38 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

38 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica tour itinerary builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Jaco
— 6 nights
Drive
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Tamarindo
— 6 nights
Drive
7
Nosara
— 5 nights
Drive
8
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive
9
San Jose
— 3 nights
Fly

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San Jose

— 4 nights
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Bosque de la Hoja and Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. When in San Jose, make a side trip to see Museo de Cultura Popular in Heredia, approximately Heredia away. There's much more to do: find something for the whole family at Parque Diversiones, get a sense of history and politics at Correos de Costa Rica, make a trip to Plaza de la Cultura, and take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum.

For traveler tips, photos, reviews, and tourist information, read our San Jose trip builder website.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands to San Jose is an approximately 15.5-hour flight. You'll gain 7 hours traveling from Amsterdam to San Jose due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Amsterdam in May, things will get somewhat warmer in San Jose: highs are around 32°C and lows about 22°C. You will have some time to spend on the 30th (Sun) before leaving for Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums · Parks · Wildlife · Shopping

Side Trips

Tortuguero

— 2 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 30th (Sun): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

To see traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Tortuguero online visit planner.

You can drive from San Jose to Tortuguero in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Traveling from San Jose in May, expect somewhat warmer with lows of 26°C in Tortuguero. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 1st (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature · Parks · Museums

Jaco

— 6 nights
A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Playa Espadilla Norte. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Jaco: Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary (in Dominical), Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge (in Uvita) and Manuel Antonio (Playa Manuel Antonio & Playas Gemelas). There's still lots to do: take in the waterfront at Marina Pez Vela, get outside with Outdoor Activities, stop by Fruity Monkey Poop, and scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

To see more things to do, maps, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Jaco trip planner.

Getting from Tortuguero to Jaco by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus. You will have some time to spend on the 7th (Mon) before leaving for La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

Side Trips

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 5 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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Bogarin Trail and Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano). Step out of La Fortuna de San Carlos with an excursion to Butterfly Conservatory in El Castillo--about 38 minutes away. And it doesn't end there: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, savor a delicious cup with a coffee and tea tour, stroll through Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge, and walk around Cerro Chato ANC Park & Gardens.

To see photos, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos sightseeing planning site.

Drive from Jaco to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 12th (Sat), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Tours

Side Trips

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 2 nights
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 13th (Sun): relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

Start your trip to La Fortuna de San Carlos by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

You'll have a few hours on the 14th (Mon) to wrap things up before traveling to Tamarindo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Spas
Highlights from your trip

Tamarindo

— 6 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
For other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. On the 20th (Sun), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Nosara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Adventure

Nosara

— 5 nights
Along with its agricultural and fishing heritage, Nosara stands as one of the oldest expatriate communities in the country.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like International Animal Rescue Costa Rica and Belen Waterfall. Venture out of the city with trips to Playa Samara (Samara Beach, Koss Art Gallery, &more) and Jungle Butterfly Farm (in Nandayure). There's much more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Guiones, look for gifts at Nativa Gallery, and get outside with Nosara Riversafari - Tours.

To find photos, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Nosara trip itinerary builder app.

Drive from Tamarindo to Nosara in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. You will have some time to spend on the 25th (Fri) before leaving for Monteverde.

Things to do in Nosara

Parks · Outdoors · Wildlife · Beaches

Side Trips

Monteverde

— 3 nights
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 explore the less-touristy side of things at Monteverde Orchid Garden and Souvenir Rosewood-Info Center. Take a break from Monteverde with a short trip to Life Monteverde in Los Tornos, about 44 minutes away. Spend the 25th (Fri) exploring nature at Up in the Cloud Forest. There's lots more to do: learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle, relax in the rural setting at Hidden Valley Permaculture Farm, view the masterpieces at Arte Jaguar Gallery, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Ranario Monteverde Frog Pond.

For photos, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde trip planner.

Getting from Nosara to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi. You'll have a few hours on the 28th (Mon) to wrap things up before traveling to San Jose.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Nature · Shopping · Museums

Side Trip

San Jose

— 3 nights
Explore hidden gems such as Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co. and Butterfly Kingdom Costa Rica. Go for a jaunt from San Jose to Alajuela to see Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral about 50 minutes away. See some other sides of San Jose: stroll around Parque La Sabana and look for gifts at Chieton Moren.

Make your San Jose itinerary with Inspirock to find out what to see and where to go.

Drive from Monteverde to San Jose in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. You'll have a few hours on the 1st (Thu) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks · Breweries & Distilleries · Fun & Games · Wildlife

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.