16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica itinerary planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive
3
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Drake Bay
— 1 night
Drive
5
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Drive
6
Jaco
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Shuttle to Liberia, Fly to Philadelphia

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San Jose

— 2 nights
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.
Go for a jaunt from San Jose to Vara Blanca to see Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz about 1h 20 min away. The adventure continues: join in the after-dark buzz at Carpe Chepe, take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica, get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, and hit the best photo ops around with an inspiring photography tour.

For other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the San Jose journey site.

Philadelphia, USA to San Jose is an approximately 8.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. The time zone difference when traveling from Philadelphia to San Jose is minus 1 hour. Traveling from Philadelphia in October, expect San Jose to be somewhat warmer, temps between 80°F and 65°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours · Parks · Breweries & Distilleries · Nightlife

Side Trip

Tortuguero

— 1 night

Costa Rica's Amazon

One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Mon): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To find more things to do, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Tortuguero travel route builder site.

Traveling by car from San Jose to Tortuguero takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. In October, Tortuguero is a bit warmer than San Jose - with highs of 87°F and lows of 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Mon) early enough to drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks · Nature
Highlights from your trip

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

— 2 nights

Walaba

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.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Tue): stroll through Nature Observatorio and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Cahuita National Park.

To find where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca day trip planner.

You can drive from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks · Wildlife · Nature · Outdoors

Side Trips

Drake Bay

— 1 night
On the 7th (Thu), stroll through Cano Island.

To see reviews, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Drake Bay online tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Drake Bay takes 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Thu) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Parks · Wildlife · Nature
Highlights from your trip

Manuel Antonio

— 1 night
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 8th (Fri), enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio and then find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area.

To see maps, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio trip planner.

Drive from Drake Bay to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Adventure

Jaco

— 2 nights
A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
On the 9th (Sat), kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks and then get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour. On your second day here, get outside with Outdoor Activities and then see Off-Road Tours.

To find where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Jaco trip planner.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Jaco in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Sun) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure

Monteverde

— 2 nights
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 11th (Mon): take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden and then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks. Keep things going the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Ranario Monteverde Frog Pond and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

To see where to stay, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Monteverde trip maker tool.

You can drive from Jaco to Monteverde in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Tue) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Adventure · Tours

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 4 nights
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, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs, stroll through La Fortuna Waterfall, witness a stunning natural landmark at Ecotermales Fortuna, and head outdoors with Outdoor Activities.

For ratings, maps, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

Drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. You will leave for home on the 16th (Sat).

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.