21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Salt Lake City
+2
Fly + shuttle + bus:  17​h
1
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Playa Samara
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h
3
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
4
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
5
San Jose
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 30​min
6
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
7
Jaco
— 3 nights
+3
bus + foot + bus + Fly:  16​h 30​min
End: Salt Lake City

3
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.
For shopping fun, head to Lydia Beech Art Boutique or Hidden Garden Art Gallery. Take a break from the city and head to Adrenaline & Extreme Tours and Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands. The adventure continues: look for gifts at Papaya Con Leche.

To find traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, use the Tamarindo driving holiday planning tool .

Salt Lake City, USA to Tamarindo is an approximately 13.5-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Traveling from Salt Lake City to Tamarindo, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 24th (Mon) to allow time for the car ride to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Shopping Wildlife Parks

Side Trips

Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, Hidden Garden Art Gallery
Find places to stay Jun 21 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Lydia Beech Art Boutique ©
Lydia Beech Art Boutique
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands

4
nights
Playa Samara

Playa Samara ©
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.
Head to Koss Art Gallery and Samara Farmers Marketfor plenty of shopping. Step off the beaten path and head to Puerto Carrillo and Jungle Butterfly Farm. The adventure continues: look for all kinds of wild species at dondeJavitours and take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall.

To see reviews, photos, and tourist information, read Playa Samara trip planner.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playa Samara in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Wildlife Shopping

Side Trips

Puerto Carrillo, Jungle Butterfly Farm
Find places to stay Jun 24 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Puerto Carrillo ©
Puerto Carrillo
Werner Sauter Biological Reserve ©
Werner Sauter Biological Reserve
dondeJavitours ©
dondeJavitours

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.
Museum-lovers will appreciate Sarah's Gallery and Arte Jaguar Gallery. Take a break from the city and head to Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena and Reserva Biologica Isla del Cano. There's still lots to do: appreciate the extensive heritage of Ecological Sanctuary and stop by Souvenir Rosewood-Info Center.

To see photos, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Monteverde road trip planning app .

Traveling by car from Playa Samara to Monteverde takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. On the 30th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Shopping

Side Trip

Reserva Biologica Isla del Cano
Find places to stay Jun 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Reserva Biologica Isla del Cano ©
Reserva Biologica Isla del Cano

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.
Get some cultural insight at Catedral de Ciudad Quesada and Onirica Art Gallery. Get outdoors at Butterfly Conservatory and Paradise Hot Springs. There's still lots to do: stroll through Arenal Natura Ecological Park, take in the exciting artwork at Wood & Art Gallery, look for gifts at Souvenir Leo, and take in the natural beauty of Los Lagos Hot Springs.

For other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos online visit planner .

You can drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Another option is to take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) early enough to drive to San Jose.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Venado Caves, Butterfly Conservatory, Catedral de Ciudad Quesada
Find places to stay Jun 30 — Jul 3:
Highlights from your plan
Venado Caves ©
Venado Caves
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

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.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Thu): get engrossed in the history at Juan Santamaria Historical Cultural Museum, identify plant and animal life at Tirimbina Biological Reserve, then view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu, and finally look for gifts at La Bodega de Chema.

Plan my San Jose trip by asking Inpirock to come up with tips and suggestions.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to San Jose in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In July, daily temperatures in San Jose can reach 31°C, while at night they dip to 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Fri) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Shopping Wildlife

Side Trips

Juan Santamaria Historical Cultural Museum, Tirimbina Biological Reserve
Find places to stay Jul 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Naturalist Michael Araya Flores and Jaime Peligro Book & CD Shop. Visiting Mulguri Adventure and Playa Matapalo will get you outdoors. Step out of Manuel Antonio to go to Quepos and see Farmers Fair (Ferias del Agricultor), which is approximately 2h 15 min away.

To find other places to visit, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, read Manuel Antonio journey planner .

You can drive from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) so you can drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Quepos
Find places to stay Jul 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Matapalo ©
Playa Matapalo
Mulguri Adventure ©
Mulguri Adventure
Farmers Fair (Ferias del Agricultor) ©

3
nights
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Tico Pod Art House & Gifts and Playa Bejuco. Get outdoors at Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding and Neo Fauna. When in Jaco, make a side trip to see Palo Seco Beach in Parrita, approximately 1 hour away. There's more to do: look for gifts at Carton the Surf Shop.

To see maps, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Jaco trip itinerary tool .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Jaco in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Jaco

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Herradura, Palo Seco Beach, Playa Bejuco
Find places to stay Jul 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Palo Seco Beach ©
Palo Seco Beach
Playa Bejuco ©
Playa Bejuco
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts ©
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts

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