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: New York City
bus + Fly:  8​h 45​min
1
San Jose
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Tamarindo
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
4
Playa Hermosa
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
5
Playa Samara
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
7
Canas
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h
8
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
9
San Isidro
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
10
Quepos
— 2 nights
Fly + taxi:  5​h 30​min
11
Playa Conchal
— 2 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  11​h 45​min
End: New York City

1
night
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.
On the 17th (Thu), get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

For reviews, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip planner .

New York City, USA to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time is minus 1 hour. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from New York City in May: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 82°F and lows are around 67°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 17th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Tamarindo.

Things to do in San Jose

Adventure Tours Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing

1
night
Tamarindo

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
To see reviews, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, go to the Tamarindo trip itinerary planning site .

You can fly from San Jose to Tamarindo in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, and bus; or drive. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from San Jose in May, with highs in Tamarindo at 93°F and lows at 73°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Fri) so you can travel to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Beaches Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Azul Profundo Boutique ©
Azul Profundo Boutique

1
night
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste ©
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Sat): take in the dramatic scenery at Llanos de Cortez Waterfall.

For maps, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste trip builder website .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste in 2 hours. In May, daily temperatures in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste can reach 93°F, while at night they dip to 73°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Playa Hermosa.

Things to do in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Nature Parks
Highlights from your plan
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

1
night
Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa ©
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Sun): soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers and then kick back and relax at Playa Hermosa.

For reviews, photos, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Playa Hermosa day trip planning app .

You can drive from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste to Playa Hermosa in 1.5 hours. In May, plan for daily highs up to 93°F, and evening lows to 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Playa Hermosa

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Spas & Wellness
Highlights from your plan
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Spas & Wellness

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Mon): take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback and then kick back and relax at Samara Beach.

To see maps, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Playa Samara travel itinerary planner.

You can drive from Playa Hermosa to Playa Samara in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In May, daytime highs in Playa Samara are 93°F, while nighttime lows are 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Mon) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Playa Samara

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

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 22nd (Tue): look for all kinds of wild species at Curi Cancha Reserve, then stroll through The Bat Jungle, and then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks. On the next day, look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

For where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Monteverde travel planning site .

Drive from Playa Samara to Monteverde in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Wed) to allow time to travel to Canas.

Things to do in Monteverde

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

1
night
Canas

Canas ©
To see reviews, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Canas tour itinerary builder tool .

Drive from Monteverde to Canas in 2 hours. Expect a daytime high around 93°F in May, and nighttime lows around 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 24th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Canas

Zoos & Aquariums Parks
Highlights from your plan
Centro de Rescate Las Pumas ©
Centro de Rescate Las Pumas

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 25th (Fri): look for all kinds of wild species at Tortuguero National Park.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero road trip planning site .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Canas to Tortuguero. In May, Tortuguero is a bit cooler than Canas - with highs of 81°F and lows of 68°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) so you can travel to San Isidro.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park

1
night
San Isidro

San Isidro ©
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Sat): identify plant and animal life at Toucan Rescue Ranch, then identify plant and animal life at Bosque de la Hoja, and then look for gifts at Chocolatería Sibú.

To find photos, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, read San Isidro trip itinerary builder tool .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Tortuguero to San Isidro. May in San Isidro sees daily highs of 81°F and lows of 68°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Sat) early enough to travel to Quepos.

Things to do in San Isidro

Wildlife Parks Shopping

Side Trip

Bosque de la Hoja
Highlights from your plan
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Chocolatería Sibú ©
Chocolatería Sibú
Bosque de la Hoja ©
Bosque de la Hoja

2
nights
Quepos

Quepos ©
The tourist-oriented town of Quepos marks the entrance for many travelers looking to explore the nearby national park.
On the 27th (Sun), look for gifts at Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices, explore the stunning scenery at MidWorld Costa Rica, and then stop by Meli Melo Boutique. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stop by Beso Loco Boutique de Playa and then kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio.

For traveler tips, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Quepos attractions planning website .

Getting from San Isidro to Quepos by car takes about 3.5 hours. In May, daily temperatures in Quepos can reach 81°F, while at night they dip to 68°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Quepos

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trip

Manuel Antonio
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
MidWorld Costa Rica ©
MidWorld Costa Rica

2
nights
Playa Conchal

Playa Conchal ©
Start off your visit on the 29th (Tue): get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Brasilito.

For ratings, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Playa Conchal trip site .

Do a combination of bus, taxi, and flight from Quepos to Playa Conchal in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus, flight, and taxi. When traveling from Quepos in May, plan for somewhat warmer days in Playa Conchal, with highs around 93°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Wed) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Playa Conchal

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Playa Brasilito
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Playa Brasilito ©
Playa Brasilito

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