21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Montreal, Quebec
Fly + Taxi:  9 h 45 min
1
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1 h 45 min
2
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 15 min
3
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 45 min
4
Bejuco
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h 15 min
5
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
6
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h
7
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  3 h 15 min
8
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 45 min
9
Cahuita
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
10
San Jose
— 3 nights
Fly:  8 h 45 min
End: Montreal, Quebec

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.
On the 22nd (Wed), admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall, enjoy the sand and surf at Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), and then tour the pleasant surroundings at SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary. Here are some ideas for day two: kick back and relax at Barrigona Beach and then kick back and relax at Samara Beach.

For traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Playa Samara travel route planner.

Montreal, Canada to Playa Samara is an approximately 10-hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Thu) early enough to go by car 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)

2
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Fri): glide peacefully along the water with categoryPhrases.alias.some_of_the_best_stand_up_paddleboarding_in_the_area and then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 25th (Sat): kick back and relax at Playa Avellana, then kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, and then paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour.

To see reviews, more things to do, topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, and tourist information, read our Tamarindo online day trip planner .

You can drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) so you can drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Flamingo, Kayaking & Canoeing
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

2
nights
Monteverde

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.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Sun): stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, then admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle, and then take in the exciting artwork at Alas y Raices. On the next day, stop by Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery, then whizz through the canopy at categoryPhrases.alias.some_of_the_top_local_zipline_courses_and_adventure_parks, and then catch some excitement at Curi Cancha Reserve.

To see where to stay, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Monteverde trip planner.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Bejuco.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

1
night
Bejuco

Bejuco
To see where to stay, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, read Bejuco trip planner.

You can drive from Monteverde to Bejuco in 3 hours. On the 28th (Tue), you're off to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Bejuco

Outdoors Parks Beaches

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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. Visiting Nature & Wildlife Tours and River Rafting & Tubing will get you outdoors. It doesn't end there: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports and explore the striking landscape of Manuel Antonio National Park.

For photos, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio trip planner.

You can drive from Bejuco to Manuel Antonio in an hour. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Fri) so you can go by car to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Fishing Charters & Tours

1
night
Vara Blanca

Vara Blanca
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Sat): admire the sheer force of Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz and then take some stellar pictures from Mirador Huequecura.

To find where to stay, photos, maps, and more tourist information, use the Vara Blanca travel itinerary planner.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Vara Blanca in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sat) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Parks Nature

Side Trip

Mirador Huequecura

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.
Visiting Tabacon Hot Springs and La Fortuna Waterfall will get you outdoors. Next up on the itinerary: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, hike along Arenal Natura Ecological Park, explore by horseback at Arenal Wilberth Stables, and witness a stunning natural landmark at Baldi Hot Springs.

To find traveler tips, photos, topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, and other tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos day trip website .

Traveling by car from Vara Blanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas

Side Trip

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

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 5th (Wed): add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

To see photos, topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip planner.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In August, daytime highs in Tortuguero are 35°C, while nighttime lows are 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Cahuita.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing

2
nights
Cahuita

Cahuita ©
With its dusty streets and simple (read affordable) lodgings, Cahuita bustles as a hub of backpacker tourism in southeastern Costa Rica.
On the 6th (Thu), explore the wealth of natural beauty at Cahuita National Park and then kick back and relax at Playa Cocles. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 7th (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Puerto Viejo Beach and then take in nature's colorful creations at Finca La Isla.

To see where to stay, topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Cahuita itinerary website .

Traveling by car from Tortuguero to Cahuita takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 35°C in August, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) early enough to go by car to San Jose.

Things to do in Cahuita

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Highlights from your plan
Cahuita National Park ©
Cahuita National Park
Puerto Viejo Beach ©
Puerto Viejo Beach
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

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.
On the 8th (Sat), cruise along Top Travel Costa Rica and then get impressive views of Poas Volcano. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Toucan Rescue Ranch and then get impressive views of Irazu Volcano National Park.

For photos, maps, topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, and more tourist information, read our San Jose online attractions planner .

Drive from Cahuita to San Jose in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Cahuita in August: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 32°C and lows are around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 10th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Irazu Volcano National Park, Poas Volcano, Toucan Rescue Ranch
Highlights from your plan
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Irazu Volcano National Park ©
Irazu Volcano National Park

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