18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Mexico City
+2
Fly + bus + taxi:  9​h
1
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
4
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 30​min
5
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
bus:  3​h
6
San Jose
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h 30​min
End: Mexico City

3
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.
Monteverde is known for adventure, wildlife, nightlife, fun & games, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour, catch some excitement at Curi Cancha Reserve, and admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas).

To see ratings, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Monteverde planner .

Mexico City, Mexico to Monteverde is an approximately 9-hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also do a combination of flight and car; or drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Thu) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

3
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tamarindo: Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste) and Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal). There's lots more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Avellana, and discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For more things to do, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo itinerary planning app .

You can drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Sun) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, wildlife, trails, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs, head outdoors with Salto, take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall, and take in the natural beauty of Ecotermales Fortuna.

To find where to stay, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos itinerary planner .

You can drive from Tamarindo to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Thu) early enough to go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

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 22nd (Fri): learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

For traveler tips, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero online trip builder .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In November, plan for daily highs up to 34°C, and evening lows to 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Fri) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Tortuguero

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

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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Manuel Antonio: Jaco (Costa Rica SUP'ers & Zipline) and Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary (in Dominical). The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and stop by Altair Souvenir & Gallery Shop.

To find traveler tips, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read Manuel Antonio trip itinerary builder app .

Traveling by car from Tortuguero to Manuel Antonio takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Mon) so you can take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Jaco, Quepos, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Zipline
Nature & Wildlife Tours

3
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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park) and Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca). The adventure continues: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, and see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.

For maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read San Jose trip itinerary maker app .

Take a bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In November, plan for daily highs up to 30°C, and evening lows to 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trips

Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Poas Volcano
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ©
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

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