12 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Central America trip planner
Make it your trip
San Jose
— 2 nights
Manuel Antonio
— 7 nights


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.
You've now added Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center to your itinerary. Keep things going the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center and then explore the world behind art at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our San Jose driving holiday planner.

San Francisco, USA to San Jose is an approximately 12-hour flight. You can also drive. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from San Francisco to San Jose due to the time zone difference. When traveling from San Francisco in December, plan for somewhat warmer days and warmer nights in San Jose: temperatures range from 79°F by day to 66°F at night. You'll have a few hours on the 21st (Wed) to wrap things up before traveling to Manuel Antonio.
Wildlife · Parks · Museums
Side Trip

Manuel Antonio — 7 nights

The rainforest meets the sea at Manuel Antonio National Park, a small but scenic natural preserve on the west coast of Costa Rica.
You've added Real Adventure Tours, River Rafting & Tubing, El Santuario Canopy Adventure Tour, and other attractions to your itinerary. Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Espadilla Norte and Playas Gemelas. Discover out-of-the-way places like Los Campesinos Reserve and Kids Saving The Rainforest. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Manuel Antonio: Vista Los Suenos Horseback Riding (in Herradura), Playa Linda (in Playa Matapalo) and Puntarenas (Isla Damas & Sky Mountain Canopy). Next up on the itinerary: tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Bejuco, delve into the lush surroundings at Manuel Antonio National Park, stroll around Parque Nahomi, and admire the sheer force of Tropical Waterfalls Tour.

For traveler tips, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio sightseeing planner.

Drive from San Jose to Manuel Antonio in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Wed) to allow time to fly back home.
Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours
Side Trips

Costa Rica travel guide

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.

Quepos travel guide

Beaches · Nightlife · Kayaking & Canoeing
The tourist-oriented town of Quepos marks the entrance for many travelers looking to explore the nearby Manuel Antonio National Park. A number of tour operators and outdoor experience companies have set up shop in the town, offering sightseeing tours and adventure activities in the biologically rich landscape, staples of the vast majority of Quepos itineraries. The town itself has a burgeoning nightlife and scene, and a welcome number of eateries serving local delicacies. The pleasant streets of the town provide the chance to meet the friendly locals and pick up trinkets and handicrafts at the folk markets.