9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

San Francisco
Fly + bus + shuttle:  14​h 30​min
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
taxi + Fly + taxi:  1​h 30​min
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
taxi + Fly + bus:  1​h 15​min
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly:  11​h 30​min
San Francisco

3
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 Arenal Natura Ecological Park and Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano). Visiting River Rafting & Tubing and Tabacon Hot Springs will get you outdoors. Step out of La Fortuna de San Carlos to go to El Castillo and see Butterfly Conservatory, which is approximately 42 minutes away. It doesn't end there: admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall and trek along Ecocentro Danaus.

To find photos, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos road trip planning tool .

San Francisco, USA to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 14.5-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also do a combination of train, flight, and shuttle; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Pacific Standard Time to Central Standard Time is 2 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Tue) so you can travel to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

#Parks, #Nature, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Butterfly Conservatory, Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)
Accommodations
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Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
River Rafting & Tubing

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.
You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Uvita Beach and Playa Biesanz. Escape the urban bustle at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Villa Vanilla / Rainforest Spices. Go for a jaunt from Manuel Antonio to Guapil to see Hacienda Baru about 54 minutes away. There's more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Manuel Antonio.

To find maps, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio trip tool .

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 May in Manuel Antonio, expect temperatures between 81°F during the day and 68°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

#Outdoors, #Parks, #Beaches

Side Trips

Uvita Beach, Hacienda Baru
Accommodations
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Nature & Wildlife Tours
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Uvita Beach ©
Uvita Beach

1
day
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.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Fri): take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia Maria Auxiliadora, then steep yourself in history at Ruinas de Ujarras, and then steep yourself in history at Our Lady of the Angels Basilica (Basilica de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles).

For where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our San Jose online tour itinerary planner .

Getting from Manuel Antonio to San Jose by combination of taxi, flight, and bus takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. In May, daytime highs in San Jose are 81°F, while nighttime lows are 68°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 12th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

#Historic Sites, #Museums, #Shopping

Side Trips

Cartago, J.LANG Atelier & Showroom
Accommodations
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