Private Journeys

Signature: Best of Costa Rica and Nicaragua

12 days

Costa Rica / Nicaragua

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Overview & Highlights

We’ve picked the best natural highlights of two friendly neighbouring republics:  discover them on an adventurous holiday with river trips, lake ferries, volcano visits and an island stay. Wildlife abounds in luscious tropical landscapes. 

These two central American neighbours have a lot in common: rugged volcanoes and fertile landscapes, luscious rainforests, prolific wildlife and a friendly, relaxed tropical vibe.

But there are big differences too: the heritage of Nicaragua’s colonial and revolutionary history is still very much in evidence, while Costa Rica has become one of the world’s top eco-destinations and hub of active adventures. On this holiday we introduce you to the best highlights of both countries.

We’ve put together a range of adventurous yet undemanding experiences which include a tropical river trip and an island stay on Lake Nicaragua, you get to peer down into an active volcanic crater, clamber over a Spanish colonial fortress once besieged by Nelson, and go spotting exotic birds and spider monkeys swinging through trees where iguanas laze. You’ll be staying in independent simple and hospitable lodges and small hotels carefully selected to complement a holiday where you’ll come to know and love the gentle pace of life. If you've time to linger longer, both nations offer palm-flecked Caribbean and Pacific beaches which invite relaxation.

Read More
  • Arenal: Sky Tram and hanging bridges
  • Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve
  • Rio San Juan: Nature trail in Indo Maiz rainforest reserve
  • Granada: Guided city tour and las Isletas boat trip
  • Granada: Night-time visit to Masaya volcano crater
  • Ometepe Island: Guided cultural and landscapes tour



Chris Rendell-Dunn

Travel Expert

Talk to our experts

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.

Bartolome, Galápagos

What our clients say

  • This was a holiday I have wanted to do for many years and it did not fail to deliver. Our tour leader was professional,knowledgeable, understanding and integrated with the local guides to ensure received the best service and information.The recommendations we were given for restaurants, optional tours, tango evenings,sorting money etc were spot on. And finally, the visits to various ice cream parlours for dessert after group meals was most welcome!

    GM, Fairford
    Apr 2018
  • The most memorable part is every day we thought it couldn't get better and it did. Perito merino glacier, Torres del Paine end of world and Iguazu. Easter island was a childhood dream and it exceeded expectations. Mount FitzRoy walk was stunning.

    JC, Colchester
    Feb 2016
  • Chile is an amazing country - but much bigger and more diverse than I expected.  Penguin gives an excellent dip into the Chilean experience - but leaves you wanting more.

    JR, London
    Mar 2017
  • I would highly recommend this tour. The itinerary was very well chosen and we felt we saw as much as we could hope for in the time provided. The tour leader was highly professional and experienced, had excellent knowledge of the countries we visited and was available 24/7 for anything we needed. The local guides were excellent too and each gave us a special insight into the area we were visiting. 

    MC, Australia
    Feb 2020
  • 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
    Mar 2012
  • 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
    Sep 2017
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Our expert's view

Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

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
Bartolome, Galápagos

Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Lina
    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.

  • Carrie
    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.

  • Juliet
    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

  • Sallly
    Sally Dodge - Travel Expert

    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

  • Mary
    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
    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.

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