22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

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Route & dates

22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Ottawa
Fly:  10​h 15​min
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h
2
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Uvita
— 3 nights
ferry + taxi:  5​h
4
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
6
Playas del Coco
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
7
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Fly:  11​h 15​min
End: Ottawa

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Sat): admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Costarricense, get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, and then pause for some serene contemplation at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. On the next day, see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, steep yourself in history at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, then take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu.

For reviews, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the San Jose trip planner .

Ottawa, Canada to San Jose is an approximately 10.5-hour combination of train and flight. You can also fly; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Ottawa to San Jose. Traveling from Ottawa in January, things will get much warmer in San Jose: highs are around 30°C and lows about 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can take a bus to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Historic Sites Nightlife

Side Trip

Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles
Highlights from your plan
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Museo de Arte Costarricense ©
Museo de Arte Costarricense

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Rainmaker Park and Zipline. Get in touch with nature at Playa Manuel Antonio and Horseback Riding Tours. There's much more to do: scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, walk around Parque Nahomi, fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour, and take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty.

To see ratings, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio online day trip planner .

You can take a bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Quepos, Rainmaker Park, Horseback Riding Tours
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Rainmaker Park ©
Rainmaker Park
Parasailing & Paragliding

3
nights
Uvita

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.
Step out of the city life by going to Nauyaca Waterfalls and Uvita Beach. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and Uvita Waterfall. Next up on the itinerary: glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To find reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Uvita trip maker website .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Uvita in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) so you can travel to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Dominical
Highlights from your plan
Nauyaca Waterfalls ©
Nauyaca Waterfalls
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach

2
nights
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 12th (Sun): see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, and then kick back and relax at Playa Buena Vista. On the next day, stroll through Barrigona Beach, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and then admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall.

To see reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Playa Samara trip planner.

Do a combination of ferry and taxi from Uvita to Playa Samara in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Horseback Riding Tours
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach

3
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Take a break from the city and head to Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Fishing Charters & Tours. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Adrenaline & Extreme Tours and Spas. There's much more to do: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, look for gifts at Papaya Con Leche, enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, and get interesting insight from Tours.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo online vacation planner .

You can drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Playa Flamingo
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours

3
nights
Playas del Coco

A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts and Church of La Ermita La Agonia are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Rincon de La Vieja National Park and Dolphin & Whale Watching. Change things up with these side-trips from Playas del Coco: Souvenirs La gran Nicoya (in Liberia) and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste). There's more to do: stroll through Playa Hermosa and relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see photos, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Playas del Coco travel site .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Liberia, Playa Hermosa, Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Onirica Art Gallery and Wood & Art Gallery. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Butterfly Conservatory and Arenal Wilberth Stables. The adventure continues: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, contemplate the geological forces at Arenal Volcano, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall.

For maps, ratings, and more tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos holiday tool .

Getting from Playas del Coco to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. You'll set off for home on the 24th (Fri).

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano, Butterfly Conservatory
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory

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