59 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

59 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

59 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Chicago
Fly:  8​h 45​min
San Jose
— 8 nights
Drive:  4​h
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 5 nights
shuttle:  5​h
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Drive:  8​h
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
Tamarindo
— 6 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  2​h 45​min
Santa Teresa
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
Playa Samara
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
Monteverde
— 6 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 13 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + taxi:  1​h 30​min
Manuel Antonio
— 6 nights
+3
bus + foot + shuttle + Fly:  9​h 45​min
End: Chicago

8
nights
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.
Let the collections at Galeria Namu and Jade Museum capture your imagination. Take a break from the city and head to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Toucan Rescue Ranch. Explore San Jose's surroundings by going to Zoo Ave (in Alajuela), Jardin Botanico Lankester (in Cartago) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). And it doesn't end there: admire the masterpieces at Precolumbian Gold Museum, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, explore the striking landscape of Irazu Volcano National Park, and revel in the low prices at Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro.

For ratings, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, go to the San Jose road trip planner.

Chicago, USA to San Jose is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Traveling from Chicago in February, expect San Jose to be much hotter, temps between 79°F and 65°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Thu) so you can go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in San Jose

#Parks, #Nature, #Museums

Side Trips

Zoo Ave, Fabrica de Carretas Eloy Alfaro, Jardin Botanico Lankester, Irazu Volcano National Park, Toucan Rescue Ranch
Accommodations
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Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
La Paz Waterfall Gardens ©
La Paz Waterfall Gardens

5
nights
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.
Get in touch with nature at Cahuita National Park and Nature Observatorio. You'll get in some beach time at Puerto Viejo Beach and Playa Cocles. There's still lots to do: identify plant and animal life at Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, experience rural life at Chocorart, admire the natural beauty at Finca La Isla, and view the masterpieces at Luluberlu Art Gallery.

For ratings, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip itinerary planner .

Drive from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a shuttle. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Tue) early enough to take a shuttle to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Beaches

Side Trips

Cahuita, Nature Observatorio, Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
Accommodations
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Cahuita National Park ©
Cahuita National Park
Puerto Viejo Beach ©
Puerto Viejo Beach
Playa Cocles ©
Playa Cocles

2
nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Tue): choose your vessel at Tortuguero Adventures. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

For ratings, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our Tortuguero trip planner .

Traveling by shuttle from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Tortuguero takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and shuttle. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Tortuguero due to the time zone difference. Expect a daytime high around 80°F in March, and nighttime lows around 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.

Things to do in Tortuguero

#Wildlife, #Nature, #Parks
Accommodations
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Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero Adventures ©
Tortuguero Adventures

5
nights
Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

Area de Conservacion Guanacaste ©
Take a break from the city and head to Parque Nacional Volcan Rincon de la Vieja and El Viejo Wetlands. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Area de Conservacion Guanacaste: Playa Hermosa (in Playa Hermosa), Playas del Coco (Sea Hag Clothing, Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts, & more) and Rio Negro Hot Springs (in Rincon de La Vieja).

To see maps, reviews, and tourist information, read our Area de Conservacion Guanacaste road trip planner .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Tortuguero to Area de Conservacion Guanacaste. When traveling from Tortuguero in March, plan for somewhat warmer days in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, with highs around 94°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 71°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Tue) early enough to travel to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

#Parks, #Nature, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Playas del Coco, Playa Hermosa, Rio Negro Hot Springs, Rincon de La Vieja National Park
Accommodations
Get expert advice on where to stay in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.
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Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall ©
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

6
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.
Visiting Tamarindo Beach and Playa Avellana will get you outdoors. Relax by the water at Playa Conchal and Playa Ocotal. When in Tamarindo, make a side trip to see Playa Nacascolo in Gulf of Papagayo, approximately 1h 20 min away. Spend the 26th (Mon) exploring nature at Las Baulas National Marine Park. The adventure continues: see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, stop by Diamante Boutique, and get your game on at Bolas Locas Mini Golf.

To find where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Tamarindo trip planner .

You can drive from Area de Conservacion Guanacaste to Tamarindo in 2 hours. March in Tamarindo sees daily highs of 94°F and lows of 71°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) so you can travel to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Tamarindo

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Conchal, Playa Ocotal, Playa Nacascolo, Las Baulas National Marine Park
Accommodations
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Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal
Playa Avellana ©
Playa Avellana

3
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.
On the 27th (Tue), tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Hermosa, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Santa Teresa, and then stop by Tica Surf Bikinis. On your second day here, tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Carmen and then take in the dramatic scenery at Montezuma Falls.

To see ratings, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, read Santa Teresa travel itinerary planner.

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

#Parks, #Beaches, #Outdoors

Side Trip

Montezuma Falls
Accommodations
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Playa Santa Teresa ©
Playa Santa Teresa
Playa Hermosa ©
Playa Hermosa
Montezuma Falls ©
Montezuma Falls

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.
Take a break from the city and head to Samara Beach and Barrigona Beach. We've included these beaches for you: Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) and Puerto Carrillo. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Playa Samara: Nicoya (Casa de Arte, Curime, Curu National Wildlife Refuge, & more) and SIBU Wildlife Sanctuary (in Nosara). Next up on the itinerary: take in the dramatic scenery at Belen Waterfall and admire all the interesting features of Kingfisher Sportfishing.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, use the Playa Samara trip itinerary planning tool .

You can drive from Santa Teresa to Playa Samara in 2 hours. Another option is to take a bus. In March, plan for daily highs up to 94°F, and evening lows to 71°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Playa Samara

#Parks, #Beaches, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Nicoya, Nosara
Accommodations
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Samara Beach ©
Samara Beach
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones) ©
Nosara Beach (Playa Guiones)
Barrigona Beach ©
Barrigona Beach

6
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Monteverde Frog Pond. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Hummingbird Gallery and Art House. Take a break from Monteverde with a short trip to Viento Fresco Waterfall in Tilaran, about 56 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: whizz through the canopy at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas), look for all kinds of wild species at Curi Cancha Reserve, and tour the pleasant surroundings at The Bat Jungle.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde tour itinerary planner.

You can drive from Playa Samara to Monteverde in 3 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sun) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Nature

Side Trip

Viento Fresco Waterfall
Accommodations
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Zipline
Curi Cancha Reserve ©
Curi Cancha Reserve

13
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.
Get outdoors at River Rafting & Tubing and Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal). Venture out of the city with trips to El Castillo (Butterfly Conservatory & Arenal Eco Zoo) and Rio Celeste (in Tenorio Volcano National Park). Next up on the itinerary: soothe aching muscles at Tabacon Hot Springs, trek along Ecocentro Danaus, admire the natural beauty at Arenal Natura Ecological Park, and look for gifts at Souvenir Leo.

For other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip planning site .

You can drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Sat) early enough 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, Rio Celeste
Accommodations
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Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)

6
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.
Get outdoors at Playa Manuel Antonio and MidWorld Costa Rica. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices and Super Joseth. Explore Manuel Antonio's surroundings by going to Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge (in Uvita) and Hacienda Baru (in Guapil). Pack the 25th (Wed) with family-friendly diversions at Rancho Tipico Don Juan. There's still lots to do: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, kick back and relax at Playa Biesanz, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, and look for gifts at Beso Loco Boutique de Playa.

For where to stay, photos, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio trip itinerary maker website .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. In April in Manuel Antonio, expect temperatures between 82°F during the day and 67°F at night. You will have some time to spend on the 27th (Fri) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

#Outdoors, #Adventure, #Tours

Side Trips

Rancho La Merced National Wildlife Refuge, Hacienda Baru
Accommodations
Get expert advice on where to stay in Manuel Antonio.
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Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Playa Biesanz ©
Playa Biesanz
River Rafting & Tubing

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