32 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

32 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

32 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Chicago
Fly + Drive:  13​h 30​min
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 4 nights
Drive:  6​h 30​min
Monteverde
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  1​h 30​min
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
Uvita
— 4 nights
ferry + taxi:  3​h 45​min
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
Playa Samara
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
Playas del Coco
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
Tamarindo
— 5 nights
Fly:  9​h
Chicago

3
days
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca ©
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Playa Chiquita and Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens. Step off the beaten path and head to Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica and Veragua Rainforest Park. Take a break from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca with a short trip to Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus in Puerto Limon, about 1h 05 min away. There's still lots to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Cocles, admire the natural beauty at Finca La Isla, relax in the rural setting at Chocorart, and view the masterpieces at Luluberlu Art Gallery.

To find maps and other tourist information, refer to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip maker .

Chicago, USA to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is an approximately 13.5-hour combination of flight and car. You can also do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Traveling from Chicago to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Chicago in May, plan for somewhat warmer days and warmer nights in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: temperatures range from 82°F by day to 82°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Cahuita, Puerto Limon, Nature Observatorio
Accommodations
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Playa Chiquita ©
Playa Chiquita
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles
Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica ©
Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica

4
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena and Ecological Sanctuary. Shop till you drop at Hummingbird Gallery and Arte Jaguar Gallery. Venture out of the city with trips to Viento Fresco Waterfall (in Tilaran) and Zipline (in Punta Arenas). There's lots more to do: get to know the fascinating history of Santa Elena Skywalk, identify plant and animal life at Curi Cancha Reserve, take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback, and take in nature's colorful creations at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas).

For other places to visit, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Monteverde travel route builder website .

Drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Monteverde in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of shuttle, flight, and car. Traveling from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Monteverde, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Mon) early enough to go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Viento Fresco Waterfall, Zipline
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Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena ©
Reserva Bosque Nuboso Santa Elena
Zipline
Viento Fresco Waterfall ©
Viento Fresco Waterfall

4
days
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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Butterfly Conservatory and Paradise Hot Springs. Escape the urban bustle at Ecocentro Danaus and Los Lagos Hot Springs. When in La Fortuna de San Carlos, make a side trip to see Arenal Eco Zoo in El Castillo, approximately 38 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: hike along Arenal Natura Ecological Park, get outside with Salto, look for all kinds of wild species at Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge, and admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall.

To see where to stay, photos, maps, and tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos online journey maker .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

#Parks, #Nature, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Arenal Volcano National Park, El Castillo
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Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Ecocentro Danaus ©
Ecocentro Danaus
Arenal Natura Ecological Park ©
Arenal Natura Ecological Park

3
days
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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Biesanz and La Playita. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices and Beso Loco Boutique de Playa. Go for a jaunt from Manuel Antonio to Parrita to see Rainmaker Park about 44 minutes away. There's still lots to do: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, and get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To see more things to do, maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio trip planner .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio in 1.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a shuttle. In May in Manuel Antonio, expect temperatures between 81°F during the day and 68°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Mon) to allow time to drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

#Outdoors, #Wildlife, #Tours

Side Trips

Quepos, Rainmaker Park
Accommodations
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Nature & Wildlife Tours
Rainmaker Park ©
Rainmaker Park
Dolphin & Whale Watching

3
days
Uvita

Uvita ©
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.
Explore hidden gems such as Hacienda Baru and Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Magic Ananda and Mama Toucan's Natural and Organic Food Store. And it doesn't end there: kick back and relax at Uvita Beach, explore by horseback at Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge, admire the sheer force of Uvita Waterfall, and scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

To see other places to visit and more tourist information, refer to the Uvita trip maker site .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Uvita in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Fri) so you can travel to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Uvita

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Tours

Side Trip

Dominical
Accommodations
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Hacienda Baru ©
Hacienda Baru
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Carmen and then stop by Tica Surf Bikinis. Here are some ideas for day two: kick back and relax at Playa Santa Teresa, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Hermosa.

For photos, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Santa Teresa trip planner .

Do a combination of ferry and taxi from Uvita to Santa Teresa in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Sun) so you can go by car to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Beaches
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Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Playa Carmen ©
Playa Carmen
Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa

3
days
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.
Visit Barrigona Beach and Samara Beach for some beach relaxation. Museum-lovers will appreciate Koss Art Gallery and MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY. Explore Playa Samara's surroundings by going to Nosara (Jungle Mini Golf, Nosara, Nosara Refuge for Wildlife, & more).

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

Traveling by car from Santa Teresa to Playa Samara takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 93°F in May, and nighttime lows around 73°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Tue) so you can go by car to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Playa Samara

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Beaches

Side Trip

Nosara
Accommodations
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Koss Art Gallery ©
Koss Art Gallery
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary ©
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach

3
days
Playas del Coco

Playas del Coco ©
A long-established beach community, Playas del Coco has developed a reputation as a favored spot for young travelers and locals to let loose by the sea.
Museum-lovers will get to explore Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts and Hidden Garden Art Gallery. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Zipline and Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco. Step out of Playas del Coco to go to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste and see Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, which is approximately 1h 05 min away. Next up on the itinerary: get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, kick back and relax at Playa Hermosa, and look for gifts at Sea Hag Clothing.

For maps, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, read our Playas del Coco trip itinerary builder tool .

You can drive from Playa Samara to Playas del Coco in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 93°F in May, and nighttime lows around 73°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

#Outdoors, #Adventure, #Wildlife

Side Trips

Liberia, Playa Hermosa, Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
Accommodations
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Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Zipline
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

4
days
Tamarindo

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Visiting Adrenaline & Extreme Tours and Fishing Charters & Tours will get you outdoors. Explore hidden gems such as Tamarindo Church and Scuba & Snorkeling. Change things up with a short trip to Playa Conchal in Playa Conchal (about 38 minutes away). There's much more to do: relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, stop by Papaya Con Leche, kick back and relax at Playa Avellana, and find something for the whole family at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates.

To find photos, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Tamarindo attractions site .

Drive from Playas del Coco to Tamarindo in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In June, daily temperatures in Tamarindo can reach 90°F, while at night they dip to 74°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 6th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

#Outdoors, #Tours, #Shopping

Side Trips

Playa Flamingo, Playa Conchal, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Accommodations
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Tamarindo Church ©
Tamarindo Church
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

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