12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica holiday planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Uvita
— 1 night
Drive
3
Manuel Antonio
— 1 night
Ferry
4
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 4 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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna and Galeria Estudio. Visiting La Fortuna Waterfall and Tabacon Hot Springs will get you outdoors. There's lots more to do: take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, take in the natural beauty of Ecotermales Fortuna, stroll around Bogarin Trail, and skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

To see photos, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

San Francisco, USA to La Fortuna de San Carlos is an approximately 12-hour flight. You can also drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 2 hours traveling from San Francisco to La Fortuna de San Carlos. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Uvita.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Museums · Outdoors

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 24 — 28:

Uvita

— 1 night
Ideal for visitors looking to escape Costa Rica's busy beaches, Uvita offers a serene atmosphere and plenty of uncrowded sand for a leisurely vacation.
Kick off your visit on the 28th (Tue): kick back and relax at Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, then get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then kick back and relax at Playa Ventanas.

To see maps, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, read our Uvita trip maker app.

Traveling by car from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Uvita takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Uvita

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 28 — 29:

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 29th (Wed), kick back and relax at Playa Manuel Antonio and then see exotic creatures in open habitats at Safari Adventures.

For maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Manuel Antonio day trip planning app.

Getting from Uvita to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) so you can ride a ferry to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Beaches · Adventure · Parks
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 30:

Santa Teresa

— 2 nights
A coastal getaway popular with surfers and young travelers, Santa Teresa spreads out from the beach and the main coastal road to a ring of newer developments on the surrounding hills.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Thu): stroll through Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve and then get a dose of the wild on Costa Rican Tropical Tours. Keep things going the next day: glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, trot along with a tour on horseback, then take in the dramatic scenery at Montezuma Falls, and finally relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To see other places to visit, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, read Santa Teresa trip app.

Traveling by ferry from Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or drive. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sat) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Wildlife · Nature · Parks · Outdoors

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 1:

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.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Sat): stop by Azul Profundo Boutique, kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, then see some colorful creatures with a scuba or snorkeling tour, and finally kick back and relax at Playa Avellana. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun): see Off-Road Tours, then enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Conchal, and then get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura.

For where to stay, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, read Tamarindo trip planner.

You can drive from Santa Teresa to Tamarindo in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. On the 3rd (Mon), you'll travel back home.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Tours

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 1 — 3:

Costa Rica travel guide

4.4
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.