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: Brussels
train + Fly:  14​h 30​min
1
San Jose
— 1 night
bus + taxi:  2​h 45​min
2
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
5
Monteverde
— 3 nights
+3
shuttle + foot + ferry + bus:  4​h 15​min
6
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h
7
Carara
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
8
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
9
Drake Bay
— 3 nights
Drive:  6​h 30​min
10
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly + train:  15​h 15​min
End: Brussels

1
night
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.
Plan trip to San Jose with our itinerary maker to find out where to go and what to do.

Brussels, Belgium to San Jose is an approximately 15.5-hour combination of train and flight. You can also fly. Traveling from Brussels to San Jose, you'll gain 7 hours due to the time zone difference. In September, San Jose is somewhat warmer than Brussels - with highs of 32°C and lows of 21°C. On the 2nd (Mon), you're off toTortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

2
nights
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 2nd (Mon): examine the collection at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park. Here are some ideas for day two: get interesting insight from Tours.

To find ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Tortuguero online trip itinerary maker .

You can do a combination of bus and taxi from San Jose to Tortuguero in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a shuttle. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from San Jose in September since evenings lows in Tortuguero dip to 26°C. On the 4th (Wed), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Tours
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

2
nights
Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui ©
Step out of the city life by going to Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park and Catarata Rio Agrio. Step out of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui to go to Aguas Zarcas and see Bio Thermales Hot Springs, which is approximately 46 minutes away.

To see photos, ratings, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui holiday builder tool .

You can drive from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui in 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Fri) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Horquetas, La Virgen, Catarata Rio Agrio, Bio Thermales Hot Springs, Sarapiqui River
Highlights from your plan
Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park ©
Catarata Rio Agrio ©
Catarata Rio Agrio
Bio Thermales Hot Springs ©
Bio Thermales Hot Springs

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Fri): shop like a local with Onirica Art Gallery. On the 7th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, then admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, and then identify plant and animal life at La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos tour site .

Traveling by car from Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 1.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sun) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall

3
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.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Mon): identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and then identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Frog Pond. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 10th (Tue): enjoy some diversion at Curi Cancha Reserve, look for all kinds of wild species at Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena, then learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle, and finally look for gifts at Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde.

To find other places to visit, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Monteverde trip planner.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Fun & Games
Highlights from your plan
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve
Monteverde Frog Pond ©
Monteverde Frog Pond

2
nights
Santa Teresa

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.
On the 11th (Wed), admire the sheer force of Montezuma Falls, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Santa Teresa, and then shop like a local with Bri'ah Art Gallery. On your second day here, identify plant and animal life at Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve and then identify plant and animal life at Wild Sun Rescue Center.

To see photos, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Santa Teresa online attractions planner .

You can do a combination of shuttle, ferry, and bus from Monteverde to Santa Teresa in 4.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 13th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Carara.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Montezuma, Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve
Highlights from your plan
Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa
Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve ©
Montezuma Falls ©
Montezuma Falls

1
night
Carara

Carara
To find more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Carara online trip builder .

You can drive from Santa Teresa to Carara in 5 hours. You will leave for Manuel Antonio on the 14th (Sat).

Things to do in Carara

Parks Nature Tours

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.
Get outdoors at Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. The adventure continues: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, stroll around Parque Nahomi, and take a memorable tour with Tours.

For ratings and other tourist information, read Manuel Antonio travel planner.

You can drive from Carara to Manuel Antonio in 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trip

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

3
nights
Drake Bay

Drake Bay ©
On the 17th (Tue), explore the wealth of natural beauty at Corcovado National Park. On your second day here, look for all kinds of wild species at Cano Island.

To find more things to do, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read our Drake Bay trip itinerary builder site .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 19th (Thu) to allow time for the car ride to San Jose.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Corcovado National Park
Highlights from your plan
Corcovado National Park ©
Corcovado National Park
Cano Island ©
Cano Island

1
night
San Jose

San Jose ©
On the 20th (Fri), take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica and then scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

To find photos, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, read our San Jose day trip site .

Drive from Drake Bay to San Jose in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

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