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Fun in Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica

I recently decided to take a life changing trip, travelling from Panama to Costa Rica over the space of 3 weeks. To afford the trip I had worked hard to save money for my living and travelling costs and booked my budget tourist accommodation well in advance.

It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I set out of the epic journey last July and here is what I found whilst I was there.


I arrived in Panama City very early in the morning and got to watch the sun come up for the first time on my journey. I chose to base myself in Panama City as this gave me the chance to explore the city as well as travel outside the city to see the beautiful countryside. I stayed in a lovely little hotel in the financial district that offered warm hospitality and a quiet spot to rest my head. The Hotel de Ville has 33 rooms, all at a reasonable price, compared to most and is set amongst some lovely local restaurants. The warm hospitality was the key for me with this hotel. The staff were great at helping me find some beautiful restaurants and let me know where all the best attractions are found.

One of my most memorable Panama trips was to Ancon Hill, a 654 foot hill that overlooks the entirety of the city. It made for a nice change from the fast paced city; it was a tranquil spot where I could recharge my batteries and enjoy a picnic. I climbed up to the top which was slightly tough but great exercise, but you can get transport up there if you prefer. Don’t forget your binoculars as there are some amazing birds to be viewed from up there.

Another amazing place to visit is, the San Jose Church, set in the midst of the city, this classical South American church is definitely worth a visit. The interior of the church is adorned with some of the most beautiful artwork and artifacts that have been lovingly kept in amazing condition. This was a fabulous place to rest, reflect and get a glimpse at some of the beautiful traditions Panama has.


From Panama City, I travelled onto my next destination, San Juan Del Sur (SJDS for short) in Nicaragua. I specifically wanted to spend a couple of days here, as I am a keen surfer and this is definitely the place to be! I stayed in a peaceful small hotel El Jardin, which is set in the mountains overlooking the sea. The surf beach is set amongst a small fishing village, so even if you don’t like to swim in the sea, there are plenty of other activities to do such as turtle tours and whale watching. It is quaint, quiet and an almost spiritual place. After a couple of days, falling off a surf board I had to move on to the final leg of my journey – Costa Rica.


Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a vast country, encompassing sprawling towns, rainforests and some of the most spectacular views known to man. I decided to travel around the country and stay at various points, as I simply wouldn’t get the most out of my trip by staying in one place.


Panama City

My first and possibly favourite day trip was to the Arenal Volcano in North West Costa Rica. This active volcano is a must for any fan of mother nature. You can even see the steam rising from the top, it is a foreboding presence but worth every glimpse. The second attraction that is a MUST when visiting Costa Rica is the La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Nature Reserve. This is another prime example of Costa Rican’s wild nature and fabulous habitats. The waterfall gardens are one of the most visited privately owned ecological attractions in the world and it was easy to see why. Encompassing some amazing hiking trails through jungle woodland, an animal reserve where you can witness sloths, turtles and big cats, an education centre and of course the waterfall!

All in all this was a magical trip, that I thoroughly recommend for anyone considering where to go on holiday in 2013!


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