8 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

8 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica travel route planner

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Route & dates

8 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
+2
Fly + Foot + Bus:  14​h
1
Tamarindo
— 1 day
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Monteverde
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
4
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Bus:  3​h
5
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly:  11​h 30​min
End: San Francisco

1
day
Tamarindo

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
On the 25th (Wed), enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach and then get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates.

For other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Tamarindo trip itinerary builder app .

San Francisco, USA to Tamarindo is an approximately 14-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of train, flight, and bus; or drive. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from San Francisco to Tamarindo due to the time zone difference. Traveling from San Francisco in December, expect Tamarindo to be much hotter, temps between 82°F and 82°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Theme Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach

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 26th (Thu): tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Frog Pond.

For ratings, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, read Monteverde trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Monteverde takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 82°F, and evening lows to 82°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Monteverde Frog Pond ©
Monteverde Frog Pond

3
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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, parks, trails, and wildlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, get interesting insight from Tours, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, and let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

For maps, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

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 30th (Mon): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, then get interesting insight from Tours, and then walk around Parque Nahomi.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Manuel Antonio trip planner .

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Quepos
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
River Rafting & Tubing
Parque Nahomi ©
Parque Nahomi

1
night
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.
On the 31st (Tue), look for gifts at J.LANG Atelier & Showroom and then do sightseeing your way with Top Travel Costa Rica.

For photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, read San Jose holiday tool .

Getting from Manuel Antonio to San Jose by bus takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 79°F in December, and nighttime lows around 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Tue) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Outdoors Scenic Drive Wildlife

Side Trip

J.LANG Atelier & Showroom
Find places to stay Dec 30 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
J.LANG Atelier & Showroom ©
J.LANG Atelier & Showroom

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