12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica visit planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours
Fly
1
San Jose
— 1 night
Drive
2
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Shuttle to Liberia, Fly to Seattle

S M T W T F S
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

1
night
San Jose

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.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Sun): see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, then take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, then take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, and finally get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica.

For other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, read our San Jose day trip planning app.

Seattle, USA to San Jose is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. You can also drive. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Seattle to San Jose due to the time zone difference. Plan for much hotter temperatures traveling from Seattle in January, with highs in San Jose at 78°F and lows at 65°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums · Shopping

2
nights
Manuel Antonio

The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Mon): glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Playa Manuel Antonio, stop by Altair Souvenir & Gallery Shop, and then stroll around Parque Nahomi.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio trip planner.

Drive from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Tue) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Beaches

Side Trip

2
nights
Monteverde

Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Wed): look for gifts at Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. On the 6th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: view the masterpieces at Arte Jaguar Gallery, then take a peaceful walk through Curi Cancha Reserve, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and finally admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Monteverde holiday builder site.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde in 4 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Adventure · Tours

2
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
On the 7th (Fri), kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then look for gifts at Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa. Here are some ideas for day two: stroll through Playa Conchal and then find something for the whole family at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Tamarindo trip itinerary maker app.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Tamarindo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

Side Trips

4
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos

Set against the backdrop of the imposing Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos offers visitors a chance to explore diverse natural landscapes and sample some delicious local produce.
Family-friendly places like Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna Waterfall will thrill your kids. The adventure continues: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and get interesting insight from Tours.

To see maps and more tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos vacation maker website.

Getting from Tamarindo to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Wed) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trip

Costa Rica travel guide

4.3
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.