11 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

11 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

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Route & dates

11 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Portland
Fly:  12​h 15​min
1
San Jose
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
2
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
4
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
+2
bus + shuttle + Fly:  14​h 30​min
End: Portland


3
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.
On the 22nd (Sat), take an in-depth tour of National Museum (Museo Nacional), then take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, then get a taste of the local shopping with Galeria Namu, and finally browse the eclectic array of goods at Central Market (Mercado Central). Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 23rd (Sun): explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, look for gifts at Chieton Moren, then admire the masterpieces at Precolumbian Gold Museum, and finally take in the spiritual surroundings of Our Lady of the Angels Basilica (Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles).

For photos, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, go to the San Jose vacation planning tool .

Portland, USA to San Jose is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 2 hours traveling from Portland to San Jose. Traveling from Portland in December, expect San Jose to be warmer, temps between 78°F and 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) early enough to travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Shopping Historic Sites

Side Trip

Our Lady of the Angels Basilica (Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles)
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 24:
Highlights from your plan

2
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.
On the 24th (Mon), stop by Beso Loco Boutique de Playa, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, and then stop by Super Joseth. Here are some ideas for day two: stop by Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices and then see MidWorld Costa Rica.

To see other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio driving holiday planning tool .

You can do a combination of bus, flight, and taxi from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. In December in Manuel Antonio, expect temperatures between 78°F during the day and 66°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
MidWorld Costa Rica ©
MidWorld Costa Rica
Beso Loco Boutique de Playa ©
Beso Loco Boutique de Playa

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.
Escape the urban bustle at River Rafting & Tubing and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. There's lots more to do: witness a stunning natural landmark at Tabacon Hot Springs, admire the natural beauty at Arenal Natura Ecological Park, contemplate the geological forces at Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal), and view the masterpieces at Onirica Art Gallery.

For where to stay, maps, photos, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary builder app .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)

2
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.
On the 30th (Sun), enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Conchal.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Tamarindo trip itinerary website .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tamarindo by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 90°F, and evening lows to 70°F. You'll have a few hours on the 31st (Mon) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Playa Conchal
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Azul Profundo Boutique ©
Azul Profundo Boutique

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