum in February, expect nights in San Cristobal de las Casas to be about the same, around 20°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 38°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Mon) to allow time to travel to Oaxaca.

Things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas

Museums Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Mirador Manos Que Imploran
Find places to stay Feb 28 — Mar 2:
Highlights from your plan
Steps in San Cristobal ©
Steps in San Cristobal
Museo Centro Cultural Altos de Chiapas ©
Museo Centro Cultural Altos de Chiapas
Museo Jtatik Samuel ©
Museo Jtatik Samuel

2
nights
Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca ©
Capital city of the eponymous state, Oaxaca relies heavily on its colonial charm, its core a maze of tree-shaded alleys flanked by photogenic mansions, government buildings, and old churches.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Mon): trek along Coyote Aventuras, then view the masterpieces at Voces de Copal, then explore the world behind art at Alvarez Bravo Photographic Center, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Del Amor. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the ancient world of Yagul, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and then trot along with a tour on horseback.

For ratings, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Oaxaca trip planner.

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from San Cristobal de las Casas to Oaxaca takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Expect a bit cooler evenings in Oaxaca when traveling from San Cristobal de las Casas in March, with lows around 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) early enough to travel to Mexico City.

Things to do in Oaxaca

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Playa Del Amor, Yagul
Find places to stay Mar 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Coyote Aventuras ©
Coyote Aventuras
Playa Del Amor ©
Playa Del Amor
Yagul ©
Yagul

3
nights
Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City ©
Breathtakingly large, Mexico City provides a home for almost 9 million people living in nearly 1,700 distinct neighborhoods.
Get outdoors at Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl National Park and Grutas La Estrella. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Playa La Virgen and Museo Trick Eye. Go for a jaunt from Mexico City to Amecameca to see Paso de Cortes about 1h 30 min away. There's lots more to do: stop by Tlalpan, stroll through Lago del Bosque de Chapultepec, take in the pleasant sights at Plaza San Jacinto, and take a stroll through Colonia Roma.

For reviews, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, use the Mexico City online attractions planner.

Traveling by flight from Oaxaca to Mexico City takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. When traveling from Oaxaca in March, plan for slightly colder days in Mexico City, with highs around 28°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 12°C. You'll have a few hours on the 7th (Sat) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Mexico City

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Central Mexico and Gulf Coast, Playa La Virgen, Grutas La Estrella, Paso de Cortes
Find places to stay Mar 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Playa La Virgen ©
Playa La Virgen
Tlalpan ©
Tlalpan
Colonia Roma ©
Colonia Roma

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