9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America travel planner

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Route & dates

9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: San Jose
bus:  3​h
1
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Monteverde
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
4
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
End: Liberia

2
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.
On the 28th (Sat), walk around Parque Nahomi, take a memorable tour with Tours, then identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, and finally take in the awesome beauty at Birding Spots Manuel Antonio. Keep things going the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park, and then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To plan Manuel Antonio vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.

San Jose to Manuel Antonio is an approximately 3-hour bus ride. You can also drive; or take a shuttle. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Mon) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Quepos
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
River Rafting & Tubing

2
nights
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.
Bring the kids along to Kalambu Hot Springs and Termales Los Laureles. Change things up with a short trip to Arenal Eco Zoo in El Castillo (about 38 minutes away). There's much more to do: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Arenal, and take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall.

For where to stay, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip builder site .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Theme Parks Parks Nature
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Ecotermales Fortuna ©
Ecotermales Fortuna
Lake Arenal ©
Lake Arenal

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Wed): look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Orchid Garden, then get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle, and finally stop by Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde.

For maps, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Monteverde visit planner.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 82°F in December, and nighttime lows around 82°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Zoos & Aquariums
Highlights from your plan
The Bat Jungle ©
The Bat Jungle
Monteverde Orchid Garden ©
Monteverde Orchid Garden

3
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Bring the kids along to Tamarindo Beach and Samara Beach. Explore Tamarindo's surroundings by going to Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) (in Nosara) and Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal). There's lots more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, have fun at Tamarindo Tennis Club, kick back and relax at Playa Avellana, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To see ratings, maps, and more tourist information, read Tamarindo trip planner .

You can drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. You will have some time to spend on the 5th (Sun) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), Samara Beach, Playa Conchal
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach

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