16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica sightseeing planner

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Route & dates

16 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Ottawa
+2
Fly + Foot + Bus:  13​h
1
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Bus:  3​h
4
San Jose
— 3 nights
Bus + Taxi:  2​h 45​min
5
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Fly:  11​h 15​min
End: Ottawa

2
nights
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 23rd (Sun): stop by Dolores Shop, then kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and finally take a memorable tour with Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get interesting insight from Tours, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana, get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, then push the limits with an extreme tour, then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Conchal, and finally find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, read our Tamarindo trip planner .

Ottawa, Canada to Tamarindo is an approximately 13-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of train, flight, and bus; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Ottawa to Tamarindo. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Find places to stay Feb 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Fishing Charters & Tours
River Rafting & Tubing

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.
On the 25th (Tue), explore and take pictures at Ecological Sanctuary, experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), then tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, and finally experience the excitement of Curi Cancha Reserve. Keep things going the next day: experience rural life at Hidden Valley Permaculture Farm, surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Orchid Garden, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Frog Pond, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Santa Elena Skywalk.

To see where to stay, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Monteverde trip builder website .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Sustainability Demonstration Center
Find places to stay Feb 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Thu): kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio, then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, and then see what you can catch with a fishing tour. On the next day, see Off-Road Tours, then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, then glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and finally explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park.

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

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Fri) early enough to catcht the bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Fishing Charters & Tours
Find places to stay Feb 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Fishing Charters & Tours
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio

3
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Jose: Alajuela (Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral & Hacienda Alsacia Starbucks Coffee Farm), Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park) and Bosque de la Hoja (in Heredia). There's lots more to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, cruise along Top Travel Costa Rica, tour the pleasant surroundings at La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens, and examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the San Jose online tour itinerary builder .

Getting from Manuel Antonio to San Jose by bus takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 30°C in February, and nighttime lows around 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Mon) to allow time to travel to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Alajuela, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens, Poas Volcano, El Toledo Coffee Tour
Find places to stay Feb 28 — Mar 2:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Monte Sky ©
Monte Sky
Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo ©

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Tue): add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park, and then learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

For traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero online tour planner .

You can do a combination of bus and taxi from San Jose to Tortuguero in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a shuttle. In March, daytime highs in Tortuguero are 34°C, while nighttime lows are 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Tue) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Mar 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

5
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near La Fortuna de San Carlos: Tirimbina Biological Reserve (in La Virgen) and Butterfly Conservatory (in El Castillo). The adventure continues: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, stroll through La Fortuna Waterfall, take a memorable tour with Tours, and take in the views from Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park.

To see traveler tips, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos holiday planner .

Drive from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. On the 8th (Sun), you'll travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, Butterfly Conservatory, Tirimbina Biological Reserve
Find places to stay Mar 3 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall
Proyecto Asis ©
Proyecto Asis

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