30 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

30 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

30 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Rio de Janeiro
+2
Fly + bus + taxi:  15​h 15​min
1
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
2
Playa Samara
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
3
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
4
Playas del Coco
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
6
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
7
Uvita
— 3 nights
Drive:  6​h
8
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h
9
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h 30​min
10
San Jose
— 4 nights
Fly:  13​h 45​min
End: Rio de Janeiro

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.
Escape the urban bustle at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Appreciate the collections at Chorotega Arts & Crafts and Alas y Raices. There's much more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena, whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), and experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour.

To see photos, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Monteverde route planning website .

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Monteverde is an approximately 15.5-hour combination of flight and taxi. Traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Monteverde, you'll gain 3 hours due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sat) to allow time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena

3
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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Dolphin & Whale Watching and SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary. Step out of the city life by going to dondeJavitours and Horseback Riding Tours. Change things up with these side-trips from Playa Samara: Macaw Recovery Network - Formerly The Ara Project (in Punta Islita) and Nosara (Nosara Refuge for Wildlife & MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY). There's lots more to do: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, see Off-Road Tours, and admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall.

To see where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read Playa Samara day trip tool .

Getting from Monteverde to Playa Samara by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Wildlife Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

Nosara, Macaw Recovery Network - Formerly The Ara Project
Highlights from your plan
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary ©
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Scuba & Snorkeling

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.
Get outdoors at Scuba & Snorkeling and Fishing Charters & Tours. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Nature & Wildlife Tours and Adrenaline & Extreme Tours. There's still lots to do: take a memorable tour with Tours, stop by Azul Profundo Boutique, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and see Off-Road Tours.

For ratings, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Tamarindo trip maker website .

You can drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Tours Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Playa Flamingo
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Fishing Charters & 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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Dolphin & Whale Watching and Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands. Costa Rica'n Art Craft and Immaculate Church of Concepcion de Maria are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Change things up with these side-trips from Playas del Coco: Rio Negro Hot Springs (in Rincon de La Vieja) and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste). The adventure continues: see what you can catch with a fishing tour, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and get impressive views of Rincon de La Vieja National Park.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, use the Playas del Coco trip itinerary builder 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 up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Wildlife Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Liberia, Rincon de La Vieja National Park, Rio Negro Hot Springs
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Fishing Charters & Tours

4
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Tabacon Hot Springs and Butterfly Conservatory. Let the collections at Onirica Art Gallery and Wood & Art Gallery capture your imagination. There's still lots to do: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, tour the pleasant surroundings at Arenal Natura Ecological Park, take in the natural beauty of Paradise Hot Springs, and explore the fascinating underground world of Venado Caves.

To find maps, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos online tour planner .

Drive from Playas del Coco to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Fri) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

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

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 Walking tours and Off-Road Tours. Step out of the city life by going to Playa Manuel Antonio and Waterskiing & Jetskiing. Change things up with these side-trips from Manuel Antonio: Rainmaker Park (in Parrita) and Tico Pod Art House & Gifts (in Jaco). And it doesn't end there: get interesting insight from Tours, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, walk around Parque Nahomi, and take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To see reviews, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio travel app .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Mon) early enough to drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Quepos, Jaco, Rainmaker Park
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Walking tours
Rainmaker Park ©
Rainmaker Park

3
nights
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 off the beaten path and head to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Escape the urban bustle at Dolphin & Whale Watching and Parasailing & Paragliding. There's lots more to do: paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour, take in the dramatic scenery at Uvita Waterfall, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas.

To find traveler tips, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, read Uvita travel planner.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Uvita takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Uvita

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Dominical
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Stand-Up Paddleboarding

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.
On the 13th (Fri), add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, get a new perspective on nature at Sea Turtle Conservancy, and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To find other places to visit, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, read Tortuguero trip itinerary website .

Traveling by car from Uvita to Tortuguero takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. In December, daily temperatures in Tortuguero can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 25°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

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 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.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Sat): tour the pleasant surroundings at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, then have some family-friendly fun at Yesland Mini Golf, then stroll through Punta Uva Beach, and finally stroll through Nature Observatorio. On your second day here, explore the striking landscape of Cahuita National Park, then admire the natural beauty at Finca La Isla, and then kick back and relax at Playa Cocles.

To see more things to do, where to stay, maps, and tourist information, use the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip maker .

Getting from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sun) so you can take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Cahuita, Nature Observatorio
Highlights from your plan
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Nature Observatorio ©
Nature Observatorio

4
nights
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.
Museo de Arte Costarricense and Riish and Toosh Afro Costa Rican Paintings will appeal to museum buffs. Step out of the city life by going to Nature & Wildlife Tours and Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz. You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Jose: Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum (in Orosi), Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park) and Cartago (Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles & Ruins of the Church of Carthage). And it doesn't end there: steep yourself in history at Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion, engage your brain at Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle, see a show at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, and take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum.

To see reviews, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the San Jose online tour builder .

You can take a bus from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose in 3.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a shuttle. In December in San Jose, expect temperatures between 30°C during the day and 22°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trips

Cartago, Poas Volcano, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz
Highlights from your plan

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