20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica Trip Planner

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Route & dates

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Brussels
Train + Fly:  17 h 30 min
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 15 min
2
Cahuita
— 3 nights
Drive:  4 h 30 min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
4
Playa Grande
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h
5
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
6
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h
7
Quepos
— 3 nights
Bus:  2 h
8
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly + Train:  17 h 30 min
End: Brussels

2
nights
San Jose

San Jose ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sun): make a trip to Mercado Nacional de Artesanias.

To see maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, read San Jose trip itinerary builder.

Brussels, Belgium to San Jose is an approximately 17.5-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Central European Time to Central Standard Time is minus 7 hours. Prepare for warmer weather when traveling from Brussels in December: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 30°C and lows are around 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Tue) so you can drive to Cahuita.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Museums

Side Trips

Zoo Ave, El Toledo Coffee Tour
Highlights from your plan
Zoo Ave ©
Zoo Ave
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu
El Toledo Coffee Tour ©
El Toledo Coffee Tour

3
nights
Cahuita

Cahuita ©
With its dusty streets and simple (read affordable) lodgings, Cahuita bustles as a hub of backpacker tourism in southeastern Costa Rica.
Explore hidden gems such as Nature Park Walk and Puerto Viejo Beach. You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Playa Cocles and Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens. Spend the 13th (Tue) exploring nature at Cahuita National Park. Next up on the itinerary: soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers and stop by Talamanca Family Art.

To see reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read Cahuita travel itinerary creator.

Traveling by car from San Jose to Cahuita takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time (CST) to Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is usually a 1 hour difference. Traveling from San Jose in December, expect somewhat warmer with lows of 28°C in Cahuita. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Fri) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Cahuita

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Nature Park Walk, Talamanca Family Art
Highlights from your plan
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles
Cahuita National Park ©
Cahuita National Park

2
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos

La Fortuna de San Carlos ©
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.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Sat): trek along Arenal Natura Ecological Park, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, then view the masterpieces at Wood and Art Gallery, and finally view the masterpieces at Onirica Art Gallery.

To see reviews, traveler tips, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos sightseeing planner.

You can drive from Cahuita to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Cahuita to La Fortuna de San Carlos is minus 1 hour. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Sun) to allow enough time to do a combination of to Playa Grande.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Outdoors Parks Tours
Highlights from your plan
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
River Rafting & Tubing
Lake Arenal ©
Lake Arenal

3
nights
Playa Grande

Playa Grande ©
Playa Grande, also known as Salinas, is a beach community on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica just north of Tamarindo. Step off the beaten path and head to Playa Avellana and Las Baulas National Marine Park. Take a break from Playa Grande with a short trip to Pura Aventura in El Guapote, about 38 minutes away.

To see maps, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Playa Grande vacation builder.

You can do a combination of from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Playa Grande in 5 hours. Expect a daytime high around 38°C in December, and nighttime lows around 24°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Wed) early enough to take a combination of to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Playa Grande

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Tamarindo, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Highlights from your plan
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana
Las Baulas National Marine Park ©
Las Baulas National Marine Park

2
nights
Playa Samara

Playa Samara ©
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 22nd (Thu): kick back and relax at Samara Beach, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then view the masterpieces at Koss Art Gallery.

For more things to do, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Playa Samara holiday planner.

Do a combination of from Playa Grande to Playa Samara in 2 hours. In December, daily temperatures in Playa Samara can reach 38°C, while at night they dip to 24°C. You will have some time to spend on the 23rd (Fri) before leaving for Monteverde.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Belen Waterfall ©
Belen Waterfall
Koss Art Gallery ©
Koss Art Gallery

2
nights
Monteverde

Monteverde ©
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
On the 23rd (Fri), take in the exciting artwork at Art House and then take in the views from Santa Elena Skywalk. On the 24th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

For reviews, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Monteverde travel itinerary creator.

Drive from Playa Samara to Monteverde in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sun) so you can fly to Quepos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Museums
Highlights from your plan
Santa Elena Skywalk ©
Santa Elena Skywalk
Art House ©
Art House

3
nights
Quepos

Quepos ©
The tourist-oriented town of Quepos marks the entrance for many travelers looking to explore the nearby national park.
Escape the urban bustle at Palo Seco Beach and Hacienda Baru. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Rainmaker Park and Meli Melo Boutique. And it doesn't end there: kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and hunt for treasures at Farmers Fair (Ferias del Agricultor).

To find more things to do, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, read Quepos travel planner.

You can fly from Monteverde to Quepos in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. December in Quepos sees daily highs of 30°C and lows of 22°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Wed) so you can fly to San Jose.

Things to do in Quepos

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Parrita, Hacienda Baru Lodge
Highlights from your plan
Palo Seco Beach ©
Palo Seco Beach
Hacienda Baru Lodge ©
Hacienda Baru Lodge
Rainmaker Park ©
Rainmaker Park

1
night
San Jose

San Jose
To find maps, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, read our San Jose sightseeing planner.

You can fly from Quepos to San Jose in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. On the 29th (Thu), you're off tohome.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

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