30 days in San Jose & South America Itinerary

30 days in San Jose & South America Itinerary

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1
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
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2
Cartagena, Colombia
— 3 nights
Fly to Foz do Iguacu, Bus to Iguazu National Park
3
Iguazu National Park, Argentina
— 1 day
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4
Buenos Aires, Argentina
— 3 nights
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5
Santiago, Chile
— 3 nights
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Uyuni, Bolivia
— 1 night
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Lima, Peru
— 7 nights
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Quito, Ecuador
— 3 nights
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San Jose, Costa Rica

— 5 nights
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.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana) and Metal Church. Step off the beaten path and head to Jade Museum and Museo de los Ninos. Step out of San Jose with an excursion to Souvenir Museum in Alajuela--about 52 minutes away. The adventure continues: let your taste buds guide you at a local gastronomic tour, take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, cruise along Top Travel Costa Rica, and appreciate the views at Orosi River Valley ( El Valle del Rio Orosi ).

To see other places to visit, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read San Jose trip planner.

Oklahoma City, USA to San Jose is an approximately 10-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Oklahoma City in December, expect San Jose to be much hotter, temps between 79°F and 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) early enough to fly to Cartagena.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours · Museums · Historic Sites · Childrens Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 1 — 6:

Cartagena, Colombia

— 3 nights

City of Heroes

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.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Barrio Getsemani and Iglesia de la Trinidad. Get some cultural insight at Catedral Santa Catalina de Alejandria and Choco Museo. There's still lots to do: step into the grandiose world of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, contemplate the long history of Plaza de la Proclamacion, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia de Santo Toribio, and buy something for everyone on your list at Mall Plaza El Castillo.

To see reviews, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Cartagena day trip planning website.

You can fly from San Jose to Cartagena in 6.5 hours. Traveling from San Jose to Cartagena, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from San Jose in December, with highs in Cartagena at 89°F and lows at 76°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can travel to Iguazu National Park.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites · Shopping · Neighborhoods · Museums
Find places to stay Dec 6 — 9:

Iguazu National Park, Argentina

— 1 day
Iguazu National Park contains 672 sq km (259 sq mi) of fertile subtropical forests, but its main attraction is the majestic Iguazu Falls.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Fri): admire the sheer force of Iguazu Falls.

For photos, reviews, maps, and tourist information, read Iguazu National Park travel route planner.

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Cartagena to Iguazu National Park in 14.5 hours. Another option is to drive. The time zone difference moving from Colombia Standard Time (COT) to Argentina Standard Time (ART) is 2 hours. Traveling from Cartagena in December, Iguazu National Park is a bit cooler at night with lows of 68°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) so you can catch the flight to Buenos Aires.

Things to do in Iguazu National Park

Parks · Nature
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 11:
Highlights from your trip

Buenos Aires, Argentina

— 3 nights

Queen of La Plata

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Basilica del Santisimo Sacramento and Plaza de Mayo. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Puerto Madero and Museo Nacional De Arte Decorativo. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Buenos Aires: Palo Blanco (in Berisso) and Museo de La Plata (in La Plata). The adventure continues: explore the different monuments and memorials at Cemiterio de Recoleta, look for gifts at Galerias Pacifico, steep yourself in history at Palacio Barolo, and see the interesting displays at Buque Museo Fragata ARA Presidente Sarmiento.

For more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Buenos Aires trip builder.

Traveling by flight from Iguazu National Park to Buenos Aires takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. December in Buenos Aires sees daily highs of 83°F and lows of 68°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) so you can catch the flight to Santiago.

Things to do in Buenos Aires

Historic Sites · Museums · Beaches · Parks

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 10 — 13:

Santiago, Chile

— 3 nights

City of the Island Hills

Santiago tourism thrives largely thanks to the city's big selection of cultural and entertainment options, including museums, theaters, restaurants, bars, and giant malls.
Take a break from the city and head to San Cristóbal Hill and Horseback Riding Tours. Popular historic sites such as Santuario de la Inmaculada Concepcion and Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda y Plaza de la Ciudadania are in your itinerary. There's still lots to do: explore the historical opulence of Castillo Hidalgo, browse the different shops at Alto Las Condes, take a stroll through Isidora Goyenechea, and shop like a local with Patio Bellavista.

To see maps, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read our Santiago holiday maker.

Traveling by flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Buenos Aires to Santiago. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) early enough to catch the flight to Uyuni.

Things to do in Santiago

Shopping · Historic Sites · Outdoors · Tours
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 17:

Uyuni, Bolivia

— 1 night
Emptiness surrounds the desert outpost of Uyuni, the gateway to the world's largest salt flats.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Sat): don't miss a visit to Plaza Arce, see the interesting displays at Train Cemetery, and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Avenida Ferroviaria.

To see reviews, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Uyuni trip maker app.

Fly from Santiago to Uyuni in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 53°F in December, and nighttime lows around 53°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Sun) early enough to catch the flight to Lima.

Things to do in Uyuni

Historic Sites · Museums
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:

Lima, Peru

— 7 nights

City of the Kings

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.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like San Isidro and Casa de Aliaga. Get outdoors at Parasailing & Paragliding and Balneario La Punta. Get out of town with these interesting Lima side-trips: Callao (Fortaleza real felipe & Palomino) and El Silencio (in Punta Hermosa). There's still lots to do: take in the spiritual surroundings of Basilica y Monasterio de Santo Domingo, pause for some serene contemplation at Museo Convento San Francisco y Catacumbas, shop like a local with Shopping Center Larcomar (Centro Comercial Larcomar), and examine the collection at ChocoMuseo Kennedy.

For more things to do, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Lima driving holiday planner.

Traveling by flight from Uyuni to Lima takes 8.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Uyuni to Lima, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Uyuni in December, you will find days in Lima are much warmer (75°F), and nights are a bit warmer (66°F). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can catch the flight to Quito.

Things to do in Lima

Museums · Historic Sites · Outdoors · Parks

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 19 — 26:

Quito, Ecuador

— 3 nights

Light of America

High in the Andean foothills, Quito remains one of the world's most photogenic capital cities, featuring two dramatic mountain ranges as its backdrop.
Popular historic sites such as Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco and Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Merced are in your itinerary. Take a break from the city and head to Maquipucuna Reserve and Photography Tours. There's lots more to do: examine the collection at Museo Casa del Alabado, appreciate the history behind La Virgen del Panecillo, explore the world behind art at Convento De San Francisco, and look for gifts at Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal.

To see reviews, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Quito travel route builder site.

You can fly from Lima to Quito in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Lima in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit cooler in Quito, with lows of 56°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) to allow time to fly back home.

Things to do in Quito

Museums · Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 29:

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.

Colombia travel guide

4
Historic Sites · Landmarks · Churches
Diverse in terms of landscapes, climates, and cultures, Colombia remains one of South America's least explored tourist destinations, overshadowed by its more popular southern neighbors. Combining the best of what the continent has to offer, a vacation in Colombia allows you to blend outdoor adventures with tours of picture-perfect cobblestoned towns dating back to the colonial era. Tourists on a Colombia holiday can easily hop from sun-kissed coastal spots to the hilly coffee-growing region, where thriving plantations quickly give way to a landscape of snow-covered volcanic peaks and the paramo--alpine ecosystems sheltering some of the rarest plants growing above the continuous forest line.