36 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

36 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

36 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Zurich
Fly:  15​h
1
Playas del Coco
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Tamarindo
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Playa Samara
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
4
Monteverde
— 5 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Manuel Antonio
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
6
Uvita
— 3 nights
Drive:  7​h 15​min
7
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 45​min
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Fly:  17​h 15​min
End: Zurich

4
nights
Playas del Coco

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.
Costa Rica'n Art Craft and Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Discover out-of-the-way places like Zipline and Fishing Charters & Tours. When in Playas del Coco, make a side trip to see Llanos de Cortez Waterfall in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, approximately 1h 15 min away. The adventure continues: get interesting insight from Tours, stop by Cata Chocolate, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and contemplate the geological forces at Rincon de La Vieja National Park.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Playas del Coco fast, fun, and easy.

Zurich, Switzerland to Playas del Coco is an approximately 15-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of train, bus, and flight. You'll gain 7 hours traveling from Zurich to Playas del Coco due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) early enough to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Rincon de La Vieja National Park, Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, Costa Rica'n Art Craft
Highlights from your plan
Rincon de La Vieja National Park ©
Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Fishing Charters & Tours
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

5
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 Nature & Wildlife Tours and Adrenaline & Extreme Tours. Family-friendly places like Tamarindo Beach and Playa Conchal will thrill your kids. Change things up with a short trip to Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Playa Flamingo (about 32 minutes away). Saddle up on the 21st (Sat) and explore with a tour on horseback. There's much more to do: see what you can catch with a fishing tour, look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique, admire all the interesting features of Pura Aventura, and indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To see reviews, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo trip builder .

You can drive from Playas del Coco to Tamarindo in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Flamingo, Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Fishing Charters & Tours

5
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.
Attractions like Barrigona Beach and Samara Beach make great kid-friendly stops. Step out of the city life by going to Horseback Riding Tours and Macaw Recovery Network - Formerly The Ara Project. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Playa Samara: Nosara (SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary, MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY, & more), Playa Garza (in Garza) and Playa Corozalito (in Bejuco). And it doesn't end there: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Carrillo, and admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall.

For traveler tips, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Playa Samara itinerary planner.

Getting from Tamarindo to Playa Samara by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Nosara, Playa Corozalito, Macaw Recovery Network - Formerly The Ara Project, Playa Carrillo, Playa Garza
Highlights from your plan
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach
Playa Carrillo ©
Playa Carrillo
Scuba & Snorkeling

5
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.
Museum-lovers will get to explore Monteverde Chorotega Arts & Crafts and Alas y Raices. Family-friendly places like The Bat Jungle and Centro de Rescate Las Pumas will thrill your kids. Get out of town with these interesting Monteverde side-trips: Zipline (in Puntarenas) and Viento Fresco Waterfall (in Tilaran). And it doesn't end there: look for all kinds of wild species at Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena, view the masterpieces at Arte Jaguar Gallery, shop like a local with Art House, and take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas).

To find ratings, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Monteverde tour itinerary planner.

Drive from Playa Samara to Monteverde in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Shopping

Side Trips

Viento Fresco Waterfall, Centro de Rescate Las Pumas
Highlights from your plan
Viento Fresco Waterfall ©
Viento Fresco Waterfall
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena

5
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.
Get outdoors at Naturalist Michael Araya Flores and Rainmaker Park. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Parasailing & Paragliding and Spas. Go for a jaunt from Manuel Antonio to Esterillos Este to see Horseback Riding Tours about 56 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, and let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

For more things to do, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Manuel Antonio online tour itinerary planner .

Getting from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) so you can go by car to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Quepos, Rainmaker Park, Horseback Riding Tours
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Rainmaker Park ©
Rainmaker Park
Parasailing & Paragliding

3
nights
Uvita

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.
Bring the kids along to Uvita Beach and Playa Ventanas. Step off the beaten path and head to Horseback Riding Tours and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. Next up on the itinerary: look for all kinds of wild species at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, take in the dramatic scenery at Uvita Waterfall, look for gifts at Discount Liquor Wine & Cigars, and get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Uvita trip planner.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Uvita in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Uvita

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Dominical, Playa Ventanas
Highlights from your plan
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Fri): take in nature's colorful creations at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Chiquita, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Cocles. On the 11th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Punta Uva Beach and then identify plant and animal life at Nature Observatorio.

To find more things to do, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca travel itinerary planner .

You can drive from Uvita to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, Nature Observatorio
Highlights from your plan
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

5
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Butterfly Conservatory and Arenal Natura Ecological Park. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Onirica Art Gallery and Wood & Art Gallery. Next up on the itinerary: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, trot along with Arenal Wilberth Stables, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, and take a memorable tour with Tours.

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner .

Getting from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

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

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