19 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

19 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Shuttle
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Playa Matapalo
— 3 nights
Drive
5
Tamarindo
— 1 night
Drive
6
Jaco
— 1 night
Drive
7
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Drive
8
Uvita
— 2 nights
Drive
9
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 1 night
Drive
10
Cahuita
— 1 night
Drive to Limon International Airport, Fly to Málaga Airport

S M T W T F S
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28
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30
31
1
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3
4
5

San Jose

— 2 nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sat): tour the pleasant surroundings at Spirogyra Butterfly Garden, take an in-depth tour of Museo Dr. Rafael Calderon Guardia, then see the interesting displays at Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle, then relax and rejuvenate at ZENfit 506, and finally stop by J.LANG Atelier & Showroom.

For other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip itinerary builder website.

Malaga, Spain to San Jose is an approximately 25-hour flight. You can also fly. The time zone difference when traveling from Malaga to San Jose is minus 7 hours. Traveling from Malaga in May, San Jose is a bit warmer at night with lows of 22°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Sun) early enough to catch the shuttle to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Wildlife · Parks · Museums · Childrens Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay May 14 — 16:

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 2 nights
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.
Get a sense of the local culture at Catedral de Ciudad Quesada and ChocoMuseo La Fortuna. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Bogarin Trail and Butterfly Conservatory. There's still lots to do: trek along Natura Eco Park Costa Rica, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos, and take in the exciting artwork at Wood & Art Gallery.

To see traveler tips and other tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos trip itinerary planning website.

Traveling by shuttle from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Tue) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Wildlife · Parks · Historic Sites · Spas

Side Trips

Find places to stay May 16 — 18:

Monteverde

— 3 nights
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Valle Escondido Preserve and Monteverde Nature Guided Tours. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Ecological Sanctuary and Chorotega Arts & Crafts. When in Monteverde, make a side trip to see Sustainability Demonstration Center in Guacimal, approximately Guacimal away. There's lots more to do: indulge in some personalized pampering at Monteverde Massage, view the masterpieces at Sarah's Gallery, and experience rural life at Hidden Valley Permaculture Farm.

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Monteverde trip tool.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Playa Matapalo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife · Parks · Museums · Shopping

Side Trip

Find places to stay May 18 — 21:

Playa Matapalo

— 3 nights
Explore hidden gems such as Playa Dantita and Playas del coco.

For photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Playa Matapalo online trip builder.

Drive from Monteverde to Playa Matapalo in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. You will have some time to spend on the 24th (Mon) before leaving for Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Matapalo

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trips

Find places to stay May 21 — 24:

Tamarindo

— 1 night
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 25th (Tue): get interesting insight from Tours, view the masterpieces at Lydia Beech Art Boutique, and then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo tour planner.

You can drive from Playa Matapalo to Tamarindo in 1.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Jaco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Find places to stay May 24 — 25:

Jaco

— 1 night
A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Wed): stop by Fruity Monkey Poop, take some stellar pictures from Mirador de Jaco, then stroll through Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding, and finally see what you can catch with a fishing tour.

For maps, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Jaco online trip builder.

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Jaco takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Wed) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Wildlife · Parks · Trails

Side Trip

Find places to stay May 25 — 26:

Manuel Antonio

— 1 night
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
For reviews, maps, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio holiday builder website.

Traveling by car from Jaco to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. On the 27th (Thu), you'll travel to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Find places to stay May 26 — 27:

Uvita

— 2 nights
Ideal for visitors looking to escape Costa Rica's busy beaches, Uvita offers a serene atmosphere and plenty of uncrowded sand for a leisurely vacation.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Thu): get interesting insight from Ultralight Tour, soothe aching muscles at Danyasa Eco-Retreat - Bamboo Yoga Play Studio, look for gifts at Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store, then take in the exciting artwork at Magic Ananda, and finally stroll through Playa Ventanas. On the 28th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Oro Verde Biological Reserve, then examine the collection at El Sitio Museo Finca 6, and then glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour.

To see photos, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Uvita online tour itinerary planner.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to Uvita in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sat) early enough to drive to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Uvita

Wildlife · Parks · Outdoors · Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay May 27 — 29:

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

— 1 night

Walaba

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
On the 29th (Sat), tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Manzanillo and then relax and rejuvenate at Indulgence Spa.

To find maps, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip planner.

Getting from Uvita to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca by car takes about 7 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 30th (Sun) to allow time for the car ride to Cahuita.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks · Spas · Beaches · Outdoors

Side Trip

Find places to stay May 29 — 30:
Highlights from your trip

Cahuita

— 1 night
With its dusty streets and simple (read affordable) lodgings, Cahuita bustles as a hub of backpacker tourism in southeastern Costa Rica.
On the 30th (Sun), tour the pleasant surroundings at Tarantulas Way.

Make your Cahuita itinerary with Inspirock to find out what to see and where to go.

Cahuita is just a short distance from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. In May in Cahuita, expect temperatures between 35°C during the day and 26°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Mon) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Cahuita

Parks · Wildlife · Beaches · Outdoors
Find places to stay May 30 — 31:

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.

Arenal Volcano National Park travel guide

4.4
Hot Springs · Waterfalls · River Rafting & Tubing
Plan a tour of Arenal Volcano National Park to get in touch with nature, enjoy scenic views, and admire the majestic volcano up close. The park, established in 1991, protects a variety of ecosystems and wildlife. You can choose from four hiking trails, taking you across the rainforest and lava fields. Enjoy scenic lookout points, see a staggering variety of birds and plants, or climb the dormant Mount Chato on your trip to Arenal Volcano National Park.