12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Denver
Drive + Fly:  9​h
1
San Jose
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
taxi + ferry:  5​h
4
Uvita
— 1 night
bus:  3​h 15​min
5
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly + Drive:  9​h
End: Denver

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Fri): see the top attractions with Top Travel Costa Rica, see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, then take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, and finally admire the masterpieces at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. Here are some ideas for day two: get in on the family fun at Parque Diversiones, then look for gifts at Holalola Souvenir Shop, then explore the engaging exhibits at Museo de los Ninos, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia La Soledad.

To see ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip builder tool .

Denver, USA to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour combination of car and flight. You can also fly; or drive. Traveling from Denver to San Jose, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Denver in May, expect nights in San Jose to be much warmer, around 67°F, while days are a bit warmer, around 82°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Childrens Museums Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Museo de los Ninos ©
Museo de los Ninos
Parque Diversiones ©
Parque Diversiones

3
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.
Explore hidden gems such as Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano) and Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge. Get some cultural insight at Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos and Onirica Art Gallery. Go for a jaunt from La Fortuna de San Carlos to El Castillo to see Butterfly Conservatory about 38 minutes away. The adventure continues: admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, stop by Galeria Aguas Verdes, and explore by horseback at Arenal Wilberth Stables.

For reviews, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos online trip itinerary builder .

Drive from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Tue) so you can go by car to Playa Samara.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Butterfly Conservatory, Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)
Highlights from your plan
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
River Rafting & Tubing

2
nights
Playa Samara

A beach town with just enough development to be comfortable for families accustomed to the trappings of modern life, Playa Samara has the resorts you'd expect to find in such a scenic area, but they don't hinder the relaxing atmosphere.
On the 3rd (Wed), look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, then kick back and relax at Playa Buena Vista, and then see Off-Road Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, then take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall, and then stroll through Samara Beach.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Playa Samara planner .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Playa Samara takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Thu) early enough to travel to Uvita.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach

1
night
Uvita

Ideal for visitors looking to escape Costa Rica's busy beaches, Uvita offers a serene atmosphere and plenty of uncrowded sand for a leisurely vacation.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Fri): get outside with Cascada Pavon - Waterfall in Costa Rica, stop by Discount Liquor Wine & Cigars, then view the masterpieces at Magic Ananda, and finally admire the sheer force of Santa Lucia Falls. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Ventanas, then get interesting insight from Tours, then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and finally relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers.

For where to stay, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Uvita trip itinerary builder site .

Getting from Playa Samara to Uvita by combination of taxi and ferry takes about 5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sat) early enough to take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Uvita

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Dominical, Playa Ventanas, Cascada Pavon - Waterfall in Costa Rica
Highlights from your plan
Parasailing & Paragliding
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Santa Lucia Falls ©
Santa Lucia Falls

1
night
San Jose

San Jose ©
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Sun): admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Costarricense, take in the spiritual surroundings of Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana), steep yourself in history at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, then don't miss a visit to Plaza Juan Mora Fernandez, and finally stop by Va de nuevo.

Plan a trip to San Jose easily and quickly by telling Inspirock to suggest an itinerary.

Take a bus from Uvita to San Jose in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Museums Nightlife
Highlights from your plan
Museo de Arte Costarricense ©
Museo de Arte Costarricense
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica

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