18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive
6
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Taxi to Atenas, Fly to Mexico City

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San Jose

— 3 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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Jose: Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). The adventure continues: get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, do sightseeing your way with Top Travel Costa Rica, and browse the exhibits of Galeria Namu.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our San Jose online travel route planner.

Mexico City, Mexico to San Jose is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Mexico City in October; daily highs in San Jose reach 31°C and lows reach 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks · Nature · Museums · Scenic Drive

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.
Explore Manuel Antonio's surroundings by going to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary (in Dominical) and Zipline (in Jaco). There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio, look for gifts at Jungle Avenue, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and walk around Parque Nahomi.

To see reviews, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio day trip planner.

You can drive from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Fri) to allow time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure · Parks

Side Trips

Tortuguero

— 1 night

Costa Rica's Amazon

One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Sat): see the interesting displays at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see where to stay, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, go to the Tortuguero online vacation planner.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Tortuguero by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and ferry. In November in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 34°C during the day and 26°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks · Nature · Museums

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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos, view the masterpieces at Onirica Art Gallery, and admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall.

To see other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos sightseeing planner.

You can drive from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Wed) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trip

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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tamarindo: Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal) and Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands & Four Seasons Golf Club). The adventure continues: kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, and stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Tamarindo trip maker site.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sat) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Golf

Side Trips

Monteverde

— 3 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.
Monteverde is known for adventure, parks, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, browse the exhibits of Alas y Raices, stop by Souvenir Rosewood-Info Center, and experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour.

To find traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Monteverde online trip maker.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 12th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Tours · Adventure

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.