51 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

51 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

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Route & dates

51 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: San Jose
1
San Jose
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
2
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 9 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
4
Liberia
— 6 nights
bus:  1​h 30​min
5
Tamarindo
— 6 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
Monteverde
— 6 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
7
Manuel Antonio
— 6 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
8
Drake Bay
— 4 nights
Drive:  7​h 45​min
9
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h
10
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
taxi + bus:  2​h 45​min
End: San Jose

5
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.
Get out of town with these interesting San Jose side-trips: Toucan Rescue Ranch (in San Isidro), Alajuela (Souvenir Museum & Zoo Ave) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). There's still lots to do: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, and identify plant and animal life at Top Travel Costa Rica.

For traveler tips, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, read San Jose travel planner.

Use the Route module to find travel options from your starting location to San Jose. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in September, and nighttime lows around 21°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Museums Outdoors

Side Trips

Alajuela, Cartago, Toucan Rescue Ranch, Irazu Volcano National Park, Poas Volcano
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Irazu Volcano National Park ©
Irazu Volcano National Park

1
night
Vara Blanca

Vara Blanca
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Start off your visit on the 17th (Tue): take some stellar pictures from Mirador Huequecura and then take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

To find more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Vara Blanca online trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from San Jose to Vara Blanca takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Parks Nature

Side Trip

Mirador Huequecura

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.
Step out of La Fortuna de San Carlos to go to Tenorio Volcano National Park and see Rio Celeste, which is approximately 1h 30 min away. The adventure continues: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, identify plant and animal life at Proyecto Asis, and admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner .

Traveling by car from Vara Blanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Liberia.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, Rio Celeste
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

6
nights
Liberia

Liberia ©
Tourism in Liberia has been growing since the opening of its airport, with more and more international visitors using the city as a starting point for explorations of the country's northwest.
Change things up with these side-trips from Liberia: Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (Parque Nacional Volcan Rincon de la Vieja, Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, & more) and Shark Diving (in Playas del Coco). There's much more to do: contemplate the geological forces at Rincon de La Vieja National Park, admire the sheer force of Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, look for gifts at Nahua, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Palo Verde National Park.

For more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Liberia route site .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Liberia by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Wed) to allow enough time to take a bus to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Liberia

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Province of Guanacaste, Shark Diving, Playa Nacascolo
Highlights from your plan
Rincon de La Vieja National Park ©
Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

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.
Change things up with these side-trips from Tamarindo: Playa Conchal (Playa Conchal & Garra de Leon Golf Course), Nosara (Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), Nativa Gallery, & more) and Adrenaline & Extreme Tours (in Playa Flamingo). And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, let little ones run wild at Nanny Garden, get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers.

For reviews, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Tamarindo trip planner .

Traveling by bus from Liberia to Tamarindo takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Nosara, Playa Conchal, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

6
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 find plenty of places to visit near Monteverde: Sustainability Demonstration Center (in Guacimal) and Finca El Paraiso (in Los Tornos). The adventure continues: identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, catch some excitement at Curi Cancha Reserve, appreciate the extensive heritage of Santa Elena Skywalk, and admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Orchid Garden.

For ratings, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, use the Monteverde online journey planner .

Drive from Tamarindo to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Mon) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Finca El Paraiso, Sustainability Demonstration Center
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

6
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 out of town with these interesting Manuel Antonio side-trips: Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary (in Dominical) and Jaco (Costa Rica SUP'ers, Zipline, & more). Next up on the itinerary: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, stroll through Playa Biesanz, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Birding Spots Manuel Antonio, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park.

To see maps, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read Manuel Antonio visit planning tool .

You can drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Quepos, Jaco, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
River Rafting & Tubing
Zipline

4
nights
Drake Bay

Drake Bay ©
Take a break from Drake Bay with a short trip to Corcovado National Park in Carate, about 1h 15 min away. Spend a day of island exploring on the 22nd (Tue) at Cano Island. Make the 24th (Thu) an awe-inspiring day at Naturaseekers.

To see where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, read our Drake Bay day trip site .

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) so you can go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Corcovado National Park
Highlights from your plan
Corcovado National Park ©
Corcovado National Park
Cano Island ©
Cano Island
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is known for beaches, shopping, spas, adventure, and wildlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: explore the striking landscape of Cahuita National Park, get your game on at Yesland Mini Golf, identify plant and animal life at Nature Observatorio, and take in nature's colorful creations at Finca La Isla.

To see other places to visit, maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip builder app .

Traveling by car from Drake Bay to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trips

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

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 30th (Wed): get a new perspective on nature at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park. Here are some ideas for day two: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To find more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, use the Tortuguero tour builder site .

Drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Tortuguero in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In October in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 36°C during the day and 26°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Thu) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

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