46 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

46 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

46 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: New York City
Bus + Fly:  8 h 45 min
1
San Jose
— 5 nights
Bus + Taxi:  3 h 30 min
2
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Drive:  5 h
3
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 4 nights
Drive:  4 h 45 min
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 9 nights
Drive:  1 h 30 min
5
Manuel Antonio
— 7 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
6
Monteverde
— 4 nights
Drive:  2 h 45 min
7
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 15 min
8
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste
— 5 nights
Drive:  2 h
9
Tamarindo
— 6 nights
Fly:  10 h 15 min
End: New York City

5
nights
San Jose

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.
Head to Chocolatería Sibú and Central Market (Mercado Central)for some retail therapy. Get in touch with nature at La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Poas Volcano. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Jose: Toucan Rescue Ranch (in San Isidro) and Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro (in Sarchi). Pamper yourself for a day on the 14th (Fri) at some of the top local wellness centers. And it doesn't end there: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, look for gifts at J.LANG Atelier & Showroom, take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, and admire the masterpieces at Precolumbian Gold Museum.

For more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our San Jose trip planner .

New York City, USA to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time is minus 1 hour. In December, San Jose is much hotter than New York City - with highs of 79°F and lows of 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Fri) to allow time to take a shuttle to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Spas Shopping

Side Trips

San Isidro, J.LANG Atelier & Showroom, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro, Poas Volcano
Highlights from your plan
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
River Rafting & Tubing

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sat): identify plant and animal life at Tortuguero National Park. Here are some ideas for day two: examine the collection at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then tour the water at your own pace with Tortuguero Adventures.

To see maps, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Tortuguero travel route planner .

You can take a shuttle from San Jose to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. In December, daytime highs in Tortuguero are 84°F, while nighttime lows are 71°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sun) to allow enough time to take a shuttle to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Nightlife
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero Adventures ©
Tortuguero Adventures
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

4
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.
Visit Puerto Viejo Beach and Punta Uva Beach for some beach relaxation. Step out of the city life by going to Cahuita National Park and Nature Observatorio. Next up on the itinerary: kick back and relax at Playa Cocles, identify plant and animal life at Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, take in nature's colorful creations at Finca La Isla, and relax in the rural setting at Chocorart.

To see ratings, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca holiday planning app .

Traveling by shuttle from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Cahuita National Park, Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Nature Observatorio
Highlights from your plan
Nature Observatorio ©
Nature Observatorio
Cahuita National Park ©
Cahuita National Park
Puerto Viejo Beach ©
Puerto Viejo Beach

9
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 River Rafting & Tubing and Baldi Hot Springs. Attractions like Butterfly Conservatory and Arenal Natura Ecological Park make great kid-friendly stops. Next up on the itinerary: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall, stop by Souvenir Leo, and stroll through Ecocentro Danaus.

To see more things to do, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

You can drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Sat) early enough to travel to Manuel Antonio.

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
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall

7
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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. Head to Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices and Beso Loco Boutique de Playafor plenty of shopping. Make the 4th (Fri) an awe-inspiring day at Naturalist Michael Araya Flores. Spend the 3rd (Thu) on the water with a fishing tour. The adventure continues: explore the stunning scenery at MidWorld Costa Rica, look for gifts at Jaime Peligro Book & CD Shop, delve into the lush surroundings at Kids Saving the Rain Forest, and stroll through Playas Gemelas.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Fishing Charters & Tours
Manuel Antonio National Park ©
Manuel Antonio National Park

4
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.
Attractions like Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Monteverde Frog Pond make great kid-friendly stops. Escape the urban bustle at Zipline and The Bat Jungle. There's lots more to do: look for gifts at Hummingbird Gallery, appreciate the extensive heritage of Santa Elena Skywalk, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and identify plant and animal life at Curi Cancha Reserve.

To find maps, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Monteverde online travel route planner .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde in 4 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Wed) so you can drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Thu): kick back and relax at Samara Beach and then kick back and relax at Barrigona Beach. On the next day, kick back and relax at Playa Garza, stroll through Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), and then take in the exciting artwork at MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY.

To find other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Playa Samara itinerary maker app .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Playa Samara takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Fri) so you can travel to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Nosara, Playa Garza
Highlights from your plan
Playa Guiones ©
Playa Guiones
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach

5
nights
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste ©
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Playa Hermosa and Shark Diving. Take a break from the city and head to Parque Nacional Volcan Rincon de la Vieja and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Area de Conservacion Guanacaste: Playas del Coco (Spas & Wellness, Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts, & more), Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve (in Bagaces) and Rio Negro Hot Springs (in Rincon de La Vieja).

To find more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Area de Conservacion Guanacaste trip planner .

Traveling by car from Playa Samara to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste takes 3 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Playas del Coco, Rio Negro Hot Springs, Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve, Rincon de La Vieja National Park, Playa Hermosa
Highlights from your plan
Shark Diving
Rincon de La Vieja National Park ©
Rincon de La Vieja National Park

6
nights
Tamarindo

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 Tamarindo Beach and Playa Nacascolo. Do your shopping at Lydia Beech Art and Tamarindo Farmers Market. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Las Catalinas (Playa Danta & Playa Dantita) and Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal). The adventure continues: kick back and relax at Playa Avellana, identify plant and animal life at Monkey Park, admire all the interesting features of Pura Aventura, and look for gifts at Cheboards.

For more things to do, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo travel route planner.

You can drive from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Tue) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Las Catalinas, Playa Nacascolo, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, Playa Conchal, Playa Ocotal
Highlights from your plan
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

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