22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica attractions planner

This plan was created by another inspirock user.  Make it your plan

Route & dates

22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Montreal
Fly:  9​h
1
San Jose
— Few hours
Drive:  3​h
2
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
3
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
4
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
5
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
6
Playa Samara
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
7
Santa Teresa
— 7 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
8
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly:  9​h
End: Montreal

few
hours
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 12th (Thu), take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica and then contemplate the long history of Ruinas de Ujarras.

To see maps, photos, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose online travel planner .

Montreal, Canada to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Montreal to San Jose due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Montreal in December, expect San Jose to be much hotter, temps between 30°C and 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) to allow enough time to take a bus to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Outdoors Scenic Drive Tours

Side Trip

Ruinas de Ujarras
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Ruinas de Ujarras ©
Ruinas de Ujarras

3
nights
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.
On the 13th (Fri), get the lay of the land with Walking tours, fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Sat): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Biesanz, get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure, then get a taste of the local shopping with The Captain's Booty, and finally take in the exciting artwork at El O'scars Galleria.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio day trip planning website .

Traveling by bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sun) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trip

Quepos
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Parasailing & Paragliding
Walking tours
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Sun): take in the exciting artwork at Wood & Art Gallery, then look for all kinds of wild species at Butterfly Conservatory, and then witness a stunning natural landmark at Paradise Hot Springs. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Mon): stroll through Bogarin Trail, then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, and then admire the natural beauty at Arenal Natura Ecological Park.

For reviews, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos sightseeing planning app .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Butterfly Conservatory
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Paradise Hot Springs ©
Paradise Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

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.
On the 17th (Tue), admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle, get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary, and then explore the world behind art at Monteverde Chorotega Arts & Crafts. On the next day, look for all kinds of wild species at Sustainability Demonstration Center, stroll through Finca el Rodeo, and then look for gifts at Foresta.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Monteverde road trip planning app .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Another option is to take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in December, and nighttime lows around 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trip

Sustainability Demonstration Center
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Sustainability Demonstration Center ©
Chorotega Arts & Crafts ©
Chorotega Arts & Crafts

3
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
We've included these beaches for you: Tamarindo Beach and Playa Danta. Take a break from the city and head to River Rafting & Tubing and Playa Mina. There's lots more to do: view the masterpieces at Lydia Beech Art Boutique, look for all kinds of wild species at Monkey Park, surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, and stroll through Playa Avellana.

To find reviews, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, read Tamarindo online trip builder .

Drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 32°C, and evening lows to 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun) early enough to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Danta, Playa Mina
Find places to stay Dec 19 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach

3
nights
Playa Samara

Playa Samara ©
A beach town with just enough development to be comfortable for families accustomed to the trappings of modern life, Playa Samara has the resorts you'd expect to find in such a scenic area, but they don't hinder the relaxing atmosphere.
You'll get in some beach time at Samara Beach and Playa Buena Vista. Church of San Blas and MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Get out of town with these interesting Playa Samara side-trips: Playa Garza (in Garza) and Nosara (Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), Stand-Up Paddleboarding, & more). It doesn't end there: take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall and take in the exciting artwork at Koss Art Gallery.

To find maps, photos, and tourist information, read our Playa Samara trip builder tool .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Playa Samara in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 32°C, and evening lows to 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Nosara, Playa Garza, Church of San Blas
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) ©
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones)
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Playa Garza ©
Playa Garza

7
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Playa Carmen and Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve. Relax by the water at Playa Hermosa and Playa Santa Teresa. Change things up with these side-trips from Santa Teresa: Isla de Cabuya (in Cabuya), Paquera (Parque Nacional Curu & Playa Quesera) and Montezuma (Montezuma Falls & Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia). There's much more to do: soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, add some adventure to your tour with a kayaking and canoeing tour, explore by horseback at Tokpela, and identify plant and animal life at Wild Sun Rescue Center.

To find photos, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Santa Teresa trip maker tool .

Traveling by car from Playa Samara to Santa Teresa takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 1st (Wed) to allow time for travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Montezuma, Mal Pais, Paquera, Tortuga Island, Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve
Find places to stay Dec 25 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve ©

1
night
San Jose

San Jose ©
For traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, read our San Jose road trip site .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Santa Teresa to San Jose takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or drive. You will have some time to spend on the 2nd (Thu) before leaving for home.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Shopping
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu

Similar Plans

24 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM CANADA November, popular sights PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 23 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS June, popular sights PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 23 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 23 days in Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama City BY A USER FROM POLAND June, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 43 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular sights PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 30 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM ARGENTINA October, popular sights PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 43 days in Costa Rica & Barbados BY A USER FROM IRELAND July, relaxing, romantic, beaches, slow & easy, popular sights PREFERENCES: July, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Slow & easy 60 days in Caribbean, Mexico, Central America & South America BY A USER FROM EGYPT June, teens, fast-paced, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Fast-paced 30 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular sights PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 12 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, teens, culture, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, teens, culture, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM SWEDEN June, teens, kids, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in Costa Rica BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, kids, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium
View more plans