13 days in San Jose, Arenal Volcano National Park & Monteverde Itinerary

13 days in San Jose, Arenal Volcano National Park & Monteverde Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica travel planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose
— 3 nights
Shuttle
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Chachagua
— 1 day
Drive
5
El Castillo
— 2 nights
Drive to Juan Santamaria International Airport, Fly to Seattle Tacoma International Airport

S M T W T F S
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San Jose

— 3 nights
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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). Next up on the itinerary: listen to music at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica, and take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, refer to the San Jose online vacation planner.

Seattle, USA to San Jose is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. You can also drive. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Seattle to San Jose due to the time zone difference. Expect much hotter temperatures when traveling from Seattle in January; daily highs in San Jose reach 78°F and lows reach 65°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) so you can take a shuttle to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums · Nature · Parks · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 8 — 11:

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 3 nights
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, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall.

Plan a La Fortuna de San Carlos trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Take a shuttle from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 11 — 14:

Monteverde

— 3 nights
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
On the 15th (Wed), tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, stop by Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde, and then admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle. On the next day, take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), then admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and then experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour.

For ratings, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Monteverde trip itinerary planning site.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) early enough to travel to Chachagua.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Shopping · Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 17:

Chachagua

— 1 day
Start off your visit on the 17th (Fri): experience rural life at Finca Luna Nueva.

For reviews, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Chachagua tour planner.

Drive from Monteverde to Chachagua in 3.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can travel to El Castillo.
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 18:
Highlights from your trip

El Castillo

— 2 nights
On the 18th (Sat), stroll through Butterfly Conservatory, then get to know the resident critters at Arenal Eco Zoo, and then contemplate the geological forces at Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano).

To see photos, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, use the El Castillo holiday builder.

Traveling by car from Chachagua to El Castillo takes an hour. You will leave for home on the 19th (Sun).

Things to do in El Castillo

Parks · Nature · Zoos & Aquariums · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 17 — 19:

Arenal Volcano National Park travel guide

4.4
Hot Springs · Waterfalls · River Rafting & Tubing
Plan a tour of Arenal Volcano National Park to get in touch with nature, enjoy scenic views, and admire the majestic volcano up close. The park, established in 1991, protects a variety of ecosystems and wildlife. You can choose from four hiking trails, taking you across the rainforest and lava fields. Enjoy scenic lookout points, see a staggering variety of birds and plants, or climb the dormant Mount Chato on your trip to Arenal Volcano National Park.