17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary builder

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Route & dates

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Chicago
Fly:  8​h 45​min
1
San Jose
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
2
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
4
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
5
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
+2
bus + shuttle + Fly:  9​h
End: Chicago


4
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.
Head to Galeria Namu and Central Market (Mercado Central)for some retail therapy. Step out of the city life by going to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Cocos Island National Park. Next up on the itinerary: admire the masterpieces at Precolumbian Gold Museum, stop by Chieton Moren, and take an in-depth tour of National Museum (Museo Nacional).

For more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our San Jose itinerary builder tool .

Chicago, USA to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Chicago in May, with highs in San Jose at 82°F and lows at 67°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sat) early enough to travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Nature Parks Museums

Side Trips

Cocos Island National Park, Riish and Toosh Afro Costa Rican Paintings, La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Find places to stay May 15 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu
La Paz Waterfall Gardens ©
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Cocos Island National Park ©
Cocos Island National Park

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.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Playa Manuel Antonio and MidWorld Costa Rica. Step out of the city life by going to Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices and Playa Biesanz. There's more to do: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour and stop by Super Joseth.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, read Manuel Antonio trip itinerary planning app .

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 May, plan for daily highs up to 81°F, and evening lows to 68°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Tue) so you can travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay May 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
River Rafting & Tubing
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz

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.
Take a break from the city and head to River Rafting & Tubing and Tabacon Hot Springs. The adventure continues: explore the striking landscape of Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal), take in the exciting artwork at Onirica Art Gallery, take in the natural beauty of Baldi Hot Springs, and shop like a local with Wood & Art Gallery.

For maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos online tour itinerary planner .

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. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
Find places to stay May 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)

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.
Get a sense of the local culture at Santa Elena Skywalk and Ecological Sanctuary. Get outdoors at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Zipline. The adventure continues: look for gifts at Hummingbird Gallery, view the masterpieces at Art House, look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Frog Pond, and stroll through The Bat Jungle.

To see more things to do, maps, and tourist information, use the Monteverde trip itinerary builder website .

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites
Find places to stay May 26 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Monteverde Frog Pond ©
Monteverde Frog Pond

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 (Wed), look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique, get your game on at Bolas Locas Mini Golf, and then kick back and relax at Playa Conchal.

To see other places to visit, photos, maps, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. In May, daily temperatures in Tamarindo can reach 93°F, while at night they dip to 73°F. On the 31st (Thu), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

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

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