21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica itinerary maker

Make it your trip
Drive
1
Tortuguero
— 1 day
Drive
2
Cahuita
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Drake Bay
— 5 nights
Drive
4
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Jaco
— 1 night
Drive
6
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Drive
9
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive

S M T W T F S
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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15
16

Tortuguero

— 1 day

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.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Sun): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

For reviews, photos, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip planner.

San Jose to Tortuguero is an approximately 3-hour car ride. You can also do a combination of bus and taxi. In December in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 34°C during the day and 25°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Sun) so you can go by car to Cahuita.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature · Parks
Highlights from your trip

Cahuita

— 2 nights
With its dusty streets and simple (read affordable) lodgings, Cahuita bustles as a hub of backpacker tourism in southeastern Costa Rica.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Mon): explore the striking landscape of Cahuita National Park. On your second day here, stroll through Tarantulas Way and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour.

To find more things to do, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Cahuita trip itinerary builder tool.

You can drive from Tortuguero to Cahuita in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or do a combination of taxi and bus. In December in Cahuita, expect temperatures between 34°C during the day and 25°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Cahuita

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Outdoors

Side Trip

Drake Bay

— 5 nights
Your day by day itinerary now includes Dolphin & Whale Watching. Change things up with these side-trips from Drake Bay: Quebrada Cuervo (in Loma) and Corcovado National Park (in Carate). Spend a day of island exploring on the 31st (Thu) at Cano Island.

To find reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Drake Bay trip itinerary site.

Drive from Cahuita to Drake Bay in 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Sun) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Wildlife · Parks · Nature · Outdoors

Side Trips

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.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Mon): see Off-Road Tours, then look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park. On the next day, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, then find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and then stroll around Parque Nahomi.

To find maps, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio visit planner.

Traveling by car from Drake Bay to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Tue) early enough to drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Beaches

Side Trip

Jaco

— 1 night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Wed): scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour and then get interesting insight from Tours.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Jaco trip itinerary builder tool.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Jaco takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure

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 7th (Thu): stroll through Ranario Monteverde Frog Pond and then stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. On your second day here, admire the natural beauty at Jardin de Orquideas San Bosco, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, then experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour, and finally learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Monteverde online visit planner.

Drive from Jaco to Monteverde in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Fri) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Tours · Adventure

Tamarindo

— 2 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Sat): identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas and then get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tamarindo Beach.

For reviews, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo driving holiday planning tool.

Drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Sun) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Beaches

Side Trips

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 5 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: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, get impressive views of Arenal Volcano, get interesting insight from Tours, and walk around Bogarin Trail.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos day trip planning website.

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Tours · Wildlife

Side Trip

Vara Blanca

— 1 night
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
On the 16th (Sat), admire the sheer force of La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens and then take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Vara Blanca tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Vara Blanca takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Sat) early enough to go by car back home.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature · Parks · Wildlife
Highlights from your trip

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
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.