22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Santa Ana
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  13​h 45​min
1
Monteverde
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Manuel Antonio
— 4 nights
bus:  1​h 15​min
4
San Jose
— 3 nights
bus + taxi:  3​h 30​min
5
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 45​min
6
Nosara
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
7
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  12​h 30​min
End: Santa Ana

1
night
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 4th (Wed): look for gifts at Hummingbird Gallery and then identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Here are some ideas for day two: identify plant and animal life at Curi Cancha Reserve, admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle, and then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To find maps, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde road trip planning site .

Durham, USA to Monteverde is an approximately 13.5-hour combination of bus, flight, and shuttle. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Thu) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Nature
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
The Bat Jungle ©
The Bat Jungle
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

5
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.
Bring the kids along to Arenal Eco Zoo and La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve. There's much more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, take in the views from Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal), and take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To find reviews, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) early enough to travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, Arenal Eco Zoo
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Eco Zoo ©
Arenal Eco Zoo
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs

4
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.
Attractions like Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz make great kid-friendly stops. Pack the 12th (Thu) with family-friendly diversions at Rancho Tipico Don Juan. The adventure continues: get interesting insight from Tours, take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty, stop by Super Joseth, and kick back and relax at Playas Gemelas.

To find ratings, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio online trip itinerary builder .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio by combination of taxi and flight takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) so you can travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Beaches

Side Trip

The Captain's Booty
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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.
Change things up with these side-trips from San Jose: Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park), Toucan Rescue Ranch (in San Isidro) and La Paz Waterfall Gardens (in Vara Blanca). There's still lots to do: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour and admire the masterpieces at Precolumbian Gold Museum.

To see maps, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip itinerary builder app .

Do a combination of taxi, flight, and bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In July, daily temperatures in San Jose can reach 80°F, while at night they dip to 67°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) early enough to catch the shuttle to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Poas Volcano, Toucan Rescue Ranch, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ©
Pre-Columbian Gold 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 18th (Wed): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip planner .

You can take a shuttle from San Jose to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. Traveling from San Jose in July, plan for a bit warmer nights in Tortuguero, with lows around 73°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) so you can travel to Nosara.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park

1
night
Nosara

Nosara ©
Along with its agricultural and fishing heritage, Nosara stands as one of the oldest expatriate communities in the country.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Thu): kick back and relax at Samara Beach and then enjoy the sand and surf at Puerto Carrillo. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: try for a hole-in-one at Jungle Mini Golf, Nosara, enjoy the sand and surf at Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), and then identify plant and animal life at SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary.

For ratings, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Nosara trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Tortuguero to Nosara by combination of shuttle and flight takes about 6 hours. Other options: do a combination of shuttle, flight, and taxi; or do a combination of shuttle, flight, and car. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Nosara

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Puerto Carrillo, Samara Beach
Highlights from your plan
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) ©
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones)
Puerto Carrillo ©
Puerto Carrillo

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.
Attractions like Tamarindo Beach and Dolphin & Whale Watching make great kid-friendly stops. Take a break from Tamarindo with a short trip to Playa Conchal in Playa Conchal, about 38 minutes away. There's more to do: explore and take pictures at Pura Aventura and kick back and relax at Playa Avellana.

To find photos, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo road trip planning website .

You can drive from Nosara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

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