56 days in Central America & South America Itinerary

56 days in Central America & South America Itinerary

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Route & dates

Start: Sydney, Australia
+3
Fly + Shuttle + Foot + Shuttle:  27 h
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Drive:  4 h 15 min
2
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  31 h
3
Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
— 5 nights
Ferry:  2 h 30 min
4
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
— 5 nights
Ferry:  2 h 30 min
5
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador
— 4 nights
Fly:  15 h
6
Cusco, Peru
— 4 nights
+2
Bus + Foot + Train:  3 h 15 min
7
Machu Picchu, Peru
— 1 night
+5
Train + Foot + Bus + Taxi + Fly + Shuttle:  12 h 15 min
8
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
— 3 nights
Shuttle + Fly:  5 h
9
Santiago, Chile
— 6 nights
Fly:  4 h 45 min
10
Buenos Aires, Argentina
— 5 nights
Fly:  3 h 30 min
11
Iguazu National Park, Argentina
— 2 nights
Fly:  6 h 15 min
12
El Calafate, Argentina
— 3 nights
Bus:  3 h
13
El Chalten, Argentina
— 2 nights
+2
Bus + Taxi + Fly:  31 h
End: Sydney, Australia

5
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Tabacon Hot Springs and Venado Caves. Do some cultural sightseeing at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna and Onirica Art Gallery. Take a break from La Fortuna de San Carlos with a short trip to Butterfly Conservatory in El Castillo, about 38 minutes away. There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Bogarin Trail, get impressive views of Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano), skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

For reviews, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos travel tool.

Sydney, Australia to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 29- hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of flight and car. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time is minus 16 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, Butterfly Conservatory
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

5
nights
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Horseback Riding Tours and Playa Ventanas. Discover out-of-the-way places like Spas and Manuel Antonio National Park. Get out of town with these interesting Manuel Antonio side-trips: Dominical (Parque Reptilandia, Parasailing & Paragliding, &more), Jaco (Zukia Art Gallery & Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls) and Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding (in Herradura). The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio and take a memorable tour with Tours.

To find photos, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio trip itinerary planning tool.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Thu) early enough to travel to Puerto Villamil.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Dominical, Jaco, Quepos, Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding, Playa Ventanas
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Spas

5
nights
Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

Puerto Villamil ©
Located in the southeast of Isla Isabela, Puerto Villamil is home to the majority of the island's 2,200 inhabitants.
Get outdoors at Concha de Perla and Las Tintoreras. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Los Tuneles and Sierra Negra. There's much more to do: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, take in the dramatic natural features at El Tunel del Estero, head outdoors with Cueva de Sucre, and stroll through Posada de flamengos.

Before you visit Puerto Villamil, use our trip planner to discover what you can do and see there.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Manuel Antonio to Puerto Villamil. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Wed) to allow time to ride a ferry to Puerto Ayora.

Things to do in Puerto Villamil

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Isabela
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Concha de Perla ©
Concha de Perla
Sierra Negra ©
Sierra Negra
Scuba & Snorkeling

5
nights
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Puerto Ayora ©
The largest settlement in the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora offers visitors to the islands an array of facilities and things to do.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay and Las Grietas. Get outdoors at El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve and Charles Darwin Research Station. Change things up with a short trip to North Seymour Island in Baltra (about 1h 20 min away). There's much more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Laguna las Ninfas, Head underground at Lava Tunnel, tour the pleasant surroundings at Los Gemelos, and explore the world behind art at Galeria Exotico Ecuador.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Puerto Ayora trip tool.

Ride a ferry from Puerto Villamil to Puerto Ayora in 2.5 hours. The time zone changes from Galapagos Time (GALT) to Ecuador Time (ECT), which is usually a 1 hour difference. In January, plan for daily highs up to 34°C, and evening lows to 27°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Mon) so you can catch the ferry to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Things to do in Puerto Ayora

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Santa Cruz, Tunel de Lava Bellavista, North Seymour Island
Find places to stay Jan 19 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve ©
El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve
Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay ©
Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay
Charles Darwin Research Station ©
Charles Darwin Research Station

4
nights
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno ©
The capital of the Galapagos Islands, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is located on easternmost island of the archipelago, San Cristobal.
Step out of the city life by going to La Loberia and Punta Pitt. Discover out-of-the-way places like Cerro Tijeretas and Playa Punta Carola. There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Puerto Chino Beach, admire the local landmark of Swordfish Fountain, pause for some photo ops at Estatua de Charles Darwin, and get outside with Cerro Tijeretas.

To see other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Puerto Baquerizo Moreno route planner.

Traveling by ferry from Puerto Ayora to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno takes 2.5 hours. In January, daily temperatures in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 27°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) so you can travel to Cusco.

Things to do in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

San Cristobal
Find places to stay Jan 24 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
La Loberia ©
La Loberia
Cerro Tijeretas ©
Cerro Tijeretas
Punta Pitt ©
Punta Pitt

4
nights
Cusco, Peru

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Kayaking & Canoeing and Horseback Riding Tours. Escape the urban bustle at Santuario Animal de Cochahuasi and exploor. And it doesn't end there: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, delve into the distant past at Tambomachay, explore the striking landscape at Cerro Colorado Vinicunca, and contemplate the long history of Qorikancha.

For traveler tips, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Cusco visit app.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Cusco. Traveling from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in January, expect nights in Cusco to be cooler, around 9°C, while days are a bit cooler, around 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Wed) so you can travel to Machu Picchu.

Things to do in Cusco

Tours Outdoors Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 29 — Feb 2:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Sacsayhuaman ©
Sacsayhuaman
exploor ©
exploor

1
night
Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu ©
A symbol of the Incan civilization, the abandoned city of Machu Picchu represents a must-see on a Peru vacation.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Thu): tour the pleasant surroundings at Jardin Botanico en Machu Pichu, then experience the excitement of Samay Spa, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia Virgen Del Carmen, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Mandor.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Machu Picchu fast, fun, and easy.

Getting from Cusco to Machu Picchu by combination of bus and train takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a train; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Thu) early enough to travel to San Pedro de Atacama.

Things to do in Machu Picchu

Wildlife Parks Spas
Find places to stay Feb 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Jardin Botanico en Machu Pichu ©
Jardin Botanico en Machu Pichu
Mandor ©
Mandor
Iglesia Virgen Del Carmen ©
Iglesia Virgen Del Carmen

3
nights
San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Major archeological sites and a renowned museum remain the big draws in San Pedro de Atacama tourism, appealing to visitors interested in learning more about South America's pre-Columbian cultures.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Nature & Wildlife Tours and Pukara de Quitor. Escape the urban bustle at Valle Arcoiris and Geyser del Tatio. Step out of San Pedro de Atacama with an excursion to Cementerio de Toconao in Toconao--about 34 minutes away. There's still lots to do: get curious at Museo del Meteorito, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, look for gifts at Libreria Del Desierto, and explore the striking landscape at Valle De La Luna.

To see reviews, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the San Pedro de Atacama attractions tool.

You can do a combination of train, bus, flight, and shuttle from Machu Picchu to San Pedro de Atacama in 12.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train, bus, and flight; or drive. You'll lose 1 hour traveling from Machu Picchu to San Pedro de Atacama due to the time zone difference. In February, daily temperatures in San Pedro de Atacama can reach 28°C, while at night they dip to 8°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Santiago.

Things to do in San Pedro de Atacama

Wildlife Parks Tours

Side Trip

Cementerio de Toconao
Find places to stay Feb 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Valle Arcoiris ©
Valle Arcoiris
Valle De La Luna ©
Valle De La Luna

6
nights
Santiago, Chile

Santiago ©
Santiago tourism thrives largely thanks to the city's big selection of cultural and entertainment options, including museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, and giant malls.
Step off the beaten path and head to Casa de Isla Negra and Horseback Riding Tours. Get in touch with nature at Reñaca and San Cristóbal Hill. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Santiago: Casablanca (Kingston Family Vineyards & Bodegas RE) and Corporacion Museo de Arqueologia e Historia Francisco Fonck (in Vina del Mar). The adventure continues: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Santuario de la Inmaculada Concepcion, examine the collection at La Chascona, savor the flavors at Food & Drink, and browse the exhibits of Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda y Plaza de la Ciudadania.

To find maps, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Santiago online sightseeing planner.

Getting from San Pedro de Atacama to Santiago by combination of shuttle and flight takes about 5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sun) early enough to travel to Buenos Aires.

Things to do in Santiago

Tours Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Casablanca, Vina del Mar, Casa de Isla Negra
Find places to stay Feb 7 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Reñaca ©
Reñaca
Casa de Isla Negra ©
Casa de Isla Negra
San Cristóbal Hill ©
San Cristóbal Hill

5
nights
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires ©
Cultural capital of South America, Buenos Aires remains one of the largest cities on the continent, serving as a point of departure for exploring the rest of the country.
Take a break from the city and head to Parque 3 de Febrero and Horseback Riding Tours. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Basilica de Lujan and Catedral de San Isidro. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Buenos Aires: Museo de La Plata (in La Plata) and Museos & Cripta Basilica Nuestra Senora De Lujan (in Lujan). There's lots more to do: explore the different monuments and memorials at Cemiterio de Recoleta, examine the collection at Museo River Plate, get a new perspective on nature at Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia, and take a stroll through Puerto Madero.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, read Buenos Aires trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Santiago to Buenos Aires takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Chile Standard Time to Argentina Standard Time is 1 hour. February in Buenos Aires sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 24°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Fri) early enough to travel to Iguazu National Park.

Things to do in Buenos Aires

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Shopping

Side Trips

Lujan, Catedral de San Isidro, Museo de La Plata
Find places to stay Feb 12 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Parque 3 de Febrero ©
Parque 3 de Febrero
Puerto Madero ©
Puerto Madero
Museo de La Plata ©
Museo de La Plata

2
nights
Iguazu National Park, Argentina

Iguazu National Park ©
Iguazu National Park contains 672 sq km (259 sq mi) of fertile subtropical forests, but its main attraction is the majestic Iguazu Falls.
On the 19th (Sat), take in the dramatic scenery at Iguazu Falls and then step off the mainland to explore Isla San Martin. On the 20th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: go deep underground at Minas Tierra Colorada, then discover the riches below the earth's surface at Wanda Mines, and then admire the sheer force of Salto Bernabe Mendez.

To find where to stay, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, read Iguazu National Park itinerary builder site.

You can fly from Buenos Aires to Iguazu National Park in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Buenos Aires in February: highs in Iguazu National Park hover around 37°C, while lows dip to 24°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Sun) so you can travel to El Calafate.

Things to do in Iguazu National Park

Nature Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Wanda
Find places to stay Feb 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Iguazu Falls ©
Iguazu Falls
Salto Bernabe Mendez ©
Salto Bernabe Mendez
Isla San Martin ©
Isla San Martin

3
nights
El Calafate, Argentina

El Calafate tourism thrives mostly thanks to the city's proximity to a World Heritage-listed national park, famed for containing over 40 large glaciers.
Explore hidden gems such as River Rafting & Tubing and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Get in touch with nature at Enjoy! and Estancia 25 de Mayo. Next up on the itinerary: see Off-Road Tours, see the interesting displays at Museo Argentino del Juguete, look for gifts at Vellon Negro, and get a new perspective on nature at Museo Regional Municipal de El Calafate.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, read our El Calafate trip planner.

You can fly from Iguazu National Park to El Calafate in 6.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and flight; or drive. Traveling from Iguazu National Park in February, expect nights in El Calafate to be a bit cooler, around 16°C, while days are much colder, around 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Wed) so you can take a bus to El Chalten.

Things to do in El Calafate

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Feb 20 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Estancia 25 de Mayo ©
Estancia 25 de Mayo

2
nights
El Chalten, Argentina

El Chalten ©
Nestled up against the hills of the Los Glaciares National Park, El Chalten serves as one of the nation's most bustling hubs for hikers and backpackers heading out into the wild landscape of southern Patagonia.
On the 24th (Thu), examine the collection at Casa Madsen Museo and then hike along Patagonia Hikes. Keep things going the next day: take some stellar pictures from El Mirador De Los Condores, take in the awesome beauty at Sendero Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, then appreciate the extensive heritage of Laguna Torre, and finally take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Amanecer en El Chalten.

To see ratings, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read El Chalten vacation planner.

Traveling by bus from El Calafate to El Chalten takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in El Chalten

Parks Nature Tours
Find places to stay Feb 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Laguna Torre ©
Laguna Torre
Sendero Loma del Pliegue Tumbado ©
Sendero Loma del Pliegue Tumbado
Patagonia Hikes ©
Patagonia Hikes

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