Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

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. 

Pura Vida!

Costa Rica Itineraries: One Week

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.

Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

Best of Costa Rica Itinerary

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

Highlights Include…

  • Visit the top of a volcano
  • Explore a national park
  • See a waterfall up close
Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

Jungle Vibes Itinerary

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

Highlights Include…

  • Take a wildlife night hike
  • Eat in a treehouse
  • Relax in a hot spring
Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

Costa Rica Beach Lovers Itinerary

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

Highlights Include…

  • Hike in a national park
  • Relax on a beautiful beach
  • Try surfing or SUP

Costa Rica Itineraries: Two Weeks

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

Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

Costa Rica Highlights Itinerary

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

Highlights Include…

  • Go on a wildlife night tour
  • Go on a snorkel & boat trip
  • Hike in a cloud forest
  • Relax at a beach bar
Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

Adventure Lovers Itinerary

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

Highlights Include…

  • Learn how to surf
  • Relax at a beach bar
  • Climb to the top of a ficus tree
  • Go white water rafting
Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

Caribbean Dreaming Itinerary

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

Highlights Include…

  • Hike in a national park
  • Watch sea turtles lay their eggs
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Visit secret beaches

Costa Rica Itineraries: Three Weeks

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.

Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

Pacific Beach Vibes Itinerary

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

Highlights Include…

  • Go hiking and see wildlife
  • Try surfing
  • Enjoy a beach bar cocktail
  • Watch the beautiful sunset
Costa Rica Itineraries: The Best Plans for 1, 2, and 3 Weeks

Costa Rica Paradise Itinerary

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

Highlights Include…

  • Watch sea turtles lay their eggs
  • Eat tasty authentic food
  • Take a wildlife night tour
  • Go hiking in a national park

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  1. These are Awesome. !!!! I’m going to start looking at each trip and PLAN. !!!!Thank you

  2. Sarah,

    Thank you so much for your incredible site! Found you on Pintrest and made a ton of notes. Planning to take my family of 4 (16 & 18 yo) vacation in July probably 2nd or 3rd week. We only get one week a year to truly check out because of our schedules.

    We are Florida born & raised, good with heat & rain. We are avid boaters, snorkelers, and fishing virtuosos. We are seeking a fmaily vaca that is FUN adventurous different from our norm but still on the lines of what we love.

    Here is what I’m starting to think of:

    1. Ziplining – La Fortuna Northern Mountain region
    2. Cahuita National Park
    3. Tenorio Volcano National Park
    4. Chill time – Beach

    Is this possible?

    1. Hi Amy,

      Yes that is definitely possible! I suggest picking two places to stay. So, La Fortuna is perfect and then one beach destination. If you stay in La Fortuna you can always do a day trip to Tenorio Volcano (I’m guessing you want to go to the Rio Celeste). It’s not a bad drive as a day trip and is better because if it has been raining a lot the water at Rio Celeste won’t be bright blue and is not worth visiting. That way, you can always check on their Facebook page the day before to make sure the water is actually blue. If not, then you will have an extra day to do something in La Fortuna.

      As far as beach/ national park. You may be better off sticking to the Pacific coast. It can be very rainy in Cahuita in July. It’s hard to make that call. But, I will say that Cahuita National Park is my favorite.

      Weirdly, on the Pacific coast the rain tends to stop for about two weeks in July, so you might get lucky and be there in that exact window of time if you are open to doing the Pacific instead. If you do that, I would suggest doing Uvita or Dominical as your beach destination. Manuel Antonio is always an option, but Dominical or Uvita are better if you want a bit more peace. You can take a day trip to Manuel Antonio national park, hike to Nauyaca waterfall, and go beach hopping. There are tons of nice beaches around there.
      Let me know if you have more questions! I’m happy to help.

  3. Hi!
    I am hoping you can help me with my itinerary! We are flying into San Jose. I’m ok with another flight to Liberia or another airport if it makes sense. My 15yo daughter and I will be traveling together. We would like to do the following activities:
    1. Whitewater rafting
    2. ziplining
    3. beach time! (beautiful beach for swimming, nice sand, etc.)
    4. see animals
    My biggest thing is I don’t like crowds, and we are going February 2020, high season. So…. not sure the best option(s)?
    I’d appreciate your advice.

    1. Hi Allie! Of course we can help you! How long are you planning to stay for? You can definitely do everything with driving from San Jose (are you planning to rent a car?). Let me know how long you’ll be here for and I’ll give you some suggestions. ?

  4. Christian says:

    Hello, I am really learning a lot from your blog and LOVE all the info. I have made a mock itinerary of places I’d like to visit and the order. Having never been to Costa Rica, can you tell me if this makes sense and is feasible? Also. Any suggestions on how many days would I need to take to see all of these places and enjoy them? Fly into Liberia, stop at Playas Del Cocoa as I head towards Tamarindo. Next stop Montezuma. Next Monteverde followed by La Fortuna. Then head back to Liberia Airport. Does this make sense? I welcome any input or suggestions. Thank you!

    1. Hi Christian! That sounds pretty good! Two questions though, how long will you be in Costa Rica? And when are you visiting? I ask so that I can give you a better idea of how long I would suggest spending in each area and because there have been a few road closures near Montezuma recently. We were there two weeks ago and had to wait for 2 hours for a road to open due to construction. That way I can check for you if everything will be open when you are here. ?

      1. Christian says:

        We are planning on visiting in February for 9 days or so. I really liked all your suggestions about Montezuma and thought about spending at least a couple days there. I really love all the detail and suggestions in your blog! Thank you for putting it all together!

      2. Ah ok! The road work should definitely be done by then. Ok, so I would suggest 1 night in Tamarindo, 3 nights in Montezuma, 2 nights in Monteverde, and 2 or 3 nights in La Fortuna (depending on when your flight is out of Liberia). If you do need to spend your last night near the airport I suggest staying in Playa Hermosa. It is very close to the airport and much nicer than staying in downtown Liberia. Also, on your way back from La Fortuna you can stop at Llanos de Cortez. It is a nice waterfall near Liberia and it is on your drive. Just note, with this itinerary that you have it will be a lot of driving. As long as you don’t mind that, then go for it! Montezuma is the best, but it is a bit out of the way. If you need to skip something I would skip Monteverde. It is really cool, but the main activity there is ziplining and you can do that in La Fortuna as well.
        Let me know what other questions you have!

      3. Christian says:

        Thank you Sarah! I was reading another blog and they said, in not so many words, that the Arenal volcano was a bit overrated and it may be too cloudy in February to see much and they suggested Miravalles Volcano instead and also mentioned some hot springs there. But do you still recommend La Fortuna for zip-lining? I also really want to walk on a hanging/suspension bridge. If we skip Monteverde, are there suspension bridges in La Fortuna? Thanks again! This is so helpful!

      4. Hmm I don’t agree. You should actually have amazing volcano views in February. It is the dry season so there tend to be very few clouds. We were there last year in late January and had completely clear views. La Fortuna is a touristy town. Its not exactly charming BUT what it lacks in charm it makes up for in things to do. There is just so much to do in La Fortuna for jungle adventures! Also, yes, there are hanging bridges at Mistico. Here is their site. It is a nice walk with great views. There are plenty of zip lining companies in La Fortuna as well. We are in the process of partnering with a few of them. If you would like, check back in with me in about a month and I can probably get you a zip-lining discount. 🙂

      5. Christian says:

        Sarah thank you so much for your input! I will definitely keep La Fortuna on the list! and I will check back with you in a month or so!

  5. What great pre-made itineraries!!!!!
    You are so helpful, that I thought I’d ask your opinion and suggestions 🙂
    We will be in Costa for the last 9 nights of November. Last year we travelled the Uvita area, and monteverde, with one night at Hermosa (north) and wanted to do more of a Nicoya peninsula trip this time. We love hiking, and one big goal of this trip will be the turtles nesting. We were hoping to only stay in two (or perhaps even one) place this time to not loose those travel days like we did on our last trip!
    So – I’m finding accommodation near Hermosa to be quite expensive. We don’t like being around a lot of people.
    I don’t mind driving a ways for day trips – I’m used to driving a lot and am not shy to 4×4 (have rented an appropriate car). With 9 days, and knowing that wildlife, beautiful views, private homes with pools, and hiking are our highlights (of course beach exploring too), would you do either a) a very very southern stay around Santa Teresa or some such, then up near tamarindo. OR would you do b) the samara area then Hermosa (and just keep looking for the accom). We love renting private houses but certainly will book all we can through your website!
    Suggestions appreciated so much!!!

    1. Hi Brooke!
      this is a tough question. I would have trouble deciding as well. At that time of year it is hard to say how the weather will be. Both Santa Teresa area and Samara area are unpaved. Just made sure you rent a 4×4 or at least a 4×2 with good clearance.
      Personally, I would go for the Santa Teresa area. We like Montezuma a lot. You may get lucky and see sea turtles there. There is a sea turtle refuge on Montezuma beach. we were there in October once and saw a few little babies making their way to the ocean. There are also a bunch of great hikes in the area, bioluminescent kayaking, a waterfall you can hike to, and more. The beaches there are not the best for swimming though. If you then go to Tamarindo you will have two more chances to possibly see sea turtles. Playa Grande just north of Tamarindo does turtle tours and you could also do a day trip down to Playa Ostional if it happens to be turtle time while you are there. Ostional is the best possible place to see turtles. You can follow their Facebook page. They update as the turtles as arrive. It would be a last minute thing though.
      Let me know what you think and if you need more suggestions. 🙂