9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

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Route & dates

9 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Houston
Fly:  7​h 15​min
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h
2
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 15​min
3
El Castillo
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h
4
Playa Samara
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Tamarindo
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
6
Playas del Coco
— 1 night
Fly:  8​h 30​min
End: Houston

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Sat): steep yourself in history at Ruins of the Church of Carthage. On the 8th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: view the masterpieces at Riish and Toosh Afro Costa Rican Paintings, then look for all kinds of wild species at Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, then make a trip to Plaza Juan Mora Fernandez, and finally contemplate the long history of Teatro Nacional Costa Rica.

To find maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the San Jose online journey planner .

Houston, USA to San Jose is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Houston in December, things will get somewhat warmer in San Jose: highs are around 79°F and lows about 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Mon) so you can take a bus to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in San Jose

Outdoors Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trips

Ruins of the Church of Carthage, Riish and Toosh Afro Costa Rican Paintings
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo ©
Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Tue): walk around Parque Nahomi, then take a memorable tour with Tours, and then take in the local highlights with Walking tours.

To see other places to visit, reviews, photos, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio holiday planner.

Traveling by bus from San Jose to Manuel Antonio takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) early enough to travel to El Castillo.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Parque Nahomi
Find places to stay Dec 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Parasailing & Paragliding
Walking tours
Parque Nahomi ©
Parque Nahomi

1
night
El Castillo

El Castillo ©
Start off your visit on the 11th (Wed): tour the pleasant surroundings at Butterfly Conservatory, then get impressive views of Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano), and then get outside with Canopy San Luis.

To see reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our El Castillo trip planner.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to El Castillo in 5.5 hours. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Wed) so you can drive to Playa Samara.

Things to do in El Castillo

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano National Park
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano) ©
Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Thu): admire the sheer force of Belen Waterfall, then get interesting insight from Tours, and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

Planning Playa Samara trip won't be overwheling when you use's Insprock itinerary maker.

You can drive from El Castillo to Playa Samara in 4 hours. Expect a daytime high around 82°F in December, and nighttime lows around 82°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Playa Samara

Outdoors Spas Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 11 — 12:
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Spas
Belen Waterfall ©
Belen Waterfall

1
night
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
On the 13th (Fri), get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and then look for gifts at Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa.

To find ratings, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read Tamarindo vacation planner .

Traveling by car from Playa Samara to Tamarindo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. In December in Tamarindo, expect temperatures between 82°F during the day and 82°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Playas del Coco.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa ©

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Sat): let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, then take in the exciting artwork at Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts, and then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco.

To see ratings, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, read Playas del Coco trip planner .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Playas del Coco takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. December in Playas del Coco sees daily highs of 82°F and lows of 82°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Playas del Coco

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco ©
Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts ©
Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts

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