52 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

52 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

52 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: New York City
bus + Fly:  8​h 45​min
1
San Jose
— 6 nights
bus:  3​h
2
Manuel Antonio
— 6 nights
Drive:  6​h 45​min
3
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 5 nights
Drive:  4​h
4
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 8 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
6
Monteverde
— 6 nights
Drive:  3​h
7
Playa Samara
— 6 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
8
Tamarindo
— 6 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
9
Playas del Coco
— 6 nights
Fly:  7​h
End: New York City

6
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: Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park), Toucan Rescue Ranch (in San Isidro) and Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca). There's lots more to do: get interesting insight from Tours, get to know the resident critters at Zoo Ave, contemplate the geological forces at Irazu Volcano National Park, and explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense.

For ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose road 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 when traveling from New York City to San Jose is minus 1 hour. Expect slightly colder evenings in San Jose when traveling from New York City in August, with lows around 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Fri) so you can take a bus to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Cartago, Alajuela, Poas Volcano, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Irazu Volcano National Park
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Irazu Volcano National Park ©
Irazu Volcano National Park

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.
Explore Manuel Antonio's surroundings by going to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary (in Dominical) and Jaco (Costa Rica SUP'ers, Zipline, & more). There's much more to do: kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio, look for gifts at Jungle Avenue, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Biesanz.

For other places to visit, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read Manuel Antonio planner .

Take a bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Thu) early enough to go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Jaco, Quepos, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Zipline
Manuel Antonio National Park ©
Manuel Antonio National Park

5
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, relax in the rural setting at Chocorart, look for all kinds of wild species at Redfrogteam Biological Station, and get your game on at Yesland Mini Golf.

To find photos, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, read Puerto Viejo de Talamanca route planner.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Cahuita, Nature Observatorio, Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Redfrogteam Biological Station
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 28th (Wed): learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 29th (Thu): take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

For more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Tortuguero online sightseeing planner .

You can drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Tortuguero in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In August in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 86°F during the day and 73°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Thu) to allow time for the car ride to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

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

8
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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, wildlife, trails, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, trot along with a tour on horseback, and scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

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

Traveling by car from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Fri) so you can drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trip

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

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: Life Monteverde (in Los Tornos) and Guacimal River Bridge 2 (in Puntarenas). There's still lots to do: identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, take in the views from Santa Elena Skywalk, tour the pleasant surroundings at Finca el Rodeo, and relax in the rural setting at Hidden Valley Permaculture Farm.

To find where to stay, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, use the Monteverde visit planning website .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Life Monteverde, Guacimal River Bridge 2
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

6
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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Nosara (Jungle Mini Golf, Nosara, SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary, & more), Playa Islita (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste) and Jungle Butterfly Farm (in Nandayure). There's lots more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Samara Beach, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Barra Honda National Park, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Church of San Blas, and take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall.

To find maps, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Playa Samara trip itinerary maker app .

Drive from Monteverde to Playa Samara in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Nosara, Nicoya, Jungle Butterfly Farm, Playa Islita
Highlights from your plan
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary ©
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) ©
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones)

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 out of town with these interesting Tamarindo side-trips: Playa Flamingo (Adrenaline & Extreme Tours & Fishing Charters & Tours) and Playa Conchal (Playa Conchal & Garra de Leon Golf Course). There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and play a few rounds at Hacienda Pinilla Golf Club.

To see more things to do and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo sightseeing planning site .

You can drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Playa Flamingo, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

6
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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, & more) and Liberia (Church of La Ermita La Agonia, Costa Rica'n Art Craft, & more). Next up on the itinerary: get impressive views of Rincon de La Vieja National Park, kick back and relax at Playa Nacascolo, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco, and play a few rounds at Four Seasons Golf Club.

To find reviews, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Playas del Coco trip itinerary site .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Mon) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Liberia, Rincon de La Vieja National Park, 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

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