23 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

23 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Barcelona
Fly:  16​h 45​min
1
San Jose
— 1 night
bus:  3​h
2
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
ferry:  4​h 30​min
3
Montezuma
— 2 nights
Drive:  45​min
4
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
5
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
6
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
7
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
9
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
10
Puerto Limon
— 1 night
bus:  1​h 15​min
11
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 1 night
End: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

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.
On the 13th (Tue), get a new perspective on nature at Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle, steep yourself in history at Ruinas de Ujarras, then explore the world behind art at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Toucan Rescue Ranch. On your second day here, take an in-depth tour of Museo Nacional De Costa Rica and then take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica.

To find photos, ratings, and more tourist information, use the San Jose vacation planner.

Barcelona, Spain to San Jose is an approximately 17-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or do a combination of flight and bus. You'll gain 7 hours traveling from Barcelona to San Jose due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Barcelona in August, San Jose is a bit cooler at night with lows of 22°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Wed) early enough to catcht the bus to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Wildlife Museums Outdoors

Side Trips

Toucan Rescue Ranch, Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion
Highlights from your plan
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica

2
nights
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 15th (Thu), take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the exciting artwork at El O'scars Galleria and then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see maps, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Manuel Antonio trip itinerary maker app .

You can take a bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Fri) so you can ride a ferry to Montezuma.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trip

El O'scars Galleria
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
River Rafting & Tubing

2
nights
Montezuma

Montezuma ©
With a scenic position on a sheltered bay, Montezuma remains one of Costa Rica's quieter destinations, attracting mostly backpackers and other explorers averse to making detailed travel plans.
On the 17th (Sat), explore the striking landscape of Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve and then identify plant and animal life at Wild Sun Rescue Center. Here are some ideas for day two: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas and then identify plant and animal life at Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia.

To find photos, other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Montezuma visit planner.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Montezuma by ferry takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and ferry; or drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Montezuma

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trip

Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve
Highlights from your plan
Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve ©
Wild Sun Rescue Center ©
Wild Sun Rescue Center
Spas

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 18th (Sun), look for gifts at Tica Surf Bikinis. Keep things going the next day: paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour, then kick back and relax at Playa Carmen, and then view the masterpieces at Bri'ah Art Gallery.

To see ratings, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Santa Teresa travel route planner .

Drive from Montezuma to Santa Teresa in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Tue) so you can drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Mal Pais
Highlights from your plan
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen
Spas & Wellness
Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa

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 21st (Wed), take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall, then kick back and relax at Playa Buena Vista, then get outside with Water Dreams Costa Rica, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Koss Art Gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get interesting insight from Tours and then stroll through Playa Garza.

For ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Playa Samara trip planner .

Traveling by car from Santa Teresa to Playa Samara takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 23rd (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Playa Garza
Highlights from your plan
Playa Buena Vista ©
Playa Buena Vista
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Playa Garza ©
Playa Garza

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.
On the 23rd (Fri), take in the exciting artwork at Lydia Beech Art Boutique. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Sat): kick back and relax at Playa Conchal and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana.

For reviews, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Tamarindo attractions planning app .

You can drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach

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.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Mon): get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary, then look for all kinds of wild species at Valle Escondido Preserve, and then see the interesting displays at Monteverde Chorotega Arts & Crafts. On the next day, look for all kinds of wild species at Sustainability Demonstration Center, then explore by horseback at Finca el Rodeo, and then stop by Foresta.

For traveler tips, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Monteverde trip itinerary app .

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 by early afternoon on the 28th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Trails

Side Trip

Sustainability Demonstration Center
Highlights from your plan
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Valle Escondido Preserve ©
Valle Escondido Preserve
Sustainability Demonstration Center ©

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Wed): ride a horse along Arenal Wilberth Stables. Here are some ideas for day two: view the masterpieces at Onirica Art Gallery, take in nature's colorful creations at Arenal Natura Ecological Park, then look for all kinds of wild species at Butterfly Conservatory, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral de Ciudad Quesada.

For maps and other tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip app .

You can drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Trails Outdoors

Side Trips

Catedral de Ciudad Quesada, Butterfly Conservatory
Highlights from your plan
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Wilberth Stables ©
Arenal Wilberth Stables

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.
On the 31st (Sat), look for all kinds of wild species at Tortuguero National Park. Keep things going the next day: take a memorable tour with Tours and then learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

For traveler tips, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Tortuguero online tour itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can 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. On the 1st (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Puerto Limon.

Things to do in Tortuguero

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

1
night
Puerto Limon

Puerto Limon ©
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Mon): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Bonita, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary. On the 3rd (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

For photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Puerto Limon route maker app .

Getting from Tortuguero to Puerto Limon by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 35°C in September, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Tue) early enough to catcht the bus to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Puerto Limon

Outdoors Adventure Parks
Highlights from your plan
Playa Bonita ©
Playa Bonita
Zipline
Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus ©

1
night
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca ©
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
On the 4th (Wed), look for all kinds of wild species at Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, admire all the interesting features of Nature Park Walk, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Punta Uva Beach.

To see reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca online route planner .

Take a bus from Puerto Limon to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trip

Nature Park Walk
Highlights from your plan
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach

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