13 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

13 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica holiday planner

Make it your trip
Fly to Liberia, Shuttle to La Fortuna de San Carlos
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive
3
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive
4
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Drive
5
Jaco
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
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1

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 3 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.
La Fortuna de San Carlos is known for nature, adventure, and parks. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, indulge in some culinary diversions at a local gastronomic tour, stroll through La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve, and scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

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

Philadelphia, USA to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 11-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also do a combination of train, flight, and shuttle; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Philadelphia to La Fortuna de San Carlos. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) so you can go by car to Vara Blanca.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Tours · Outdoors
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 20:

Vara Blanca

— 1 night
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Tue): take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

For where to stay, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Vara Blanca journey planner.

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Vara Blanca in 2 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 21st (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 21:
Highlights from your trip

Tortuguero

— 1 night

Costa Rica's Amazon

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 22nd (Wed), explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see more things to do, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Tortuguero road trip tool.

Getting from Vara Blanca to Tortuguero by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, bus, and ferry. Expect a daytime high around 84°F in December, and nighttime lows around 71°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 22:
Highlights from your trip

Manuel Antonio

— 1 night
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
On the 23rd (Thu), enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio and then find your balance on the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area.

For where to stay, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio journey planning website.

Getting from Tortuguero to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of ferry and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Thu) so you can go by car to Jaco.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 23:

Jaco

— 2 nights
A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Fri): get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour and then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks. Keep things going the next day: head outdoors with Outdoor Activities and then relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Jaco tour builder.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to Jaco by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure · Spas
Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:

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.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Sun): stroll through Ranario Monteverde Frog Pond and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. On the next day, catch some excitement at El Trapiche Tour and then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks.

For traveler tips, reviews, photos, and tourist information, use the Monteverde trip planner.

Traveling by car from Jaco to Monteverde takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Monteverde can reach 82°F, while at night they dip to 82°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife · Parks · Tours · Adventure
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:

Tamarindo

— 2 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
On the 28th (Tue), take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tamarindo Beach. On your second day here, look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique.

For photos, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo online vacation planner.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Tamarindo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. December in Tamarindo sees daily highs of 82°F and lows of 82°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Wed) to allow enough time to fly back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours · Beaches

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 27 — 29:

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.