13 days in San Jose, Arenal Volcano National Park & Monteverde Itinerary

13 days in San Jose, Arenal Volcano National Park & Monteverde Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in San Jose, Arenal Volcano National Park & Monteverde Itinerary

Start: Seattle
Fly:  12​h 15​min
1
San Jose
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
4
Chachagua
— 1 day
Drive:  1​h
5
El Castillo
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  16​h 45​min
End: Seattle

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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz (in Vara Blanca) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). And it doesn't end there: steep yourself in history at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, explore the galleries of Galeria Namu, get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, and see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum.

To see traveler tips, ratings, photos, and tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip maker site .

Seattle, USA to San Jose is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 2 hours traveling from Seattle to San Jose. In January, San Jose is much hotter than Seattle - with highs of 78°F and lows of 65°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Parks Nature

Side Trips

Poas Volcano, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica

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: relax and rejuvenate at Tabacon Hot Springs, get impressive views of Arenal Volcano, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and tour the pleasant surroundings at La Fortuna Waterfall.

To find ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary site .

Traveling by car from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

3
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.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Wed): tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, stop by Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde, and then learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle. Here are some ideas for day two: take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Orchid Garden, and then relax in the rural setting at El Trapiche Tour.

To see reviews, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Monteverde trip itinerary planner.

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) early enough to travel to Chachagua.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Shopping
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour
Monteverde Orchid Garden ©
Monteverde Orchid Garden

1
day
Chachagua

Chachagua ©
Start off your visit on the 17th (Fri): experience rural life at Finca Luna Nueva.

To find photos, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, read Chachagua road trip planning website .

You can drive from Monteverde to Chachagua in 3.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to El Castillo.
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Finca Luna Nueva ©
Finca Luna Nueva

2
nights
El Castillo

El Castillo ©
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Sat): tour the pleasant surroundings at Butterfly Conservatory, admire nature's wide array of creatures at Arenal Eco Zoo, and then get impressive views of Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano).

For more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, read El Castillo trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from Chachagua to El Castillo in an hour. On the 19th (Sun), you'll travel back home.

Things to do in El Castillo

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)
Find places to stay Jan 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Eco Zoo ©
Arenal Eco Zoo
Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano) ©
Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)

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