36 days in Costa Rica & Nicaragua Itinerary

36 days in Costa Rica & Nicaragua Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip itinerary planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours

Route & dates

1
San Jose, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
2
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
— 1 night
3
Vara Blanca, Costa Rica
— 1 night
4
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
5
Monteverde, Costa Rica
— 3 nights
6
Granada, Nicaragua
— 3 nights
7
Leon, Nicaragua
— 4 nights
8
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
9
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica
— 4 nights
10
Cano Negro, Costa Rica
— 1 night
11
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
— 5 nights

3
nights
San Jose, Costa Rica

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.
Get some historical perspective at Guayabo National Monument and Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Museo Nacional De Costa Rica and Museo de Arte Costarricense. Explore San Jose's surroundings by going to Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park) and Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion (in Ujarras). And it doesn't end there: get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia La Soledad, view the masterpieces at Museo Dr. Rafael Calderon Guardia, and see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.

For more things to do, photos, maps, and more tourist information, go to the San Jose itinerary maker.

Banff National Park, Canada to San Jose is an approximately 16-hour flight. You can also drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Banff National Park to San Jose. In January, San Jose is warmer than Banff National Park - with highs of °C and lows of °C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sat) so you can go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Nature Parks Museums

Side Trips

Poas Volcano, Guayabo National Monument, Ruins of Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Concepcion, Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Guayabo National Monument ©
Guayabo National Monument

1
night
Tortuguero, Costa Rica

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 19th (Sun): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park and then get a new perspective on nature at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

To see where to stay, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Tortuguero road trip website.

Getting from San Jose to Tortuguero by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a shuttle. In January, daytime highs in Tortuguero are °C, while nighttime lows are °C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Museums
Find places to stay Jan 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

1
night
Vara Blanca, Costa Rica

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 20th (Mon): admire the sheer force of La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens and then take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

To find other places to visit, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Vara Blanca route website.

Getting from Tortuguero to Vara Blanca by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Jan 19 — 20:

4
nights
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. Step out of the city life by going to Nature & Wildlife Tours and Fishing Charters & Tours. Get out of town with these interesting Manuel Antonio side-trips: Dominical (Parasailing & Paragliding & Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary). There's lots more to do: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and view the masterpieces at The Captain's Booty.

To see ratings, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio online trip builder.

You can drive from Vara Blanca to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Another option is to do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Quepos, Dominical
Find places to stay Jan 20 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Fishing Charters & Tours

3
nights
Monteverde, Costa Rica

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.
Visit Santa Elena Skywalk and Ecological Sanctuary for their historical value. Step out of the city life by going to Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Monteverde Frog Pond. The adventure continues: whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, explore the world behind art at Chorotega Arts & Crafts, meet the residents at The Bat Jungle, and experience rural life at El Trapiche Tour.

To see reviews, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Monteverde holiday planner.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde in 4 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Granada.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jan 24 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve ©
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
Zipline
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

3
nights
Granada, Nicaragua

Granada ©
The lakeside city of Granada has the look and feel of a historically important economic and political center, with grand colonial architecture, a unified look, and many cultural attractions.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Iglesia de La Merced and Catedral de Granada. Get some historical perspective at Iglesia Parroquial de Santiago and La Capilla Maria Auxiliadora. Get out of town with these interesting Granada side-trips: Apoyo (in La Laguna de Apoyo) and Iglesia San Juan Bautista (in Masatepe). There's lots more to do: step off the mainland to explore Islets of Granada, see the interesting displays at Centro Cultural Antiguo Convento San Francisco, explore the world behind art at Casa de Los Tres Mundos, and get impressive views of Mombacho.

To see where to stay, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Granada sightseeing planning site.

Getting from Monteverde to Granada by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi, bus, and car; or do a combination of taxi, bus, and shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Leon.

Things to do in Granada

Nature Parks Museums

Side Trips

Apoyo, Iglesia Parroquial de Santiago, Iglesia San Juan Bautista
Find places to stay Jan 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Iglesia de La Merced ©
Iglesia de La Merced
Mombacho ©
Mombacho
Apoyo
Apoyo

4
nights
Leon, Nicaragua

Leon ©
A cultured and storied city, Leon attracts guests from all over the world, drawn to the second city's style, thriving intellectual life, and liveliness.
Take a break from the city and head to Cerro Negro Volcano and Telica Volcano. Your inner history buff will appreciate Iglesia San Juan Bautista de Subtiava and Calvary Church - Sweet Name of Jesus. Get out of town with these interesting Leon side-trips: Juan Venado Island Nature Reserve (in Las Penitas) and Chinandega (Parroquia Santa Ana & Chorotega-Nicarao Museum). And it doesn't end there: see the interesting displays at Museo de Arte Fundacion Ortiz-Gurdian, get impressive views of Momotombo, visit Catedral de la Asunción, and learn more about the world around you at Museo Entomologico de Leon.

To find photos, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Leon journey builder app.

Traveling by car from Granada to Leon takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Leon can reach °C, while at night they dip to °C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) early enough to go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Leon

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trips

Chinandega, Juan Venado Island Nature Reserve
Find places to stay Jan 30 — Feb 3:
Highlights from your plan
Juan Venado Island Nature Reserve ©
Juan Venado Island Nature Reserve
Cerro Negro Volcano ©
Cerro Negro Volcano
Telica Volcano ©
Telica Volcano

4
nights
Tamarindo, Costa Rica

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 Tamarindo Beach and Playa Conchal. Get a sense of the local culture at Lydia Beech Art Boutique and MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Playa Samara (Samara Beach & Barrigona Beach). There's still lots to do: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, stroll through Monkey Park, and enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo trip planner.

Traveling by car from Leon to Tamarindo takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Samara, Playa Conchal, MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY
Find places to stay Feb 3 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Scuba & Snorkeling
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

4
nights
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste ©
Take a break from the city and head to Parque Nacional Volcan Rincon de la Vieja and Miravalles Volcano. When in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, make a side trip to see Church of La Ermita La Agonia in Liberia, approximately Liberia away.

Make your Area de Conservacion Guanacaste itinerary with Inspirock to find out what to see and where to go.

Drive from Tamarindo to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste in 2.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Tue) so you can go by car to Cano Negro.

Things to do in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Church of La Ermita La Agonia
Find places to stay Feb 7 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Miravalles Volcano ©
Miravalles Volcano
Church of La Ermita La Agonia ©
Church of La Ermita La Agonia

1
night
Cano Negro, Costa Rica

Cano Negro ©
On the 12th (Wed), stroll through Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge.

For reviews, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read Cano Negro online attractions planner.

Drive from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste to Cano Negro in 3 hours. In February, daytime highs in Cano Negro are °C, while nighttime lows are °C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Wed) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Cano Negro

Parks Wildlife
Find places to stay Feb 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge ©
Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge

5
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica

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 Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos and Onirica Art Gallery. Get in touch with nature at La Fortuna Waterfall and Arenal Volcano. Go for a jaunt from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Quesada to see Catedral de Ciudad Quesada about 58 minutes away. There's lots more to do: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, stroll through Proyecto Asis, skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and take in the natural beauty of Ecotermales Fortuna.

To find ratings, reviews, photos, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos route app.

Traveling by car from Cano Negro to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trips

Catedral de Ciudad Quesada, Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Feb 12 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing

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