16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Richmond
Bus + Fly:  14 h
1
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  1 h 30 min
2
Playa Samara
— 3 nights
Drive:  1 h 45 min
3
Santa Teresa
— 3 nights
Ferry:  3 h 30 min
4
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 45 min
5
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Fly + Bus:  14 h 15 min
End: Richmond

2
nights
Tamarindo

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Sun): enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach and then stop by EK Art Jewelry. Keep things going the next day: explore and take pictures at Pura Aventura, then kick back and relax at Playa Avellana, then look for gifts at Lydia Beech Art, and finally stop by Papaya Con Leche.

To find where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Tamarindo custom trip planner.

Richmond, USA to Tamarindo is an approximately 14-hour combination of car and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Richmond to Tamarindo. Traveling from Richmond in December, things will get much warmer in Tamarindo: highs are around 90°F and lows about 70°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Tue) to allow time to take a bus to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Scuba & Snorkeling, Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Scuba & Snorkeling
Lydia Beech Art Boutique ©
Lydia Beech Art Boutique

3
nights
Playa Samara

Playa Samara ©
A beach town with just enough development to be comfortable for families accustomed to the trappings of modern life, Playa Samara has the resorts you'd expect to find in such a scenic area, but they don't hinder the relaxing atmosphere.
Explore hidden gems such as Samara Beach and Nosara Refuge for Wildlife. Change things up with these side-trips from Playa Samara: Nosara (Eskina Skate Parq, Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), & more). Next up on the itinerary: look for all kinds of wild species at dondeJavitours and take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall.

For reviews, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Playa Samara holiday planner.

You can take a bus from Tamarindo to Playa Samara in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or drive. In December, daily temperatures in Playa Samara can reach 90°F, while at night they dip to 70°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) to allow time to drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Nosara
Highlights from your plan
Nosara Refuge for Wildlife ©
Nosara Refuge for Wildlife
dondeJavitours ©
dondeJavitours
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach

3
nights
Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa ©
A coastal getaway popular with surfers and young travelers, Santa Teresa spreads out from the beach and the main coastal road to a ring of newer developments on the surrounding hills.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Sat): take in the dramatic scenery at Montezuma Falls and then cast your line with a fishing tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Playa Hermosa, then kick back and relax at Playa Santa Teresa, and then stop by Tica Surf Bikinis.

For other places to visit, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, read Santa Teresa trip builder.

You can drive from Playa Samara to Santa Teresa in 2 hours. Another option is to drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Manuel Antonio National Park.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Montezuma Falls
Highlights from your plan
Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Montezuma Falls ©
Montezuma Falls

1
night
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.
On the 26th (Mon), explore the striking landscape of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio and then hunt for treasures at Farmers Fair (Ferias del Agricultor).

For traveler tips, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio National Park travel itinerary creator.

Do a combination of taxi and ferry from Santa Teresa to Manuel Antonio National Park in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. December in Manuel Antonio National Park sees daily highs of 78°F and lows of 66°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trip

Farmers Fair (Ferias del Agricultor)
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Beso Loco Boutique de Playa ©
Beso Loco Boutique de Playa
Farmers Fair (Ferias del Agricultor) ©

3
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.
On the 28th (Wed), take in the exciting artwork at Arte Jaguar Gallery and then identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Here are some ideas for day two: look for all kinds of wild species at Curi Cancha Reserve, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then look for gifts at Souvenir Rosewood.

For more things to do, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Monteverde itinerary builder.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio National Park to Monteverde in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Fri) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Tours
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

2
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Adrenaline & Extreme Tours and Ecotermales Fortuna.

For reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos vacation trip planner.

Getting from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sun) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Ecotermales Fortuna ©
Ecotermales Fortuna

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