12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica route planner

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Route & dates

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Ottawa
+3
Fly + shuttle + foot + bus:  9​h 15​min
1
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
4
Tamarindo
— 1 night
+4
bus + shuttle + Fly + bus + train:  12​h
End: Ottawa


3
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.
Escape the urban bustle at River Rafting & Tubing and Playa Biesanz. Explore hidden gems such as Nature & Wildlife Tours and Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices. There's still lots to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and stop by Meli Melo Boutique.

For other places to visit, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio trip itinerary planner .

Ottawa, Canada to Manuel Antonio is an approximately 9.5-hour combination of train, flight, and taxi. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Central Standard Time (CST) is minus 1 hour. Traveling from Ottawa in August, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Manuel Antonio, with lows of 22°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) so you can travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Beaches

Side Trip

Quepos
Find places to stay Aug 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
Nature & Wildlife Tours

4
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Arenal Natura Ecological Park and Onirica Art Gallery. Escape the urban bustle at River Rafting & Tubing and Butterfly Conservatory. Next up on the itinerary: relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, trek along Cerro Chato ANC Park & Gardens, and witness a stunning natural landmark at Paradise Hot Springs.

To see other places to visit, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos online holiday planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 1.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a shuttle. On the 23rd (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Butterfly Conservatory
Find places to stay Aug 19 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
River Rafting & Tubing

2
nights
Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa ©
A coastal getaway popular with surfers and young travelers, Santa Teresa spreads out from the beach and the main coastal road to a ring of newer developments on the surrounding hills.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Carmen, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Hermosa, and then stop by Tica Surf Bikinis.

For other places to visit, photos, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Santa Teresa online road trip planner .

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Santa Teresa takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) so you can travel to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Beaches Outdoors Parks
Find places to stay Aug 23 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen

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.
On the 25th (Sat), kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach and then soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers. On the 26th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: kick back and relax at Potrero Beach and then get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour.

For photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Tamarindo online trip itinerary builder .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Santa Teresa to Tamarindo takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 38°C in August, and nighttime lows around 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Potrero Beach
Find places to stay Aug 25 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Spas & Wellness

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