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13 Days in Central America


An Adventure in Costa Rica and Nicaragua
Photo by Andrew Harper

When visiting Central America, many people understandably concentrate on just one country. But there’s no reason not to combine two or more, as I did on my most recent trip to the region. I started in Costa Rica, trying out a new resort in the interior as well as an ecolodge along the coast, and finished in Nicaragua at Nekupe, the most luxurious new property in all of Central America. 

Certainly you could just do the Costa Rica section of the itinerary below for a short getaway, or add more time by including another resort or two. You could also extend your time in Nicaragua by combining Nekupe with any (or all) of my other recommended hotels in the country. Honestly, I would be happy to spend a week just at Nekupe, especially with a group of family or friends. Nicaragua sounds daunting to some, I realize, but the country is stupendously beautiful. If you like Costa Rica but sometimes find it too touristy, you’ll love Nicaragua. 

Itinerary Category:
Our itineraries are for your inspiration. If you do not see specific departure dates listed, please contact Andrew Harper Travel to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.
Highlights
    • Go on a guided jungle hike in Costa Rica
    • Take an unforgettable ultralight plane flight over the countryside 
    • Visit the colonial city of Granada and shop for crafts
    • Do yoga, visit the spa, drive an ATV or just relax at our highest rated resort in Central America

Day 1 : San José, Costa Rica

Arrive in San José, Costa Rica, and transfer 30 minutes to the 14-room Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort (book a Master Suite if possible). 

Day 2 - 4 : Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica

Transfer four and a half hours by car to the 50-villa Hacienda AltaGracia, passing through successions of forested ridges and vast palm groves. 

After lunch at the resort, perhaps take a guided hike in the jungle or a horseback ride.

Day 3 - 4 : Make the most of Hacienda AltaGracia

Spend these days at Hacienda AltaGracia, which, in addition to horseback riding and hiking, offers unforgettable ultralight plane flights over the countryside and a magnificent hilltop spa. You might also make a day trip from the resort to visit a remote Boruca tribal village, go ziplining or drop in at a local farm.

Day 5 : Make Your Way to the Coast

We went to Rancho Pacifico at this point on our trip, but because the resort is still developing under its energetic new owners, head instead to the 38-room Arenas del Mar on the coast, about two and a half hours by car from Hacienda AltaGracia.

Day 6 - 7 : Manuel Antonio National Park

Take two days to relax by the sea, enjoying the beach and an excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park. The park may be small but it boasts 109 species of mammals and 184 types of birds.

Day 8 : Nicaragua

Fly from the nearby Quepos airport back to San José. Change planes and fly onward to Managua, Nicaragua, arriving in the early evening. Check into the recently renovated InterContinental Managua at Metrocentro Mall, which has surprisingly appealing restaurants and bars. Opt for a room on the club floor.

Day 9 : Shopping in Nicaragua

Meet your driver and guide from Nekupe. En route to the property, stop in the market town of Masaya (to shop for crafts), the well-preserved colonial city of Granada or the ceramics village of San Juan de Oriente. 

Settle into your villa or suite at the eight-room Nekupe with a staff of more than 100. Your private ranger serves as your driver, concierge and guide.

Day 10 - 11 : Nekupe

Spend two days at Nekupe, which feels rather like a plush playground for adults. Do yoga in a shady pavilion overlooking the Mombacho Volcano, blast along muddy roads in a teak forest with your ATV, hike in the jungle, explore the vast property’s various panoramic viewpoints, take a cooking class and try your hand at target shooting (the resort has several target arrays, set up for both rifles and pistols) or visit the spa. 

Day 12 : Managua

Return to Managua in the afternoon, perhaps doing some additional sightseeing en route to the InterContinental.

Day 13 : Leave Managua

Depart Managua in the morning and return home.

Day 1 : San José, Costa Rica

Arrive in San José, Costa Rica, and transfer 30 minutes to the 14-room Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort (book a Master Suite if possible). 

Day 2 - 4 : Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica

Transfer four and a half hours by car to the 50-villa Hacienda AltaGracia, passing through successions of forested ridges and vast palm groves. 

After lunch at the resort, perhaps take a guided hike in the jungle or a horseback ride.

Day 3 - 4 : Make the most of Hacienda AltaGracia

Spend these days at Hacienda AltaGracia, which, in addition to horseback riding and hiking, offers unforgettable ultralight plane flights over the countryside and a magnificent hilltop spa. You might also make a day trip from the resort to visit a remote Boruca tribal village, go ziplining or drop in at a local farm.

Day 5 : Make Your Way to the Coast

We went to Rancho Pacifico at this point on our trip, but because the resort is still developing under its energetic new owners, head instead to the 38-room Arenas del Mar on the coast, about two and a half hours by car from Hacienda AltaGracia.

Day 6 - 7 : Manuel Antonio National Park

Take two days to relax by the sea, enjoying the beach and an excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park. The park may be small but it boasts 109 species of mammals and 184 types of birds.

Day 8 : Nicaragua

Fly from the nearby Quepos airport back to San José. Change planes and fly onward to Managua, Nicaragua, arriving in the early evening. Check into the recently renovated InterContinental Managua at Metrocentro Mall, which has surprisingly appealing restaurants and bars. Opt for a room on the club floor.

Day 9 : Shopping in Nicaragua

Meet your driver and guide from Nekupe. En route to the property, stop in the market town of Masaya (to shop for crafts), the well-preserved colonial city of Granada or the ceramics village of San Juan de Oriente. 

Settle into your villa or suite at the eight-room Nekupe with a staff of more than 100. Your private ranger serves as your driver, concierge and guide.

Day 10 - 11 : Nekupe

Spend two days at Nekupe, which feels rather like a plush playground for adults. Do yoga in a shady pavilion overlooking the Mombacho Volcano, blast along muddy roads in a teak forest with your ATV, hike in the jungle, explore the vast property’s various panoramic viewpoints, take a cooking class and try your hand at target shooting (the resort has several target arrays, set up for both rifles and pistols) or visit the spa. 

Day 12 : Managua

Return to Managua in the afternoon, perhaps doing some additional sightseeing en route to the InterContinental.

Day 13 : Leave Managua

Depart Managua in the morning and return home.

13 Days in Central America

Contact an Andrew Harper Travel advisor to book this itinerary or to customize your own! Call (800) 375-4685 or submit the form below.

or call (630) 734-4610

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