21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica holiday planner

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Route & dates

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: London
+2
Fly + bus + shuttle:  18​h 30​min
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 30​min
3
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
4
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
5
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
6
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Fly + taxi:  1​h 45​min
7
Poas Volcano National Park
— 3 nights
Drive + Fly:  18​h
End: London

4
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.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Arenal Eco Zoo and Kalambu Hot Springs. There's lots more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, head outdoors with Salto, make a splash at Termales Los Laureles, and scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

To find more things to do, maps, reviews, and tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos online travel planner .

London, UK to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 18.5-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of flight and car. The time zone difference when traveling from London to La Fortuna de San Carlos is minus 6 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Theme Parks

Side Trip

Arenal Eco Zoo
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Kalambu Hot Springs ©
Kalambu Hot Springs
Arenal Eco Zoo ©
Arenal Eco Zoo

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.
On the 20th (Fri), see the interesting displays at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

To see photos, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Tortuguero day trip website .

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Expect a daytime high around 34°C in December, and nighttime lows around 25°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to go by car 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

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.
On the 21st (Sat), enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Biesanz, and then take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty. Here are some ideas for day two: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then stroll around Parque Nahomi.

To see maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Manuel Antonio day trip tool .

Getting from Tortuguero to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
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, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden.

For more things to do, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Monteverde trip planner.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde in 4 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in December, and nighttime lows around 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Adventure
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
The Bat Jungle ©
The Bat Jungle

2
nights
Playa Samara

Playa Samara ©
A beach town with just enough development to be comfortable for families accustomed to the trappings of modern life, Playa Samara has the resorts you'd expect to find in such a scenic area, but they don't hinder the relaxing atmosphere.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Thu): enjoy the sand and surf at Samara Beach, kick back and relax at Barrigona Beach, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall. On the 27th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: identify plant and animal life at SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary, then kick back and relax at Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), and then look for gifts at Nativa Gallery.

For ratings, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Playa Samara online road trip planner .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Playa Samara takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in December, and nighttime lows around 32°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Fri) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Nosara
Highlights from your plan
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) ©
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones)

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.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Tamarindo Beach and Playa Hermosa. Explore Tamarindo's surroundings by going to Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal) and Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste). And it doesn't end there: get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, stop by Dolores Shop, and enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana.

Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a Tamarindo trip simple and quick.

Traveling by car from Playa Samara to Tamarindo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. In December, daytime highs in Tamarindo are 32°C, while nighttime lows are 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Poas Volcano National Park.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Playa Hermosa, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Highlights from your plan
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach

3
nights
Poas Volcano National Park

Poas Volcano National Park ©
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Poas Volcano National Park: Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca), Metal Church (in Grecia) and Bosque de la Hoja (in Heredia).

To see maps, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Poas Volcano National Park tour builder website .

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Tamarindo to Poas Volcano National Park takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Poas Volcano National Park

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Orosi River Valley ( El Valle del Rio Orosi ), Else Kientzler Botanical Garden, Bosque de la Hoja, Metal Church
Highlights from your plan
Bosque de la Hoja ©
Bosque de la Hoja
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Else Kientzler Botanical Garden ©
Else Kientzler Botanical Garden

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