16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Pittsburgh
Fly:  12​h 15​min
1
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h 30​min
4
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h
6
Vara Blanca
— 3 nights
Drive + Fly:  11​h 15​min
End: Pittsburgh

2
nights
Tamarindo

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Sun): get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, and then kick back and relax at Playa Avellana. On the 23rd (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Conchal, and then stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To find ratings and other tourist information, read Tamarindo road trip website .

Pittsburgh, USA to Tamarindo is an approximately 12.5-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone difference when traveling from Pittsburgh to Tamarindo is minus 1 hour. Traveling from Pittsburgh in December, things will get much hotter in Tamarindo: highs are around 82°F and lows about 82°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

2
nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Tue): identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and then stop by Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery. Here are some ideas for day two: take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour.

To find reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Monteverde online sightseeing planner .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December in Monteverde, expect temperatures between 82°F during the day and 82°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Adventure
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

3
nights
Manuel Antonio

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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Dominical (Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary & Parasailing & Paragliding). And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, stroll around Parque Nahomi, and get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour.

For maps, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio day trip planning app .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Dominical, Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
River Rafting & Tubing
Manuel Antonio National Park ©
Manuel Antonio National Park

1
night
Tortuguero

Tortuguero ©
One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Sun): learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see ratings, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero online trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Tortuguero takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. December in Tortuguero sees daily highs of 84°F and lows of 71°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Sun) early enough to go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Museums
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

4
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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, wildlife, trails, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: indulge in some personalized pampering at Tabacon Hot Springs, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and witness a stunning natural landmark at Baldi Hot Springs.

To find maps, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos travel itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Nature Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

3
nights
Vara Blanca

Vara Blanca ©
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Fri): identify plant and animal life at Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park and then admire the sheer force of Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz. Keep things going the next day: take in nature's colorful creations at Else Kientzler Botanical Garden and then get impressive views of Poas Volcano.

To find where to stay, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Vara Blanca travel route planning website .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Vara Blanca in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. You'll set off for home on the 5th (Sun).

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Poas Volcano, Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park, Else Kientzler Botanical Garden
Highlights from your plan
Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park ©
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Else Kientzler Botanical Garden ©
Else Kientzler Botanical Garden

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