36 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

36 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly to Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport, Drive to Santa Teresa
1
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Bus to Malpais, Ferry to Jaco
2
Jaco
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Manuel Antonio
— 5 nights
Drive
4
Uvita
— 3 nights
Drive
5
Cartago
— 1 night
Drive
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Drive
7
Monteverde
— 5 nights
Drive
8
Tamarindo
— 6 nights
Drive
9
Playas del Coco
— 5 nights
Fly

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Santa Teresa

— 2 nights
A coastal getaway popular with surfers and young travelers, Santa Teresa spreads out from the beach and the main coastal road to a ring of newer developments on the surrounding hills.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Hermosa, then explore the galleries of Bri'ah Art Gallery, and then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports. Here are some ideas for day two: relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers and then take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To find more things to do, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Santa Teresa road trip planning website.

Boston, USA to Santa Teresa is an approximately 13-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone difference when traveling from Boston to Santa Teresa is minus 1 hour. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Sat) early enough to travel to Jaco.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors · Tours · Beaches · Parks

Side Trip

Jaco

— 3 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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Tico Pod Art House & Gifts and Horseback Riding Tours. Spend the 15th (Tue) exploring nature at Carara National Park. And it doesn't end there: see Off-Road Tours, look for gifts at Fruity Monkey Poop, see majestic marine mammals with Costa Rica Dreams Sportfishing, and take in the views from Tarcoles Bridge.

To find other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, read Jaco trip site.

You can do a combination of bus and ferry from Santa Teresa to Jaco in 3 hours. Another option is to drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Tue) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Tours · Nature · Parks

Side Trips

Manuel Antonio

— 5 nights
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Photography Tours and Rainmaker Park. You'll explore and learn at El O'scars Galleria and The Captain's Booty. There's still lots to do: trot along with a tour on horseback, take in the waterfront at Marina Pez Vela, see Off-Road Tours, and enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Espadilla Norte.

For maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio tour website.

Traveling by car from Jaco to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Sun) so you can drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trips

Uvita

— 3 nights
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.
Explore hidden gems such as Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. Step out of Uvita with an excursion to Horseback Riding Tours in Dominical--about 50 minutes away. There's much more to do: paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour, kick back and relax at Playa Ventanas, tour the pleasant surroundings at Uvita Beach, and look for gifts at Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store.

To find reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Uvita route maker website.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Uvita by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Wed) so you can drive to Cartago.

Things to do in Uvita

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trips

Cartago

— 1 night
Cartago is a city in Costa Rica, about 25km east of the capital, San José. On the 24th (Thu), steep yourself in history at Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion, contemplate the long history of Ruins of the Church of Carthage, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles.

To see maps, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Cartago trip planner.

Traveling by car from Uvita to Cartago takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and flight; or take a bus. June in Cartago sees daily highs of 81°F and lows of 67°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Cartago

Historic Sites

Side Trip

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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna and Wood & Art Gallery. Explore hidden gems such as Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park and Coffee & Tea Tours. When in La Fortuna de San Carlos, make a side trip to see Butterfly Conservatory in El Castillo, approximately El Castillo away. Next up on the itinerary: take in the natural beauty of Los Lagos Hot Springs, walk around Bogarin Trail, hike along Arenal 1968 Volcano View & Trails, and stroll through Natura Eco Park Costa Rica.

For traveler tips, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos holiday builder website.

You can drive from Cartago to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Trails

Side Trips

Monteverde

— 5 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.
Get some cultural insight at Ecological Sanctuary and Alas y Raices. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Spas and Horseback Riding Tours. When in Monteverde, make a side trip to see Viento Fresco Waterfall in Tilaran, approximately Tilaran away. Next up on the itinerary: admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Wildlife Refuge, stop by Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery, and meet the residents at The Bat Jungle.

To see traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Monteverde travel route planning site.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sun) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Spas · Historic Sites

Side Trip

Tamarindo

— 6 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Get a sense of the local culture at Lydia Beech Art Boutique and MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY. Step off the beaten path and head to Pura Aventura and Spas & Wellness. Change things up with these side-trips from Tamarindo: Adrenaline & Extreme Tours (in Playa Flamingo), Horseback Riding Tours (in Playa Samara) and Potrero Beach (in Playa Potrero). Next up on the itinerary: get interesting insight from Tours, step aboard Kingpin Sportfishing, find something for the whole family at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, and stroll through Monkey Park.

For maps, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo sightseeing planner.

You can drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Sat) so you can drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trips

Playas del Coco

— 5 nights

Coco Beach

A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at River Rafting & Tubing and Spas. Change things up with these side-trips from Playas del Coco: Cataratas Llanos de Cortes (in Bagaces) and Liberia (Adrenaline & Extreme Tours & Tio Leo Coffee Tour). Spend the 13th (Tue) among the fascinating landscape of Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja. It doesn't end there: stroll through Playa Hermosa.

To see where to stay, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Playas del Coco trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. On the 15th (Thu), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Tours

Side Trips

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.