13 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

13 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip itinerary planner

Make it your trip
1
San Jose
— 1 night
Shuttle
2
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 2 nights
Drive
3
El Castillo
— 1 day
Drive
4
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Shuttle
5
Tamarindo
— 1 night
Bus
6
Gulf of Papagayo
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Playa Matapalo
— 1 night
Bus
8
San Jose
— 2 nights

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San Jose

— 1 night
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.
For other places to visit, photos, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose trip itinerary builder website.

If you are flying in from Israel, the closest major aiports are Tobías Bolaños International Airport, Juan Santamaría International Airport and Limon International Airport. August in San Jose sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 22°C at night. On the 6th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can take a shuttle to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours · Outdoors · Wildlife · Parks
Find places to stay Aug 5 — 6:

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 2 nights
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.
Baldi Hot Springs has been added to your itinerary. On the 6th (Fri), witness a stunning natural landmark at Baldi Hot Springs. On the 7th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs.

To find reviews, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos sightseeing planning app.

Getting from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos by shuttle takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sun) so you can go by car to El Castillo.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Nature · Parks · Spas
Find places to stay Aug 6 — 8:

El Castillo

— 1 day
To see other places to visit, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the El Castillo itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to El Castillo takes an hour. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sun) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in El Castillo

Parks · Outdoors · Tours · Adventure
Find places to stay Aug 8 — 9:

Monteverde

— 2 nights
Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Your day by day itinerary now includes Zipline as well as Cafe Monteverde Coffee Tour. On your second day here, savor a delicious cup with Cafe Monteverde Coffee Tour and then stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

To see ratings, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Monteverde trip planner.

Getting from El Castillo to Monteverde by car takes about 2.5 hours. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 10th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife · Parks · Tours · Adventure
Find places to stay Aug 8 — 10:

Tamarindo

— 1 night
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
You've now added Iguana Surf to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 11th (Wed): see Iguana Surf and then discover the deep blue sea with a scuba or snorkeling tour.

For traveler tips, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, read our Tamarindo journey maker site.

Drive from Monteverde to Tamarindo in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. Cap off your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Gulf of Papagayo.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Adventure
Find places to stay Aug 10 — 11:

Gulf of Papagayo

— 2 nights
A concerted development project by the government given Gulf of Papagayo a growing number of luxury and all inclusive resort complexes and turned it into one of the country's leading holiday destinations.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Thu): take in the exciting artwork at Hidden Garden Art Gallery, then meet some fierce fish with a shark diving experience, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Hermosa.

For maps, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Gulf of Papagayo trip maker tool.

Traveling by bus from Tamarindo to Gulf of Papagayo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 13th (Fri) to allow time for travel to Playa Matapalo.

Things to do in Gulf of Papagayo

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Tours

Side Trips

Find places to stay Aug 11 — 13:

Playa Matapalo

— 1 night
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Fri): get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To see maps, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, read our Playa Matapalo day trip planning site.

You can drive from Gulf of Papagayo to Playa Matapalo in an hour. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) early enough to catch the flight to San Jose.

Things to do in Playa Matapalo

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Beaches

Side Trips

Find places to stay Aug 13 — 14:

San Jose

— 2 nights
Your day by day itinerary now includes Poas Volcano. On the 15th (Sun), contemplate the geological forces at Poas Volcano, then explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, and then capture your vacation like a pro with an inspiring photography tour. Keep things going the next day: take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum.

To find maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, go to the San Jose travel planner.

Getting from Playa Matapalo to San Jose by flight takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. You'll set off for home on the 17th (Tue).

Things to do in San Jose

Nature · Parks · Museums · Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay Aug 14 — 17:

Costa Rica travel guide

4.5
Beaches · Nature & Parks · Zipline
Tiny in terms of land area, Costa Rica is astoundingly diverse when it comes to culture and natural attractions. In a country called "Rich Coast", it's no surprise most Costa Rica vacations dedicate at least a few days to picturesque Pacific and Caribbean beaches, ideal for water sports and relaxation. Few small countries offer such a range of landscapes, allowing tourists to observe towering volcanoes while soaking away their worries in a hot spring, or hike into dense rainforests in the morning and surf at a modern resort in the afternoon. A trip to Costa Rica also lets you discover pristine national parks, ensuring plenty of chances to view wildlife from the comfort of eco-friendly lodges packed with amenities even ardent nature lovers secretly desire.

Arenal Volcano National Park travel guide

4.4
Hot Springs · Waterfalls · River Rafting & Tubing
Plan a tour of Arenal Volcano National Park to get in touch with nature, enjoy scenic views, and admire the majestic volcano up close. The park, established in 1991, protects a variety of ecosystems and wildlife. You can choose from four hiking trails, taking you across the rainforest and lava fields. Enjoy scenic lookout points, see a staggering variety of birds and plants, or climb the dormant Mount Chato on your trip to Arenal Volcano National Park.