52 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

52 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

52 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Montreal, Quebec
Fly:  10 h 45 min
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 8 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
2
Liberia
— 6 nights
Bus:  1 h 30 min
3
Tamarindo
— 6 nights
Drive:  2 h
4
Nosara
— 6 nights
Drive:  3 h 30 min
5
Monteverde
— 6 nights
Drive:  3 h 45 min
6
Manuel Antonio
— 6 nights
Drive:  4 h 15 min
7
Drake Bay
— 4 nights
Drive:  8 h 45 min
8
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Taxi + Bus:  2 h 45 min
9
San Jose
— 7 nights
Fly:  8 h 45 min
End: Montreal, Quebec

8
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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around La Fortuna de San Carlos: El Castillo (Arenal Eco Zoo & Butterfly Conservatory). There's lots more to do: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, explore the activities along Lake Arenal, skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and contemplate the geological forces at Arenal Volcano.

To see reviews, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos online trip maker .

Montreal, Canada to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 11-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Liberia.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, El Castillo
Find places to stay Feb 28 — Mar 7:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Eco Zoo ©
Arenal Eco Zoo
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs

6
nights
Liberia

Liberia ©
Tourism in Liberia has been growing since the opening of its airport, with more and more international visitors using the city as a starting point for explorations of the country's northwest.
Bring the kids along to Playa Hermosa and Playa Nacascolo. Venture out of the city with trips to Playas del coco (in Playa Matapalo), Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, Miravalles Volcano, & more) and Shark Diving (in Playas del Coco). The adventure continues: get impressive views of Rincon de La Vieja National Park, look for gifts at Nahua, take in the spiritual surroundings of Immaculate Church of Concepcion de Maria, and sample the tasty concoctions at Maderos Brewery.

To see more things to do, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Liberia tour planning site .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Liberia takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) to allow time to take a bus to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Liberia

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Province of Guanacaste, Playa Hermosa, Playa Nacascolo, Shark Diving
Find places to stay Mar 7 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Rincon de La Vieja National Park ©
Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Playa Nacascolo ©
Playa Nacascolo

6
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.
Attractions like Tamarindo Beach and Penca Beach make great kid-friendly stops. Explore Tamarindo's surroundings by going to Barra Honda National Park (in Nicoya) and Playa Conchal (Garra de Leon Golf Course, Playa Conchal, & more). There's still lots to do: get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, kick back and relax at Playa Avellana, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

For ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Tamarindo itinerary maker .

You can take a bus from Liberia to Tamarindo in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Nosara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Playa Flamingo, Penca Beach, Barra Honda National Park, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Find places to stay Mar 13 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach

6
nights
Nosara

Nosara ©
Along with its agricultural and fishing heritage, Nosara stands as one of the oldest expatriate communities in the country.
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Samara Beach and Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones). Change things up with these side-trips from Nosara: Playa Samara (Barrigona Beach, Playa Buena Vista, & more), Puerto Carrillo (in Nicoya) and Playa Islita (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste). The adventure continues: stroll through SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary, kick back and relax at Playa Carrillo, take in the exciting artwork at MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY, and try for a hole-in-one at Jungle Mini Golf, Nosara.

To find maps, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, read Nosara sightseeing planning app .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Nosara in 2 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Nosara

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Samara, Playa Corozalito, Playa Carrillo, Puerto Carrillo, Playa Garza
Find places to stay Mar 19 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) ©
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones)

6
nights
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.
Attractions like The Bat Jungle and Playa Dona Ana make great kid-friendly stops. Step out of Monteverde to go to Puntarenas and see Guacimal River Bridge 2, which is approximately 42 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, take in the views from Santa Elena Skywalk, take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), and whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

To find maps, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Monteverde trip planning site .

Getting from Nosara to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) early enough to go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Guacimal River Bridge 2, Playa Dona Ana
Find places to stay Mar 25 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
The Bat Jungle ©
The Bat Jungle

6
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.
Kids will enjoy Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Manuel Antonio: Jaco (Mirador de Jaco, Zipline, & more). The adventure continues: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, explore the striking landscape of Manuel Antonio National Park, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour.

To find reviews, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio trip itinerary maker website .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) so you can drive to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Parks

Side Trips

Quepos, Jaco
Find places to stay Mar 31 — Apr 6:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
Zipline

4
nights
Drake Bay

Drake Bay ©
Change things up with a short trip to Corcovado National Park in Carate (about 1h 10 min away). Spend a day of island exploring on the 8th (Wed) at Cano Island.

For where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, read Drake Bay trip tool .

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Corcovado National Park
Find places to stay Apr 6 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Cano Island ©
Cano Island
Corcovado National Park ©
Corcovado National Park
Dolphin & Whale Watching

1
night
Tortuguero

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 11th (Sat): add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour. On the next day, learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see maps, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Tortuguero trip itinerary maker site .

You can drive from Drake Bay to Tortuguero in 9 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry, bus, and taxi; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In April, daily temperatures in Tortuguero can reach 35°C, while at night they dip to 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) to allow time to travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Outdoors
Find places to stay Apr 10 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

7
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.
Bring the kids along to Zoo Ave and Refugio Animal de Costa Rica. Change things up with these side-trips from San Jose: Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park), Bosque de la Hoja (in Heredia) and Sarchi (Else Kientzler Botanical Garden & Mariposas Sarchi). There's lots more to do: get impressive views of Irazu Volcano National Park, take an in-depth tour of Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, and learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at MiniZoo y Jardin Yori.

To find other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our San Jose driving holiday planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and bus from Tortuguero to San Jose in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a shuttle. Traveling from Tortuguero in April, San Jose is a bit cooler at night with lows of 22°C. On the 19th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Museums Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

Sarchi, Cartago, Bosque de la Hoja, Zoo Ave, MiniZoo y Jardin Yori
Find places to stay Apr 12 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Zoo Ave ©
Zoo Ave
Museo de los Ninos ©
Museo de los Ninos

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