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: Amsterdam
Fly:  16​h
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
2
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Uvita
— 3 nights
ferry + taxi:  3​h 45​min
4
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
5
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
6
Playas del Coco
— 4 nights
Fly:  14​h 45​min
End: Amsterdam

3
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.
Explore hidden gems such as Venado Caves and Paradise Hot Springs. When in La Fortuna de San Carlos, make a side trip to see Butterfly Conservatory in El Castillo, approximately 38 minutes away. And it doesn't end there: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, witness a stunning natural landmark at Los Lagos Hot Springs, trek along Arenal Natura Ecological Park, and get impressive views of Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano).

To find ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos online attractions planner .

Amsterdam, Holland to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 16-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of flight and shuttle. The time zone difference when traveling from Amsterdam to La Fortuna de San Carlos is minus 7 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, Butterfly Conservatory
Highlights from your plan
Venado Caves ©
Venado Caves
Safaris
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs

2
nights
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.
On the 9th (Thu), zoom along the surf with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, then glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 10th (Fri): see Off-Road Tours, then trot along with a tour on horseback, and then take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty.

To see reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio attractions planner .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) so you can go by car to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Tours Outdoors Adventure

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Walking tours
Parasailing & Paragliding
Horseback Riding Tours

3
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and Kayaking & Canoeing. And it doesn't end there: find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, enjoy the sand and surf at Uvita Beach, admire the sheer force of Nauyaca Waterfalls, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Ventanas.

To see where to stay, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Uvita road trip tool .

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Uvita in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Dominical, Playa Ventanas
Highlights from your plan
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Nauyaca Waterfalls ©
Nauyaca Waterfalls

2
nights
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 14th (Tue): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Hermosa, then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and then find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area. Keep things going the next day: kick back and relax at Playa Carmen, take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, and then take in the exciting artwork at Bri'ah Art Gallery.

To see maps, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Santa Teresa tour site .

Getting from Uvita to Santa Teresa by combination of ferry and taxi takes about 4 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Cap off your sightseeing on the 15th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Horseback Riding Tours
Highlights from your plan
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen

3
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Step off the beaten path and head to Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Adrenaline & Extreme Tours. There's much more to do: find something for the whole family at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, stroll through Monkey Park, see Off-Road Tours, and take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To find ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Tamarindo day trip planning tool .

You can drive from Santa Teresa to Tamarindo in 4.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of taxi and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Highlights from your plan
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

4
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like River Rafting & Tubing and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall. Go for a jaunt from Playas del Coco to Rincon de La Vieja to see Rio Negro Hot Springs about 1h 20 min away. There's much more to do: do sightseeing your way with Private Tours, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Rincon de La Vieja National Park.

To see ratings, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Playas del Coco itinerary app .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Tours Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

River Rafting & Tubing, Rio Negro Hot Springs, Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

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