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: San Jose
Drive:  1 h
1
Cartago
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 30 min
2
Tortuguero
— 3 nights
Drive:  4 h
3
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
Drive:  7 h
4
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  4 h 30 min
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 7 nights
Drive:  3 h 30 min
6
Monteverde
— 4 nights
Drive:  3 h 30 min
7
Tamarindo
— 4 nights
Drive:  2 h
8
Nosara
— 3 nights
Drive:  4 h 30 min
9
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Taxi + Fly:  3 h
End: San Jose

1
night
Cartago

Cartago ©
Cartago is a city in Costa Rica, about 25km east of the capital, San José. On the 16th (Sun), get outside with Mirador de Ujarras and then head outdoors with Refugio de Vida Silvestre La Marta.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Cartago planner .

San Jose to Cartago is an approximately 1-hour car ride. You can also take a train; or take a bus. February in Cartago sees daily highs of 79°F and lows of 65°F at night. On the 17th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Cartago

Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trip

Mirador de Ujarras
Highlights from your plan
Mirador de Ujarras ©
Mirador de Ujarras

3
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.
Get outdoors at Tortuguero National Park and Kayaking & Canoeing. Step off the beaten path and head to Sea Turtle Conservancy and Caribbean Botanical Garden.

To find traveler tips, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Tortuguero trip builder app .

You can drive from Cartago to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 84°F in February, and nighttime lows around 69°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Caribbean Botanical Garden
Highlights from your plan
Caribbean Botanical Garden ©
Caribbean Botanical Garden
Kayaking & Canoeing
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

2
nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Fri): stroll through Redfrogteam Biological Station and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Nature Park Walk. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback and then take in the exciting artwork at Luluberlu Art Gallery.

For ratings, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip tool .

Getting from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) early enough to go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Redfrogteam Biological Station, Nature Park Walk
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Luluberlu Art Gallery ©
Luluberlu Art Gallery

3
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.
Relax by the water at Playa Ventanas and Playa Espadilla Norte. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Parasailing & Paragliding and Mulguri Adventure. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Manuel Antonio: Dominical (Dolphin & Whale Watching & Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store). The adventure continues: get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure and get outside with Barraba's Surf.

To find photos, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio trip planner .

Drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Manuel Antonio in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Dominical, Playa Ventanas, Playa Espadilla Norte
Highlights from your plan
Parasailing & Paragliding
Playa Espadilla Norte ©
Playa Espadilla Norte
Dolphin & Whale Watching

7
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Ecocentro Danaus and Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park. Popular historic sites such as Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos and Iglesia de San Rafael are in your itinerary. Get out of town with these interesting La Fortuna de San Carlos side-trips: Kayaking & Canoeing (in La Virgen), Butterfly Conservatory (in El Castillo) and Tenorio National Park (in Buena Vista). There's much more to do: explore the fascinating underground world of Venado Caves, hike along Senderos Los Tucanes, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and take in the natural beauty of Los Lagos Hot Springs.

To see more things to do, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner .

Drive from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, La Virgen, Iglesia de San Rafael, Tenorio National Park, Butterfly Conservatory
Highlights from your plan
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs
Ecocentro Danaus ©
Ecocentro Danaus
Venado Caves ©
Venado Caves

4
nights
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Ecological Sanctuary and Sustainability Demonstration Center. Escape the urban bustle at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Superman De Osa. There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Finca el Rodeo, take in the dramatic scenery at San Luis Waterfall, take in the exciting artwork at Sarah's Gallery, and admire the masterpieces at Chorotega Arts & Crafts.

To see ratings, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Monteverde travel planning app .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sat) early enough to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

San Luis Waterfall, Sustainability Demonstration Center, Superman De Osa
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
San Luis Waterfall ©
San Luis Waterfall
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary

4
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Dantita and Playa Danta. Escape the urban bustle at Kayaking & Canoeing and Dolphin & Whale Watching. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Off-Road Tours (in Playa Conchal) and Playa Flamingo (in Playa Flamingo). Next up on the itinerary: push the limits with an extreme tour, step aboard Kingpin Sportfishing, look for gifts at Papaya Con Leche, and get your game on at Bolas Locas Mini Golf.

To find ratings, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, read our Tamarindo trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Tamarindo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Wed) so you can go by car to Nosara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Las Catalinas, Off-Road Tours, Kayaking & Canoeing, Playa Flamingo
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Off-Road Tours
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

3
nights
Nosara

Nosara ©
Along with its agricultural and fishing heritage, Nosara stands as one of the oldest expatriate communities in the country.
Get in touch with nature at Playa Garza and Playa Buena Vista. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Kayaking & Canoeing and Puerto Carrillo. Change things up with these side-trips from Nosara: Playa Samara (Werner Sauter Biological Reserve, Belen Waterfall, & more).

To find ratings, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Nosara trip planner .

Getting from Tamarindo to Nosara by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Nosara

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Samara, Playa Garza, Puerto Carrillo
Highlights from your plan
Puerto Carrillo ©
Puerto Carrillo
Playa Garza ©
Playa Garza
Playa Buena Vista ©
Playa Buena Vista

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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sun): step off the mainland to explore Isla de Cabuya, browse the exhibits of Bri'ah Art Gallery, and then kick back and relax at Playa Carmen. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia and then soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers.

To find maps, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Santa Teresa travel route planning site .

Getting from Nosara to Santa Teresa by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Montezuma
Highlights from your plan
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen
Spas & Wellness
Isla de Cabuya ©
Isla de Cabuya

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