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: San Jose
bus + taxi:  3​h 30​min
1
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h
2
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h 15​min
3
Uvita
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h
6
Playas del Coco
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
7
Santa Teresa
— 1 night
taxi + Fly:  2​h 45​min
End: San Jose

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 2nd (Mon), explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park. On your second day here, tour the water at your own pace with Tortuguero Adventures and then see the interesting displays at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

To find more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Tortuguero trip planner .

San Jose to Tortuguero is an approximately 3.5-hour shuttle ride. Traveling from San Jose in July, Tortuguero is somewhat warmer at night with lows of 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Tue) early enough to take a shuttle to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Nightlife
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero Adventures ©
Tortuguero Adventures
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

2
nights
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca ©
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.
On the 4th (Wed), tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Chiquita, then look for all kinds of wild species at The Ara Project, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Punta Uva Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: identify plant and animal life at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, look for all kinds of wild species at Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, and then kick back and relax at Playa Cocles.

To find more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip planner .

You can take a shuttle from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of shuttle and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Uvita.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Cahuita, Ara Manzanillo
Highlights from your plan
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

1
night
Uvita

Uvita ©
Ideal for visitors looking to escape Costa Rica's busy beaches, Uvita offers a serene atmosphere and plenty of uncrowded sand for a leisurely vacation.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Fri): kick back and relax at Uvita Beach, identify plant and animal life at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Ventanas, and finally stop by Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store. Here are some ideas for day two: scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, admire the sheer force of Uvita Waterfall, and then stop by Discount Liquor Wine & Cigars.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read Uvita trip planning website .

You can drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Uvita in 7.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sat) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Dominical, Playa Ventanas
Highlights from your plan
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Uvita Waterfall ©
Uvita Waterfall

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 Canyoning & Rappelling Tours and Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices will get you outdoors. Discover out-of-the-way places like Parasailing & Paragliding and Dolphin & Whale Watching. The adventure continues: kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio and soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers.

To find more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio online sightseeing planner .

Traveling by car from Uvita to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) early enough to travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Dolphin & Whale Watching
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Parasailing & Paragliding
Dolphin & Whale Watching

4
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.
Museum-lovers will appreciate Onirica Art Gallery and Galeria Estudio. Step out of the city life by going to River Rafting & Tubing and Arenal Natura Ecological Park. Go for a jaunt from La Fortuna de San Carlos to El Castillo to see Butterfly Conservatory about 42 minutes away. The adventure continues: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, explore the fascinating underground world of Venado Caves, tour the pleasant surroundings at Ecocentro Danaus, and delve into the lush surroundings at La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve.

To see more things to do, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) so you can go by car to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Butterfly Conservatory, Venado Caves
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Ecocentro Danaus ©
Ecocentro Danaus
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

3
nights
Playas del Coco

A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Zipline and Adrenaline & Extreme Tours. Get a sense of the local culture at Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco and Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts. There's still lots to do: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour and enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Hermosa.

To see maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Playas del Coco vacation builder tool .

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Playas del Coco in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Playa Hermosa
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa

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 18th (Wed): stroll through Playa Hermosa, kick back and relax at Playa Carmen, and then look for gifts at Tica Surf Bikinis.

To see other places to visit, reviews, maps, and tourist information, read Santa Teresa trip itinerary maker tool .

You can drive from Playas del Coco to Santa Teresa in 4 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus, flight, and taxi; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen

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