11 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner
Make it your trip
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
— 2 nights
— 1 night
— 2 nights


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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Bogarin Trail and Natura Eco Park Costa Rica. Bring the kids along to River Rafting & Tubing and La Fortuna Waterfall. The adventure continues: gain insight with a tour of cultural highlights, stroll through La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve, witness a stunning natural landmark at Los Lagos Hot Springs, and relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs.

To find reviews, photos, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos online vacation planner.

San Francisco, USA to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 12-hour flight. You can also drive. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from San Francisco to La Fortuna de San Carlos due to the time zone difference. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Thu) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.
Parks · Nature · Tours · Outdoors

Manuel Antonio — 1 night

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 23rd (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, then see exotic creatures in open habitats at Safari Adventures, and then walk around Parque Nahomi.

For photos, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio trip itinerary site.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) to allow time to drive to Uvita.
Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife
Side Trip

Uvita — 2 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.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Sat): see Off-Road Tours, then take in the dramatic scenery at Uvita Waterfall, and then relax and rejuvenate at Danyasa Eco-Retreat - Bamboo Yoga Play Studio. Here are some ideas for day two: explore by horseback at Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge, stroll through Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, then glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, and finally stop by Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store.

To see more things to do, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Uvita online itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Uvita takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sun) so you can drive to Monteverde.
Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Tours
Side Trip

Monteverde — 1 night

Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Mon): get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle, gain a rich perspective with El Trapiche Tour, and then 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, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Monteverde trip builder.

Traveling by car from Uvita to Monteverde takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. In December in Monteverde, expect temperatures between 82°F during the day and 82°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) so you can go by car to Tamarindo.
Tours · Parks · Adventure · Wildlife

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 27th (Tue): get active on the water at Water Sports and then head outdoors with Outdoor Activities.

For reviews, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Tamarindo day trip planning website.

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. In December, plan for daily highs up to 82°F, and evening lows to 82°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 28th (Wed) to allow enough time to fly back home.
Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Adventure

Costa Rica travel guide

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.