18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica travel route planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose
— 1 night
Drive
2
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 4 nights
Drive
3
Tortuguero
— 3 nights
Drive
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Katira
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Santa Teresa
— 3 nights
Drive

S M T W T F S
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San Jose

— 1 night
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.
To see maps, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our San Jose online journey maker.

London, UK to San Jose is an approximately 15-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Greenwich Mean Time to Central Standard Time is minus 6 hours. Plan for warmer temperatures traveling from London in January, with highs in San Jose at 30°C and lows at 21°C. On the 8th (Wed), you'll travel to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Parks

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

— 4 nights

Walaba

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.
Visit Playa Manzanillo and Playa Negra for some beach relaxation. You'll discover tucked-away gems like La Ceiba and Finca Tierra. Next up on the itinerary: stroll through Redfrogteam Biological Station, take a memorable tour with Tours, have some family-friendly fun at Yesland Mini Golf, and admire the sheer force of Cataratas Bribri Talamanca.

For other places to visit, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca journey planning website.

Getting from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) early enough to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks · Wildlife · Outdoors · Beaches

Side Trips

Tortuguero

— 3 nights

Costa Rica's Amazon

One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Explore hidden gems such as Sea Turtle Conservancy and Blue Day Family Club. Change things up with these side-trips from Tortuguero: Zipline (in Puerto Limon) and Caribbean Botanical Garden (in Guacimo).

To see maps, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip planning app.

Drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Tortuguero in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 33°C in January, and nighttime lows around 24°C. On the 15th (Wed), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Theme Parks · Outdoors · Adventure · Tours

Side Trips

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 2 nights
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.
On the 15th (Wed), identify plant and animal life at Natura Eco Park Costa Rica.

To see reviews, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Katira.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Trails

Side Trips

Katira

— 2 nights
Start off your visit on the 17th (Fri): stroll through Bijagua Ranas and then explore the striking landscape of Tenorio National Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, tour the pleasant surroundings at Tapir Valley Nature Reserve, and then take in nature's colorful creations at Laberinto de Katira.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Katira fast, fun, and easy.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Katira takes 1.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Katira

Parks · Wildlife · Nature · Outdoors

Side Trips

Monteverde

— 2 nights
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Sun): admire the sheer force of San Luis Waterfall, get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary, and then experience rural life at Hidden Valley Permaculture Farm. Keep things going the next day: stroll through Sustainability Demonstration Center, stop by Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde, then identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, and finally admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle.

To find traveler tips, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde holiday planner.

Getting from Katira to Monteverde by car takes about 3 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can go by car to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife · Parks · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trips

Santa Teresa

— 3 nights
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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Carmen and Playa Buena Vista. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Isla de Cabuya and Spas & Wellness. Get out of town with these interesting Santa Teresa side-trips: Playa Quesera (in Paquera), Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia (in Montezuma) and Wild Sun Rescue Center (in Cabuya). Next up on the itinerary: see what you can catch with a fishing tour and take in the exciting artwork at Bri'ah Art Gallery.

For traveler tips, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, read our Santa Teresa travel route planning app.

You can drive from Monteverde to Santa Teresa in 5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Fri) early enough to go by car back home.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Beaches

Side Trips

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.

Arenal Volcano National Park travel guide

4.4
Hot Springs · Waterfalls · River Rafting & Tubing
Plan a tour of Arenal Volcano National Park to get in touch with nature, enjoy scenic views, and admire the majestic volcano up close. The park, established in 1991, protects a variety of ecosystems and wildlife. You can choose from four hiking trails, taking you across the rainforest and lava fields. Enjoy scenic lookout points, see a staggering variety of birds and plants, or climb the dormant Mount Chato on your trip to Arenal Volcano National Park.