19 days in Costa Rica & Chicago Itinerary

19 days in Costa Rica & Chicago Itinerary

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Route & dates

19 days in Costa Rica & Chicago Itinerary

Start: Chicago, United States
Fly:  7​h 30​min
1
San Jose, Costa Rica
— Few hours
Drive:  3​h 30​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h
3
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  30​min
4
Cahuita, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
5
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
— Few hours
Drive:  4​h 30​min
6
Jaco, Costa Rica
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
7
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
8
Uvita, Costa Rica
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
9
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 5 nights
Fly:  11​h
10
Chicago, United States
— 1 day
Fly:  4​h
End: Phoenix, United States

few
hours
San Jose, Costa Rica

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.
To see reviews, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our San Jose trip planning tool .

Chicago, USA to San Jose is an approximately 8.5-hour flight. You can also drive. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Chicago in May: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 82°F and lows are around 67°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 28th (Tue) to allow time for the car ride to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Shopping
Highlights from your plan
Chieton Moren ©
Chieton Moren

3
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Venado Caves, Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal) and Baldi Hot Springs. Kick off your visit on the 28th (Tue): witness a stunning natural landmark at Ecotermales Fortuna. On your second day here, explore the fascinating underground world of Venado Caves, contemplate the geological forces at Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal), take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery, take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Estudio, then identify plant and animal life at La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve, and finally get a taste of the local shopping with Coco Loco Art Studio & Gallery.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos route planner.

You can drive from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. On the 31st (Fri), you'll travel to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde, Arenal Eco Zoo
Highlights from your plan
Venado Caves ©
Venado Caves
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

2
nights
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica

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.
You've now added Indulgence Spa to your itinerary. Kick off your visit on the 31st (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Puerto Viejo Beach and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Cocles.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip maker app .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or take a bus. You will leave for Cahuita on the 2nd (Sun).

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Nature Park Walk
Highlights from your plan
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Puerto Viejo Beach ©
Puerto Viejo Beach

2
nights
Cahuita, Costa Rica

Cahuita ©
With its dusty streets and simple (read affordable) lodgings, Cahuita bustles as a hub of backpacker tourism in southeastern Costa Rica.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica as well as Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens. Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Sun): identify plant and animal life at Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica and then take in nature's colorful creations at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the striking landscape of Cahuita National Park and then have some family-friendly fun at Yesland Mini Golf.

To see maps, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Cahuita online road trip planner .

Cahuita is just a short distance from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. June in Cahuita sees daily highs of 86°F and lows of 74°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) to allow enough time to take a bus to Puerto Limon.

Things to do in Cahuita

Parks Nature Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Cahuita National Park ©
Cahuita National Park
Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica ©
Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica

few
hours
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Puerto Limon ©
On the 4th (Tue), take in the architecture and atmosphere at Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus and then get to know the resident critters at The Buttercup Center.

For where to stay, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Puerto Limon trip itinerary maker .

You can take a bus from Cahuita to Puerto Limon in an hour. Another option is to drive. In June, plan for daily highs up to 86°F, and evening lows to 74°F. On the 4th (Tue), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Puerto Limon

Zoos & Aquariums Parks Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus ©
Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus

1
night
Jaco, Costa Rica

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.
To find maps, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Jaco attractions planning website .

Getting from Puerto Limon to Jaco by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. On the 5th (Wed), you'll travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

2
nights
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Queposlandia Pizzeria e Ristaurante Italiano, Cafe Milagro Coffee Roasters and Manuel Antonio National Park. On the 5th (Wed), surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, view the masterpieces at The Captain's Booty, and then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park, indulge in your favorite hot beverage with Cafe Milagro Coffee Roasters, then explore the striking landscape of Naturalist Michael Araya Flores, then stop by Jungle Avenue, and finally find something for the whole family at Queposlandia Pizzeria e Ristaurante Italiano.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio trip maker site .

Drive from Jaco to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 7th (Fri), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Tours Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Manuel Antonio National Park ©
Manuel Antonio National Park
Jungle Avenue ©
Jungle Avenue

2
nights
Uvita, Costa Rica

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.
On the 7th (Fri), identify plant and animal life at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, then stop by Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the striking landscape of Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.

For other places to visit, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, read Uvita vacation planner .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Uvita in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) so you can take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Uvita

Wildlife Parks Nature

Side Trip

Dominical
Highlights from your plan
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena ©
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena
Spas & Wellness

5
nights
San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose ©
Popular historic sites such as Ruinas de Ujarras and Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana) are in your itinerary. Kids will appreciate attractions like Bosque de la Hoja and Refugio Herpetologico de Costa Rica. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Jose: Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro (in Sarchi) and San Isidro (Toucan Rescue Ranch & Chocolatería Sibú). See some other sides of San Jose: see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, enjoy the scholastic atmosphere at Universidad de Costa Rica, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Arenal Volcano riding tour.

To find where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, use the San Jose trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by bus from Uvita to San Jose takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 14th (Fri) to allow time for travel to Chicago.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Museums Wildlife

Side Trips

San Isidro, Bosque de la Hoja, Arenal Volcano riding tour, Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion, Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro
Highlights from your plan
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ©
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Jade Museum ©
Jade Museum

1
day
Chicago, United States

Chicago ©
A huge and vibrant city, Chicago is home to top-notch theaters, shops, museums, galleries, and restaurants.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Sat): stop by The Spice House, then get a taste of the local shopping with The Magnificent Mile, then admire the masterpieces at The Art Institute of Chicago, and finally appreciate the extensive heritage of Millennium Park.

To see traveler tips, photos, ratings, and tourist information, read Chicago road trip planning site .

Traveling by flight from San Jose to Chicago takes 8.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. In June, daily temperatures in Chicago can reach 81°F, while at night they dip to 63°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Chicago

Shopping Neighborhoods Museums
Highlights from your plan
The Art Institute of Chicago ©
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Magnificent Mile ©
The Magnificent Mile
Millennium Park ©
Millennium Park

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