17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

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Route & dates

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Santiago
Fly:  11 h 30 min
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 45 min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  3 h 30 min
3
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 15 min
4
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  3 h 15 min
5
Puntarenas
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 45 min
6
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Bus:  3 h
7
San Jose
— 1 night
End: San Jose

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.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Tue): cruise along Top Travel Costa Rica, see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, then listen to music at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, and finally make a trip to Plaza Juan Mora Fernandez.

Plan my San Jose trip by asking Inpirock to come up with tips and suggestions.

Santiago, Chile to San Jose is an approximately 11.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Santiago to San Jose. In February, daily temperatures in San Jose can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 21°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Wed) early enough to go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Feb 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ©
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum

3
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.
Get in touch with nature at Tabacon Hot Springs and Arenal Volcano. Get some cultural insight at Wood & Art Gallery and ChocoMuseo La Fortuna. And it doesn't end there: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery, explore the galleries of Galeria Estudio, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Senderos Los Tucanes.

For where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos itinerary maker site .

Drive from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sat) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Feb 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
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): tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle, and then view the masterpieces at Alas y Raices. Keep things going the next day: explore and take pictures at Ecological Sanctuary, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and then delve into the lush surroundings at Curi Cancha Reserve.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, read our Monteverde trip planner.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) early enough to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites
Find places to stay Feb 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary

3
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Tamarindo Beach and Playa Conchal. There's still lots to do: identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, take a memorable tour with Tours, and enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana.

To see where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, go to the Tamarindo travel route planner.

You can drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Thu) early enough to drive to Puntarenas.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Find places to stay Feb 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling

2
nights
Puntarenas

Puntarenas ©
A major port city with a busy fish market, for most tourists Puntarenas represents little more than the launching point for ferries heading to the pleasant beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Visit Playa Mantas and Herradura Beach for some beach relaxation. Take a break from the city and head to Carara National Park and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Get out of town with these interesting Puntarenas side-trips: Tarcoles Bridge (in Tarcoles) and Penon de Guacalillo (in Bajamar).

To find ratings, photos, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Puntarenas online trip itinerary builder .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Puntarenas in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Puntarenas

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Tarcoles, Herradura, Penon de Guacalillo, Carara National Park
Find places to stay Feb 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Carara National Park ©
Carara National Park
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Penon de Guacalillo ©
Penon de Guacalillo

3
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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. Get in touch with nature at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. And it doesn't end there: add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, walk around Parque Nahomi, and look for gifts at The Captain's Booty.

To find maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio travel planner.

Getting from Puntarenas to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Tue) to allow time for the bus ride to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Quepos
Find places to stay Feb 15 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Stand-Up Paddleboarding

1
night
San Jose

For reviews, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose route builder site .

You can take a bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Wed) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Feb 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Jade Museum ©
Jade Museum

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