HOME





TRAVEL BLOG
ABOUT US
ENQUIRE
BROCHURE
CONTACT US
PRIVACY & COOKIES
If you are due to travel shortly, we will be in touch to support and guide you in either postponing or cancelling your holiday, based on current Foreign Office advice and your insurance arrangements.
 
We hope that international travel will resume soon, but to ensure you can still enjoy a holiday this year, we have introduced the following new initiatives:
 
(a) For all new 2by2 Holidays we have relaxed our Booking Conditions, with refundable deposits & later final payment dates. This will allow you to plan your next long-haul holiday with more confidence, despite coronavirus uncertainties.
 
(b) We have launched Auriel Holidays – dedicated to finding you a range of wonderful holidays closer to home. Working with like-minded tour operators, who know their destinations intimately, safety is uppermost in everyone's minds. Our holidays within the United Kingdom and Europe will be mindful of this, and can be tailor made to your exact requirements - whether travelling by road, rail, sea or air.
 
After three months of hibernation, we are more than ready to start dreaming again!

Warm regards

Claire Farley, Managing Director

3 Countries: Panama + Costa Rica + Nicaragua

Panama + Costa Rica to Nicaragua - Private Guide
QPA16P
16 NIGHTS
FROM £3,895
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
Holidays Panama Canal Costa Rica Nicaragua Arenal Tortuguero Granada

Travelling with your own English-speaking guide, enjoy our amazing holidays to the Panama Canal, Costa Rica & Nicaragua. Visit the famous canal, ride  'Coast to Coast' on the Panama Railway & visit an indigenous tribe. Then fly to San Jose & visit Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde & Rincon de la Vieje, finishing in the beautiful colonial city of Granada. English speaking guide & all specified sightseeing included.

Holidays Panama Canal Costa Rica Nicaragua Arenal Tortuguero Granada
• 
Panama City & Panama Canal
• 
Embera Quera Tribe
• 
Panama Railway
• 
San Jose
• 
Tortuguero National Park
• 
Arenal Volcano
• 
Monteverde
• 
Rincon de la Vieja
• 
Nicaragua
• 
Granada
• 
Panama City & Panama Canal
• 
Embera Quera Tribe
• 
Panama Railway
• 
San Jose
• 
Tortuguero National Park
• 
Arenal Volcano
• 
Monteverde
• 
Rincon de la Vieja
• 
Nicaragua
• 
Granada
Day 1
You will be met at Panama City Airport and transferred to your hotel in this modern city, situated on the Pacific Coast at the entrance to the Panama Canal and surrounded by tropical rainforest.
 
Panama was the starting point for the Spanish expeditions that conquered the Inca Empire of Peru, and today it is a major centre for international banking and commerce.
Day 2
Today enjoy a shared tour of Panama City, including a visit to the famous Panama Canal.  
 
We start with a visit the Miraflores Visitors Centre, where you will learn about the history and operation of this engineering wonder, with an audiovisual display and four floors of exhibits about the Panama Canal that cuts through Central America, linking the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean. From the observation deck you can enjoy 180 degree views of the southern locks and the Pacific. Depending on shipping transit schedules, you may even see a ship manoeuvre through the locks.
 
Afterwards we drive along the Amador Causeway, built as a wave-breaker during the construction of the canal and now linking four small islands to the mainland. From here you have panoramic views of the modern city skyline, the old Colonial City, Panama Bay, the Bridge of the Americas, Taboga Island and ships transiting through the canal.
 
Our tour continues with sightseeing in the old Colonial City, which is today a UNESCO World Heritage site. Originally founded in 1519, it was burnt down in 1671 on the orders of its governor, to prevent the city falling into the hands of the pirate Henry Morgan. It was rebuilt a few years later. Here you will see many beautiful baroque, colonial and neo classical churches and monuments. Among the best preserved are the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption, Casa Alarcón (a massive private residence) and the church and convent of Santo Domingo. The restored Old Quarter (Casco Viejo) is vibrant, with many outdoor dining venues, bars, handcraft markets. In the evening you can enjoy live music here.
 
Note: The ruins of the Old City and Canal Museum are closed on Mondays.
Day 3
Request a breakfast box from your hotel this morning, as you will be collected early (around 06.00) and transferred to Panama Canal Station in good time to board your train to the city of Colón on the Atlantic coast.
 
The Panama Canal Railway is one of the great train journeys of the world, travelling for 1-hour along a  picturesque route that crosses the Isthmus of Panama from 'Coast to Coast'. As the train proceeds from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, it follows the Panama Canal with its astonishing locks - passing through lush tropical jungle, the Culebra ('snake') Cut and across Gatun Lake.
 
You will be met at Colón Station on arrival and driven along a jungle track to Fort San Lorenzo on the Caribbean coast. At this World Heritage site you can see some interesting 17th and 18th century military fortifications built by the Spanish to defend their transatlantic trade.
 
Afterwards we visit the new locks at Agua Clara, which were put into use following an expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016. Enjoy an included lunch, with some time to enjoy beautiful Lake Gatun, before returning to Panama City by road at the end of your tour.
Day 4
At leisure to explore more of Panama City independently.
 
There are many optional excursions available - such as a partial navigation through the Panama Canal, an excursion to visit the Embera Quera tribe living in Chagres National Park, a day trip to the Gamboa Rainforest or a full day visit to the Guna Yala tribe living on the magnificent San Blas Islands.
Day 5
Transfer to Panama City Airport for your onward flight.
 
Note: International airport departure tax of $50 per person payable locally.

You will be met at San Jose Airport and transferred to your hotel in this capital city in the Central Valley, surrounded by the Talamanca Mountains to the south and the volcanoes of Poas, Irazu and Turrialba.
 
On arrival enjoy a short tour of the city, starting with a drive through Sabana Park. We then visit the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, situated beneath the Plaza de la Cultura. This small art museum has an intriguing collection of over 2,000 artworks and artefacts relating to the pre-Columbian era (500 AD to 1500 AD) and a large collection of coins, including the Media Escudo - Costa Rica’s very first coin.
Day 6
An early pickup from your hotel this morning for your scenic shared 4-hour coach transfer to the flooded forests of Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean Coast - known as the 'Amazon of Costa Rica'.
 
This remote wetland system covers an area of over 300 square km. Meaning 'Land of the Turtles', it is the largest nesting site for endangered Green sea turtles in the western hemisphere and supports a wide range of threatened flora and fauna. It is also a RAMSAR birding site of international significance.
 
After travelling 1.5-hours by air-conditioned coach, we stop at Guapiles for a Costa Rican breakfast, before continuing another 1.5-hours to the dock. Here we board the boat for our 1-hour ride along the La Suerte River and the wider Tortuguero River, to your lodge in the heart of these lush waterways.
 
On arrival check into your lodge and book your turtle tour in season (see below). After a buffet lunch we visit the local village, with balance of afternoon at leisure.
  
Note: Noctural turtle tours are run from July to October, as this is when green sea turtles nest and lay their eggs, with hatchlings emerging 45 days later. The timing of your tour (8-10pm or 10-12pm) and the beach zone you will visit are allocated by the park authority and must be booked 24 hours in advance, so it is essential to book your tour with hotel reception on arrival, as it cannot be pre-booked (approx. $40 per person).
Day 7
Today you will explore the waterways and rainforests of Tortuguero National Park on a shared boat ride, accompanied by a lodge guide.
 
Tortuguero is a critical breeding ground for vulnerable Green Turtles, which lumber up these beaches in their thousands from July to October each year to nest, with their hatchlings emerging 45 days later - an unforgettable sight. Leatherback turtles - the largest of all sea turtles - nest here in March & April and a few Loggerhead turtles nest here in June & July. The critically endangered Hawksbill turtle may be found here in very small numbers in September and October.
 
Although these beaches are best know for their sea turtles, Tortuguero is also an excellent place to see two and three-toed sloths, mantled howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, basilisk lizards, green iguana, red-eyed tree frogs, spectacled caiman, black river turtles and over half of all bird species found in Costa Rica. These include the Great green macaw, Keel-billed toucan, Boat-billed heron, Blue heron, Laughing falcon, Bare-throated tiger heron, Yellow-crowned night heron, Green-backed heron, Osprey, Snowy egret, Northern jacana, Anhinga (snakebird), Green ibis, Green kingfisher, Southern mealy parrot, Turkey vulture, Social flycatcher, Montezuma oropendola and many more.
 
With eleven different habitats - including rainforests, mangroves, swamps, beaches and lagoons - this hot and humid park has a rainfall of up to 250 inches (6,400 mm) a year. As a result it sustains a wide range of wildlife and is teeming with birds, reptiles, small mammals and insects. Occasionally bottlenose dolphins swim up the river from the sea and you may also see crocodiles, anteaters, ocelots and more.
 
Your boat ride will either be in the morning or afternoon, depending on the scheduling done by the ranger station. Your second activity for the day is a shared guided walk through the grounds of your lodge - looking out for frogs, birds, sloths, butterflies and other wildlife.
 
In the evening, if you join an optional turtle tour, wear dark clothing to ensure you do not disturb the turtles, closed shoes and long trousers to protect your feet & legs from mosquitos. Flashlights are not permitted.
 
Note: As the park receives up to 250 inches (6,400 mm) of rain a year, it is very likely that it will rain during your visit - so bring rain gear with a hood and expect to get wet. Wear sports clothing that will dry quickly (not jeans, which take too long to dry).
Day 8
This morning depart after breakfast and transfer 1-hour by boat and 1.5-hours by road to Guapiles, where we stop for an included lunch.
 
Here you will meet your guide, who will drive you 3-hours towards the Arenal Volcano - one of the most active in Central America, with a perfect cone that on a clear day is visible from almost anywhere in the area.
 
Our route crosses a large cattle and agricultural area, where chocolate is grown, where we stop for a Chocolate Tour. Considered a 'gift from the gods', the cocoa tree was very important in ancient Mayan and Aztec civilisations, having both ceremonial and economic value, with the seeds used as coins in many areas. Today its produce is enjoyed throughout the world in cocoa and chocolate treats. Learn the secrets of transforming cacao and view the chocolate-making process - from the harvesting of the fruit to the drying and grinding of the seed. Then treat your tastebuds to some delicious organic rainforest chocolate.
 
Afterwards we continue to our hotel in La Fortuna, where you can relax surrounded by rainforests, waterfalls and thermal hot springs.
Day 9
This morning enjoy a privately guided tour to the Arenal Hanging Bridges - a series of nine fixed and six suspension bridges, located in a natural corridor followed by migratory birds travelling between North and South America and offering wonderful views of the lake and volcano.
 
This 2-mile (3-km) trail will allow you to enjoy the great diversity of flora and fauna inside this mountainous zone, as well as outstanding bird watching. Keep an eye out for howler monkeys, sloths, anteaters, coati, racoons and other rainforest wildlife. Birds you can hope to see include the Yellow-throated toucan, Crested guan, Grey-headed chachalaca, Baltimore oriole, Clay-coloured thrush and Red-throated ant tanager, amongst others.
 
In the afternoon relax at the magnificent Tabacon Hot Springs, with its many natural waterfalls and pools, as well as a large swimming pool with swim-up bar. Dinner at the hot springs is included this evening.
 
Note: This trail is not suitable if you have a fear of heights. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring binoculars & raingear. Also sun hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, swimwear and water shoes.
Day 10
Today transfer 1.5-hours to Los Chiles for a full day shared excursion to Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, situated on the border with Nicaragua.
 
This humid wetland system protects over 350 different birds including the Anahinga (snake bird), Wood stork, the endangered Jabiru (the largest bird in Central America), Olivaceous cormorant and the beautiful pink Roseate spoonbill, as well as many migratory species. The park is home to least 160 different mammals including howler monkeys, white faced monkeys, spider monkeys, three-toed sloths, tapirs, ocelots and peccaries. You can hope to see iguanas, turtles and caimans in this wildlife reserve that also provides sanctuary for endangered species such as jaguars and cougars.
 
All wildlife viewing is by boat (about 2.5-hours), travelling along tranquil waterways that pass through these tropical rainforests and pastures, followed by an included lunch. Afterwards we return to La Fortuna.
 
Note: You need to bring your passport with you today to gain entry. Group size 2 to 44 guests per guide/boat.
Day 11
Today travel 4-hours from La Fortuna through the beautiful landscapes of northwestern Costa Rica to Rincon de la Vieja.
 
Situated in the scenic Guanacaste Mountain Range, this active cinder volcano rises 6,286 ft (1,916 m) above sea level and is surrounded by nearly 35,000 acres of national park. With volcanic steam vents, bubbling mud pots, hot springs and 32 rivers and streams, this is a fascinating region of geothermal activity.
Day 12
At leisure to enjoy the many hiking trails, waterfalls and hot springs around Rincon de la Vieja - which means 'Old Woman's Corner'.
 
Optional activities include horse riding, mountain biking, abseiling, canyoning, tree top canopy tours and tubing through spectacular scenery.
Day 13
Today we leave Rincon de le Vieja and travel 4-hours across the border to Granada in Nicaragua, stopping for immigration formalities at Penas Blancas,.
 
Continue to your hotel in beautiful Granada. Situated on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, this elegant city is home to many Spanish colonial buildings that have survived repeated pirate invasions. Check in and absorb the atmosphere of this historic place.
Day 14
Today enjoy a boat excursion to Ometepe Island in vast Lake Nicaragua, followed by a walking tour of the city of Granada.
 
Ometepe Island is known for its twin volcanoes - active Concepción in the north and Maderas in the south, which has trails to the San Ramón Waterfall. In the village of Altagracia we visit Ometepe Museum, which has some ancient petroglyphs.
 
We then return to Granada for a guided walking tour of the city. Central Park, the main plaza, is dominated by the distinctive yellow and white bell towers and dome of the colonial Cathedral of Granada, towering far above and visible for miles. The nearby San Francisco Convent and Museum is the oldest church in Central America, dating back to 1585. It is a striking building with a robin's-egg-blue birthday cake façade. It houses both an important convent and one of the best museums in the country, with a wonderful display of pre-Columbian statues. Our tour ends with a visit to the Casa de los Leones colonial mansion, which is now a cultural centre.
Day 15
Today enjoy an excursion to Masaya National Park, where you can see Nicaragua’s most accessible active volcano.
 
The hills and elevated flatland (meseta) surrounding the town of Masaya are scattered with huge crater lakes and here you will find a collection of small picturesque white stucco villages known as the Pueblos Blancos ('White Towns').
 
We visit San Juan de Oriente with its unhurried lifestyle, where most residents are skilled in traditional arts and crafts such as ceramics and pottery. We also stop at the nearby town of Catarina, which has spectacular views across the Apoyo Lagoon towards Lake Nicaragua and the Mombacho Volcano, before returning to Granada.
Day 16
Today transfer to Granada Port for a 6-hour excursion to the beautiful Isletas Archipelago, consisting of over 350 small tropical islands situated on Lake Nicaragua.
 
Navigate 40-minute by boat to this spectacularly archipelago, that is covered in lush vegetation and is home to many aquatic birds. These small peaceful islands are accessible only by boat and are inhabited by a rural community.
 
Enjoy an included fish barbeque lunch on Zopango Island, with stunning views over Mombacho Volcano and the bay. Here you can see orchids, rare birds, turtles and many beautiful trees. You can also enjoy kayaking, walking on the island, bird watching and swimming in the lake. In the late afternoon we return to Granada by boat.
Day 17
Transfer 1-hour from Granada to Managua Airport for your flight home.

Contact us
Order a brochure
Feedback