12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

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Route & dates

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Montreal, Quebec
Fly:  8 h 45 min
1
San Jose
— Few hours
Drive:  1 h 30 min
2
Poas Volcano National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  4 h 30 min
3
Cahuita
— 1 night
Drive:  30 min
4
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 1 night
Drive:  4 h
5
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 15 min
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
7
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  1 h 45 min
8
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Taxi + Fly:  9 h 45 min
End: Montreal, Quebec

few
hours
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 21st (Tue): take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum and then have fun and explore at Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle.

For ratings, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the San Jose travel planner.

Montreal, Canada to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST) is minus 1 hour. Expect a daytime high around 31°C in July, and nighttime lows around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 21st (Tue) to allow time for the car ride to Poas Volcano National Park.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Childrens Museums
Find places to stay Jul 21 — 22:
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Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle ©
Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle
Jade Museum ©
Jade Museum

1
night
Poas Volcano National Park

Poas Volcano National Park
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Tue): contemplate the geological forces at Poas Volcano.

To see photos, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Poas Volcano National Park trip itinerary site .

You can drive from San Jose to Poas Volcano National Park in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) early enough to drive to Cahuita.

Things to do in Poas Volcano National Park

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Iglesia de San Pedro de Poas, Refugio de Vida Silvestre Bosque Alegre
Find places to stay Jul 21 — 22:
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Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Refugio de Vida Silvestre Bosque Alegre ©
Iglesia de San Pedro de Poas ©
Iglesia de San Pedro de Poas

1
night
Cahuita

Cahuita ©
With its dusty streets and simple (read affordable) lodgings, Cahuita bustles as a hub of backpacker tourism in southeastern Costa Rica.
On the 23rd (Thu), stroll through Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica, then take in nature's colorful creations at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tarantulas Way.

Start your trip to Cahuita by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

Traveling by car from Poas Volcano National Park to Cahuita takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of taxi and bus. In July in Cahuita, expect temperatures between 34°C during the day and 26°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Cahuita

Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Jul 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan

1
night
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

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.
On the 24th (Fri), get outside with Nature Riders, then stroll through Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Punta Uva Beach.

To see maps, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca day trip tool .

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is just a stone's throw from Cahuita. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Jul 24 — 25:
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Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach

1
night
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 25th (Sat): paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour and then examine the collection at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

To find where to stay, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read Tortuguero sightseeing planner.

Traveling by car from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Tortuguero takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In July, daily temperatures in Tortuguero can reach 34°C, while at night they dip to 26°C. On the 26th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay Jul 25 — 26:
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Kayaking & Canoeing
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

2
nights
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 26th (Sun), head outdoors with Flow Trips, then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then get engrossed in the history at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna. On the next day, stroll through Butterfly Conservatory, then admire nature's wide array of creatures at Arenal Eco Zoo, then ride a horse along Arenal Wilberth Stables, and finally hike along Arenal Natura Ecological Park.

To see traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos vacation planning 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 28th (Tue) early enough to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

El Castillo
Find places to stay Jul 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Eco Zoo ©
Arenal Eco Zoo
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory

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 28th (Tue): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana, then find something for the whole family at Canopy Vista Tamarindo, and then find something for the whole family at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates. Here are some ideas for day two: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, stop by Papaya Con Leche, and then take a memorable tour with Tours.

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo online journey planner .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) so you can go by car to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Theme Parks Parks

Side Trip

Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Find places to stay Jul 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Thu): enjoy the sand and surf at Samara Beach, kick back and relax at Playa Buena Vista, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Garza. On your second day here, see Off-Road Tours and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Corozalito.

To find ratings, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Playa Samara trip builder website .

Drive from Tamarindo to Playa Samara in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Garza, Playa Corozalito
Find places to stay Jul 30 — Aug 1:
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Playa Garza ©
Playa Garza
Playa Corozalito ©
Playa Corozalito
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach

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