22 days in Costa Rica, Cartagena & San Andres Island Itinerary

22 days in Costa Rica, Cartagena & San Andres Island Itinerary

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1
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
2
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
3
Uvita, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
4
Playa Samara, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
5
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
6
Cartagena, Colombia
— 1 night
7
San Andres Island, Colombia
— 3 nights

S M T W T F S
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26
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31
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4
5
6
7
8

3
nights

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.
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like La Fortuna Waterfall and Paradise Hot Springs. Step out of the city life by going to Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano) and Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park. Get out of town with these interesting La Fortuna de San Carlos side-trips: Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park) and Butterfly Conservatory (in El Castillo). The adventure continues: hike along Arenal 1968 Trail, browse the exhibits of Wood & Art Gallery, take an in-depth tour of ChocoMuseo La Fortuna, and take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery.

To find where to stay and other tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip maker app.

New York City, USA to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 11.5-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from New York City to La Fortuna de San Carlos. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Outdoors

Side Trips

Highlights from your plan
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall
Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park ©
Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

3
nights
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio ©
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Get outdoors at Playa Manuel Antonio and Walking tours. Attractions like Parasailing & Paragliding and Parque Nahomi make great kid-friendly stops. There's lots more to do: take a memorable tour with Tours, head outdoors with Barraba's Surf, and browse the exhibits of The Captain's Booty.

For other places to visit, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio travel itinerary planner.

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. On the 19th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Adventure

Side Trip

Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Walking tours
Parasailing & Paragliding

4
nights
Uvita, Costa Rica

Uvita ©
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.
Relax by the water at Uvita Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and Oro Verde Biological Reserve. Get out of town with these interesting Uvita side-trips: El Sitio Museo Finca 6 (in Palmar Norte) and Playa Matapalo (in Quepos). And it doesn't end there: admire the sheer force of Santa Lucia Falls, stop by Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store, take in the exciting artwork at Magic Ananda, and head outdoors with Cascada Pavon - Waterfall in Costa Rica.

To find ratings, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Uvita vacation maker tool.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Uvita in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trips

Highlights from your plan
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena ©
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena

3
nights
Playa Samara, Costa Rica

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.
Family-friendly places like Samara Beach and Playa Guiones will thrill your kids. Take a break from the city and head to Horseback Riding Tours and Dolphin & Whale Watching. And it doesn't end there: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, kick back and relax at Playa Buena Vista, see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall.

To find other places to visit, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Playa Samara road trip planning app.

You can drive from Uvita to Playa Samara in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and taxi; or do a combination of bus and car. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours · Parks

Side Trip

Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach

4
nights
Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Visiting Scuba & Snorkeling and Tamarindo Beach will get you outdoors. You'll get in some beach time at Playa Flamingo Tours and Playa Dantita. Step out of Tamarindo to go to Las Catalinas and see Playa Danta, which is approximately 52 minutes away. The adventure continues: look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, look for gifts at Souvenir Guanacaste, tour the pleasant surroundings at Monkey Park, and kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo tour builder app.

Getting from Playa Samara to Tamarindo by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) so you can travel to Cartagena.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trips

Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Playa Danta ©
Playa Danta
Playa Dantita ©
Playa Dantita

1
night
Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena ©

City of Heroes

The site of the continent's first Spanish colony, Cartagena retains much of its colonial flavor thanks to a World Heritage-listed old town, encircled by old walls and protected by imposing fortresses.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Thu): identify plant and animal life at Aviario Nacional de Colombia, don't miss a visit to Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, then pause for some serene contemplation at Ermita Nuestra Senora De La Candelaria, and finally admire the striking features of Cathedral Basilica of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 31st (Fri): stop by Barrio Getsemani, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Templo de Santo Domingo, and then look for gifts at La Casa del Joyero.

To see reviews, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Cartagena online driving holiday planner.

You can fly from Tamarindo to Cartagena in 11.5 hours. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time (CST) to Colombia Standard Time (COT) is 1 hour. In January, plan for daily highs up to 88°F, and evening lows to 75°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Fri) so you can travel to San Andres Island.

Things to do in Cartagena

Historic Sites · Neighborhoods · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trip

Highlights from your plan
Aviario Nacional de Colombia ©
Aviario Nacional de Colombia
Barrio Getsemani ©
Barrio Getsemani
Templo de Santo Domingo ©
Templo de Santo Domingo

3
nights
San Andres Island, Colombia

San Andres Island
The coral San Andres Island boasts a rich colonial history, exotic beaches, and a laidback, tropical lifestyle.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Sat): explore the gorgeous colors at West View, then look for all kinds of wild species at La Piscinita, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa de San Luis. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun): fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour, see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and then pause for some serene contemplation at Primera Iglesia Bautista.

For other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, read San Andres Island travel planner.

Traveling by flight from Cartagena to San Andres Island takes 3.5 hours. In January, plan for daily highs up to 84°F, and evening lows to 76°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Andres Island

Parks · Wildlife · Outdoors · Tours
Highlights from your plan
West View
West View
Scuba & Snorkeling
La Piscinita ©
La Piscinita

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