21 days in Quito, Galapagos Islands & Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Quito, Galapagos Islands & Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Trip Planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Quito, Ecuador
— 3 nights
Fly to Baltra Island, Fly to Puerto Villamil
2
Puerto Villamil, Ecuador
— 2 nights
Ferry
3
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador
— 2 nights
+2
Ferry to San Cristobal, Fly to Baltra Island, Fly to San Jose
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
Bus to Jacó, Ferry to Montezuma
6
Montezuma, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive
7
Playa Samara, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive
8
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Shuttle to Juan Santamaría International Airport, Fly to London Gatwick

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Quito, Ecuador

— 3 nights

Light of America

High in the Andean foothills, Quito remains one of the world's most photogenic capital cities, featuring two dramatic mountain ranges as its backdrop.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Thu): take in the spiritual surroundings of Basilica del Voto Nacional. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the world behind art at La Capilla Del Hombre, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Fundacion Iglesia de la Compania, then make a trip to Independence Square, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Catedral Metropolitana de Quito.

To find maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Quito holiday maker tool.

London, UK to Quito is an approximately 18-hour flight. You'll gain 5 hours traveling from London to Quito due to the time zone difference. In January, Quito is much warmer than London - with highs of 26°C and lows of 16°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sun) early enough to travel to Puerto Villamil.

Things to do in Quito

Historic Sites · Museums

Puerto Villamil, Ecuador

— 2 nights
Located in the southeast of Isla Isabela, Puerto Villamil is home to the majority of the island's 2,200 inhabitants.
On the 14th (Sun), stroll through Concha de Perla. On your second day here, step off the mainland to explore Las Tintoreras, then don't miss a visit to The Wall of Tears, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Los Tuneles.

To find ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Puerto Villamil road trip planning tool.

You can fly from Quito to Puerto Villamil in 6 hours. The time zone difference when traveling from Quito to Puerto Villamil is minus 1 hour. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Tue) so you can catch the ferry to Puerto Ayora.

Things to do in Puerto Villamil

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Tours

Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

— 2 nights
The largest settlement in the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora offers visitors to the islands an array of facilities and things to do.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Tue): tour the pleasant surroundings at Charles Darwin Research Station and then make a trip to Santa Cruz Fish Market. On your second day here, stroll through El Chato - Giant Tortoise Reserve and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Puerto Ayora trip site.

Ride a ferry from Puerto Villamil to Puerto Ayora in 3.5 hours. The time zone changes from Galapagos Time (GALT) to Ecuador Time (ECT), which is usually a 1 hour difference. January in Puerto Ayora sees daily highs of 34°C and lows of 27°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Puerto Ayora

Wildlife · Parks · Tours · Outdoors

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

— 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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs, take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery, witness a stunning natural landmark at Rio Chollin, and get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

To see more things to do, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos tour app.

Do a combination of ferry and flight from Puerto Ayora to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 19 hours. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Puerto Ayora to La Fortuna de San Carlos due to the time zone difference. On the 21st (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Tours

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

— 4 nights
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Spend the 24th (Wed) on the water with a fishing tour. There's still lots to do: get interesting insight from Tours and stop by Beso Loco Boutique de Playa.

For photos, ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Manuel Antonio trip app.

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Thu) so you can travel to Montezuma.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Tours · Wildlife · Outdoors · Shopping

Side Trip

Montezuma, Costa Rica

— 1 night
With a scenic position on a sheltered bay, Montezuma remains one of Costa Rica's quieter destinations, attracting mostly backpackers and other explorers averse to making detailed travel plans.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Thu): soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers and then admire the sheer force of Montezuma Falls.

To see ratings, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Montezuma trip planner.

Traveling by combination of bus and ferry from Manuel Antonio to Montezuma takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Montezuma

Nature · Parks · Spas

Playa Samara, Costa Rica

— 1 night
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.
On the 26th (Fri), have some family-friendly fun at Eskina Skate Parq and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Guiones. Keep things going the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Samara Beach.

To see reviews, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Playa Samara attractions planner.

You can drive from Montezuma to Playa Samara in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 27th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Fun & Games

Side Trip

Tamarindo, Costa Rica

— 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 hidden gems such as Pura Aventura and Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco. Venture out of the city with trips to Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal) and Scuba & Snorkeling (in Playas del Coco). Next up on the itinerary: relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana, and look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique.

To see ratings and tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo trip planning app.

Drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Tue) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Tours · Beaches · Parks

Side Trips

Galapagos Islands travel guide

4.4
World heritage site · Nature & Parks · Beaches
Famous worldwide thanks to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, the remote World Heritage-listed Galapagos Islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean and belong to Ecuador. On a tour of Galapagos Islands, you can witness the staggering amount of endemic wildlife the archipelago is noted for. Besides a couple of cities on the main islands, the landscape remains mostly pristine, as the guided tours follow strict rules and limit visitor numbers. Fascinating creatures, untouched nature, unrivalled snorkeling, scuba diving, and more await you on your Galapagos Islands 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.