43 days in Central America & South America Itinerary

43 days in Central America & South America Itinerary

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Route & dates

43 days in Central America & South America Itinerary

Start: Toronto, Canada
Fly:  10​h
1
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
2
Jaco, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
3
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Fly:  4​h 45​min
4
Lima, Peru
— 4 nights
Fly:  1​h 45​min
5
Cusco, Peru
— 5 nights
Fly:  1​h 45​min
6
Lima, Peru
— 1 night
Fly:  7​h 45​min
7
Buenos Aires, Argentina
— 6 nights
Fly:  6​h 45​min
8
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
— 8 nights
Fly + bus:  1​h 30​min
9
Sao Paulo, Brazil
— 4 nights
Fly:  13​h 15​min
End: Toronto, Canada

5
nights
Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Explore hidden gems such as Playa Conchal and Tamarindo Beach. There's more to do: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas and look for gifts at Papaya Con Leche.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the Tamarindo road trip tool .

Toronto, Canada to Tamarindo is an approximately 10-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time is minus 1 hour. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) early enough to drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Playa Conchal
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Spas
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach

3
nights
Jaco, Costa Rica

A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
Take a break from the city and head to Horseback Riding Tours and Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding. Step off the beaten path and head to Palo Seco Beach and Playa Linda. Go for a jaunt from Jaco to Esterillos Este to see Playa Bejuco about 34 minutes away. The adventure continues: learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Neo Fauna CR, look for gifts at Fruity Monkey Poop, take some stellar pictures from Mirador de Jaco, and browse the exhibits of Zukia Art Gallery.

For maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Jaco trip planner .

Drive from Tamarindo to Jaco in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can go by car to San Jose.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Linda, Palo Seco Beach, Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding, Playa Bejuco, Tarcoles Bridge
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Palo Seco Beach ©
Palo Seco Beach
Playa Bejuco ©
Playa Bejuco

4
nights
San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose ©
A trip to San Jose, the capital, commercial center, and cultural hub of Costa Rica, gives you a chance to experience the lively atmosphere and rich cultural past of this vibrant country.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Teatro Nacional Costa Rica and Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana). Get a sense of the local culture at Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion and Galeria Namu. You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Jose: Cartago (Cartago Central Market & Ruins of the Church of Carthage) and Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum (in Orosi). Next up on the itinerary: cruise along Top Travel Costa Rica, admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Costarricense, trek along Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, and don't miss a visit to Plaza Juan Mora Fernandez.

To see traveler tips, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip planner .

You can drive from Jaco to San Jose in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 30°C, and evening lows to 21°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Mon) early enough to travel to Lima.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Cartago, Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion, Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum, J.LANG Atelier & Showroom
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica

4
nights
Lima, Peru

Lima ©
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.
Get some historical perspective at Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco and Iglesia de las Nazarenas. Do some cultural sightseeing at Barranco and Church and Sanctuary of Saint Rose of Lima. Take a break from Lima with a short trip to El Silencio in Punta Hermosa, about 1h 15 min away. There's still lots to do: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, stop by Real Plaza Salaverry, and take a stroll through Miraflores.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Lima holiday builder .

Traveling by flight from San Jose to Lima takes 5 hours. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from San Jose to Lima. January in Lima sees daily highs of 31°C and lows of 24°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can travel to Cusco.

Things to do in Lima

Outdoors Tours Historic Sites

Side Trip

El Silencio
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Barranco ©
Barranco
Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco ©
Nature & Wildlife Tours

5
nights
Cusco, Peru

Cusco ©
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.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Sacsayhuaman and Sacred Valley of the Incas. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries and Cerro Colorado Vinicunca. There's much more to do: paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, tour the pleasant surroundings at Santuario Animal de Cochahuasi, and delve into the distant past at Q'enqo.

For more things to do, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Cusco online attractions planner .

You can fly from Lima to Cusco in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. While traveling from Lima, expect a bit cooler days and much colder nights in Cusco, ranging from highs of 22°C to lows of 9°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) early enough to travel to Lima.

Things to do in Cusco

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries, Sacred Valley of the Incas
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Sacsayhuaman ©
Sacsayhuaman
Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries ©
Pinkuylluna Mountain Granaries
Sacred Valley of the Incas ©
Sacred Valley of the Incas

1
night
Lima, Peru

Lima ©
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Thu): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Basilica y Monasterio de Santo Domingo, glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, and then shop like a local with Shopping Center Larcomar (Centro Comercial Larcomar).

For ratings, traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, read our Lima travel planner.

You can fly from Cusco to Lima in 2 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. While traveling from Cusco, expect somewhat warmer days and much hotter nights in Lima, ranging from highs of 31°C to lows of 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Thu) so you can travel to Buenos Aires.

Things to do in Lima

Shopping Historic Sites Tours
Find places to stay Jan 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan

6
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.
Popular historic sites such as Basilica del Santisimo Sacramento and Catedral de San Isidro are in your itinerary. Escape the urban bustle at Horseback Riding Tours and Palo Blanco. Explore Buenos Aires' surroundings by going to Berisso (Playa La Balandra, Playa Municipal, & more), Delta El Tigre (in Tigre) and Basilica de Lujan (in Lujan). There's much more to do: wander the streets of Puerto Madero, appreciate the extensive heritage of Plaza Rocha, steep yourself in history at Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar, and snap pictures at Puente de la Mujer.

To find reviews, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Buenos Aires trip planner .

Getting from Lima to Buenos Aires by flight takes about 8 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 2 hours traveling from Lima to Buenos Aires. In January, daytime highs in Buenos Aires are 33°C, while nighttime lows are 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Rio de Janeiro.

Things to do in Buenos Aires

Outdoors Historic Sites Parks

Side Trips

Berisso, La Plata, San Isidro, Basilica de Lujan, Parroquia Nuestra Senora de Lujan
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Puerto Madero ©
Puerto Madero
Catedral de San Isidro ©
Catedral de San Isidro
Basilica de Lujan ©
Basilica de Lujan

8
nights
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro ©
Bustling with samba music and all-night street parties, no city encapsulates the spirit of Brazil better than Rio de Janeiro.
Get in touch with nature at Bondinho Pao de Acucar and Barra da Tijuca Beach. Discover out-of-the-way places like Praia de Grumari and Camboinhas Beach. Change things up with a short trip to Pedra do Elefante in Marica (about 58 minutes away). And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at Copacabana Beach, stroll through Praia de Ipanema, contemplate the long history of Parque Lage, and take in panoramic vistas at Morro Dois Irmaos.

To find maps, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, read Rio de Janeiro trip maker .

Traveling by flight from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Prepare for a bit warmer weather when traveling from Buenos Aires in January: high temperatures in Rio de Janeiro hover around 37°C and lows are around 28°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) early enough to travel to Sao Paulo.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Camboinhas Beach, Pedra do Elefante
Find places to stay Jan 30 — Feb 7:
Highlights from your plan
Copacabana Beach ©
Copacabana Beach
Praia de Ipanema
Praia de Ipanema
Barra da Tijuca Beach ©
Barra da Tijuca Beach

4
nights
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Sao Paulo ©
Don't let the city's nickname--"Land of Drizzle"--dampen your spirits during a trip to Sao Paulo.
Fo Guang Shan Brazil - Zu Lai Temple and Batman Alley are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Visit Pitangueiras beach and Pernambuco e do Mar Casado Beach for some beach relaxation. Get out of town with these interesting Sao Paulo side-trips: Guaruja (Asturias Beach & Praia de Pernambuco) and Canto do Forte Beach (in Praia Grande). And it doesn't end there: admire the masterpieces at Museu do Som e Imagem - MIS, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Santuario e Convento Sao Francisco de Assis, shop like a local with Paulista Avenue, and take in the exciting artwork at Instituto Tomie Ohtake.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Sao Paulo road trip planning website .

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or drive. Traveling from Rio de Janeiro in February, expect Sao Paulo to be slightly colder, temps between 34°C and 23°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Sao Paulo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Guaruja, Fo Guang Shan Brazil - Zu Lai Temple, Canto do Forte Beach
Find places to stay Feb 7 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Pitangueiras beach ©
Pitangueiras beach
Pernambuco e do Mar Casado Beach ©
Pernambuco e do Mar Casado Beach
Praia de Pernambuco ©
Praia de Pernambuco

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