43 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

43 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica tour builder

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

Route & dates

43 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly + Drive:  13​h 30​min
1
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
2
Tamarindo
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
3
Playa Samara
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
Monteverde
— 5 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Manuel Antonio
— 5 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
6
Drake Bay
— 5 nights
Drive:  7​h
7
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
8
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 6 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
9
Tortuguero
— 1 night
taxi + bus:  2​h 45​min
10
San Jose
— 6 nights
Fly:  11​h 30​min
End: San Francisco

3
nights
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste ©
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Area de Conservacion Guanacaste: Liberia (Church of La Ermita La Agonia & Nahua) and Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge (in Cuajiniquil). Spend the 23rd (Mon) among the fascinating landscape of Parque Nacional Volcan Rincon de la Vieja.

For other places to visit, maps, reviews, and tourist information, use the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste trip builder tool .

San Francisco, USA to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste is an approximately 13.5-hour flight. The time zone changes from Pacific Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a 2 hour difference. Traveling from San Francisco in December, expect Area de Conservacion Guanacaste to be much warmer, temps between 82°F and 82°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Liberia, Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Miravalles Volcano ©
Miravalles Volcano

5
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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Adrenaline & Extreme Tours (in Playa Flamingo), Playa Hermosa (in Playa Hermosa) and Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal). There's still lots to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, enjoy some diversion at Tamarindo Tennis Club, and find something for the whole family at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates.

To find other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo online visit planner .

Getting from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste to Tamarindo by car takes about 2 hours. December in Tamarindo sees daily highs of 82°F and lows of 82°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, Playa Hermosa, Playa Nacascolo
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

4
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.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Playa Samara: Nosara (Nosara Refuge for Wildlife, Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones), & more) and Barra Honda National Park (in Nicoya). There's still lots to do: stroll through Samara Beach, relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas, admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall, and explore and take pictures at Kingfisher Sportfishing.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Playa Samara trip itinerary maker site .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Playa Samara takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 82°F, and evening lows to 82°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Nosara, Barra Honda National Park
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary ©
SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary
Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach

5
nights
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.
Monteverde is known for adventure, wildlife, nightlife, parks, and zoos & aquariums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, snap pictures at Santa Elena Skywalk, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), and appreciate the extensive heritage of Ecological Sanctuary.

To see maps, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read Monteverde online day trip planner .

Traveling by car from Playa Samara to Monteverde takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Monteverde Orchid Garden ©
Monteverde Orchid Garden

5
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.
Take a break from Manuel Antonio with a short trip to Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary in Dominical, about 1h 05 min away. Spend the 11th (Sat) exploring nature at Manuel Antonio National Park. Spend the 12th (Sun) on the water with a fishing tour. Next up on the itinerary: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, stroll around Parque Nahomi, and delve into the lush surroundings at Naturalist Michael Araya Flores.

To see where to stay, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio travel route builder .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) so you can drive to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Quepos, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary
Find places to stay Jan 8 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
River Rafting & Tubing
Fishing Charters & Tours

5
nights
Drake Bay

Drake Bay ©
Take a break from Drake Bay with a short trip to Jagua Arts and Crafts in Puerto Jimenez, about 1h 20 min away. Spend a day of island exploring on the 14th (Tue) at Cano Island. Spend the 16th (Thu) observing fascinating marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

Plan my Drake Bay trip by asking Inpirock to come up with tips and suggestions.

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Sat) early enough to drive to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Wildlife Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Jagua Arts and Crafts
Find places to stay Jan 13 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Cano Island ©
Cano Island
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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 19th (Sun): take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, then look for gifts at Souvenir Muy Tranquilo, and then take some stellar pictures from Mirador Huequecura.

To see ratings, more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Vara Blanca trip itinerary website .

You can drive from Drake Bay to Vara Blanca in 7 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sun) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Parks Nature Shopping

Side Trips

Souvenir Muy Tranquilo, Mirador Huequecura
Find places to stay Jan 18 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Souvenir Muy Tranquilo ©
Souvenir Muy Tranquilo

6
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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, wildlife, trails, and parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, take a memorable tour with Tours, and contemplate the geological forces at Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal).

For ratings, reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip planner.

Traveling by car from Vara Blanca to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) so you can drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Jan 19 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

1
night
Tortuguero

Tortuguero ©
One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
On the 26th (Sun), explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Tortuguero road trip app .

Drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In January in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 83°F during the day and 70°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Sun) to allow time to travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature
Find places to stay Jan 25 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park

6
nights
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Jose: Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park), Cartago (Jardin Botanico Lankester & Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles) and Else Kientzler Botanical Garden (in Sarchi). And it doesn't end there: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, catch all the local highlights with Top Travel Costa Rica, and take an in-depth tour of Museo Nacional De Costa Rica.

To find reviews, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the San Jose trip maker website .

Traveling by combination of taxi and bus from Tortuguero to San Jose takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Tortuguero in January: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 78°F and lows are around 65°F. On the 1st (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Cartago, J.LANG Atelier & Showroom, Toucan Rescue Ranch, Irazu Volcano National Park, Else Kientzler Botanical Garden
Find places to stay Jan 26 — Feb 1:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Irazu Volcano National Park ©
Irazu Volcano National Park

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