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Costa Rica and Panama - 3.5 Weeks Itinerary Help!

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Costa Rica and Panama - 3.5 Weeks Itinerary Help!

Hi everyone,

My gf and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica & Panama in Jan/Feb. We are 24/25 years old and are looking for adventure, sightseeing, culture, and history. We are looking to do some hiking, diving, spend time at the beach. We're trying to figure out our itinerary and limit our destinations so we don't spend most of our time traveling from place to place. We are having some trouble so here are the first of our questions:

- We are thinking of spending 7-8 days in Panama and the rest of the time in Costa Rica. Does this sound reasonable?

- After doing some research, the destinations we want to see in Panama are Panama City, San Blas, Bocas/Bastimentos, and Boquete. Which of these places can we skip in order to save time? Is Boquete similar to Monteverde in Costa Rica? Could we see just one of these and not the other?

- San Blas: would it be best to tour it by boat or stay on one of the islands? How many days do we need there?

- What are the must-sees in Costa Rica? Is it worth going to Corcavado if we're on a budget?

- Would it be less touristy/expensive to river raft in the Chiriqui or Pacuare river?

- What places do you recommend for scuba diving?

Thanks for any and all help you can offer. Happy Holidays!

La Fortuna de San...
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1. Re: Costa Rica and Panama - 3.5 Weeks Itinerary Help!

Hi there!

I currently live in Costa Rica (moved here a year ago) and have toured Panama so I think I can give you some insight. :-)

For Panama:

1) Panama City is gross.....do not plan on spending any time there unless you're going through it to catch a flight or out to the islands.

2) We've been to Bocas del Toro (which is right by the CR border so this is a great place to catch a short flight from here to say Puerto Viejo or Arenal)

3) The San Blas Islands are awesome-it was one of our favorite places-the Kuna Yala tribe. We stayed at this place and it was awesome: www.sapibenega.com. It's much easier to stay there vs. trying to go for a day trip and the waters there are incredible for snorkeling!

4) Boquete was nice, much cooler than the rest of the country but not a ton to do there....if you have to cut out a place (besides Panama City) I'd say this is the one. If you do have time to go here, we loved the place we stayed: www.boquetegardeninn.com. It's so different from Monteverde I'm not sure how to compare it? I guess I'd say Monteverde has more attractions-things to do than Boquete.

For Costa Rica:

As you said you're on a budget so I'd pick for you:

1) Arenal Volcano/La Fortuna-there's everything to do here it's literally the "adventure capital of Costa Rica". You also have the volcano which is quite spectacular! There are plenty of budget places to stay in town like Hotel Carmela, etc...so many to choose from!

2) I love Corcovado but it's definitely not budget friendly!

3) Puerto Viejo may be the place for you to come straight from Bocas del Toro since it's on the Caribbean side and (I don't dive) but here that's the area to do it.

Hope this helps! Not sure why you haven't gotten many responses to your posts but if you have more questions you're more than welcome to e-mail me...I'm always happy to help! :-)


2. Re: Costa Rica and Panama - 3.5 Weeks Itinerary Help!

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