8 days in Arenal Volcano National Park, Manuel Antonio & San Jose Itinerary

8 days in Arenal Volcano National Park, Manuel Antonio & San Jose Itinerary

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Route & dates

8 days in Arenal Volcano National Park, Manuel Antonio & San Jose Itinerary

Start: New York City
+3
bus + Fly + bus + shuttle:  11​h 45​min
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
2
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h
3
San Jose
— 3 nights
Fly + bus:  8​h 45​min
End: New York City

2
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.
On the 3rd (Sun), trek along Bogarin Trail, then witness a stunning natural landmark at Paradise Hot Springs, and then hike along Arenal Natura Ecological Park. On the 4th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for all kinds of wild species at Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge and then look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas.

For maps, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip planning tool .

New York City, USA to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 12-hour combination of bus, flight, and shuttle. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Traveling from New York City to La Fortuna de San Carlos, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Wildlife Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs
Safaris
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

2
nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Tue): get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure and then look for all kinds of wild species at Naturalist Michael Araya Flores. Keep things going the next day: capture your vacation like a pro with an inspiring photography tour, then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

For traveler tips, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio sightseeing planner.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio in 4.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Wed) early enough to catcht the bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Quepos, Parasailing & Paragliding
Highlights from your plan
Photography Tours
Parasailing & Paragliding
Waterskiing & Jetskiing

3
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.
On the 7th (Thu), see the interesting displays at Juan Santamaria Historical Cultural Museum, have fun and explore at Museo de los Ninos, and then pause for some serene contemplation at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 8th (Fri): cruise along Top Travel Costa Rica, explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, then contemplate the long history of Ruinas de Ujarras, and finally explore the world behind art at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design.

For other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the San Jose trip app .

You can take a bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In November, plan for daily highs up to 79°F, and evening lows to 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 9th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Historic Sites Wildlife

Side Trips

Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, Juan Santamaria Historical Cultural Museum, Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion

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