13 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

13 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Lisbon
+2
Fly + bus + shuttle:  20​h 45​min
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
2
Playas del Coco
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Tamarindo
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
4
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
5
Uvita
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h 15​min
6
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
+3
bus + foot + bus + Fly:  21​h 15​min
End: Lisbon

1
night
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 24th (Mon): tour the pleasant surroundings at Ecocentro Danaus, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then take in the natural beauty of Paradise Hot Springs. On the 25th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs and then take in nature's colorful creations at Arenal Natura Ecological Park.

To find more things to do, photos, maps, and tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip tool .

Lisbon, Portugal to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 21-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of flight and car. Traveling from Lisbon to La Fortuna de San Carlos, you'll gain 6 hours due to the time zone difference. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Tue) so you can go by car to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Ecocentro Danaus ©
Ecocentro Danaus
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs

1
night
Playas del Coco

A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Wed): get a taste of the local shopping with Alessandra Cola Art, then view the masterpieces at Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts, then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and finally take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco.

For traveler tips, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, read Playas del Coco trip planner.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Playas del Coco takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in December, and nighttime lows around 32°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Tours Outdoors Adventure
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco ©
Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts ©
Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts

1
night
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Thu): take a memorable tour with Tours, find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and then view the masterpieces at Con Mucho Gusto.

To find other places to visit, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Tamarindo road trip planner .

Getting from Playas del Coco to Tamarindo by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Tamarindo are 32°C, while nighttime lows are 32°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Thu) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Tours Outdoors Adventure

Side Trip

Playa Flamingo
Highlights from your plan
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Con Mucho Gusto ©
Con Mucho Gusto

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Fri): explore the world behind art at Monteverde Chorotega Arts & Crafts and then look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Here are some ideas for day two: identify plant and animal life at Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then meet the residents at The Bat Jungle.

To find traveler tips, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde vacation planner.

Drive from Tamarindo to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. In December, daytime highs in Monteverde are 32°C, while nighttime lows are 32°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sat) so you can drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours
Highlights from your plan
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena
Zipline

2
nights
Uvita

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 30th (Sun): kick back and relax at Uvita Beach, identify plant and animal life at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, then take in the dramatic scenery at Uvita Waterfall, and finally stop by Discount Liquor Wine & Cigars. On the 31st (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore by horseback at Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge and then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

For where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, read our Uvita driving holiday website .

You can drive from Monteverde to Uvita in 4.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) early enough to go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Highlights from your plan
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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.
Visiting Playa Cocles and Playa Chiquita will get you outdoors. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Punta Uva Beach and Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: Puerto Limon (Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus & Veragua Rainforest Park). The adventure continues: identify plant and animal life at Nature Observatorio and relax in the rural setting at Chocorart.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca itinerary planner .

Drive from Uvita to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trips

Puerto Limon, Nature Observatorio, Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens
Highlights from your plan
Nature Observatorio ©
Nature Observatorio
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach

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