12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary maker

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Route & dates

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Rio de Janeiro
+3
Fly + bus + foot + bus:  15​h
1
Jaco
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 15​min
2
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
4
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h 30​min
5
San Jose
— 3 nights
Fly:  13​h 45​min
End: Rio de Janeiro

1
night
Jaco

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.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Tue): surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then view the masterpieces at Tico Pod Art House & Gifts.

To see ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Jaco trip site .

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Jaco is an approximately 15-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone difference when traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Jaco is minus 3 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) so you can go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Jaco

Wildlife Tours Outdoors

Side Trip

Nature & Wildlife Tours
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts ©
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts

3
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Escape the urban bustle at Fishing Charters & Tours and Scuba & Snorkeling. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to River Rafting & Tubing and Papaya Con Leche. There's still lots to do: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas and identify plant and animal life at Monkey Park.

For more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, read our Tamarindo tour itinerary maker .

Getting from Jaco to Tamarindo by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Playas del Coco, Fishing Charters & Tours
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
River Rafting & Tubing
Spas

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.
On the 2nd (Sat), shop like a local with Wood & Art Gallery, witness a stunning natural landmark at Paradise Hot Springs, then identify plant and animal life at Butterfly Conservatory, and finally hike along Arenal Natura Ecological Park. On the 3rd (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: Head underground at Venado Caves, contemplate the geological forces at Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano), and then view the masterpieces at Onirica Art Gallery.

To see reviews, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos holiday planning app .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, Butterfly Conservatory
Highlights from your plan
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory

2
nights
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca ©
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Mon): take in nature's colorful creations at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Chiquita, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Cocles. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: look for all kinds of wild species at Nature Observatorio and then kick back and relax at Punta Uva Beach.

To find other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, use the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca route builder tool .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Tue) early enough to take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Nature Observatorio, Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens
Highlights from your plan
La Feria Legendaria de Playa Chiquita ©
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

3
nights
San Jose

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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Wed): shop like a local with Multiplaza, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Ruins of the Church of Carthage, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, and finally steep yourself in history at Ruinas de Ujarras. Keep things going the next day: get some fabulous bargains at Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral, then explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana).

To find where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the San Jose trip planner .

Take a bus from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In November in San Jose, expect temperatures between 30°C during the day and 22°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Shopping Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Cartago, Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro, Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral, Multiplaza, Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion
Highlights from your plan

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