17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica itinerary planner

Make it your trip
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La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Drive
2
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive
3
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive
4
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Fly

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La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 5 nights
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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall, explore the striking landscape of Arenal Volcano, and explore the activities along Lake Arenal.

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

Chicago, USA to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 11-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) early enough to drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Tours · Outdoors

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 3 — 8:

Vara Blanca

— 1 night
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 9th (Sun): admire the sheer force of Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz and then take in the dramatic scenery at La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens.

To find reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Vara Blanca route builder.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Vara Blanca in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Parks · Nature · Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 9:
Highlights from your trip

Tortuguero

— 1 night

Costa Rica's Amazon

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 10th (Mon): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip itinerary maker app.

Traveling by car from Vara Blanca to Tortuguero takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, bus, and ferry. In January, daily temperatures in Tortuguero can reach 83°F, while at night they dip to 70°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Mon) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks · Nature
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 10:
Highlights from your trip

Manuel Antonio

— 2 nights
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 11th (Tue): kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 12th (Wed): see Off-Road Tours and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find reviews, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read Manuel Antonio planning website.

You can drive from Tortuguero to Manuel Antonio in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Wed) so you can drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Beaches · Parks

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 10 — 12:

Monteverde

— 2 nights
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 13th (Thu), tour the pleasant surroundings at Ranario Monteverde Frog Pond and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Keep things going the next day: get to know the fascinating history of Santa Elena Skywalk and then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To find where to stay, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the Monteverde tour planner.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife · Parks · Adventure · Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 12 — 14:

Playa Samara

— 2 nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sat): kick back and relax at Samara Beach and then stroll through dondeJavitours. Here are some ideas for day two: kick back and relax at Playa Guiones and then stroll through Barrigona Beach.

Start your trip to Playa Samara by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Getting from Monteverde to Playa Samara by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 14 — 16:

Tamarindo

— 3 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste) and Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal). The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique, and get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates.

For more things to do, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo day trip planner.

Drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) so you can fly back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 16 — 19:

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.