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: New York City
+3
bus + Fly + taxi + bus:  13​h 30​min
1
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 45​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
3
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
4
Uvita
— 2 nights
ferry + taxi:  5​h
5
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
6
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Fly:  10​h 15​min
End: New York City

1
night
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.
On the 21st (Sat), admire the natural beauty at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Cocles, and then kick back and relax at Punta Uva Beach.

To find ratings, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca road trip website .

New York City, USA to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is an approximately 13.5-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from New York City to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Sat) early enough to go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens
Highlights from your plan
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

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 22nd (Sun): witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs and then hike along Arenal Natura Ecological Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, tour the pleasant surroundings at Butterfly Conservatory, and then take in the natural beauty of Paradise Hot Springs.

For photos, reviews, and more tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas

Side Trip

Butterfly Conservatory
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory

2
nights
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.
On the 24th (Tue), get the lay of the land with Walking tours, kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio, and then stroll around Parque Nahomi. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 25th (Wed): tour the pleasant surroundings at Rainmaker Park, get interesting insight from Tours, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

For maps, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio trip builder tool .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Quepos, Rainmaker Park
Highlights from your plan
Walking tours
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Rainmaker Park ©
Rainmaker Park

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 26th (Thu): admire the sheer force of Nauyaca Waterfalls, then stroll through Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, and then soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Uvita Beach, then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then look for gifts at Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store.

For photos, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read Uvita road trip planning app .

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Uvita takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to travel to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Dominical
Highlights from your plan
Nauyaca Waterfalls ©
Nauyaca Waterfalls
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Sat): take a memorable tour with Tours and then see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Barrigona Beach, take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, and then admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall.

To find photos, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Playa Samara visit planner.

Traveling by combination of ferry and taxi from Uvita to Playa Samara takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In December in Playa Samara, expect temperatures between 82°F during the day and 82°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

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

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.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Mon): get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, stroll through Monkey Park, and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour. On your second day here, take a memorable tour with Tours, take a memorable tour with Tours, and then stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo driving holiday planner.

Getting from Playa Samara to Tamarindo by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 82°F, and evening lows to 82°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 1st (Wed) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

River Rafting & Tubing, Scuba & Snorkeling
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Scuba & Snorkeling
Off-Road Tours

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