12 days in Costa Rica & Nicaragua Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica & Nicaragua Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America travel route planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive
5
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Bus to San Jose, Fly to Leon
6
Leon, Nicaragua
— 2 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24

San Jose, Costa Rica

— 3 nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Fri): get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, then get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. Keep things going the next day: admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Costarricense, then take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica, and then take a stroll through Multiplaza.

For traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the San Jose road trip site.

Denver, USA to San Jose is an approximately 10-hour flight. You can also drive. The time zone difference when traveling from Denver to San Jose is 1 hour. When traveling from Denver in July, plan for slightly colder days in San Jose, with highs around 80°F, while nights are somewhat warmer with lows around 67°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums · Historic Sites · Scenic Drive · Outdoors

Side Trips

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Sun): stroll through Playa Rajada. Keep things going the next day: take in the history at Parque Nacional Santa Rosa.

For more things to do, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste trip website.

Traveling by car from San Jose to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste takes 4 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Mon) early enough to travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Parks · Historic Sites · Nature · Outdoors

Side Trip

Highlights from your trip

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

— 3 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.
ChocoMuseo La Fortuna and Onirica Art Gallery are good opportunities to explore the local culture. There's much more to do: relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs, stroll through La Fortuna Waterfall, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

For other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos tour planner.

Drive from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Monteverde, Costa Rica

— 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.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Fri): get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Santa Elena Skywalk.

To see reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, read Monteverde driving holiday site.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Historic Sites · Wildlife · Parks

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

— 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.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Sat): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio.

Plan my day in Manuel Antonio using traveler tips and tourist information provided by Inspirock.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 17th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Leon.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks
Highlights from your trip

Leon, Nicaragua

— 2 nights
A cultured and storied city, Leon attracts guests from all over the world, drawn to the second city's style, thriving intellectual life, and liveliness.
On the 18th (Sun), see the interesting displays at Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian and then pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral de la Asunción.

To find ratings, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Leon visit website.

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from Manuel Antonio to Leon takes 9 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus. In July, daytime highs in Leon are 93°F, while nighttime lows are 75°F. On the 19th (Mon), you'll travel back home.

Things to do in Leon

Historic Sites · Museums

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.

Nicaragua travel guide

4.2
Churches · Volcanos · Specialty Museums
Still emerging as a major tourist destination, Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America, entices travelers with its rich history and remarkable natural beauty just waiting to be discovered. A holiday in Nicaragua allows you to explore a vibrant culture, scenic beaches, and plenty of spots off the beaten path. Majestic volcanoes, lakes, and forests offer numerous chances for exploration and exciting adventures, while major cities boast splendid colonial architecture. With access to coastlines on both the Pacific and the Caribbean, a vacation in Nicaragua appeals to those looking for thrilling surfing experiences, dramatic views, or a chance to spread out on a deserted tropical beach.