8 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

8 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

Start: San Jose
Bus:  3 h 30 min
1
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 1 night
Drive:  6 h 45 min
2
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 45 min
3
Monteverde
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h 15 min
4
Tamarindo
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h 15 min
5
Playas del Coco
— 1 night
Drive:  3 h
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  2 h 45 min
End: San Jose

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 1st (Fri), have some family-friendly fun at Yesland Mini Golf.

For more things to do, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca attractions site.

San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is an approximately 3.5- hour bus ride. You can also drive; or take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sat) early enough to go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trips

Cahuita, Ara Manzanillo
Find places to stay Nov 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Punta Uva Beach ©
Punta Uva Beach
Ara Manzanillo ©
Ara Manzanillo

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Sun): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour.

To find maps, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, read Manuel Antonio trip maker site.

Getting from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 7 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Sun) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Spas
Find places to stay Nov 2 — 3:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Spas

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Mon): stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, then admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), then relax in the rural setting at El Trapiche Tour, and finally get to know the resident critters at The Bat Jungle.

To find photos, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Monteverde trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Nov 3 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve ©
Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

1
night
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Tue): get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, then push the limits with an extreme tour, then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and finally look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique.

To see where to stay, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Tamarindo travel planner.

You can drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Playa Flamingo
Find places to stay Nov 4 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Wed): see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, then pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco, then stroll through Playa Hermosa, and finally indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To see more things to do, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Playas del Coco trip planner.

Drive from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Wed) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trip

Playa Hermosa
Find places to stay Nov 5 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Scuba & Snorkeling
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Spas

2
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.
On the 7th (Thu), get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, ride a horse along Arenal Wilberth Stables, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Butterfly Conservatory, and finally explore the fascinating underground world of Venado Caves.

For traveler tips, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos route builder site.

Getting from Playas del Coco to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Fri) to allow time for the car ride back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Butterfly Conservatory, Venado Caves
Find places to stay Nov 6 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

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