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Costa Rica Itineraries

For One, two, and three week trips to paradise

Each Costa Rica itinerary includes detailed plans, the best activities, great places to eat, money-saving tips, and more.

We decided to make these Costa Rica itineraries FREE for you all to use. 

If you would like a more customized itinerary, fill out our Costa Rica Trip Planner form. A Costa Rica travel expert will get in contact with you to help plan your itinerary. 

Pura Vida!

With one week in Costa Rica we suggest visiting two different destinations. This is a great way to enjoy a little bit of jungle and a little bit of the beach.

If flying in to the San Jose International Airport you will have more flexibility on where you can easily visit in one week. If flying in and out of the Liberia Airport it is best to stick to one Guanacaste beach destination and La Fortuna or Monteverde.

manuel antonio view

Manuel Antonio, Jaco, La Fortuna, Airport Area, Leave paradise

jungle hanging bridge

Airport Area, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Airport Area, Leave paradise

manuel antonio

Jaco, Manuel Antonio, Uvita, Airport Area, Leave paradise

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With two weeks in Costa Rica you can visit four or five different destinations and not feel overwhelmed.

This is the perfect length of time to really get a taste of Costa Rica and embrace some of the best highlights that this tropical gem of a country has to offer.

playa langosta

Airport Area, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Playas del Coco, Tamarindo, Airport Area, Leave paradise

monteverde

Airport Area, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Samara, Nosara, Tamarindo, Airport area, Leave paradise

manzanillo

Airport Area, Tortuguero, Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Bocas del Toro, Airport Area, Leave paradise

Three weeks in Costa Rica gives you a lot of flexibility. You can easily see both coasts and some jungle in between.

We created these itineraries with the mindset that you will be flying in and out of the San Jose International Airport. However, the Pacific Beach Vibes Itinerary would be perfect for flying in to San Jose and out of Liberia.

hermosa

Uvita, Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Montezuma, Samara, Nosara, Tamarindo, Playas del Coco, Airport Area

la fortuna

Cahuita, Tortuguero, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio,  Uvita, San Gerardo de Dota, Airport Area, Leave Paradise

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Our Favorite Activities

27 Responses

  1. I love this blog! We are planning a 10 day hike, beach, and surf trip for early December. I’ve been pouring through your site for cool relaxed hippie locations. Any additional recommendations or 10 day tour suggestions? Keep up the great content!

    1. Thanks Mindy! I’d say you have two options.
      1. Head towards Montezuma and Santa Teresa and if you have time head up towards Samara/ Nosara. They all happen to be great surf spots as well! Near Montezuma there are also some great hiking spots.
      2. The other option would be to go down to Uvita/ Dominical area. Both are cute hippie towns but I’d say to stay in Domincal because it has more of a cute downtown. Dominical is also great for surfing. You can then make your way back to San Jose over the mountains and stop in San Gerardo de Dota. There is great hiking around there and it is a unique experience because it is this cute little cloud forest town with only bird watching tourists.

      Here are our destination guides to all the places I mentioned so you can get a better idea.
      https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/puntarenas/montezuma/
      https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/puntarenas/santa-teresa/
      https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/guanacaste/samara/
      https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/guanacaste/nosara/
      https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/puntarenas/uvita-budget-travel-guide/
      https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/puntarenas/dominical-budget-travel-guide/
      https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/san-jose/san-gerardo-de-dota/

      Are you planning to rent a car or go by bus? Let me know where you decide to visit and I’ll give you more tips 🙂

  2. Hi, thanks for your great blogs! i’m overwhelmed trying to organize a trip to costa rica for me (the mom) and my three kids (9 boy,15 girl,17 boy) to CR. I was planning to rent an SUV (can my 17 year old licensed teen drive it?) but now i’m worried i’m taking on too much spearheading and navigating. Not sure i can afford transports around the country for all four of us though. Dates are 2.30 p.m. 7/31 to 3 p.m. 8/14. Thinking Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde, Fortuna, and then beach (was going to do Manuel Antonio but what should we do instead? Do you have counsel on the car–is it hard to navigate/safe (will get international coverage and have waze on phone but we have poor sense of direction!) and how much distance between each place and how long should we stay at each place? def want to avoid any night driving…once i know all that i can book accommodations and car through your links. I would so appreciate your counsel so i can see this one through and not be so daunted!

  3. Thank you for this information! So helpful! We are visiting and volunteering on our honeymoon in November. We want to visit multiple cities in a week, but I’m unsure which areas are optimal with November weather. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Ashley! You’ll have the best weather on the Caribbean coast. It is the dry season on the Caribbean in November so you’ll have sunny days there! Check out Tortuguero, Cahuita, and Puerto Viejo. Where are you volunteering?

      1. Thank you so much! I was just reading your post yesterday about it being dry season on that coast. We are volunteering at a school in the Guanacaste region, so hopefully we will luck out with the weather. There are a few schools that people can volunteer with through Creciendo Juntos. My fiance and I are both teachers, so we are excited to work with the kids!

  4. Hi – I’m trying to convert these itineraries coming in and out of Liberia airport. do you have itineraries or suggestions for 7day jungle adventure (or mixed jungle/beach!) that would work for Liberia start/finish? I’m looking at Tenoria Nat’l park but Monteverde looks great too. and I’ve seen that Puerto Viejo has great Afro Caribbean music festivals about the time we’ll be there (next week end March) also – we have rented a car (Adobe thru your site!) from the airport.

    1. Hi! Actually, from Liberia I’d suggest La Fortuna or Monteverde and one beach location (maybe Playas del Coco or Tamarindo). Puerto Viejo is great but it is just too far to drive for that short amount of time. You could drive from Liberia, do one night at Tenorio, down to La Fortuna for a few nights and then over to the beach. Also, something nice to check out is Llanos de Cortez waterfall near Liberia. Let me know what you think and I can give you more details. 🙂

  5. Hi There! Hubs and I are planning our 5 year anniversary trip to Costa Rica this Christmas and like your adventure 14 day trip. We’d like to rent a AirBNB as I love to cook – and the savings!! Where would you recommend is the best inbetween place so less drive time?

    1. Hi Laura! Oh good I’m so happy our itinerary could help you out! The drives between each of those places actually are really not so bad. If you wanted, you could drive up to La Fortuna the back way (roads are good just a bit curvy) and spend a night near Poas Volcano. Its definitely cool to see. Let me know if you’d like to do that and I can give you more tips for that. The other long drive is Tamarindo back to San Jose but unfortunately, there really isn’t any good middle point to stop. Let me know if you have more questions as you plan everything! I’m happy to help 🙂

  6. Hi Guys, I am looking to do some Spanish Immersion when I get to Central America in mid January. I am flying into Costa Rica, was planning to backtrack to Nicaragua then back into Costa Rica to Panama to Colombia. Do you know any good cities to do Spanish immersion at a fair price for good program for 1-2 weeks. Or maybe I should do it in Nicaragua?

    1. Hi Chad! Nicaragua would most likely be cheaper, however, along the Pacific coast in Costa Rica there are a lot of towns with Spanish Immersion programs. The big towns are Jaco and Tamarindo. However, Jaco is a bit too touristy and not the nicest in our opinion. I’d suggest looking in Tamarindo or Playas del Coco. I know both towns have some Spanish programs, they are fun towns, and also not too far from the Nica border.
      Hope that helps a bit!

  7. Hi, Sarah and Thomas:

    My family is planning a trip to Costa Rica, with 2 adults and 2 girls. I would like to get some help from you since you are the expert in this country.

    – we want to stay relaxed and be flexible. Do you think we can find local tour guide whenever we want? What I mean is if we can find safe and good quality tour in the local area for maybe the next day. A good way is to through a nice and helpful house owner who can help us arrange, but it is by luck, right? What do you say about this as a general rule?

    – We are going there in late December and with two girls, I want to show them more animals that they won’t be able to see elsewhere, like sloth and turtle (hatching egg or maybe just a lot of small ones). Do you have any suggestions on where to go?

    – Renting car and driving by ourselves may be too exhausting for us. I learned that the road conditions vary, with rocks and unpredictable delay. If driving, and we get lost or get a car problem, who should we call for help?

    Thank you for helping me with these questions.

    Your posts are really helpful!

    Best regards,

    Wei

    1. Hi Wei!

      – I wouldn’t usually suggest this (because it’s a bit too filled with tourists) but Manuel Antonio is probably a good option for you. The national park there is absolutely filled with monkeys, sloths, and more. Also, that area is great for kids. The beaches (for the most part) are calm enough to swim in.
      Another area I would suggest is La Fortuna. The girls will definitely love the hot springs there. Most are very family friendly with multiple pools and waterslides. Also in La Fortuna you should definitely visit the La Fortuna waterfall. They would probably also like the chocolate tour there. You can see how chocolate is made and can eat all the chocolate you want.
      If you are staying for a week or more you can easily do both spots and get a nice mix of beach and jungle. It is about a 4 hour drive between both areas.

      -Usually, you can always find a guide last minute, but in late December things start filling up again, so I can’t guarantee it. Honestly, you really don’t need a guide for most things. If you do go to Manuel Antonio national park I would maybe suggest getting a guide for the day. It can be a bit pricey, but they bring telescopes with them and know where all the animals are. The girls would probably love it. Anyway, you don’t need to book that ahead of time. There are guides waiting at the entrance to the national park. They are usually all really great.

      – As far as transportation, that is a tricky one! If you go from the San Jose airport to La Fortuna or Manuel Antonio (or both) you don’t need to worry. The roads are well maintained. In fact, to Manuel Antonio you will be on a highway the whole time. It’s basically a straight shot from the airport. You will have no trouble. To La Fortuna, the road is paved but it does get a bit hilly in spots. In both the town of Manuel Antonio and La Fortuna you will be fine driving.
      If you book a car through us with Adobe (which I recommend because they are amazing) they will give you a free cell phone to use as well as a number they can always be reached at if you have any problems. For directions, we like the free app Waze. Unfortunately, the phone Adobe gives out is not a smartphone, but if you are able to use your phone in Costa Rica, Waze is the way to go.
      I suggest renting a car because it usually comes out cheaper (especially for 4 people) than taking private shuttles. Plus, then you have the flexibility of getting around in every spot and don’t have to depend on day tours.

      Here are some links you should check out….
      Guide to Manuel Antonio National Park: https://www.costaricavibes.com/manuel-antonio-tips/
      Guide to the Manuel Antonio area: https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/puntarenas/manuel-antonio/
      Guide to La Fortuna area: https://www.costaricavibes.com/destinations/alajuela/la-fortuna/
      Our rental car discount: https://www.costaricavibes.com/renting-a-car-in-costa-rica/
      Interbus (the most popular private shuttle company to get an idea of prices): https://www.interbusonline.com/
      Rainforest Chocolate (The chocolate tour in La Fortuna) Also, if you do this I suggest booking it ahead of time. It can fill up: http://www.rainforestchocolatetour.com/

      That’s all I can think of for now! Feel free to email me if you have more questions. I’m happy to help! [email protected]

      Best,
      Sarah

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