10 days in Managua, San Juan del Sur & Costa Rica Itinerary

10 days in Managua, San Juan del Sur & Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

10 days in Managua, San Juan del Sur & Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Chicago, United States
Fly:  8​h
1
Managua, Nicaragua
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
3
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Fly:  8​h 30​min
End: Chicago, United States

1
night
Managua, Nicaragua

Managua
Nicaragua's largest and capital city, Managua remains relatively unknown as a tourist destination, though it boasts a scenic location on the southwestern shore of the Xolotlan Lake.
To find photos, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Managua trip itinerary builder site .

Chicago, USA to Managua is an approximately 11-hour flight. You will have some time to spend on the 20th (Mon) before leaving for San Juan del Sur.

Things to do in Managua

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

3
nights
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Set in a crescent-shaped bay, San Juan del Sur has become known as a popular surfing spot and coastal holiday destination for Nicaraguan families and international visitors alike.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes La Flor Beach Natural Reserve. Take a break from San Juan del Sur with a short trip to Laguna Charco Verde in Isla de Ometepe, about 1h 50 min away. Next up on the itinerary: make a trip to Mirador del Cristo de la Misericordia, kick back and relax at San Juan del Sur Beach, stop by Bordport, and get interesting insight from Tours.

For other places to visit, maps, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our San Juan del Sur road trip tool .

Traveling by car from Managua to San Juan del Sur takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In January in San Juan del Sur, expect temperatures between 86°F during the day and 75°F at night. On the 23rd (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in San Juan del Sur

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Laguna Charco Verde, Bordport
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
La Flor Beach Natural Reserve ©
La Flor Beach Natural Reserve
Laguna Charco Verde ©
Laguna Charco Verde

3
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.
On your second day here, tour the pleasant surroundings at Monkey Park, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach.

For other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo attractions planner .

Traveling by car from San Juan del Sur to Tamarindo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can drive to San Jose.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling

1
night
San Jose, Costa Rica

A trip to San Jose, the capital, commercial center, and cultural hub of Costa Rica, gives you a chance to experience the lively atmosphere and rich cultural past of this vibrant country.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Sun): get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, take an in-depth tour of Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and finally stop by Holalola Souvenir Shop. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 27th (Mon): take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, then catch a live performance at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, then see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, and finally don't miss a visit to Mercado Nacional de Artesanias.

To see more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read our San Jose travel planning site .

You can drive from Tamarindo to San Jose in 4.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 78°F, and evening lows to 65°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Outdoors Tours
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ©
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

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