Signature Costa Rica and Panama: The Caribbean route
Overview & Highlights
Visit two contrasting Central American countries. Costa Rica is a treasure trove for the nature-lover with many divine national parks, while Panama is a cultural melting-pot where you'll discover the Canal by boat.
- Arenal Volcano & Ecotermales Hot Springs
- Tirimbina trails and hanging bridges
- Tortuguero village & canals
- Coffee finca & coffee farm tours
- Cruise down the Panama Canal
This sunlit holiday combines natural riches with one of the greatest feats of human engineering, the Panama Canal. Relax in soothing hot springs in the shadow of the picture-perfect Arenal volcano then visit the Caribbean jungle waterways and mangrove forests of the wildlife-rich Tortuguero reserve. Cross into Panama to spend time on Bocas del Toro, white-sand islands off its Caribbean coast, and in the lush forests of the rugged interior at Boquete. After this, travel to Panama City to sail through the Panama Canal.
Costa Rica has an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna and its people are extremely welcoming. The comprehensive network of national parks with their extensive trails is always very accessible. In line with its love and respect for the great outdoors, Costa Rica also has been at the vanguard of adventure tourism, with activities on offer from zip-lining to white-water rafting.
Panama has a different rhythm, and is a real melting pot of cultures as a result of being at the crossroads of oceans. The Panama Canal, one of the world’s most crucial transport corridors, is a stunning piece of engineering. You will pass through some of the locks on a launch and explore the historic capital, with its history of pirates and naval battles.
Arrive in San José and transfer to your hotel.
Transfer to Arenal volcano area.
Excursion to Ecotermales hot springs.
Transfer to Sarapiqui via Tirimbina and the hanging bridges.
Transfer to Guapiles and Tortuguero
Explore Tortuguero National Park.
Transfer by road and water to Bocas del Toro.
At leisure at Bocas del Toro.
Transfer to Boquete via Oreba Chocolate Farm.
Coffee finca excursion.
Transfer to Panama City.
Panama Canal partial transit.
Transfer to the airport for your international flight.
Things to do
We proudly offer the widest range of activities, excursions and one-of-a-kind experiences across all our destinations, tried and tested personally by our travel experts.
Soak in Arenal’s hot springs
Nature trail across Arenal’s hanging bridges
Visit the national parks and private reserves in Central Highlands
Tortuguero kayaking and wildlife-spotting trip
Go snorkelling in a Panamanian marine reserve
Take a Panamanian coffee tour
Visit the Panama Canal
Meet the Kuna indians of San Blas
Explore Tirimbina Nature Reserve
Browse our unrivalled portfolio of accommodation . Every option has been carefully chosen by our team of travel experts, so you can rest assured that you’ll relax in utter comfort.
Costa Rica / San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
Costa Rica / Arenal and the north
Costa Rica / San Jose, central highlands and central valleys
La Quinta de Sarapiquí Country Inn
Costa Rica / Caribbean coast
Turtle Beach Lodge
Panama / Bocas del Toro and The Caribbean
Panama / Boquete and the Chiriquí Highlands
Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort
Panama / Panama City
Tryp by Wyndham
What our clients say
97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.
I had travelled on a small group tour to Peru with JLA previously, so was fully expecting to be able to completely relax, safe in the knowledge that everything would be taken care of. I was not disappointed and the tour leader had everything running superbly. My three days extension on my own also worked like clockwork.SP, Aberdeen
Most memorable experience - Sitting in the bar in Leon as the thunderstorm and wind developed and listening to the wild hand ringing of the church bell. Interesting and well informed guides talking about revolutions in Nicaragua. Trip around Lake Atitlan also made more interesting by knowledgeable guide.
A well balanced and organised trip, It gave an interesting insight into the historical, cultural, political and natural elements of the countries visited. Plus you got to stay in some great hotels.WA, Kingston
Most memorable experiences: “Kaieteur Falls. Angel Falls. Both a wonderful experience. The holiday was described accurately, and your staff were always extremely helpful. I am pleased to have done it and my daughter thoroughly enjoyed it as did I.”PJC, Swindon
"This was our third holiday with JLA and once again they did not disappoint."PP, Stafford
Highlights? "There were many. Cuba itself is a fascinating country, a unique combination of geography, history, politics, culture and music. Highlights include: horse riding through the Valle de Silencio in Vinales, riding in an old American convertible car in Havana, visiting the Che Guevara Mausoleum and the Bay of Pigs Museum, numerous meals and drinks in restaurants and bars with great live music as a soundtrack to the tour, the intoxicating atmosphere walking along Obispo in Havana, a microcosm of Cuban life, the beautiful, faded architecture, different in each town we visited, the number of working horses everywhere, the resilience of Cubans in the face of grinding poverty and a repressive regime, spontaneous music performed everywhere at any time."DK, Coventry
Our first trip to S. America was a wonderful experience from start to finish. Everything was very well organised and we couldn't have had a better group leader than tour leader. The local guides were very knowledgable and enthusiastic to share their country. When we booked this holiday we thought it would be our only trip to S. America, primarily to see Machu Picchu but now hearing the tour leader talk about other tours she has run we are eager to see more of the continent with JLA.FM, Aberdeen
This trip exceeded our expectations. A thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing insight into the history, culture and scenery of Guatemala and Belize and its ancient Mayan civilisation. And great fun too. Well judged, well balanced and really well executed. Well done JLA!WB, Steyning
Most of the vary varied scenery was spectacular, and the pace of the trip and exercise involved was just right.JH, Sevenoaks
This is my third trip with JLA after a gap of 7 years - and they continue to deliver! A great trip and I cannot wait to go back. Excellent local knowledge, sensitive to local customs and cultures; my only complaint is that it went too quickly!SV, Dundee
Ever since hearing of Tierra del Fuego when I was a child of 8, I have longed to visit. The 'Land of Fire' sounded so magical. Now at 74, I have achieved a lifelong ambition and have had a holiday of a lifetime having visited the'End of the Earth' in a catamaran whilst travelling eastwards in the Beagle Channel to view the penguins and other wild life. Everyone in Chile, Argentina and during my brief visit to Brazil were very friendly and accommodating. The local transport provided was fine and allowed us to view the local scenery at close hand with adequate stops...All in all a brilliant holiday. Thank you.RH, Macclesfield
Jacana was a fascinating, very well organised 3 week tour through Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Lima taking in the highlights of each country. Every day gave us a new experience which will stay in our memories for a long time to come.VT, London
Guatemala is a very beautiful and interesting country which deserves to be better known. The history of the Maya and their ancient sites is fascinating, much enhanced by the fact that the Maya people are still there and their customs and traditions can be observed. The scenery, colonial architecture and birdlife: outstanding.JE, Ware
Excellent as usual! I like the small groups, the local guides and drivers, the home stays, private home restaurants.MP, Seaton
So many highlights. Corcovado Mountain and the Cristo Redento statue in Rio was a truly spiritual experience. Bolivia as a whole completely exceeded our expectations. Machu Picchu is such an extraordinary sight - its location and setting are hard to comprehend.NH, Shrewsbury
A really fantastic holiday. The organisation , accommodation, excursions, fellow group members and our superb tour leader all contributed to a wonderful experience.DB, Bedford
There were many wonderful memories. Iguacu was amazing and Machu Picchu was intriguing. Landscapes were fascinating & the people were friendly. Lovely to see the colourful costumes & markets.JP, Nottingham
Stunning landscape / scenery in Patagonia together with Iguazu Falls were the highlights.DM, Sale
The Eagle tour was one of the best trips I have had. Thank you all!HC, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
The Alcion Tour is a an excellent trip to take if you want to travel to the less travelled countries in Central America. The tour covers all the essential sites but it is the colours and flavours of the cities and towns you visit and the warmth and kindness of the people, particularly in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras, that really make this a wonderful trip. There are some long journeys but it is a real opportunity to see life as it is lived by the locals. Visit beautiful islands, see amazing wildlife, try fabulous local food and enjoy these wonderful countries. It's an adventure and an experience.CP, London
The train journey from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu was amazing - the landscape was breathtaking, and the tour leader explained so much to us on the way.DC, Pinner
The whole trip was well-organised allowing our group to maximise the time we had in beautiful Peru. We covered a large distance, but the pace was just right, and the accommodation was excellent. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
This trip offers so many breathtaking moments. Overall it is the variation of landscape and wealth of history that impresses and spotting varied wildlife.WK, Shoreham-by-Sea
The amazing scenery - every kilometre of the Carretera Austral, every turning, offers stunning views which never cease to surprise...I am impressed with the way it is possible to combine group tours with individual travel and with the flexibility available on the tours to meet individual needs. I find the whole booking experience from enquiry to final plans, very easy with great response from your office. The tour leaders are absolutely brilliant at what they do - I am in awe of their multiple skills!SC, Penryn
"I have many great memories, but for me going to sleep and then waking up to the sounds of the rain forest both at Rock View Lodge and Atta Rainforest Lodge was magical. Also, taking a shower under a starlit sky at Atta was wonderful! A continuous joy was the friendliness of all the local people we encountered on our journey. They seemed to be genuinely pleased that we had chosen to visit their countries."JB, London
"The trip lived up to my expectations. It's a great opportunity to follow a less travelled path through three completely different, but fascinating countries - Guyana, Suriname and Guyane (French Guiana) - and to experience beautiful scenery, remote locations and vibrant cities (especially Georgetown, which I loved). Well done JLA for organising this tour".
Jam packed itinerary with so many great places and sights in such a short time! Iguacu Falls, Rio, La Paz, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu- it really had it all. We had a great tour guide; informative, knowledgeable and extremely personable, with a wealth of knowledge and a genuine passion for South America. Logistics were seamless- first time travelling to South America, first time travelling solo- highly recommend it!LM, London
A journey to South America was a long held dream of mine, and Journey Latin America certainly fulfilled my dream.EM, Bromley
Experiencing an interesting mix of Colombian landscapes and wildlife and getting a real feel of the country and its people. Particularly liked Mompos and the Magdelena river and seeing the wax palms in the Valle de Cocora.JB. Gosport
The overall experience was friendly and efficient, seeing the most amazing places from high up in the desert to the wilds of Patagonia.CB, Beckenham
It was my first trip on this kind of tour. I felt very safe & included & thoroughly enjoyed my time in Mexico. As a group I felt we really bonded & good friendships were made.KM, Salisbury
Enjoyed the trip to the equator while in Quito. Loved Alausi, very interesting place, people. Cuenca was lovely, very easy to get around, felt safe, staff at hotel very helpful, happy hour cocktails 2 for 1 delicious! Las Cajas national park very interesting. The Galapagos week was fantastic! Staff really professional, islands and wildlife more than I imagined, learnt to snorkel, scenery fantastic. The group were also really nice, and as a single traveller this made my holiday really special. And on the whole the weather was very sunny and warm. Enjoyed the picnics we had during our trips in the Andes, which the tour leader arranged, especially the exotic fruits which she advised us to try.JC, Bury
This was a great trip - wonderful scenery and amazing sites. It was well organised and allowed for some opportunity to do things on one's own away from the group.DS, London
Tailor made holiday
Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for 40 years. We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Inspired by this trip
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.