21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly to San Jose, Taxi to Monteverde
1
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Jaco
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Cahuita
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive
9
Vara Blanca
— 2 nights
Drive to Juan Santamaria International Airport, Fly to London Heathrow Airport

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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.
Monteverde is known for adventure, parks, and nightlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, stop by Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery, and experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Monteverde trip planner.

London, UK to Monteverde is an approximately 16-hour combination of flight and taxi. The time zone difference moving from Greenwich Mean Time to Central Standard Time is minus 6 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Tue) early enough to go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Tours · Adventure

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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Playa Hermosa (in Playa Hermosa), Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal) and Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste). There's much more to do: kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, take a memorable tour with Tours, get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, and look for gifts at Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To find more things to do, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Tamarindo trip itinerary builder tool.

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 your sightseeing early on the 5th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

Side Trips

Playa Samara

— 2 nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Sat): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Islita, admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Samara Beach. Keep things going the next day: kick back and relax at Barrigona Beach and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Guiones.

To find more things to do, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Playa Samara trip planning website.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playa Samara in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sun) early enough to drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Nature

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.
On the 8th (Mon), tour the pleasant surroundings at Jaco Beach, skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and then stop by Fruity Monkey Poop. On the next day, get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, then take some stellar pictures from Mirador de Jaco, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and finally take in the views from Tarcoles Bridge.

For maps, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Jaco trip planner.

Drive from Playa Samara to Jaco in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and ferry; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure · Beaches

Side Trip

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.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour. Here are some ideas for day two: see what you can catch with a fishing tour.

To find ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio planning website.

You can drive from Jaco to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Thu) early enough to drive to Cahuita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Beaches

Side 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 12th (Fri): explore the striking landscape of Cahuita National Park. On the 13th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in nature's colorful creations at Finca La Isla, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tarantulas Way.

To find reviews, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Cahuita online route maker.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Cahuita by car takes about 6.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in March, and nighttime lows around 24°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Sat) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Cahuita

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trip

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 14th (Sun): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

For reviews, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip planner.

Traveling by car from Cahuita to Tortuguero takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In March, daytime highs in Tortuguero are 34°C, while nighttime lows are 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sun) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature · Parks
Highlights from your trip

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: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, view the masterpieces at Wood & Art Gallery, and get impressive views of Arenal Volcano.

For ratings, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

You can drive from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Nature · Parks · Tours · Outdoors

Side Trip

Vara Blanca

— 2 nights
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Start off your visit on the 19th (Fri): take in the dramatic scenery at La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens and then take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, read Vara Blanca itinerary builder website.

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 20th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature · Parks · Wildlife
Highlights from your trip

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.