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
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:  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): stroll through Tamarindo Beach and then stop by Lydia Beech Art. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 19th (Mon): admire all the interesting features of Pura Aventura, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana, then look for gifts at Urban Eclectic Jewelry, and finally stop by Buena Nena.

To see other places to visit, maps, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo vacation 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. Plan for much warmer temperatures traveling from Richmond in December, with highs in Tamarindo at 90°F and lows at 70°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Tue) early enough to catcht the bus to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

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 dondeJavitours. Get out of town with these interesting Playa Samara side-trips: Nosara (Eskina Skate Parq, Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), & more). There's more to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall.

To see where to stay, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Playa Samara vacation builder.

Getting from Tamarindo to Playa Samara by bus takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or drive. In December, daily temperatures in Playa Samara can reach 90°F, while at night they dip to 70°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) early enough to go by car to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Wildlife Beaches

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. On the next day, stroll through Playa Hermosa, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Santa Teresa, and then stop by Tica Surf Bikinis.

To see photos, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Santa Teresa trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Playa Samara to Santa Teresa by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) so you can travel to Manuel Antonio National Park.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks Beaches Outdoors

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.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Mon): explore the striking landscape of Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio and then hunt for treasures at Farmers Fair (Ferias del Agricultor).

To find more things to do, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read Manuel Antonio National Park online itinerary creator.

Traveling by combination of taxi and ferry from Santa Teresa to Manuel Antonio National Park takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In December, daytime highs in Manuel Antonio National Park are 78°F, while nighttime lows are 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Tue) to allow time for the car ride to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Tours Adventure Outdoors

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: identify plant and animal life at Curi Cancha Reserve, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then stop by Souvenir Rosewood.

To see reviews, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Monteverde holiday planner.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio National Park to Monteverde takes 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

Parks Wildlife 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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Adrenaline & Extreme Tours and Ecotermales Fortuna.

To find maps, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos vacation trip planner.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sun) early enough 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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