17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica visit planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours

Route & dates

1
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
3
Monteverde
— 3 nights
4
Vara Blanca
— 2 nights
5
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
6
San Jose
— 3 nights

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 with an excursion to Playa Conchal in Playa Conchal--about 38 minutes away. There's still lots to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Avellana, glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To see ratings, maps, photos, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo online route builder.

New York City, USA to Tamarindo is an approximately 9.5-hour flight. You can also drive. The time zone difference when traveling from New York City to Tamarindo is minus 1 hour. In December, Tamarindo is much warmer than New York City - with highs of °C and lows of °C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

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

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.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Sat): head outdoors with El Salto and then indulge in some personalized pampering at Tabacon Hot Springs. On the 29th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: get interesting insight from Tours, thenrelax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and then take an in-depth tour of ChocoMuseo La Fortuna.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip website.

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) so you can go by car 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, meet the residents at The Bat Jungle, and then take in the exciting artwork at Alas y Raices. On the next day, take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), thentake in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and then relax in the rural setting at El Trapiche Tour.

To find photos, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Monteverde tour itinerary builder website.

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle. In December, plan for daily highs up to °C, and evening lows to °C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Wed) early enough to go by car to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Shopping
Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve ©
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
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.
On the 2nd (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: admire the sheer force of Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

To see photos, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Vara Blanca trip planner.

Drive from Monteverde to Vara Blanca in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 3rd (Fri) to allow time for the car ride to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature Parks
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.
On the 3rd (Fri), paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park. Keep things going the next day: learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

To find photos, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Tortuguero online travel route builder.

You can drive from Vara Blanca to Tortuguero in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to °C, and evening lows to °C. On the 5th (Sun), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off 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). Next up on the itinerary: see a show at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia La Soledad, view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu, and admire the masterpieces at Museo de Arte Costarricense.

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

You can drive from Tortuguero to San Jose in 3 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. Plan for slightly colder temperatures traveling from Tortuguero in January, with highs in San Jose at °C and lows at °C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Wed) to allow enough time to 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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