12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America travel planner

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Route & dates

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Montreal
Fly:  9​h
1
San Jose
— 1 night
shuttle:  3​h
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Monteverde
— 3 nights
bus:  2​h
4
Puntarenas
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h
5
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly:  9​h
End: Montreal

1
night
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 10th (Tue): relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour and then look for gifts at Chieton Moren.

To find photos, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, read our San Jose itinerary 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 when traveling from Montreal to San Jose is minus 1 hour. Prepare for warmer weather when traveling from Montreal in March: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 32°C and lows are around 21°C. You will have some time to spend on the 11th (Wed) before leaving for La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Adventure Outdoors Tours
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Chieton Moren ©
Chieton Moren
Correos de Costa Rica ©
Correos de Costa Rica

2
nights
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 11th (Wed), look for all kinds of wild species at La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve and then get to know the resident critters at Arenal Eco Zoo. Keep things going the next day: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour and then cool off at Termales Los Laureles.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for La Fortuna de San Carlos using our trip planner.

You can drive from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. You will have some time to spend on the 13th (Fri) before leaving for Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Outdoors Theme Parks Adventure

Side Trip

Arenal Eco Zoo
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Eco Zoo ©
Arenal Eco Zoo

3
nights
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.
On the 13th (Fri), relax in the rural setting at El Trapiche Tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Sat): identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, then get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle, and then stop by Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde.

For where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde trip itinerary builder tool .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to drive to Puntarenas.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Nature
Highlights from your plan
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena

4
nights
Puntarenas

A major port city with a busy fish market, for most tourists Puntarenas represents little more than the launching point for ferries heading to the pleasant beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Family-friendly places like Jaco Beach and Parque Marino del Pacifico will thrill your kids. Explore Puntarenas' surroundings by going to Jaco (Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls, Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, & more) and Tarcoles Bridge (in Tarcoles). And it doesn't end there: whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, identify plant and animal life at Macaw Sanctuary Natuwa, snap pictures at Guacimal River Bridge 2, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at Catedral de Puntarenas.

For more things to do, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Puntarenas online itinerary builder .

You can drive from Monteverde to Puntarenas in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to San Jose.

Things to do in Puntarenas

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Jaco, Tarcoles Bridge
Highlights from your plan
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Jaco Beach ©
Jaco Beach

1
night
San Jose

San Jose ©
Plan my trip to San Jose with suggested itineraries provided by Inspirock.

Traveling by car from Puntarenas to San Jose takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. You'll have a few hours on the 21st (Sat) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in San Jose

Shopping Museums
Highlights from your plan
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu

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