12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica visit planner

This plan was created by another user.  Make it your plan

Route & dates

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Montreal
Fly:  9​h
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Monteverde
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 45​min
4
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
5
Turrialba
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
Tortuguero
— 1 night
taxi + bus:  3​h 30​min
7
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly:  9​h
End: Montreal

2
nights
San Jose

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 27th (Thu): get some fabulous bargains at Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro and then sample the tasty concoctions at Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co.. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 28th (Fri): relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers.

To find photos, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read San Jose trip planner.

Montreal, Canada to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST) is minus 1 hour. Prepare for much warmer weather when traveling from Montreal in December: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 30°C and lows are around 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Spas Breweries & Distilleries Shopping

Side Trip

Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro
Highlights from your plan
Spas & Wellness
Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro ©
Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro
Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co. ©
Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co.

2
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos

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.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Sat): stop by Souvenir Leo, then take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery, then take in the natural beauty of Paradise Hot Springs, and finally take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos. On the next day, admire the natural beauty at Arenal Natura Ecological Park and then take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs.

Discover how to plan a La Fortuna de San Carlos trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

You can drive from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Sun) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas
Highlights from your plan
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

1
night
Monteverde

Monteverde ©
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 31st (Mon): look for gifts at Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, then appreciate the extensive heritage of Ecological Sanctuary, and finally look for gifts at Souvenir Rosewood.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Monteverde fast, fun, and easy.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. In December in Monteverde, expect temperatures between 32°C during the day and 32°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) early enough to go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Souvenir Rosewood-Info Center ©
Souvenir Rosewood-Info Center

2
nights
Manuel Antonio

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.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Tue): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Biesanz, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and then stop by Beso Loco Boutique de Playa.

For traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio trip website .

Drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Wed) so you can travel to Turrialba.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Highlights from your plan
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
Beso Loco Boutique de Playa ©
Beso Loco Boutique de Playa

1
night
Turrialba

Turrialba ©
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Wed): get outside with Costa Rica Experience and then identify plant and animal life at El Copal Reserve.

To see traveler tips, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Turrialba online route builder .

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Turrialba takes 4.5 hours. In January, daily temperatures in Turrialba can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 21°C. On the 3rd (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Turrialba

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

El Copal Reserve
Highlights from your plan
Pejibaye River ©
Pejibaye River

1
night
Tortuguero

Tortuguero
One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
To plan Tortuguero vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.

You can drive from Turrialba to Tortuguero in 3 hours. In January in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 33°C during the day and 24°C at night. On the 4th (Fri), you're off toSan Jose.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

1
night
San Jose

Kick off your visit on the 4th (Fri): revel in the low prices at Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro and then indulge your thirst for a good beer at Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co.. Here are some ideas for day two: soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers.

To find ratings, maps, reviews, and tourist information, read San Jose trip planner .

You can take a shuttle from Tortuguero to San Jose in 3.5 hours. Traveling from Tortuguero in January, expect San Jose to be slightly colder, temps between 30°C and 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Spas Breweries & Distilleries Shopping

Side Trip

Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro
Highlights from your plan
Spas & Wellness
Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro ©
Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro
Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co. ©
Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co.

Similar Plans

15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM CANADA September, teens, popular sights PREFERENCES: September, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 13 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular sights PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM SOUTH AFRICA March, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: March, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 13 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM CANADA September, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: September, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 13 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, popular sights PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Fast-paced 14 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM INDIA May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular sights PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Slow & easy 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, beaches, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: March, culture, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 13 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM October, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 20 days in Costa Rica & Oaxaca BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, teens, fast-paced, popular sights PREFERENCES: December, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Fast-paced 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM GREECE December, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM ICELAND October, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM HONG KONG February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced
View more plans