17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Shuttle
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive
5
Puntarenas
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive
7
San Jose
— 1 night

S M T W T F S
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San Jose

— 2 nights
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 4th (Tue): take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica, see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, then catch a live performance at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, and finally make a trip to Plaza Juan Mora Fernandez.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, read our San Jose itinerary website.

Santiago, Chile to San Jose is an approximately 13-hour flight. The time zone changes from Chile Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -2 hour difference. In February, plan for daily highs up to 30°C, and evening lows to 21°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) so you can catch the shuttle to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Scenic Drive · Tours · Outdoors · Museums

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 3 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.
Step out of the city life by going to La Fortuna Waterfall and Tabacon Hot Springs. Get some cultural insight at Wood & Art Gallery and Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos. Next up on the itinerary: contemplate the geological forces at Arenal Volcano, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, stroll through Senderos Los Tucanes, and get engrossed in the history at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna.

For photos, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

Traveling by shuttle from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sat) so you can drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Spas · Outdoors

Side Trip

Monteverde

— 2 nights
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 8th (Sat): tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle, and then browse the exhibits of Alas y Raices. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Ecological Sanctuary, then take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and then delve into the lush surroundings at Curi Cancha Reserve.

For maps, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Monteverde journey builder tool.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Mon) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Nature · Historic Sites

Tamarindo

— 3 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Escape the urban bustle at Tamarindo Beach and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Conchal and Playa Avellana. There's much more to do: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, see Off-Road Tours, and look for gifts at Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To see reviews, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Tamarindo travel route planner.

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. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) so you can go by car to Puntarenas.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Beaches · Tours · Parks

Side Trips

Puntarenas

— 2 nights

Pacific Pearl

A major port city with a busy fish market, for most tourists Puntarenas represents little more than the launching point for ferries heading to the pleasant beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Get outdoors at Carara National Park and Penon de Guacalillo. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Playa Mantas and Herradura Beach. Venture out of the city with trips to Tarcoles (Tarcoles Bridge & Nature & Wildlife Tours).

To see where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Puntarenas trip planner.

Getting from Tamarindo to Puntarenas by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Puntarenas

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature

Side Trips

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.
We've included these beaches for you: Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. Get in touch with nature at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. There's still lots to do: add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, walk around Parque Nahomi, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and browse the exhibits of The Captain's Booty.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio sightseeing planner.

Drive from Puntarenas to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Beaches

Side Trip

San Jose

— 1 night
To see traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read San Jose vacation maker website.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to San Jose takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours · Outdoors · Museums · Wildlife

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.