30 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

30 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica trip planner

Make it your trip
Drive
1
Cartago
— 1 night
Drive
2
Tortuguero
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 7 nights
Drive
6
Monteverde
— 4 nights
Drive
7
Tamarindo
— 4 nights
Drive
8
Nosara
— 3 nights
Shuttle
9
Santa Teresa
— 2 nights
Drive

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Cartago

— 1 night
Cartago is a city in Costa Rica, about 25km east of the capital, San José. Kick off your visit on the 9th (Thu): take in nature's colorful creations at Jardin Botanico Lankester and then pause for some serene contemplation at Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, use the Cartago online holiday planner.

San Jose to Cartago is an approximately 1-hour car ride. You can also take a bus; or take a train. December in Cartago sees daily highs of 79°F and lows of 66°F at night. On the 10th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in Cartago

Outdoors · Parks · Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 10:

Tortuguero

— 2 nights

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.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sat): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 12th (Sun): learn more about the world around you at Sea Turtle Conservancy.

To see maps, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, use the Tortuguero trip planner.

You can drive from Cartago to Tortuguero in 3.5 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 84°F, while nighttime lows are 71°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) so you can go by car to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature · Parks · Museums
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 12:

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

— 3 nights

Walaba

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca offers a wealth of entertainment by the sea, attracting a lively international crowd of revelers while maintaining a bright and breezy coastal charm with a local feel.
On the 13th (Mon), kick back and relax at Playa Puerto Viejo. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Tue): explore the striking landscape of Cahuita National Park.

To see other places to visit, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Puerto Viejo de Talamanca online holiday builder.

Drive from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 15th (Wed) to allow time for the car ride to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 12 — 15:

Manuel Antonio

— 3 nights
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Get outdoors at MidWorld Costa Rica and Mulguri Adventure. The adventure continues: kick back and relax at Playa Biesanz.

To see ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Manuel Antonio trip builder tool.

Drive from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to Manuel Antonio in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sat) so you can go by car to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Adventure · Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 18:

La Fortuna de San Carlos

— 7 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.
Escape the urban bustle at Tabacon Hot Springs and Ecotermales Fortuna. And it doesn't end there: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, witness a stunning natural landmark at Paradise Hot Springs, admire the natural beauty at Natura Eco Park Costa Rica, and stroll through Proyecto Asis.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, photos, and tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos itinerary builder tool.

Drive from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Spas

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 18 — 25:

Monteverde

— 4 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.
Get in touch with nature at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Horseback Riding Tours. Get some historical perspective at Ecological Sanctuary and Santa Elena Skywalk. There's still lots to do: kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Orchid Garden, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle, and take a peaceful walk through Curi Cancha Reserve.

To see reviews, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the Monteverde itinerary builder site.

Getting from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus. December in Monteverde sees daily highs of 82°F and lows of 82°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks · Wildlife · Tours · Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 29:

Tamarindo

— 4 nights
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Visiting Tamarindo Beach and Playa Hermosa will get you outdoors. You'll get in some beach time at Playa Conchal and Playa Avellana. Venture out of the city with trips to Playas del Coco (Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts & Iglesia Catolica de Playas del Coco). The adventure continues: get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura, take a tour of Kingpin Sportfishing, and identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas.

To find other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo online trip itinerary builder.

Getting from Monteverde to Tamarindo by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 82°F in December, and nighttime lows around 82°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Nosara.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 29 — Jan 2:

Nosara

— 3 nights
Along with its agricultural and fishing heritage, Nosara stands as one of the oldest expatriate communities in the country.
Step out of the city life by going to Playa Guiones and Samara Beach. Take a break from Nosara with a short trip to Barrigona Beach in Playa Samara, about 44 minutes away. There's still lots to do: stroll through International Animal Rescue Costa Rica and browse the exhibits of MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY.

To see more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Nosara trip itinerary planning tool.

You can drive from Tamarindo to Nosara in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Wed) early enough to catch the shuttle to Santa Teresa.

Things to do in Nosara

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 2 — 5:

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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Thu): kick back and relax at Playa Carmen, admire the sheer force of Montezuma Falls, and then look for gifts at Tica Surf Bikinis. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: kick back and relax at Playa Santa Teresa and then stroll through Playa Hermosa.

To find other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, refer to the Santa Teresa online itinerary planner.

You can take a shuttle from Nosara to Santa Teresa in 2.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) so you can go by car back home.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 5 — 7:

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.