17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Fort Lauderdale
Fly:  14​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:  3​h 45​min
4
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
Tortuguero
— 1 night
taxi + bus:  2​h 45​min
7
San Jose
— 4 nights
Fly:  6​h
End: Fort Lauderdale

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.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Conchal and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Avellana. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Thu): see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, tour the pleasant surroundings at Tamarindo Beach, and then stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To see where to stay, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo trip planner .

Halifax, Canada to Tamarindo is an approximately 13.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Halifax to Tamarindo. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Scuba & Snorkeling

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 17th (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and then stroll through Monteverde Frog Pond. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Ecological Sanctuary, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then see the interesting displays at Chorotega Arts & Crafts.

To find ratings, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Monteverde trip itinerary builder app .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sat) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Adventure
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary

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.
Visiting Playa Manuel Antonio and Zipline will get you outdoors. There's still lots to do: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park, surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, cast your line with a fishing tour, and take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, read Manuel Antonio trip planner .

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. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Tue) early enough to go by car to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Quepos, Zipline
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Fishing Charters & Tours

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Wed): get great views at Mirador Huequecura and then admire the sheer force of Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

To find photos, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Vara Blanca trip planner .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Vara Blanca in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature Parks

Side Trip

Mirador Huequecura

3
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Tabacon Hot Springs and Ecotermales Fortuna. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos and Galeria Estudio. The adventure continues: take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall, get impressive views of Arenal Volcano, and trek along Arenal Natura Ecological Park.

To see reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos online vacation planner .

Traveling by car from Vara Blanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall

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.
On the 26th (Sun), see the interesting displays at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

To find maps, reviews, photos, and tourist information, go to the Tortuguero online holiday maker .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In January, daily temperatures in Tortuguero can reach 33°C, while at night they dip to 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can travel to San Jose.

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
San Jose

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.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Teatro Nacional Costa Rica and Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. Get some cultural insight at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica and Jade Museum. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Jose: Tarcoles (Tarcoles Bridge & Nature & Wildlife Tours). Next up on the itinerary: see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia La Soledad, stop by Chieton Moren, and view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu.

To find photos, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our San Jose driving holiday planner.

Traveling by combination of taxi and bus from Tortuguero to San Jose takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Plan for a bit cooler temperatures traveling from Tortuguero in January, with highs in San Jose at 30°C and lows at 21°C. On the 30th (Thu), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

Tarcoles, Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles
Highlights from your plan
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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