16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Montreal, Quebec
+2
Fly + Foot + Bus:  11 h 15 min
1
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  4 h 45 min
3
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 2 nights
Bus:  3 h 30 min
4
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive:  1 h 45 min
5
Jaco
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h 30 min
6
Manuel Antonio
— 4 nights
Fly:  11 h
End: Montreal, Quebec

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.
Visiting Playa Hermosa and Off-Road Tours will get you outdoors. Step off the beaten path and head to Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Scuba & Snorkeling. When in Tamarindo, make a side trip to see River Rafting & Tubing in Playas del Coco, approximately 1h 20 min away. There's much more to do: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa, and stroll through Monkey Park.

Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a Tamarindo trip simple and quick.

Montreal, Canada to Tamarindo is an approximately 11.5-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of flight and taxi; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time is minus 1 hour. Prepare for much warmer weather when traveling from Montreal in December: high temperatures in Tamarindo hover around 32°C and lows are around 32°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Thu) early enough to go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

River Rafting & Tubing, Playa Hermosa, Scuba & Snorkeling
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 2:
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River Rafting & Tubing
Scuba & Snorkeling
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa

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.
Take a break from the city and head to Tabacon Hot Springs and Butterfly Conservatory. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Paradise Hot Springs and Arenal Natura Ecological Park. The adventure continues: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall, ride a horse along Arenal Wilberth Stables, and get engrossed in the history at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna.

To find photos and other tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip builder tool .

Getting from Tamarindo to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Butterfly Conservatory
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Mon): stroll through Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, browse the fresh offerings at La Feria Legendaria de Playa Chiquita, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Cocles. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Nature Observatorio and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Punta Uva Beach.

To see traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, use the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip itinerary planner .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) early enough to take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, Nature Observatorio
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 7:
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Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Nature Observatorio ©
Nature Observatorio

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 8th (Wed): relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, and then take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Costarricense, then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia La Soledad, then get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Metropolitan Church (Catedral Metropolitana).

To see maps and other tourist information, you can read our San Jose road trip tool .

You can take a bus from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In January in San Jose, expect temperatures between 30°C during the day and 21°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Jaco.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Museums Adventure

Side Trip

Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles
Find places to stay Jan 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan

1
night
Jaco

A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
On the 10th (Fri), surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, see Off-Road Tours, and then take in the exciting artwork at Tico Pod Art House & Gifts.

To find reviews, photos, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Jaco day trip site .

Traveling by car from San Jose to Jaco takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Tours Outdoors Shopping

Side Trip

Nature & Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Off-Road Tours
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts ©
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts

4
nights
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and Uvita Beach. Escape the urban bustle at Playa Manuel Antonio and Walking tours. Change things up with a short trip to Dolphin & Whale Watching in Uvita (about 1h 25 min away). Next up on the itinerary: get interesting insight from Tours, zoom along the surf with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, walk around Parque Nahomi, and indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To find other places to visit, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio trip planner .

Traveling by car from Jaco to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. You'll have a few hours on the 14th (Tue) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Quepos, Uvita, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Walking tours
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

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