17 days in Colombia & Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Colombia & Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock travel route maker

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Fly
1
Cartagena, Colombia
— 3 nights
Fly
2
San Andres Island, Colombia
— 3 nights
Fly
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Ferry
5
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive
6
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Fly

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3
nights
Cartagena, Colombia

City of Heroes

The site of the continent's first Spanish colony, Cartagena retains much of its colonial flavor thanks to a World Heritage-listed old town, encircled by old walls and protected by imposing fortresses.
Scuba & Snorkeling and Barrio Getsemani are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas and Walled City of Cartagena will appeal to history buffs. Take a break from Cartagena with a short trip to Aviario Nacional de Colombia in Isla Baru, about 50 minutes away. There's lots more to do: pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de la Trinidad, make a trip to Plaza de San Diego, and go for a walk through Plazoleta de Blas de Lezo.

To see where to stay, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Cartagena holiday maker site.

San Francisco, USA to Cartagena is an approximately 14-hour flight. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time to Colombia Standard Time, which is usually a 3 hour difference. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from San Francisco in June: highs in Cartagena hover around 91°F, while lows dip to 79°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Wed) early enough to travel to San Andres Island.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites · Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trip

3
nights
San Andres Island, Colombia

The coral San Andres Island boasts a rich colonial history, exotic beaches, and a laidback, tropical lifestyle.
Start off your visit on the 17th (Thu): look for all kinds of wild species at Cayo El Acuario, then explore the gorgeous colors at West View, and then identify plant and animal life at La Piscinita. Here are some ideas for day two: make a trip to Rocky Cay, head off the coast to Cayo Bolivar, and then kick back and relax at Playa Charquitos.

To find reviews, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our San Andres Island trip itinerary builder tool.

Traveling by flight from Cartagena to San Andres Island takes 3.5 hours. June in San Andres Island sees daily highs of 87°F and lows of 78°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 19th (Sat) to allow time for travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Andres Island

Parks · Wildlife · Outdoors · Beaches

2
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.
On the 20th (Sun), admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, browse the exhibits of Wood & Art Gallery, and then get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 21st (Mon): relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find other places to visit, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos online journey builder.

You can fly from San Andres Island to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 11.5 hours. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from San Andres Island to La Fortuna de San Carlos due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Mon) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

2
nights
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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 22nd (Tue), kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio and then kick back and relax at Playa Biesanz. Keep things going the next day: paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour and then take a memorable tour with Tours.

To find maps, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio in 4.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Wed) early enough to catch the ferry to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

1
night
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

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.
On the 24th (Thu), kick back and relax at Playa Santa Teresa, then find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and then kick back and relax at Playa Hermosa.

For ratings, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Santa Teresa road trip site.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa by ferry takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and ferry; or drive. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) so you can go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

2
nights
Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
On the 25th (Fri), get interesting insight from Tours, then stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa, and then stroll through Playa Avellana. On the 26th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Playa Conchal and then see Off-Road Tours.

To find ratings, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo online attractions planner.

Traveling by car from Santa Teresa to Tamarindo takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Beaches

Side Trip

2
nights
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

Coco Beach

A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Sun): kick back and relax at Playa Hermosa, then soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and then identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas.

To see ratings, maps, and tourist information, use the Playas del Coco online driving holiday planner.

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 28th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trips

Colombia travel guide

4
Historic Sites · Specialty Museums · Landmarks
Diverse in terms of landscapes, climates, and cultures, Colombia remains one of South America's least explored tourist destinations, overshadowed by its more popular southern neighbors. Combining the best of what the continent has to offer, a vacation in Colombia allows you to blend outdoor adventures with tours of picture-perfect cobblestoned towns dating back to the colonial era. Tourists on a Colombia holiday can easily hop from sun-kissed coastal spots to the hilly coffee-growing region, where thriving plantations quickly give way to a landscape of snow-covered volcanic peaks and the paramo--alpine ecosystems sheltering some of the rarest plants growing above the continuous forest line.

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.