16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America route maker

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Route & dates

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Antigua
Fly:  5​h 15​min
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h
4
Playa Grande
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
Mal Pais
— 1 night
Drive:  30​min
7
Santa Teresa
— 1 night
Drive:  45​min
8
Montezuma
— 1 night
ferry:  4​h 30​min
9
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
+3
bus + foot + shuttle + Fly:  9​h 30​min
End: Antigua

2
nights
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 15th (Sat): let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, then take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, then see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, and finally admire the masterpieces at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. On the 16th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia La Soledad, then walk around Parque La Sabana, and finally stop by J.LANG Atelier & Showroom.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip app .

Antigua, Guatemala to San Jose is an approximately 5.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. June in San Jose sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 22°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Outdoors Adventure

Side Trip

J.LANG Atelier & Showroom
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Jade Museum ©
Jade Museum

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 17th (Mon): admire the natural beauty at Arenal Natura Ecological Park and then relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs.

To see where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos tour planner.

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 18th (Tue) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Spas Nature
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

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.
On the 18th (Tue), identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, then get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle, and then look for gifts at Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Frog Pond, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Curi Cancha Reserve.

For maps, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Monteverde trip website .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Thu) early enough to travel to Playa Grande.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Adventure
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

2
nights
Playa Grande

Playa Grande ©
On the 20th (Thu), look for gifts at Crystal Vibrations, then glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and then push the limits with an extreme tour. On the next day, explore the activities along Potrero Beach and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Conchal.

Discover how to plan a Playa Grande trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

You can drive from Monteverde to Playa Grande in 3.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) so you can go by car to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Playa Grande

Outdoors Wildlife Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Potrero, Playa Flamingo, Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Stand-Up Paddleboarding

2
nights
Playa Samara

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 22nd (Sat), take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall, admire all the interesting features of Kingfisher Sportfishing, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Samara Beach. Keep things going the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Barrigona Beach and then take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To find where to stay, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, read our Playa Samara tour planner .

You can drive from Playa Grande to Playa Samara in 2.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Mon) so you can go by car to Mal Pais.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach
Horseback Riding Tours

1
night
Mal Pais

Mal Pais ©
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Mon): paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 25th (Tue): admire all the interesting features of Sunrise Ranch and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tokpela.

To find reviews, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Mal Pais road trip planning app .

Drive from Playa Samara to Mal Pais in 3.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) early enough to go by car to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Mal Pais

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Highlights from your plan
Sunrise Ranch ©
Sunrise Ranch

1
night
Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa ©
A coastal getaway popular with surfers and young travelers, Santa Teresa spreads out from the beach and the main coastal road to a ring of newer developments on the surrounding hills.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Hermosa, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Santa Teresa.

For more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Santa Teresa trip planner .

Santa Teresa is just a stone's throw from Mal Pais. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can drive to Montezuma.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Beaches Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Spas & Wellness

1
night
Montezuma

Montezuma ©
With a scenic position on a sheltered bay, Montezuma remains one of Costa Rica's quieter destinations, attracting mostly backpackers and other explorers averse to making detailed travel plans.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Thu): soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers and then take in the dramatic scenery at Montezuma Falls.

To find traveler tips, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Montezuma trip itinerary builder .

Drive from Santa Teresa to Montezuma in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Thu) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Montezuma

Nature Parks Spas
Highlights from your plan
Montezuma Falls ©
Montezuma Falls
Spas & Wellness

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.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Fri): look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas and then stroll through Playa Manuel Antonio. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 29th (Sat): stroll through Playa Biesanz, then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and then look for gifts at Beso Loco Boutique de Playa.

To find ratings, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio online trip itinerary planner .

Getting from Montezuma to Manuel Antonio by ferry takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of ferry and bus; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Beaches

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
River Rafting & Tubing
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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