18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica vacation planner

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Route & dates

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Newark
Fly + Drive:  9​h 45​min
1
Jaco
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Uvita
— 2 nights
Bus:  3​h 15​min
4
San Jose
— 2 nights
Bus:  3​h 30​min
5
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
7
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
8
Playas del Coco
— 3 nights
Drive + Fly:  9​h
End: Newark

2
nights
Jaco

A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Thu): get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, stop by Jimmy T's Provisions, then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and finally shop like a local with Tico Pod Art House & Gifts. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri): explore the striking landscape of Carara National Park and then browse the different shops at Jaco Walk Open Air Shopping Center.

To see photos, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, read Jaco online trip planner .

Newark, USA to Jaco is an approximately 10-hour combination of flight and car. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST) is minus 1 hour. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Nature Parks Shopping

Side Trips

Nature & Wildlife Tours, Jimmy T's Provisions, Carara National Park
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Carara National Park ©
Carara National Park
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts ©
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Sat): walk around Parque Nahomi, then look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, and then stroll through Playa Manuel Antonio. Keep things going the next day: glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, make a trip to Marina Pez Vela, then stop by Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices, then get interesting insight from Tours, and finally relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

For maps, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio trip builder site .

Drive from Jaco to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Parasailing & Paragliding
Spas

2
nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Mon): take in the dramatic scenery at Nauyaca Waterfalls, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Ventanas, and finally stop by Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store. Here are some ideas for day two: enjoy the sand and surf at Uvita Beach, then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, then look for all kinds of wild species at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, and finally take in the dramatic scenery at Uvita Waterfall.

Start your trip to Uvita by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Uvita in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Tue) early enough to take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Dominical, Playa Ventanas
Highlights from your plan
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Dolphin & Whale Watching

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Wed): wander the streets of Multiplaza, explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, take in the spiritual surroundings of Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana), then take an in-depth tour of Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, and finally view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu. Here are some ideas for day two: revel in the low prices at Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro, have fun and explore at Museo de los Ninos, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, and finally steep yourself in history at Ruinas de Ujarras.

For reviews, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our San Jose online trip planner .

Traveling by bus from Uvita to San Jose takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In August, plan for daily highs up to 81°F, and evening lows to 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Thu) to allow time to take a bus to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Shopping Historic Sites

Side Trips

Multiplaza, Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro, Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion
Highlights from your plan

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 30th (Fri), look for all kinds of wild species at Tarantulas Way, admire the natural beauty at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, then kick back and relax at Playa Chiquita, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Cocles. On the 31st (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: identify plant and animal life at La Ceiba, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Punta Uva Beach, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Nature Observatorio.

Find out how to plan Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.

Traveling by bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Sat) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trips

Cahuita, Nature Observatorio
Highlights from your plan
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Nature Observatorio ©
Nature Observatorio

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Sun): get interesting insight from Tours, admire the natural beauty at Arenal Natura Ecological Park, and then take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs. Keep things going the next day: get impressive views of Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal), shop like a local with Wood & Art Gallery, then identify plant and animal life at Butterfly Conservatory, and finally witness a stunning natural landmark at Paradise Hot Springs.

To find maps, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos journey builder site .

Traveling by car from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) so you can go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano, Butterfly Conservatory
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

2
nights
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 3rd (Tue): get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, then step aboard Kingpin Sportfishing, then take in the exciting artwork at Lydia Beech Art Boutique, and finally indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas. On your second day here, cast your line with a fishing tour.

For ratings, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo vacation tool .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) early enough to drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Playa Flamingo
Highlights from your plan
Fishing Charters & Tours
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Spas

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.
On the 5th (Thu), identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco, and then take a memorable tour with Tours. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the geological forces at Rincon de La Vieja National Park, then take in the dramatic scenery at Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, and then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To see ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Playas del Coco trip site .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. You will have some time to spend on the 7th (Sat) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Tours Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, River Rafting & Tubing, Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
Rincon de La Vieja National Park ©
Rincon de La Vieja National Park

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