20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary maker

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Route & dates

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Barcelona
Fly:  16​h 45​min
1
San Jose
— 3 nights
Bus + Taxi:  2​h 45​min
2
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 30​min
3
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
4
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
5
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Fly:  16​h 45​min
End: Barcelona

3
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.
Get out of town with these interesting San Jose side-trips: Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park), Jardin Botanico Lankester (in Cartago) and Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca). There's lots more to do: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, and look for gifts at Holalola Souvenir Shop.

To find more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our San Jose itinerary planning tool .

Barcelona, Spain to San Jose is an approximately 17-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Barcelona to San Jose is minus 7 hours. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Barcelona in December: highs in San Jose hover around 30°C, while lows dip to 22°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to travel to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Poas Volcano, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Jardin Botanico Lankester
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Jade Museum ©
Jade Museum

1
night
Tortuguero

Tortuguero ©
One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Start off your visit on the 31st (Tue): learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see reviews, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Tortuguero online journey planner .

You can do a combination of bus and taxi from San Jose to Tortuguero in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In December, daily temperatures in Tortuguero can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 25°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Museums
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

3
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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Manuel Antonio: Zipline (in Jaco) and Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary (in Dominical). There's still lots to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, walk around Parque Nahomi, and indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To find other places to visit, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio trip maker .

Traveling by car from Tortuguero to Manuel Antonio takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Quepos, Zipline, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Zipline
Nature & Wildlife Tours

3
nights
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.
Monteverde is known for adventure, wildlife, nightlife, fun & games, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, stop by Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery, take in the views from Santa Elena Skywalk, and take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas).

Plan my Monteverde trip by asking Inpirock to come up with tips and suggestions.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Adventure
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

3
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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal), Playa Hermosa (in Playa Hermosa) and Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste). There's still lots to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and wander the wide-open spaces of Pura Aventura.

To see more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Tamarindo online tour itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Tamarindo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, Playa Hermosa, Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

5
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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, wildlife, trails, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, head outdoors with Salto, and let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find ratings, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos driving holiday site .

Drive from Tamarindo to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

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