20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

20 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Bristol
Fly + Drive:  18 h 15 min
1
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
2
Bijagua de Upala
— 1 night
Drive:  2 h 15 min
3
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
4
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Bus:  3 h
5
San Jose
— 2 nights
Bus:  3 h 30 min
6
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 3 nights
Drive:  4 h
7
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 15 min
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  2 h
9
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive + Fly:  18 h 30 min
End: Bristol

2
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Tue): take a memorable tour with Tours and then enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 12th (Wed): find something for the whole family at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates and then stroll through Playa Conchal.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Tamarindo vacation builder site .

Bristol, UK to Tamarindo is an approximately 18.5-hour combination of flight and car. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 6 hours traveling from Bristol to Tamarindo. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Wed) so you can drive to Bijagua de Upala.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Find places to stay Aug 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

1
night
Bijagua de Upala

Bijagua de Upala ©
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Thu): tour the pleasant surroundings at Las Aves de Tierras Altas, then trek along Sendero Las Sorpresas Rio Celeste, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tapir Valley Nature Reserve.

To see other places to visit, maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Bijagua de Upala trip planner.

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Bijagua de Upala takes 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) so you can drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Bijagua de Upala

Parks Wildlife Trails
Find places to stay Aug 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Tapir Valley Nature Reserve ©
Tapir Valley Nature Reserve

2
nights
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 (Fri), tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and then stroll through Monteverde Frog Pond. Keep things going the next day: experience the excitement of Curi Cancha Reserve, then kick your exploration up a notch at categoryPhrases.alias.some_of_the_top_local_zipline_courses_and_adventure_parks, and then explore the world behind art at Chorotega Arts & Crafts.

For other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Monteverde sightseeing planner.

Drive from Bijagua de Upala to Monteverde in 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Adventure
Find places to stay Aug 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Sun): stroll through Playa Manuel Antonio, then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and then stroll around Parque Nahomi. Here are some ideas for day two: see Off-Road Tours, then get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio trip planner.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Mon) early enough to catch the bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trip

Quepos
Find places to stay Aug 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
River Rafting & Tubing

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.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Tue): take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica, stroll through Toucan Rescue Ranch, and then view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, take in nature's colorful creations at Jardin Botanico Lankester, and then pause for some serene contemplation at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles.

To find photos, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose driving holiday planning tool .

Traveling by bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in August, and nighttime lows around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Wed) early enough to take a bus to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in San Jose

Wildlife Parks Scenic Drive

Side Trips

Cartago, Toucan Rescue Ranch
Find places to stay Aug 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Jardin Botanico Lankester ©
Jardin Botanico Lankester

3
nights
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is known for wildlife, beaches, and shopping. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, take in nature's colorful creations at Finca La Isla, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Cahuita National Park, and have some family-friendly fun at Yesland Mini Golf.

To see maps, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip planner.

Traveling by bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Cahuita, Nature Observatorio
Find places to stay Aug 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Cahuita National Park ©
Cahuita National Park
Puerto Viejo Beach ©
Puerto Viejo Beach

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.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Sun): paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see other places to visit, maps, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Tortuguero trip tool .

Drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Tortuguero in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 35°C in August, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Adventure
Find places to stay Aug 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing

4
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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, browse the exhibits of Wood & Art Gallery, and admire the natural beauty at Arenal Natura Ecological Park.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos visit planner.

Getting from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Thu) so you can drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Aug 23 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Fri): stroll through La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens and then admire the sheer force of Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

For more things to do, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Vara Blanca trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Vara Blanca in 2 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Parks Nature Wildlife
Find places to stay Aug 27 — 28:

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