17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: New York City
Fly:  10​h 15​min
1
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
4
Vara Blanca
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Taxi + Bus:  2​h 45​min
6
San Jose
— 3 nights
Fly + Bus:  8​h 45​min
End: New York City

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.
Step out of Tamarindo to go to Playa Conchal and see Playa Conchal, which is approximately 38 minutes away. There's much more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, take a memorable tour with Tours, and look for gifts at Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To find photos, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo trip itinerary builder website .

New York City, USA to Tamarindo is an approximately 10.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from New York City to Tamarindo. In December, Tamarindo is warmer than New York City - with highs of 32°C and lows of 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Playa Conchal
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Sat): get outside with Salto and then take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 29th (Sun): take a memorable tour with Tours, then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then pick up some new knowledge with ChocoMuseo La Fortuna.

To see ratings, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos travel route app .

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 your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Outdoors Tours Nature
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

3
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 30th (Mon): stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle, and then take in the exciting artwork at Alas y Raices. On the 31st (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), then take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and then experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, use the Monteverde trip app .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle. December in Monteverde sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 32°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can go by car to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour
Monteverde Orchid Garden ©
Monteverde Orchid Garden

2
nights
Vara Blanca

Vara Blanca
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Wed): take some stellar pictures from Mirador Huequecura. On the next day, take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

For maps, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, read Vara Blanca trip itinerary website .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Vara Blanca takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 3rd (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature Parks

Side Trip

Mirador Huequecura
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 3:

2
nights
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 (Fri): get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 4th (Sat): see the interesting displays at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

Find out how to plan Tortuguero trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.

Traveling by car from Vara Blanca to Tortuguero takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In January in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 33°C during the day and 24°C at night. You'll have a few hours on the 5th (Sun) to wrap things up before traveling to San Jose.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

3
nights
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: Jaco (Mirador de Jaco, Canyoning & Rappelling Tours, & more). And it doesn't end there: contemplate the long history of Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia La Soledad, get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, and admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Costarricense.

For maps, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose online trip itinerary planner .

Getting from Tortuguero to San Jose by combination of taxi and bus takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. Prepare for slightly colder weather when traveling from Tortuguero in January: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 30°C and lows are around 21°C. On the 8th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Outdoors Tours

Side Trip

Jaco
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours
Zipline
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica

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