12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica route builder

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Route & dates

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Reykjavik
Fly:  15​h 30​min
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Bus:  3​h
2
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 30​min
3
Tortuguero
— 1 day
Drive:  3​h 15​min
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
5
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
Tamarindo
— 1 night
Fly:  16​h
End: Reykjavik

2
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 1st (Sat), wander the streets of Multiplaza, explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, then hunt for treasures at Central Market (Mercado Central), and finally view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu. On the 2nd (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, then get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, then take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, and finally take in the architecture and atmosphere at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles.

To find reviews and other tourist information, use the San Jose journey planner .

Reykjavik, Iceland to San Jose is an approximately 15.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus. You'll gain 6 hours traveling from Reykjavik to San Jose due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Reykjavik in May, expect San Jose to be much hotter, temps between 32°C and 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Shopping Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Multiplaza, Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles
Find places to stay May 31 — Jun 2:
Highlights from your plan
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Mon): get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Manuel Antonio.

For photos, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio route builder tool .

You can drive from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) early enough to go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Find places to stay Jun 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours

1
day
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.
On the 4th (Tue), look for all kinds of wild species at Tortuguero National Park.

For traveler tips and other tourist information, read our Tortuguero trip planner.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Tortuguero in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. June in Tortuguero sees daily highs of 35°C and lows of 27°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature
Find places to stay Jun 3 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park

3
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.
Head to Onirica Art Gallery and Wood & Art Galleryfor some retail therapy. Step out of the city life by going to River Rafting & Tubing and La Fortuna Waterfall. Next up on the itinerary: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and get impressive views of Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal).

To see where to stay, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos tour itinerary planning tool .

You can drive from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Jun 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 8th (Sat): identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and then stop by Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery. Keep things going the next day: look for all kinds of wild species at Ecological Sanctuary, then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then explore the world behind art at Monteverde Chorotega Arts & Crafts.

Plan my day in Monteverde using traveler tips and tourist information provided by Inspirock.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Adventure
Find places to stay Jun 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary

1
night
Tamarindo

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Mon): see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, then stop by Dolores Shop, and then kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach.

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

Drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Jun 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling
Dolores Shop ©
Dolores Shop

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