18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica vacation builder

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Route & dates

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Santiago
Fly:  12​h
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
2
Jaco
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Manuel Antonio
— 4 nights
4
Santa Teresa
— 3 nights
Drive:  9​h 30​min
5
Pavones
— 2 nights
Drive:  45​min
6
Playa Matapalo
— 2 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + Drive:  6​h 15​min
7
Playa Hermosa
— 3 nights
Drive + Fly:  14​h 15​min
End: Santiago

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.
On the 8th (Sun), get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, shop like a local with Galeria Namu, then examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, and finally explore the world behind art at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. On the 9th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: cruise along Top Travel Costa Rica and then identify plant and animal life at Toucan Rescue Ranch.

To find more things to do, photos, maps, and other tourist information, use the San Jose trip planner.

Santiago, Chile to San Jose is an approximately 12-hour flight. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Santiago to San Jose due to the time zone difference. In September, daytime highs in San Jose are 32°C, while nighttime lows are 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Mon) so you can drive to Jaco.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Wildlife Scenic Drive

Side Trip

Toucan Rescue Ranch
Find places to stay Sep 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu

1
night
Jaco

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.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Tue): tour the pleasant surroundings at Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding, then take a memorable tour with Tours, and then shop like a local with Tico Pod Art House & Gifts.

For ratings, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Jaco trip maker site .

Getting from San Jose to Jaco by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding
Find places to stay Sep 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts ©
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts

4
nights
Manuel Antonio

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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Waterskiing & Jetskiing and Manuel Antonio National Park. Take a break from the city and head to Playa Manuel Antonio and Nature & Wildlife Tours. And it doesn't end there: take a memorable tour with Tours, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park.

For reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio trip tool .

You can drive from Jaco to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) early enough to catch the ferry to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Manuel Antonio National Park
Find places to stay Sep 10 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Manuel Antonio National Park ©
Manuel Antonio National Park

3
nights
Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa ©
A coastal getaway popular with surfers and young travelers, Santa Teresa spreads out from the beach and the main coastal road to a ring of newer developments on the surrounding hills.
You'll get in some beach time at Playa Hermosa and Playa Santa Teresa. Explore hidden gems such as Playa Carmen and Spas & Wellness. Change things up with these side-trips from Santa Teresa: Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia (in Montezuma) and Playa Quesera (in Paquera). And it doesn't end there: add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, shop like a local with Bri'ah Art Gallery, explore by horseback at Tokpela, and stop by Tica Surf Bikinis.

To find ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Santa Teresa travel site .

You can ride a ferry from Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa in 4 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and ferry; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 17th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Pavones.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Mal Pais, Playa Quesera, Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia
Find places to stay Sep 14 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Spas & Wellness

2
nights
Pavones

Pavones ©
On the 18th (Wed), enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Pavones.

For maps, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Pavones trip itinerary builder website .

You can drive from Santa Teresa to Pavones in 9.5 hours. You will leave for Playa Matapalo on the 19th (Thu).

Things to do in Pavones

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Find places to stay Sep 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Pavones ©
Playa Pavones

2
nights
Playa Matapalo

Playa Matapalo
For photos, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Playa Matapalo attractions planner.

Traveling by car from Pavones to Playa Matapalo takes 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Sat) early enough to travel to Playa Hermosa.

Things to do in Playa Matapalo

Parks Nature Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Ave Azul de la Osa
Find places to stay Sep 19 — 21:

3
nights
Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa ©
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Visiting Fishing Charters & Tours and Playa Hermosa will get you outdoors.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Playa Hermosa planner .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Playa Matapalo to Playa Hermosa. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Playa Hermosa

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playas del Coco, Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Find places to stay Sep 21 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Fishing Charters & Tours
Stand-Up Paddleboarding

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