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
Subway:  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
Bus + Ferry:  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
Fly:  3 h
9
Flores, Guatemala
— 3 nights
Fly + Drive:  5 h 45 min
10
Caye Caulker, Belize
— 4 nights
Bus:  5 h
11
Tulum, Mexico
— 6 nights
Fly:  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 Playa Puntilla and Playa de Bocagrande. Get some cultural insight at Plaza de San Pedro Claver and Plaza de la Proclamacion. Explore Cartagena's surroundings by going to Aviario Nacional de Colombia (in Isla Baru) and Castillo de Salgar (in Puerto Colombia). There's lots more to do: head off the coast to Isla Grande, find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, admire the landmark architecture of Cathedral Basilica of St. Catherine of Alexandria, and visit Barrio Getsemani.

To see reviews, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Cartagena itinerary maker website.

Sydney, Australia to Cartagena is an approximately 28-hour flight. Traveling from Sydney to Cartagena, you'll gain 15 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Sydney in January, things will get a bit warmer in Cartagena: highs are around 36°C and lows about 28°C. You'll have a few hours on the 23rd (Thu) to wrap things up before traveling to San Blas Islands.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Isla Baru, Castillo de Salgar
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Barrio Getsemani ©
Barrio Getsemani
Bomba Beach Club ©
Bomba Beach Club
Playa de Bocagrande ©
Playa de Bocagrande

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.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, 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

Parks Nature Beaches
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.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Panama City trip maker website.

Take a subway from San Blas Islands to Panama City in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a 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 Beaches 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 see photos, more things to do, where to stay, 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 take a bus. 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 Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Bastimentos National Park, Wizard Beach
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 La Flor Beach Natural Reserve. Take a break from the city and head to Popoyo Beach and Bordport. Get out of town with these interesting San Juan del Sur side-trips: Granada (Iglesia de Xalteva & Zipline). The adventure continues: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, see the interesting displays at ChocoMuseo San Juan del Sur, don't miss a visit to Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia, and get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

For traveler tips, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the San Juan del Sur online road trip planner.

Traveling by combination of flight, bus, and shuttle from Bocas Town to San Juan del Sur takes 13.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or do a combination of bus and car. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST), which is usually a -1 hour difference. When traveling from Bocas Town in February, plan for a bit warmer days and slightly colder nights in San Juan del Sur: temperatures range from 36°C by day to 28°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Isla de Ometepe.

Things to do in San Juan del Sur

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Granada, Tola
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 maps, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Isla de Ometepe trip planner.

Traveling by combination of bus and ferry from San Juan del Sur to Isla de Ometepe takes 3 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 Beaches
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 Museo Lacustre de Atitlan. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Tzantizotz Nature Reserve and Parque Ecologico Chuiraxamolo. 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 Cerro de Oro (in Solola). There's much more to do: stroll through El Pico de Cielo, don't miss a visit to The Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute, look for all kinds of wild species at Tarrales Natural Reserve, and contemplate the geological forces at Volcano Toliman.

To see where to stay, photos, reviews, 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 Nature Museums

Side Trips

Panajachel, San Juan la Laguna, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Santiago Atitlan, Pintando Santa Catarina Palopo
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 photos, reviews, where to stay, 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 Dos Pilas. Take a break from the city and head to Cerro Biotope Cahui and Actún Can. Venture out of the city with trips to Mirador del Rey Canek (in Peten) and Centro de Conservacion e Investigaction (in Tikal National Park). There's still lots to do: see the interesting displays at Museo del Islote Santa Barbara, Head underground at Actún Can, delve into the distant past at Parque arqueologico uaxactun, and pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral de Flores.

To find more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Flores online travel route planner.

Traveling by flight from Antigua to Flores takes 4.5 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, Centro de Conservacion e Investigaction, Actún Can, Cultural Triangle Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park, 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 Nature & Wildlife Tours. Take a break from the city and head to Shark Ray Alley and Secret Beach Belize. Venture out of the city with trips to Museum of Belize (in Belize City) and San Pedro (Belizean Arts, Belize Chocolate Company, &more). There's still lots to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at The Split and view the masterpieces at Aria Kat Art.

To find traveler tips, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read Caye Caulker online road trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Flores to Caye Caulker. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from Flores in February since evenings lows in Caye Caulker dip to 25°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) to allow time 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 Balam Art On Feathers are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Step out of the city life by going to Paradise Beach and Cenotes Sac Actun. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tulum: Cozumel (Punta Sur Eco Beach Park & Fishing Charters & Tours), Scuba & Snorkeling (in Puerto Aventuras) and La Playa Xpuha (in Xpu-Ha). And it doesn't end there: get outside with Ziggy Beach, kick back and relax at Mayan Beach, view the masterpieces at Art Gallery Miniature, and Head underground at Gran Cenote.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, use the Tulum attractions planner.

You can take a bus from Caye Caulker to Tulum in 8 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, Skydiving, Scuba & Snorkeling, La Playa Xpuha
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 Steps in San Cristobal and Museo Jtatik Samuel. Step off the beaten path and head to Museo de Trajes Regionales and Museo Centro Cultural Altos de Chiapas. 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. There's still lots to do: get to know the fascinating history of Historic Center, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, ride a horse along El Rancho Evergreen Guest Ranch, and make a trip to El Arcotete Parque Ecoturístico.

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

Traveling by flight from Tulum to San Cristobal de las Casas takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. While traveling from Tulum, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in San Cristobal de las Casas, ranging from highs of 38°C to lows of 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) so you can 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, thenview the masterpieces at Voces de Copal, thenexplore 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.

To find traveler tips, photos, more things to do, 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 7 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

Yagul, Playa Del Amor
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 Lago del Bosque de Chapultepec. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Museo Trick Eye and Colonia Roma. Change things up with these side-trips from Mexico City: Playa La Virgen (in Tequesquitengo), Paso de Cortes (in Amecameca) and Grutas La Estrella (in Ixtapan de la Sal). Next up on the itinerary: stop by Tlalpan and make a trip to Plaza San Jacinto.

To find more things to do, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Mexico City trip 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 a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Mexico City: temperatures range from 28°C by day to 12°C at night. 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, Paso de Cortes, Grutas La Estrella
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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