18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary builder

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Route & dates

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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

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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Jose: Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca), Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co. (in Cartago) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). There's still lots to do: see the top attractions with Top Travel Costa Rica, get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, and examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.

To see ratings, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our San Jose journey planner .

Mexico City, Mexico to San Jose is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Mexico City in October, expect San Jose to be a bit warmer, temps between 31°C and 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Tue) early enough to take a bus to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trips

Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Poas Volcano
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica

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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary (in Dominical) and Zipline (in Jaco). There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio, stop by Jungle Avenue, walk around Parque Nahomi, and relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a Manuel Antonio trip simple and quick.

Traveling by bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Quepos, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, Zipline
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Zipline
Nature & Wildlife 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 2nd (Sat): learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

To see photos, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the Tortuguero day trip tool .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Tortuguero in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. November in Tortuguero sees daily highs of 34°C and lows of 26°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

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

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, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, get interesting insight from Tours, and pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos.

To see more things to do, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos trip builder .

Drive from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Tamarindo.

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
Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

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: Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal) and Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands & Four Seasons Golf Club). There's still lots to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Tamarindo Beach, identify plant and animal life at Monkey Park, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and look for gifts at Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To find maps, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo holiday tool .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo in 4 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

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

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, stop by Souvenir Rosewood-Info Center, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Orchid Garden.

To see maps, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Monteverde travel route planner .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 12th (Tue) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Monteverde

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

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