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tbbeach Aug 1st, 2019 10:20 PM

45 days backpacking Costa Rica and Panama
my 27 year old son plans on spending 45 days traveling through Costa Rica and Panama. Starting in San Jose, plan on going to Bocas del Toro, Boquete, and Panama City...Any itinerary suggestions appreciated. Will be staying in hostels. Just starting the planning process, I was telling him how helpful the people are on Fodors travel forums. Thanks for any help or suggestions.

baldone Aug 1st, 2019 10:41 PM

I'd suggest that he start by posting his own questions.

november_moon Aug 2nd, 2019 09:55 AM

45 days is a nice long trip - sounds wonderful.

Thorntree forums are pretty active, and geared more toward backpackers and budget travel than Fodors, so I would definitely recommend he browse there also.

Without knowing any more about his plans, it's hard to give any but the most general advice. I'd definitely recommend that he start reading about the countries, see what piques his interest, browse some travel forums, and go from there.

tbbeach Aug 2nd, 2019 11:56 AM

yea thanks I realize that but he hasn't used the forums before and I was trying to prove to him how people could be very helpful. Hope your sarcastic comment didn't take up too much of your time.

tbbeach Aug 2nd, 2019 11:56 AM

thank you, I've never heard of thorntree, I will definitely check it out.

suze Aug 2nd, 2019 12:46 PM

Fodor's forums aren't as active for this part of the world. And they aren't really aimed at backpackers or younger travelers. And I am sorry for the rude reply above.

I agree about Lonely Planet's forum called The Thorn Tree.

Also Trip Advisor which is broken down by country then city, so you or he would want to read or post in each Destination Forum where he's visiting. These forums are good because it's locals and visitors both who post. And there's a good PM feature people use for one-to-one conversations or to arrange Meet Ups. For example:

crellston Aug 2nd, 2019 11:14 PM

I have not visited Costa Rica or Panama but my wife and have been travelling the world pretty much continuously for the last ten years and have planned countless such trips. I did look at a trip through Central America last year but events got in the way and we chose a couple of months in Mexico instead.

Based on my experience of trip planning, I suggest that your son starts with a decent guide book. We all have preferences as to which one is best but here is a link to Rough Guides which covers a few CR routes. In addition to guide books, there are countless online resources out the than can easily be googled.

Search for Panama and you will find the same. Lonely Planet has similar pre set itineries but not sure whether you can see them online I tend to use a "bottom up" approach to planning any trip, whether to one country or many i.e. pick out which places interest me using a guide book or online resources, plot them on a map and then see how transport works out between them.

In terms of numbers of places visited, I tend to stay anywhere for a minimum of two nights as this really only allows one full day of activities or sightseeing. Three nights is better and whilst it may be tempting to pack in lots of destinations, if these involve one night stays your will end up seeing more of the inside of buses than the countries he is visiting.

Once you son has a basic trip in outline then that is the time to ask for detailed advice on travel forums. Be specific. The more information he provides, such as budget, interests, travel style etc. the more people will be inclined to help. Forum contributors come in many shapes and sizes, old, young, experienced inexperienced. Some will offer genuinely helpful suggestions others will respond just because they can and add very little.

Finally, a word of advice. If you found baldone’s response to be sarcastic then I really would develop a thicker skin before venturing on to some of the Tripadvisor and Thorntree forums! FWIW when planning our trip to Mexico last year, I found baldones guidance and assistance to be invaluable and for all I know, it probably would be the same for Central America.

MichelleY Aug 3rd, 2019 12:31 PM

I am not a backpacker, but a general plan probably would be to head to the Caribbean Coast from San Jose. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a jumping off point for heading to the border and crossing over to Bocas.

europefun Aug 4th, 2019 04:44 PM

Costa Rica are amazing but Panama was just okay.

volcanogirl Aug 5th, 2019 10:12 AM

geez, talk about a cranky response; sometimes it's better to say nothing. We've been going to Costa Rica for years and love it. Don't have any experience as backpackers though. Some of the popular places to go are the Arenal area, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Tortuguero, the Osa Peninsula, the Guanacaste Beaches, and the Caribbean Beaches. He could explore those areas and see if any interest him.

volcanogirl Aug 7th, 2019 04:18 PM

Also if he has any particular interests like wildlife, cloud forest, volcanoes, waterfalls, birding, beaches, etc. that might help us give suggestions. We partial to the Arenal area; it's great if you like adventure activities.

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