23 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

23 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Zurich
Fly:  15​h 30​min
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
2
Tamarindo
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
3
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Bus + Ferry:  2​h 15​min
4
Jaco
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
5
Manuel Antonio
— 4 nights
Drive:  6​h 45​min
6
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 3 nights
Bus:  3​h 30​min
7
San Jose
— 2 nights
Fly:  14​h 30​min
End: Zurich

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.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos and Wood & Art Gallery. Get outdoors at La Fortuna Waterfall and Butterfly Conservatory. There's still lots to do: hike along Arenal Natura Ecological Park, witness a stunning natural landmark at Paradise Hot Springs, explore the striking landscape of Arenal Volcano, and see exotic creatures in open habitats at a safari tour.

To see topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

Zurich, Switzerland to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 15.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or do a combination of flight and car. The time zone difference moving from Central European Time (CET) to Central Standard Time (CST) is minus 7 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Thu) so you can go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Butterfly Conservatory, Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay May 24 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Safaris
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

4
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Playa Hermosa and Off-Road Tours. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Adrenaline & Extreme Tours and Fishing Charters & Tours. Get out of town with these interesting Tamarindo side-trips: Potrero Beach (in Playa Potrero) and River Rafting & Tubing (in Playas del Coco). Next up on the itinerary: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, stroll through Monkey Park, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and look for gifts at Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To see photos, other places to visit, topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo route planning site .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Mon) early enough to go by car to Jaco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Flamingo, Potrero Beach, River Rafting & Tubing, Playa Hermosa
Find places to stay May 28 — Jun 1:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Scuba & Snorkeling
Fishing Charters & Tours

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.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Tue): kick back and relax at Playa Santa Teresa, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, then kick back and relax at Playa Carmen, and finally view the masterpieces at Bri'ah Art Gallery. On the 3rd (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia and then add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour.

To see topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Santa Teresa travel itinerary planner .

Getting from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Wed) so you can travel to Jaco.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia, Kayaking & Canoeing
Find places to stay Jun 1 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen
Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa
Kayaking & Canoeing

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Thu): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Linda, then cast your line with a fishing tour, and then take in the exciting artwork at Tico Pod Art House & Gifts. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 5th (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Bejuco, take some stellar pictures from Mirador de Jaco, then enjoy the sand and surf at Jaco Beach, and finally browse the exhibits of Bambu.

To find photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read Jaco trip itinerary builder website .

Traveling by combination of bus and ferry from Santa Teresa to Jaco takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Bejuco, Playa Linda
Find places to stay Jun 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Bejuco ©
Playa Bejuco
Jaco Beach ©
Jaco Beach
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts ©
Tico Pod Art House & Gifts

4
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.
Visiting Playa Manuel Antonio and Parasailing & Paragliding will get you outdoors. Explore hidden gems such as Walking tours and Playa Espadilla Norte. Step out of Manuel Antonio with an excursion to Playa Ventanas in Ballena--about 1h 15 min away. Spend the 9th (Tue) exploring nature at Manuel Antonio National Park. Next up on the itinerary: trot along with a tour on horseback, head outdoors with Barraba's Surf, walk around Parque Nahomi, and view the masterpieces at The Captain's Booty.

To see maps, other places to visit, topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, and other tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio route site .

You can drive from Jaco to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Quepos, Playa Ventanas
Find places to stay Jun 5 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Walking tours
Parasailing & Paragliding

3
nights
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Punta Uva Beach and Playa Cocles. Get in touch with nature at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens and Nature Riders. When in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, make a side trip to see Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary in Puerto Limon, approximately Puerto Limon away. There's much more to do: get interesting insight from Tours, tour the pleasant surroundings at Redfrogteam Biological Station, and take in the exciting artwork at Luluberlu Art Gallery.

To find photos, topicsMoreInfo.option.ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca tour planner.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Fri) to allow enough time to take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary, Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, Redfrogteam Biological Station
Find places to stay Jun 9 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

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 13th (Sat): explore and take pictures at Top Travel Costa Rica, sample the tasty concoctions at Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Co., and then view the masterpieces at The Workshop Souvenirs Costa Rica. Here are some ideas for day two: indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, then take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, and then admire the masterpieces at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design.

For other places to visit, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, read our San Jose online road trip planner .

Traveling by bus from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In June, plan for daily highs up to 32°C, and evening lows to 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sun) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Spas Breweries & Distilleries Scenic Drive
Find places to stay Jun 12 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu
Spas

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