21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Alicante
Fly:  22​h
Jaco
— 3 nights
Drive:  45​min
Carara
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h 30​min
Manzanillo
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
San Jose
— 3 nights
Fly + taxi:  2​h 30​min
Santa Teresa
— 3 nights
Drive:  30​min
Mal Pais
— Few hours
Drive:  30​min
Montezuma
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
Paquera
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
Punta Arenas
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Fly:  23​h 30​min
Alicante

2
days
Jaco

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.
Start off your visit on the 31st (Tue): take in the dramatic scenery at Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls, then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and then look for gifts at Dantica Gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 1st (Wed): cast your line with a fishing tour.

To find photos, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Jaco tour planner.

Alicante, Spain to Jaco is an approximately 22-hour flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Alicante to Jaco is minus 7 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can travel to Carara.

Things to do in Jaco

#Tours, #Outdoors, #Parks

Side Trip

Herradura
Accommodations
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Fishing Charters & Tours
Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls ©
Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls
Dantica Gallery ©
Dantica Gallery

2
days
Carara

Carara ©
On the 2nd (Thu), take a memorable tour with Tours and then surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Carara National Park and then don't miss a visit to Bridge Over Rio Tarcoles.

To see more things to do, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Carara online itinerary creator.

Traveling by car from Jaco to Carara takes an hour. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) so you can travel to Manzanillo.

Things to do in Carara

#Parks, #Nature, #Wildlife

Side Trip

Tarcoles
Accommodations
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Carara National Park ©
Carara National Park
Nature & Wildlife Tours

1
day
Manzanillo

Manzanillo ©
For more things to do and more tourist information, you can read our Manzanillo trip generator.

Traveling by car from Carara to Manzanillo takes 6.5 hours. Traveling from Carara to Manzanillo, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. In November, daily temperatures in Manzanillo can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 30°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) early enough to drive to San Jose.

Things to do in Manzanillo

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Beaches

Side Trip

Playa Cocles
Accommodations
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Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

3
days
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Zoo Ave and Horseback Riding Tours. Next up on the itinerary: admire the masterpieces at Precolumbian Gold Museum.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our San Jose vacation trip planner.

Traveling by car from Manzanillo to San Jose takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. The time zone difference when traveling from Manzanillo to San Jose is minus 1 hour. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from Manzanillo in November since evenings lows in San Jose dip to 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can travel to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in San Jose

#Parks, #Nature, #Wildlife

Side Trips

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Zoo Ave, Poas Volcano
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Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
La Paz Waterfall Gardens ©
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Zoo Ave ©
Zoo Ave

3
days
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Playa Hermosa and Playa Carmen. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve and Spas & Wellness. There's more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Santa Teresa and stop by Tica Surf Bikinis.

To find maps, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Santa Teresa trip itinerary maker.

You can do a combination of flight and taxi from San Jose to Santa Teresa in 2.5 hours. Another option is to drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Mal Pais.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

#Parks, #Beaches, #Outdoors

Side Trip

Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve
Accommodations
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Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve ©
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen

1
day
Mal Pais

Mal Pais
Start off your visit on the 12th (Sun): kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks and then see what you can catch with a fishing tour.

For photos, maps, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Mal Pais custom trip planner.

Mal Pais is very close to Santa Teresa. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Montezuma.

Things to do in Mal Pais

#Tours, #Outdoors, #Parks
Accommodations
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2
days
Montezuma

Montezuma ©
With a scenic position on a sheltered bay, Montezuma remains one of Costa Rica's quieter destinations, attracting mostly backpackers and other explorers averse to making detailed travel plans.
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Mon): trot along with a tour on horseback and then head off the coast to Isla de Cabuya. On the next day, look for all kinds of wild species at Costa Rica Color and then identify plant and animal life at Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia.

For ratings, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Montezuma trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Mal Pais to Montezuma by car takes about an hour. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can travel to Paquera.

Things to do in Montezuma

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Nature
Accommodations
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Isla de Cabuya ©
Isla de Cabuya
Horseback Riding Tours

1
day
Paquera

Paquera
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Wed): explore the striking landscape of Parque Nacional Curu.

To find more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Paquera itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Montezuma to Paquera takes an hour. Cap off your sightseeing on the 15th (Wed) early enough to travel to Punta Arenas.

Things to do in Paquera

#Parks, #Nature
Accommodations
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1
day
Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas ©
A major port city with a busy fish market, for most tourists Puntarenas represents little more than the launching point for ferries heading to the pleasant beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula.
On the 16th (Thu), pause for some serene contemplation at Catedral de Puntarenas and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Punta Arenas itinerary builder.

Traveling by car from Paquera to Punta Arenas takes 3.5 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Punta Arenas

#Historic Sites
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Catedral de Puntarenas ©
Catedral de Puntarenas

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.
On the 17th (Fri), identify plant and animal life at Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena and then whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

To see maps, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Monteverde itinerary builder.

Traveling by car from Punta Arenas to Monteverde takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Monteverde

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Adventure
Accommodations
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Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena
Zipline

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