17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Zurich
Fly:  14​h 15​min
San Jose
— 1 night
shuttle:  3​h 30​min
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
Turrialba
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
taxi + Fly + taxi:  1​h 30​min
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Fly:  16​h
Zurich

1
day
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 29th (Thu), shop like a local with Galeria Namu.

For reviews, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read San Jose day trip app .

Zurich, Switzerland to San Jose is an approximately 14.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight. The time zone difference moving from Central European Time to Central Standard Time is minus 7 hours. In March, San Jose is much hotter than Zurich - with highs of 31°C and lows of 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Fri) to allow time for the shuttle ride to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

#Museums, #Shopping
Accommodations
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Precolumbian Gold Museum ©
Precolumbian Gold Museum
National Museum (Museo Nacional) ©
National Museum (Museo Nacional)
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu

1
day
Tortuguero

Tortuguero ©
One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Sat): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

For where to stay, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Tortuguero trip planner.

Getting from San Jose to Tortuguero by shuttle takes about 3.5 hours. In March, plan for daily highs up to 31°C, and evening lows to 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Sat) to allow time to travel to Turrialba.

Things to do in Tortuguero

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Nature
Accommodations
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Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park

1
day
Turrialba

Turrialba ©
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Sun): tour the pleasant surroundings at Guayabo National Park and Monument.

For other places to visit, ratings, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Turrialba day trip planning site .

Explore your travel options from Tortuguero to Turrialba with the Route module. In March, daytime highs in Turrialba are 31°C, while nighttime lows are 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Mon) to allow time to travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Turrialba

#Parks, #Historic Sites, #Nature
Accommodations
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Guayabo National Park and Monument ©

3
days
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.
We've included these beaches for you: Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. There's much more to do: see MidWorld Costa Rica, enjoy the sand and surf at La Playita, stop by Beso Loco Boutique de Playa, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers.

To see maps, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio online tour planner .

You can drive from Turrialba to Manuel Antonio in 4.5 hours. In April, plan for daily highs up to 32°C, and evening lows to 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Wed) so you can travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Beaches

Side Trip

La Playita
Accommodations
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Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
MidWorld Costa Rica ©
MidWorld Costa Rica

4
days
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.
When in La Fortuna de San Carlos, make a side trip to see Butterfly Conservatory in El Castillo, approximately 42 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, view the masterpieces at Onirica Art Gallery, and trek along Arenal Natura Ecological Park.

To see more things to do, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos online attractions planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Mon) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

#Parks, #Nature, #Outdoors

Side Trip

Butterfly Conservatory
Accommodations
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Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

2
days
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 9th (Mon): get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary, then take in the views from Santa Elena Skywalk, and then stroll through The Bat Jungle. Here are some ideas for day two: look for gifts at Hummingbird Gallery and then look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

For where to stay, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde tour builder .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. On the 11th (Wed), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Historic Sites
Accommodations
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Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Santa Elena Skywalk ©
Santa Elena Skywalk

2
days
Tamarindo

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Thu): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Conchal and then stroll through Tamarindo Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 13th (Fri): have some family-friendly fun at Bolas Locas Mini Golf, then admire all the interesting features of Pura Aventura, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Avellana.

To see maps, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Tamarindo trip builder tool .

You can drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. In April in Tamarindo, expect temperatures between 41°C during the day and 26°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Beaches

Side Trip

Playa Conchal
Accommodations
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Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

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