20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip planner

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Route & dates

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: San Jose
Bus + Taxi:  2 h 45 min
1
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 15 min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 30 min
3
Monteverde
— 1 night
Shuttle:  1 h
4
Jaco
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h 45 min
5
Uvita
— 2 nights
Drive:  1 h
6
Quepos
— 3 nights
Drive:  5 h 30 min
7
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Fly + Taxi:  1 h 45 min
8
Poas Volcano National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h 30 min
9
Chachagua
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h
10
El Castillo
— 1 night
Drive:  45 min
11
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  6 h
12
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Taxi + Fly:  2 h 45 min
End: San Jose

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 12th (Sun): see the interesting displays at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

To find ratings, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Tortuguero trip itinerary maker .

San Jose to Tortuguero is an approximately 3-hour combination of bus and taxi. You can also drive; or take a shuttle. Traveling from San Jose in July, expect a bit warmer with lows of 26°C in Tortuguero. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Museums
Find places to stay Jul 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

1
night
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.
On the 13th (Mon), relax in the rural setting at Finca Loma Verde and then witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs.

For maps, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos day trip site .

You can 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. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Mon) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas
Find places to stay Jul 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs

1
night
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 14th (Tue), stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, then get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle, and then view the masterpieces at Alas y Raices.

To see photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Monteverde trip itinerary maker app .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Tue) early enough to catch the shuttle to Jaco.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Shopping
Find places to stay Jul 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
The Bat Jungle ©
The Bat Jungle
Alas y Raices ©
Alas y Raices

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Wed): take a memorable tour with Tours and then get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Jaco attractions planning site .

Take a shuttle from Monteverde to Jaco in an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Wed) early enough to drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Jul 14 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

2
nights
Uvita

Uvita ©
Ideal for visitors looking to escape Costa Rica's busy beaches, Uvita offers a serene atmosphere and plenty of uncrowded sand for a leisurely vacation.
On the 16th (Thu), scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, tour the pleasant surroundings at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers. On the 17th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the dramatic scenery at Uvita Waterfall and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.

To find more things to do, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Uvita trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Jaco to Uvita in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can drive to Quepos.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Find places to stay Jul 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena ©
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

3
nights
Quepos

The tourist-oriented town of Quepos marks the entrance for many travelers looking to explore the nearby national park.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Sat): see what you can catch with a fishing tour and then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: look for gifts at Altair Souvenir & Gallery Shop, then get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, then stroll around Parque Nahomi, and finally get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To find where to stay, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Quepos day trip app .

Getting from Uvita to Quepos by car takes about an hour. Other options: take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Quepos

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Jul 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Fishing Charters & Tours
Dolphin & Whale Watching

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 20th (Mon): find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, then stroll through Monkey Park, and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour. On your second day here, wander the wide-open spaces of Pura Aventura, then soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and then kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach.

To find where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, go to the Tamarindo trip planner .

Getting from Quepos to Tamarindo by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) early enough to travel to Poas Volcano National Park.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Find places to stay Jul 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling

1
night
Poas Volcano National Park

Poas Volcano National Park
On the 22nd (Wed), stroll through La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens, then stop by Souvenir Muy Tranquilo, and then get impressive views of Poas Volcano.

Find out how to plan Poas Volcano National Park trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.

Traveling by combination of flight and taxi from Tamarindo to Poas Volcano National Park takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Thu) early enough to travel to Chachagua.

Things to do in Poas Volcano National Park

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens, Souvenir Muy Tranquilo
Find places to stay Jul 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Souvenir Muy Tranquilo ©
Souvenir Muy Tranquilo

1
night
Chachagua

Chachagua ©
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Thu): relax in the rural setting at Finca Luna Nueva.

To find maps, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Chachagua road trip app .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Poas Volcano National Park to Chachagua. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Fri) early enough to travel to El Castillo.
Find places to stay Jul 23 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Finca Luna Nueva ©
Finca Luna Nueva

1
night
El Castillo

El Castillo ©
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Fri): explore the fascinating underground world of Venado Caves and then get impressive views of Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano). Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 25th (Sat): get to know the resident critters at Arenal Eco Zoo and then stroll through Butterfly Conservatory.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the El Castillo online trip maker .

Getting from Chachagua to El Castillo by car takes about an hour. On the 25th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in El Castillo

Parks Nature Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano National Park
Find places to stay Jul 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Venado Caves ©
Venado Caves
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Eco Zoo ©
Arenal Eco Zoo

3
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos

On the 25th (Sat), tour the pleasant surroundings at La Fortuna Waterfall. Here are some ideas for day two: get impressive views of Arenal Volcano and then witness a stunning natural landmark at Baldi Hot Springs.

For ratings, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos day trip website .

Traveling by car from El Castillo to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes an hour. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Jul 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall
Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

2
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.
Explore Santa Teresa's surroundings by going to Tortuga Island (in Puntarenas) and Montezuma (Horseback Riding Tours & Montezuma Falls). And it doesn't end there: tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Santa Teresa, glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and take in the exciting artwork at Bri'ah Art Gallery.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to Santa Teresa fast, fun, and easy.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Santa Teresa in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Montezuma, Tortuga Island
Find places to stay Jul 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa
Tortuga Island ©
Tortuga Island
Montezuma Falls ©
Montezuma Falls

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