26 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

26 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

Make it your trip
1
San Jose
— 1 night
Drive
2
Tortuguero
— 3 nights
Drive
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive
5
Playa Samara
— 3 nights
Drive
6
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive
7
Dominical
— 3 nights
Drive
8
Sierpe
— 2 nights
Drive
9
San Gerardo de Dota
— 2 nights
Drive
10
Cartago
— 2 nights
Drive

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San Jose

— 1 night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Wed): examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, take an in-depth tour of Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, then get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu. On your second day here, hit the best photo ops around with an inspiring photography tour and then walk around Parque La Sabana.

To find ratings, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the San Jose itinerary planning app.

If you are flying in from United Arab Emirates, the closest major aiports are Tobías Bolaños International Airport, Juan Santamaría International Airport and Limon International Airport. February in San Jose sees daily highs of 30°C and lows of 21°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Thu) so you can drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums · Tours · Parks · Shopping

Tortuguero

— 3 nights

Costa Rica's Amazon

One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Fri): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park. Here are some ideas for day two: take in nature's colorful creations at Caribbean Botanical Garden.

To find maps, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip planning site.

Traveling by car from San Jose to Tortuguero takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. February in Tortuguero sees daily highs of 34°C and lows of 24°C at night. On the 9th (Sun), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks · Nature · Museums

Side Trip

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 3 nights
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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, get engrossed in the history at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna, view the masterpieces at Onirica Art Gallery, and contemplate the geological forces at Arenal Volcano.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to La Fortuna de San Carlos fast, fun, and easy.

You can drive from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Spas

Side Trip

Tamarindo

— 3 nights
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 13th (Thu): get outside with Outdoor Activities, kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, and then stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa. Keep things going the next day: wander the wide-open spaces of Pura Aventura, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana, and then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

For where to stay, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Tamarindo itinerary site.

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. On the 15th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Beaches

Side Trip

Playa Samara

— 3 nights
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.
Change things up with these side-trips from Playa Samara: Nosara (Playa Guiones, Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary, &more). Next up on the itinerary: kick back and relax at Samara Beach, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Buena Vista, and trot along with a tour on horseback.

For other places to visit, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Playa Samara journey planner.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playa Samara in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Tue) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trip

Manuel Antonio

— 3 nights
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Wed): head outdoors with Outdoor Activities and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Manuel Antonio. On your second day here, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio attractions planner.

You can drive from Playa Samara to Manuel Antonio in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi and ferry; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 21st (Fri) to allow time for the car ride to Dominical.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure · Parks

Dominical

— 3 nights
The laid back beachfront town of Dominical has been transformed from a sleepy fishing village into a surfer haunt of some repute.
Change things up with a short trip to Uvita Beach in Uvita (about 48 minutes away). There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, look for gifts at Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store, admire the sheer force of Uvita Waterfall, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Dominical day trip planner.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Dominical takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) early enough to drive to Sierpe.

Things to do in Dominical

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Beaches

Side Trip

Sierpe

— 2 nights
On the 25th (Tue), examine the collection at El Sitio Museo Finca 6 and then stroll through Quebrada Cuervo.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Sierpe online vacation planner.

Getting from Dominical to Sierpe by car takes about 1.5 hours. On the 26th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to San Gerardo de Dota.

Things to do in Sierpe

Parks · Wildlife · Museums · Nature

Side Trips

San Gerardo de Dota

— 2 nights
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Parque National Los Quetzales and then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Chirripo National Park.

To see other places to visit, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the San Gerardo de Dota vacation app.

Drive from Sierpe to San Gerardo de Dota in 3.5 hours. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Cartago.

Things to do in San Gerardo de Dota

Parks · Nature · Wildlife

Side Trip

Cartago

— 2 nights
Cartago is a city in Costa Rica, about 25km east of the capital, San José. On the 29th (Sat), pause for some serene contemplation at Ruins of the Church of Carthage, then take in nature's colorful creations at Jardin Botanico Lankester, then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum, and finally get impressive views of Irazu Volcano National Park.

For more things to do, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, read Cartago travel planner.

Drive from San Gerardo de Dota to Cartago in 2 hours. In February, daily temperatures in Cartago can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 1st (Sun) to allow time for the car ride back home.

Things to do in Cartago

Parks · Historic Sites · Nature

Side Trips

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.