18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip itinerary maker

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Route & dates

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Barcelona
Fly:  17​h 30​min
1
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
2
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
4
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 6 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
6
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
+3
bus + foot + shuttle + Fly:  21​h 15​min
End: Barcelona

1
night
Vara Blanca

Vara Blanca ©
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Thu): stop by Souvenir Muy Tranquilo and then identify plant and animal life at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

For where to stay, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Vara Blanca attractions planning tool .

Barcelona, Spain to Vara Blanca is an approximately 17.5-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 7 hours traveling from Barcelona to Vara Blanca. While traveling from Barcelona, expect much warmer days and somewhat warmer nights in Vara Blanca, ranging from highs of 34°C to lows of 21°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Thu) so you can travel to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature Parks Shopping

Side Trip

Souvenir Muy Tranquilo
Find places to stay Mar 28 — 29:
Highlights from your plan
La Paz Waterfall Gardens ©
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Souvenir Muy Tranquilo ©
Souvenir Muy Tranquilo

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 30th (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Hermosa, then kick back and relax at Playa Santa Teresa, and then look for gifts at Tica Surf Bikinis. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Carmen.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Santa Teresa road trip site .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Vara Blanca to Santa Teresa in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Mar 29 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen

3
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 1st (Sun), enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Avellana, then kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, and then look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique. Here are some ideas for day two: explore and take pictures at Pura Aventura, look for all kinds of wild species at Monkey Park, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Conchal.

To find maps, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Tamarindo trip planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Santa Teresa to Tamarindo in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. March in Tamarindo sees daily highs of 40°C and lows of 25°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Tue) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Playa Conchal
Find places to stay Mar 31 — Apr 3:
Highlights from your plan
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Tue): meet the residents at The Bat Jungle and then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks. On the 4th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for gifts at Hummingbird Gallery and then identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

For other places to visit, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read Monteverde day trip tool .

Getting from Tamarindo to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Thu) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Adventure
Find places to stay Apr 3 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve
Monteverde Frog Pond ©
Monteverde Frog Pond

6
nights
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.
Go for a jaunt from La Fortuna de San Carlos to El Castillo to see Butterfly Conservatory about 42 minutes away. There's lots more to do: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, take in the natural beauty of Ecotermales Fortuna, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, and relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see photos, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, go to the La Fortuna de San Carlos day trip planning app .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) early enough to travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Butterfly Conservatory, Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
Find places to stay Apr 5 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory

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.
Relax by the water at Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. Next up on the itinerary: take a memorable tour with MidWorld Costa Rica, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and delve into the lush surroundings at Kids Saving the Rain Forest.

To see photos, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio vacation planner .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in April, and nighttime lows around 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trip

Kids Saving the Rain Forest
Find places to stay Apr 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
Spas & Wellness

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