16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica Trip Planner

Make it your trip
Fly to Juan Santamaria International Airport, Drive to Jaco
1
Jaco
— 1 night
Drive
2
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Ferry
3
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Monteverde
— 1 night
Drive
7
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Fly

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Jaco

— 1 night
A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Sat): skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour and then get interesting insight from Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks and then enjoy the sand and surf at Jaco Beach.

To see where to stay, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Jaco trip planner.

Bogota, Colombia to Jaco is an approximately 7.5-hour combination of flight and car. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Bogota to Jaco due to the time zone difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Beaches

Manuel Antonio

— 3 nights
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Visiting Waterskiing & Jetskiing and MidWorld Costa Rica will get you outdoors. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices and Super Joseth. The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Biesanz and stop by Beso Loco Boutique de Playa.

To see where to stay, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio driving holiday planner.

You can drive from Jaco to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. On the 12th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can ride a ferry to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure · Shopping

Santa Teresa

— 2 nights
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 13th (Thu): kick back and relax at Playa Santa Teresa, then stop by Tica Surf Bikinis, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Montezuma Falls. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers and then kick back and relax at Playa Hermosa.

To find maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Santa Teresa tour itinerary builder website.

Traveling by ferry from Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature

Side Trip

Playa Samara

— 2 nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sat): enjoy the sand and surf at Samara Beach.

To find photos, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Playa Samara visit planner.

You can drive from Santa Teresa to Playa Samara in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches
Highlights from your trip

Tamarindo

— 2 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
On the 16th (Sun), kick back and relax at Playa Avellana, then kick back and relax at Playa Conchal, and then look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, then take a memorable tour with Tours, and then push the limits with an extreme tour.

To see photos, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Tamarindo attractions planner.

Drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

Side Trips

Monteverde

— 1 night
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Tue): get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Curi Cancha Reserve, and then stop by Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 19th (Wed): take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden and then stroll through Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena.

For ratings, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Monteverde sightseeing site.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Zoos & Aquariums · Nature

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 4 nights
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.
Get in touch with nature at Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano) and Rio Celeste. Step off the beaten path and head to Natura Eco Park Costa Rica and Butterfly Conservatory. There's still lots to do: take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery, witness a stunning natural landmark at Rio Chollin, and get impressive views of Arenal Volcano.

To find photos, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

You can drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 23rd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Trails

Side Trips

Costa Rica travel guide

4.4
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.