18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

18 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Costa Rica vacation builder

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Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Jose
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Jaco
— 1 night
Drive
3
Manuel Antonio
— 4 nights
Ferry
4
Santa Teresa
— 3 nights
Drive
5
Pavones
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Playa Matapalo
— 2 nights
Drive
7
Playa Hermosa
— 3 nights
Drive to Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport, Fly to Santiago

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San Jose

— 2 nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Sun): get engrossed in the history at Museo Nacional De Costa Rica, get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum, take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, then see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, and finally explore the world behind art at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. Here are some ideas for day two: surround yourself with nature on Top Travel Costa Rica and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Toucan Rescue Ranch.

For photos, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, use the San Jose trip planner.

Santiago, Chile to San Jose is an approximately 12.5-hour flight. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Santiago to San Jose due to the time zone difference. September in San Jose sees daily highs of 32°C and lows of 21°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Mon) so you can drive to Jaco.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums · Wildlife · Scenic Drive · Outdoors

Side Trip

Jaco

— 1 night
A seaside resort town with plenty of entertaining distractions along its attractive coastline, Jaco has long been a major tourist destination on the central Pacific coast.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Tue): tour the pleasant surroundings at Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding, then cast your line with a fishing tour, and then view the masterpieces at Tico Pod Art House & Gifts.

To find maps, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read Jaco travel route planning tool.

Getting from San Jose to Jaco by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can go by car to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Jaco

Outdoors · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

Side Trip

Manuel Antonio

— 4 nights
The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
Escape the urban bustle at Playa Manuel Antonio and Nature & Wildlife Tours. There's still lots to do: relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas and get outside with Outdoor Activities.

For where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Manuel Antonio trip tool.

Traveling by car from Jaco to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. You'll set off for Santa Teresa on the 14th (Sat).

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors · Tours · Parks · Beaches

Santa Teresa

— 3 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.
Escape the urban bustle at Playa Carmen and Playa Santa Teresa. Relax by the water at Playa Hermosa and Playa Quesera. Step out of Santa Teresa to go to Montezuma and see Refugio Nacional Mixto de Vida Silvestre Romelia, which is approximately 42 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, look for gifts at Tica Surf Bikinis, get outside with Outdoor Activities, and take a pleasant ride with Tokpela.

For where to stay, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Santa Teresa road trip website.

You can ride a ferry from Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 17th (Tue) to allow time for travel to Pavones.

Things to do in Santa Teresa

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

Side Trips

Pavones

— 2 nights
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Pavones.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Pavones trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Santa Teresa to Pavones in 9.5 hours. You will leave for Playa Matapalo on the 19th (Thu).

Things to do in Pavones

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches
Highlights from your trip

Playa Matapalo

— 2 nights
For reviews, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, read our Playa Matapalo trip itinerary maker website.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Pavones to Playa Matapalo. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) so you can travel to Playa Hermosa.

Things to do in Playa Matapalo

Zoos & Aquariums · Nature · Parks

Side Trip

Playa Hermosa

— 3 nights
Playa Hermosa, located in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica, is a popular beach and beach-front resort town.People who visit Playa Hermosa can indulge in swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving, sport fishing or sailing.Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste Province is not to be confused with Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas Province. Explore hidden gems such as Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands and Fishing Charters & Tours. Get in touch with nature at Shark Diving and Playa Hermosa. The adventure continues: view the masterpieces at Rojas Bros Boruca Indigenous Arts.

To see reviews, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, use the Playa Hermosa trip itinerary maker.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Playa Matapalo to Playa Hermosa. On the 24th (Tue), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Playa Hermosa

Outdoors · Wildlife · Tours · Parks

Side Trips

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.