20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Drake Bay
— 1 night
Drive
3
Uvita
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Jaco
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Playas del Coco
— 1 night
Drive
6
Monteverde
— 1 night
Drive
7
El Castillo
— 1 night
Drive
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive
9
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Drive
10
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
Drive
11
San Jose
— 2 nights
Fly

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Manuel Antonio

— 2 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 hidden gems such as Snorkel Adventure CR and Marina Pez Vela. Step out of the city life by going to Playa Espadilla Norte and Nature & Wildlife Tours. There's lots more to do: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, stroll through Playas Gemelas, enjoy the sand and surf at La Playita, and take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty.

For traveler tips, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio online holiday planner.

Lisbon, Portugal to Manuel Antonio is an approximately 18.5-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Western European Standard Time to Central Standard Time is minus 6 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sun) so you can drive to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trip

Drake Bay

— 1 night
On the 31st (Mon), kick back and relax at Playa San Josecito and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour.

To see traveler tips, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Drake Bay trip planning app.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. On the 31st (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours · Parks

Uvita

— 2 nights
Ideal for visitors looking to escape Costa Rica's busy beaches, Uvita offers a serene atmosphere and plenty of uncrowded sand for a leisurely vacation.
On the 1st (Tue), get a dose of the wild on Ultralight Tour, tour the pleasant surroundings at Oro Verde Biological Reserve, head outdoors with Cascada Pavon - Waterfall in Costa Rica, view the masterpieces at Magic Ananda, then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Ventanas, and finally look for gifts at Discount Liquor Wine & Cigars.

For photos, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Uvita tour itinerary planning site.

You can drive from Drake Bay to Uvita in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed) early enough to drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Uvita

Outdoors · Wildlife · Parks · Tours

Side Trips

Jaco

— 2 nights
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.
Get in touch with nature at Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Catarata Bijagual. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Playa Bejuco and Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge. There's lots more to do: explore the galleries of Tico Pod Art House & Gifts, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Mantas, get great views at Mirador de Jaco, and stroll through Playa Blanca.

To see where to stay and more tourist information, you can read our Jaco visit website.

Traveling by car from Uvita to Jaco takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Fri) so you can drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Shopping

Side Trips

Playas del Coco

— 1 night

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.
To find more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Playas del Coco visit planning site.

Getting from Jaco to Playas del Coco by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. You will leave for Monteverde on the 5th (Sat).

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Adventure

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 5th (Sat): look for all kinds of wild species at monteverde nature guided tours, then take an in-depth tour of Chorotega Arts & Crafts, then appreciate the extensive heritage of Ecological Sanctuary, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Sarah's Gallery.

To see reviews, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, read our Monteverde tour planner.

Traveling by car from Playas del Coco to Monteverde takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sun) early enough to drive to El Castillo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife · Museums · Tours · Outdoors

El Castillo

— 1 night
Start off your visit on the 6th (Sun): contemplate the geological forces at Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano), then get to know the resident critters at Arenal Eco Zoo, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Butterfly Conservatory.

To find photos, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, read our El Castillo trip planner.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to El Castillo takes 2.5 hours. On the 7th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in El Castillo

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 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 7th (Mon), tour the pleasant surroundings at Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge, trek along Natura Eco Park Costa Rica, witness a stunning natural landmark at Los Lagos Hot Springs, then browse the exhibits of Galeria Estudio, and finally get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: hike along Arenal 1968 Trail, get outside with Flow Trips, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Bogarin Trail, and finally learn and have fun at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna.

For traveler tips, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos journey builder app.

Drive from El Castillo to La Fortuna de San Carlos in an hour. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Wed) early enough to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Trails

Tortuguero

— 2 nights

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 9th (Wed): see exotic creatures in open habitats at Jungle Tom Safaris Day Tours and then learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see maps, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Tortuguero driving holiday planning website.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Expect a daytime high around 35°C in June, and nighttime lows around 27°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Fri) so you can drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature · Parks · Wildlife · Tours

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

— 2 nights

Walaba

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Fri): admire all the interesting features of Nature Park Walk, then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manzanillo, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Ara Manzanillo. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 12th (Sat): stroll through Tarantulas Way, tour the pleasant surroundings at Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, then head outdoors with Nature Riders, and finally browse the exhibits of Luluberlu Art Gallery.

To see traveler tips, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca online trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to San Jose.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks · Wildlife · Outdoors · Shopping

Side Trips

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 13th (Sun): learn more about the world around you at Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle, get a new perspective on nature at Museo de Cultura Popular, then get a dose of the wild on Canopy Adventure Barva Volcano, and finally indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the architecture and atmosphere at Santiago Apostol Parish Ruins, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Ruins of the Church of Carthage, then explore the world behind art at Museo Municipal de Cartago, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia Maria Auxiliadora, and finally look for gifts at Chieton Moren.

To see reviews, more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the San Jose day trip planning website.

Getting from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a shuttle. In June, daytime highs in San Jose are 32°C, while nighttime lows are 22°C. You will have some time to spend on the 15th (Tue) before leaving for home.

Things to do in San Jose

Wildlife · Historic Sites · Museums · Tours

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.

Arenal Volcano National Park travel guide

4.4
Hot Springs · Waterfalls · River Rafting & Tubing
Plan a tour of Arenal Volcano National Park to get in touch with nature, enjoy scenic views, and admire the majestic volcano up close. The park, established in 1991, protects a variety of ecosystems and wildlife. You can choose from four hiking trails, taking you across the rainforest and lava fields. Enjoy scenic lookout points, see a staggering variety of birds and plants, or climb the dormant Mount Chato on your trip to Arenal Volcano National Park.