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: Toronto
+2
Fly + bus + taxi:  10​h 45​min
1
Monteverde
— 2 nights
+3
shuttle + foot + ferry + bus:  4​h
2
Santa Teresa
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
3
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
4
Nosara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
6
Playas del Coco
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
7
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
8
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly:  8​h 15​min
End: Toronto

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.
On the 1st (Tue), get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, then meet the residents at The Bat Jungle, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Frog Pond. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the exciting artwork at Arte Jaguar Gallery and then look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

To see photos, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Monteverde trip itinerary website .

Toronto, Canada to Monteverde is an approximately 11-hour combination of flight and car. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Thu) so you can drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Monteverde Frog Pond ©
Monteverde Frog Pond

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 3rd (Thu): kick back and relax at Playa Santa Teresa and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers. On the 4th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: head off the coast to Isla de Cabuya and then stroll through Playa Carmen.

To find more things to do, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Santa Teresa road trip site .

You can drive from Monteverde to Santa Teresa in 4 hours. Other options are to do a combination of shuttle, ferry, and bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Fri) so you can go by car to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Isla de Cabuya
Highlights from your plan
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen
Spas & Wellness
Isla de Cabuya ©
Isla de Cabuya

2
nights
Playa Samara

Playa Samara ©
A beach town with just enough development to be comfortable for families accustomed to the trappings of modern life, Playa Samara has the resorts you'd expect to find in such a scenic area, but they don't hinder the relaxing atmosphere.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Sat): tour the pleasant surroundings at Barrigona Beach and then kick back and relax at Samara Beach. Keep things going the next day: identify plant and animal life at Jungle Butterfly Farm and then kick back and relax at Playa Carrillo.

To find reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Playa Samara day trip site .

Getting from Santa Teresa to Playa Samara by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sun) early enough to drive to Nosara.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Jungle Butterfly Farm, Playa Carrillo
Highlights from your plan
Playa Carrillo ©
Playa Carrillo
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach

2
nights
Nosara

Nosara ©
Along with its agricultural and fishing heritage, Nosara stands as one of the oldest expatriate communities in the country.
On the 7th (Mon), enjoy the sand and surf at Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), then look for gifts at Nativa Gallery, and then kick back and relax at Playa Garza. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: look for all kinds of wild species at SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary, then try for a hole-in-one at Jungle Mini Golf, Nosara, and then get outside with Equisol Retreats CR, SRL.

To see traveler tips, maps, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Nosara day trip planner.

Traveling by car from Playa Samara to Nosara takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. You'll have a few hours on the 9th (Wed) to wrap things up before traveling to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Nosara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Playa Garza
Highlights from your plan
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary ©
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary
Playa Garza ©
Playa Garza
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) ©
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones)

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.
On the 9th (Wed), tour the pleasant surroundings at Tamarindo Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read Tamarindo day trip planning app .

Traveling by car from Nosara to Tamarindo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana
Scuba & Snorkeling

1
night
Playas del Coco

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.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Hermosa, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Dantita, and then stroll through Playa Danta. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: head outdoors with Crazy Alex CR and then meet some fierce fish with a shark diving experience.

To see photos, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Playas del Coco road trip planning tool .

Getting from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Sat) early enough to go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Las Catalinas, Playa Hermosa
Highlights from your plan
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Shark Diving
Playa Dantita ©
Playa Dantita

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.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Onirica Art Gallery and Galeria Estudio. Take a break from the city and head to River Rafting & Tubing and Tabacon Hot Springs. And it doesn't end there: take in nature's colorful creations at Arenal Natura Ecological Park, take a peaceful walk through La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, and take in the natural beauty of Paradise Hot Springs.

For traveler tips, maps, photos, and more tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos vacation planning website .

Getting from Playas del Coco to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. You'll have a few hours on the 16th (Wed) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

1
night
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.
On the 16th (Wed), admire the masterpieces at Precolumbian Gold Museum.

For ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the San Jose holiday planner .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to San Jose takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in San Jose can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours Wildlife Scenic Drive
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ©
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

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