32 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

32 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica vacation planner

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Route & dates

32 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: San Jose
Bus + Drive:  3​h 45​min
1
Playa Samara
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
2
Tamarindo
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Playas del Coco
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
5
Monteverde
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
6
Manuel Antonio
— 5 nights
Drive:  6​h 45​min
7
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 3 nights
Bus:  3​h 30​min
8
San Jose
— 5 nights
End: San Jose

3
nights
Playa Samara

A beach town with just enough development to be comfortable for families accustomed to the trappings of modern life, Playa Samara has the resorts you'd expect to find in such a scenic area, but they don't hinder the relaxing atmosphere.
Visit Samara Beach and Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) for some beach relaxation. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Horseback Riding Tours and Playa Buena Vista. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Playa Samara: Playa Garza (in Garza), Nosara (MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY & Jungle Mini Golf, Nosara) and Jungle Butterfly Farm (in Nandayure). There's more to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall and get outside with Wild By Nature Adventures.

To find ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Playa Samara road trip website .

San Jose to Playa Samara is an approximately 4-hour combination of bus and car. You can also do a combination of flight and taxi; or drive. Expect a bit warmer evenings in Playa Samara when traveling from San Jose in December, with lows around 32°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Nosara, Playa Garza, Wild By Nature Adventures, Jungle Butterfly Farm
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 2:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Playa Garza ©
Playa Garza

4
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Explore hidden gems such as Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Kayaking & Canoeing. Get in touch with nature at Scuba & Snorkeling and Tamarindo Beach. Take a break from Tamarindo with a short trip to Adrenaline & Extreme Tours in Playa Flamingo, about 30 minutes away. And it doesn't end there: get interesting insight from Tours, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, see Off-Road Tours, and stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

For ratings, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Tamarindo tour itinerary maker app .

Getting from Playa Samara to Tamarindo by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Flamingo, Kayaking & Canoeing
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Kayaking & Canoeing
Scuba & Snorkeling
Fishing Charters & Tours

3
nights
Playas del Coco

A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
Explore hidden gems such as Llanos de Cortez Waterfall and River Rafting & Tubing. Take a break from the city and head to Dolphin & Whale Watching and Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands. Step out of Playas del Coco with an excursion to Souvenir Ocarina in Liberia--about 48 minutes away. There's much more to do: take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, view the masterpieces at Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts, and indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To find maps and other tourist information, refer to the Playas del Coco online tour itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Souvenir Ocarina
Find places to stay Jan 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Fishing Charters & Tours

4
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Paradise Hot Springs and Arenal Natura Ecological Park. Escape the urban bustle at Tabacon Hot Springs and Los Lagos Hot Springs. Change things up with a short trip to Butterfly Conservatory in El Castillo (about 38 minutes away). Next up on the itinerary: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, and contemplate the geological forces at Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano).

To see more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary maker tool .

Drive from Playas del Coco to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, Butterfly Conservatory
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory

4
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Viento Fresco Waterfall. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena and El Trapiche Tour. There's still lots to do: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, appreciate the extensive heritage of Ecological Sanctuary, take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and stop by Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde.

To see traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Monteverde trip planner.

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Viento Fresco Waterfall
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Viento Fresco Waterfall ©
Viento Fresco Waterfall

5
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.
Visit Playa Manuel Antonio and Uvita Beach for some beach relaxation. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and Parasailing & Paragliding. Explore Manuel Antonio's surroundings by going to Uvita (Dolphin & Whale Watching & Uvita Waterfall), Dominical (Nauyaca Waterfalls & Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store) and Off-Road Tours (in Jaco). It doesn't end there: get a tailor-made plan with Private Tours and zoom along the surf with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure.

To see traveler tips, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio day trip planning tool .

You can drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Uvita, Dominical, Waterskiing & Jetskiing, Off-Road Tours
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach

3
nights
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca ©
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
Step out of the city life by going to Punta Uva Beach and Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Playa Cocles and La Feria Legendaria de Playa Chiquita. When in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, make a side trip to see Veragua Rainforest Park in Puerto Limon, approximately 1h 25 min away. The adventure continues: tour the pleasant surroundings at Nature Observatorio and have some family-friendly fun at Yesland Mini Golf.

To see reviews, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca day trip planner .

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by car takes about 7 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trips

Cahuita, Veragua Rainforest Park, Nature Observatorio
Find places to stay Jan 22 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Nature Observatorio ©
Nature Observatorio

5
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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Top Travel Costa Rica and Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana). Get some historical perspective at Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion and Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum. Explore San Jose's surroundings by going to Parque National Los Quetzales (in San Gerardo de Dota), Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). There's lots more to do: hike along Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, steep yourself in history at Ruins of the Church of Carthage, and see a show at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica.

For photos, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the San Jose itinerary planner .

Traveling by bus from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In January, daytime highs in San Jose are 30°C, while nighttime lows are 21°C. On the 30th (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum, Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion, Parque National Los Quetzales, Poas Volcano, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Parque National Los Quetzales ©
Parque National Los Quetzales

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