21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America itinerary planner

This plan was created by another user.  Make it your plan

Route & dates

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
+2
subway + bus + Fly:  8​h 30​min
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Tenorio Volcano National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
4
Playa Hermosa
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
5
Monteverde
— 2 nights
shuttle:  1​h
6
Jaco
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
7
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 15​min
8
Drake Bay
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
9
Chirripo National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
10
San Jose
— Few hours
+2
Fly + bus + subway:  8​h 30​min
End: Washington DC

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 30th (Tue), take an in-depth tour of Museo Nacional De Costa Rica. Keep things going the next day: explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, then stroll around Parque La Sabana, then take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, and finally make a trip to Mercado Nacional de Artesanias.

For other places to visit, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose tour builder .

Washington DC, USA to San Jose is an approximately 8.5-hour combination of subway, bus, and flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Washington DC to San Jose due to the time zone difference. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Washington DC in July; daily highs in San Jose reach 80°F and lows reach 67°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Wed) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Parks
Find places to stay Jul 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Jade Museum ©
Jade Museum
Museo de Arte Costarricense ©
Museo de Arte Costarricense

3
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, wildlife, parks, and trails. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, contemplate the geological forces at Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal), and relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find photos, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos tour planner .

Drive from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Sat) so you can drive to Tenorio Volcano National Park.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Spas

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Jul 31 — Aug 3:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall

1
night
Tenorio Volcano National Park

Tenorio Volcano National Park ©
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Rio Celeste. Kick off your visit on the 18th (Sun): head outdoors with Rio Perdido and then take in the natural beauty of Las Hornillas Volcano Hot Springs.

For more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Tenorio Volcano National Park trip itinerary planning tool .

Traveling by car from San Jose to Tenorio Volcano National Park takes 4 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 19th (Mon) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Tenorio Volcano National Park

Outdoors Parks Nature

Side Trip

Bagaces
Find places to stay Aug 3 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Rio Perdido ©
Rio Perdido
Las Hornillas Volcano Hot Springs ©

4
nights
Playa Hermosa

Playa Hermosa ©
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Playa Hermosa: Llanos de Cortez Waterfall (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste), Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal) and River Rafting & Tubing (in Liberia).

For other places to visit, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Playa Hermosa vacation planner.

Drive from Tenorio Volcano National Park to Playa Hermosa in 2.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Thu) so you can drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Playa Hermosa

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playas del Coco, Rincon de La Vieja National Park, Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, Playa Nacascolo, Playa Conchal
Find places to stay Aug 4 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
Rincon de La Vieja National Park ©
Rincon de La Vieja National Park

2
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 9th (Fri): identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, then get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle, and then look for gifts at Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde. Keep things going the next day: identify plant and animal life at Curi Cancha Reserve, then take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), then take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Alas y Raices.

To see where to stay, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Monteverde trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Playa Hermosa to Monteverde takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Sat) to allow time to take a shuttle to Jaco.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Fun & Games
Find places to stay Aug 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve
Monteverde Orchid Garden ©
Monteverde Orchid Garden

2
nights
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 11th (Sun): take a memorable tour with Tours and then skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour. Keep things going the next day: take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback and then take a memorable tour with Tours.

To find other places to visit, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Jaco online road trip planner .

Traveling by shuttle from Monteverde to Jaco takes an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay Aug 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Zipline
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

1
night
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.
On the 13th (Tue), get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio.

For maps, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio day trip planner.

Getting from Jaco to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Tue) so you can go by car to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Aug 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours

2
nights
Drake Bay

Drake Bay ©
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Wed): step off the mainland to explore Cano Island. Keep things going the next day: get interesting insight from Tours.

For traveler tips, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Drake Bay trip itinerary planning tool .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay in 4.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 16th (Fri) to allow time for travel to Chirripo National Park.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Wildlife Outdoors Parks
Find places to stay Aug 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Cano Island ©
Cano Island
Dolphin & Whale Watching

1
night
Chirripo National Park

Chirripo National Park
For more things to do, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Chirripo National Park road trip planning website .

Explore your travel options from Drake Bay to Chirripo National Park with the Route module. You will leave for San Jose on the 17th (Sat).

Things to do in Chirripo National Park

Parks Wildlife Nature
Find places to stay Aug 16 — 17:

few
hours
San Jose

San Jose ©
To find ratings, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our San Jose trip planner .

Explore your travel options from Chirripo National Park to San Jose with the Route module. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Shopping
Find places to stay Aug 17 — 18:
Highlights from your plan

Similar Plans

60 days in South Pacific, Asia, Europe, Africa & Central America BY A USER FROM BRAZIL January, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: January, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 6 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 8 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM INDIA May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 17 days in Jamaica & Costa Rica BY A USER FROM DENMARK August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 29 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 46 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, relaxing, romantic, beaches, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 60 days in Central America & Europe BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 33 days in United States, Costa Rica & Iceland BY A USER FROM FRANCE June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 13 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM CANADA April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium
View more plans