17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica journey builder

Plan created by another user. Make it yours
Fly
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive
3
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Jaco
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive
7
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2

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.
Get out of town with these interesting San Jose side-trips: Jardin Botanico Lankester (in Cartago) and Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca). There's still lots to do: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Irazu Volcano National Park, hit the best photo ops around with an inspiring photography tour, take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, and get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum.

You can plan San Jose trip in no time by asking Inspirock to help create your itinerary.

New York City, USA to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from New York City to San Jose. Traveling from New York City in December, things will get warmer in San Jose: highs are around 79°F and lows about 66°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Thu) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks · Nature · Museums · Tours

Side Trips

1
night
Tortuguero

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.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Fri): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To find maps, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Tortuguero vacation planner.

Traveling by car from San Jose to Tortuguero takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. In December, daytime highs in Tortuguero are 84°F, while nighttime lows are 71°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Fri) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks · Nature
Highlights from your trip

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.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Sat): stroll through Playa Manuel Antonio, then find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and then stroll around Parque Nahomi. On the next day, get interesting insight from Tours, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then explore the striking landscape of Manuel Antonio National Park.

To find reviews, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Manuel Antonio online trip builder.

You can drive from Tortuguero to Manuel Antonio in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Sun) so you can go by car to Jaco.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Beaches

Side Trip

2
nights
Jaco

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.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Mon): whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, then get interesting insight from Tours, then take some stellar pictures from Mirador de Jaco, and finally take in the views from Tarcoles Bridge. Keep things going the next day: get interesting insight from Tours, take a memorable tour with Tours, and then look for gifts at Fruity Monkey Poop.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Jaco trip planner.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Jaco in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Tue) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Jaco

Tours · Outdoors · Adventure · Shopping

Side Trip

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 23rd (Wed): look for gifts at Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery and then stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. On the 24th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in nature's colorful creations at Jardin de Orquideas San Bosco, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, then relax in the rural setting at El Trapiche Tour, and finally get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle.

For maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Monteverde tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Jaco to Monteverde takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 82°F, and evening lows to 82°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Tours · Adventure

4
nights
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, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, take a memorable tour with Tours, take an in-depth tour of ChocoMuseo La Fortuna, and take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall.

To find photos, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos driving holiday planner.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Mon) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Tours · Outdoors

Side Trip

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.
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 find something for the whole family at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Playa Avellana, then get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, and then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To see other places to visit, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Tamarindo trip builder site.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December in Tamarindo, expect temperatures between 82°F during the day and 82°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Thu) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours · Parks

Side Trips

Costa Rica travel guide

4.3
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.