22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

22 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Brussels
train + Fly:  15​h 15​min
1
San Jose
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Poas Volcano National Park
— 2 nights
taxi + Fly:  1​h 45​min
3
Tamarindo
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
4
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h 30​min
6
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
7
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
Fly + train:  17​h 45​min
End: Brussels

3
nights
San Jose

San Jose ©
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Jose: Cartago (Jardin Botanico Lankester & Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles). Next up on the itinerary: listen to music at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and get impressive views of Irazu Volcano National Park.

To see reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read San Jose day trip planner .

Brussels, Belgium to San Jose is an approximately 15.5-hour combination of train and flight. You can also fly. The time zone difference when traveling from Brussels to San Jose is minus 7 hours. Prepare for warmer weather when traveling from Brussels in November: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 30°C and lows are around 22°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Mon) early enough to go by car to Poas Volcano National Park.

Things to do in San Jose

Tours Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trips

Cartago, J.LANG Atelier & Showroom, Irazu Volcano National Park
Find places to stay Nov 29 — Dec 2:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica
Irazu Volcano National Park ©
Irazu Volcano National Park

2
nights
Poas Volcano National Park

Poas Volcano National Park
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Tue): contemplate the geological forces at Poas Volcano and then take in the dramatic scenery at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz. Here are some ideas for day two: tour the pleasant surroundings at Refugio de Vida Silvestre Bosque Alegre and then admire the sheer force of Los Chorros Waterfalls.

Plan a Poas Volcano National Park trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Drive from San Jose to Poas Volcano National Park in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) early enough to travel to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Poas Volcano National Park

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Los Chorros Waterfalls, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Refugio de Vida Silvestre Bosque Alegre
Find places to stay Dec 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Los Chorros Waterfalls ©
Los Chorros Waterfalls

3
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Change things up with these side-trips from Tamarindo: Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands (in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste), Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal) and Stand-Up Paddleboarding (in Playa Flamingo). There's lots more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Tamarindo Beach, stop by Organic Products by Coco Beauty Spa, stroll through Monkey Park, and wander the wide-open spaces of Pura Aventura.

For other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo holiday website .

You can do a combination of taxi and flight from Poas Volcano National Park to Tamarindo in 2 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. In December, daytime highs in Tamarindo are 32°C, while nighttime lows are 32°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, Playa Conchal, Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Find places to stay Dec 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

3
nights
Monteverde

Monteverde is all about natural attractions, not surprising for an eco-tourism hotspot known for its cloud forests and rich diversity of animal life.
Monteverde is known for adventure, parks, nightlife, fun & games, and zoos & aquariums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, relax in the rural setting at El Trapiche Tour, snap pictures at Santa Elena Skywalk, and experience the excitement of Curi Cancha Reserve.

For traveler tips, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Monteverde journey site .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in December, and nighttime lows around 32°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

3
nights
Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio ©
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Explore Manuel Antonio's surroundings by going to Parasailing & Paragliding (in Dominical) and Jaco (Costa Rica SUP'ers & Zipline). And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, stroll around Parque Nahomi, relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park.

To find reviews, maps, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio vacation maker website .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Quepos, Jaco, Parasailing & Paragliding
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Zipline
River Rafting & Tubing

1
night
Tortuguero

Tortuguero ©
One of Costa Rica's least accessible destinations, Tortuguero sits within an eponymous national park and remains accessible only by plane or boat.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Sat): take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Tortuguero National Park.

For ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Tortuguero trip planner .

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Tortuguero in 5.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus and shuttle. In December, daytime highs in Tortuguero are 34°C, while nighttime lows are 25°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) early enough to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Tours
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing

5
nights
La Fortuna de San Carlos

La Fortuna de San Carlos ©
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, parks, trails, and wildlife. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, admire the sheer force of La Fortuna Waterfall, skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and explore the activities along Lake Arenal.

To see photos, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, read La Fortuna de San Carlos online trip itinerary planner .

Getting from Tortuguero to La Fortuna de San Carlos by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a shuttle; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

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