56 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

56 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

56 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Zurich
Fly:  14​h 15​min
1
San Jose
— 7 nights
2
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 5 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 9 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
4
Manuel Antonio
— 7 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Monteverde
— 7 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
Playa Samara
— 6 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
7
Tamarindo
— 7 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
8
Playas del Coco
— 6 nights
Fly:  15​h
End: Zurich

7
nights
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz and River Rafting & Tubing. Attractions like Rainforest Adventures and Zoo Ave make great kid-friendly stops. Explore San Jose's surroundings by going to Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park), Toucan Rescue Ranch (in San Isidro) and Hacienda Alsacia Starbucks Coffee Farm (in Alajuela). There's still lots to do: explore the striking landscape of Irazu Volcano National Park, look for all kinds of wild species at Parque Angostura, pick up some local products at Feria Verde de Aranjuez, and find something for the whole family at Parque Diversiones.

To see other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the San Jose trip itinerary maker app .

Zurich, Switzerland to San Jose is an approximately 14.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight. You'll gain 7 hours traveling from Zurich to San Jose due to the time zone difference. Plan for much hotter temperatures traveling from Zurich in January, with highs in San Jose at 30°C and lows at 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) early enough to take a bus to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Alajuela, Irazu Volcano National Park, Parque Angostura, Poas Volcano, Rainforest Adventures
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Irazu Volcano National Park ©
Irazu Volcano National Park

5
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.
Attractions like Puerto Viejo Beach and Punta Uva Beach make great kid-friendly stops. Visiting Cahuita National Park and Playa Cocles will get you outdoors. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica (in Cahuita) and Veragua Rainforest Park (in Puerto Limon). There's lots more to do: identify plant and animal life at Nature Observatorio, take in nature's colorful creations at Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens, and get your game on at Yesland Mini Golf.

For reviews, photos, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip itinerary maker website .

Getting from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by bus takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Cahuita, Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Nature Observatorio, Veragua Rainforest Park
Find places to stay Jan 12 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Nature Observatorio ©
Nature Observatorio
Cahuita National Park ©
Cahuita National Park
Puerto Viejo Beach ©
Puerto Viejo Beach

9
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 outdoors at Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal) and La Fortuna Waterfall. Explore La Fortuna de San Carlos' surroundings by going to El Castillo (Butterfly Conservatory & Arenal Eco Zoo). The adventure continues: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, trot along with a tour on horseback, tour the pleasant surroundings at Bogarin Trail, and whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

For maps, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip planning app .

Drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Sun) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, El Castillo
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall

7
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Playa Manuel Antonio and Nature & Wildlife Tours. We've included these beaches for you: Parque Nacional Marino Ballena and Playa Biesanz. Take a break from Manuel Antonio with a short trip to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary in Dominical, about 1h 05 min away. Spend the 28th (Tue) on the water with a fishing tour. Spend the 1st (Sat) exploring nature at Manuel Antonio National Park. There's lots more to do: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Naturalist Michael Araya Flores, take a memorable tour with Tours, stroll around Parque Nahomi, and get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

For maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio road trip planning website .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio in 4.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Quepos, Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Find places to stay Jan 26 — Feb 2:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Fishing Charters & Tours
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena ©
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena

7
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Monteverde: Tilaran (Viento Fresco Waterfall & La Reserva Forest Reserve), Piedra de Fuego (in Esparza) and Guacimal River Bridge 2 (in Puntarenas). There's still lots to do: kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary, look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Frog Pond, and look for gifts at Souvenir Rosewood-Info Center.

To see traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Monteverde trip itinerary planning site .

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Tilaran, Sustainability Demonstration Center, San Luis Waterfall, Piedra de Fuego, Guacimal River Bridge 2
Find places to stay Feb 2 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

6
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.
You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Samara Beach and Playa Islita. Step out of the city life by going to Barrigona Beach and Jungle Butterfly Farm. Explore Playa Samara's surroundings by going to Nosara (Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary, & more), Barra Honda National Park (in Nicoya) and Macaw Recovery Network - Formerly The Ara Project (in Punta Islita). The adventure continues: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, enjoy the sand and surf at Puerto Carrillo, and take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To find photos, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Playa Samara vacation website .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Playa Samara takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) early enough to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Nosara, Nicoya, Playa Islita, Macaw Recovery Network - Formerly The Ara Project, Jungle Butterfly Farm
Find places to stay Feb 9 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary ©
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach

7
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.
Relax by the water at Tamarindo Beach and Playa Conchal. Kids will enjoy Playa Avellana and Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Tamarindo: Garra de Leon Golf Course (in Playa Conchal) and Fishing Charters & Tours (in Playa Flamingo). Spend the 21st (Fri) wandering through the wild on a nature and wildlife tour. Spend the 22nd (Sat) exploring nature at Las Baulas National Marine Park. There's lots more to do: discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, look for gifts at Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa, look for all kinds of wild species at Monkey Park, and admire all the interesting features of Pura Aventura.

To see photos, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Tamarindo travel route tool .

You can drive from Playa Samara to Tamarindo in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) early enough to go by car to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Fishing Charters & Tours, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, Las Baulas National Marine Park
Find places to stay Feb 15 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

6
nights
Playas del Coco

Playas del Coco ©
A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Playa Hermosa and Playa Nacascolo. Escape the urban bustle at Rincon de La Vieja National Park and Parque Nacional Volcan Rincon de la Vieja. Change things up with these side-trips from Playas del Coco: Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (Llanos de Cortez Waterfall & Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands). Spend the 26th (Wed) exploring nature at Palo Verde National Park. The adventure continues: meet some fierce fish with a shark diving experience, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco.

To see where to stay, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Playas del Coco road trip website .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 28th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Province of Guanacaste, Playa Hermosa, Playa Nacascolo
Find places to stay Feb 22 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Rincon de La Vieja National Park ©
Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Shark Diving

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