17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Budapest
Fly + Drive:  18​h 15​min
1
Vara Blanca
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 45​min
2
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
4
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Taxi + Bus:  2​h 45​min
7
San Jose
— 3 nights
Fly:  18​h 30​min
End: Budapest

1
night
Vara Blanca

Vara Blanca
A vacation in Vara Blanca, located in the heart of Costa Rica, offers excellent access to a number of attractions across the area.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Thu): take some stellar pictures from Mirador Huequecura and then admire the sheer force of Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz.

To see where to stay, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, read Vara Blanca trip itinerary maker app .

Budapest, Hungary to Vara Blanca is an approximately 18.5-hour combination of flight and car. You'll gain 7 hours traveling from Budapest to Vara Blanca due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Vara Blanca

Nature Parks

Side Trip

Mirador Huequecura
Find places to stay Jan 15 — 16:

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.
Step out of Manuel Antonio with an excursion to Zipline in Jaco--about 1h 25 min away. There's lots more to do: stroll through Playa Manuel Antonio, let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, see Off-Road Tours, and indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas.

To find photos, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio online journey planner .

You can drive from Vara Blanca to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Quepos, Zipline
Find places to stay Jan 16 — 19:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Zipline
Manuel Antonio National Park ©
Manuel Antonio National Park

2
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.
On the 20th (Mon), stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Monteverde Frog Pond. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: look for gifts at Women Artisans Cooperative Santa Elena and Monteverde, then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks, then relax in the rural setting at El Trapiche Tour, and finally learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, read Monteverde day trip planner.

You can drive from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde in 4 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can drive to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Adventure
Find places to stay Jan 19 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

2
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
On the 22nd (Wed), glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Tamarindo Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour and then get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates.

To find maps, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Tamarindo route builder site .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Tamarindo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Thu) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trips

Playa Flamingo, Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates
Find places to stay Jan 21 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates ©
Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates

3
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, take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall, scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and get impressive views of Arenal Volcano.

To find traveler tips, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the La Fortuna de San Carlos journey planner.

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sun) so you can drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Jan 23 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

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.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Mon): paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

For ratings, reviews, and tourist information, use the Tortuguero trip itinerary builder .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tortuguero in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or do a combination of bus and taxi. In January, daytime highs in Tortuguero are 33°C, while nighttime lows are 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks Adventure
Find places to stay Jan 26 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Kayaking & Canoeing

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.
Venture out of the city with trips to Mariposas Sarchi (in Sarchi), Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park) and Jardin Botanico Lankester (in Cartago). Next up on the itinerary: see a show at Teatro Nacional Costa Rica, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Irazu Volcano National Park, examine the collection at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, and take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, refer to the San Jose day trip planning app .

Traveling by combination of taxi and bus from Tortuguero to San Jose takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Traveling from Tortuguero in January, expect San Jose to be little chillier, temps between 30°C and 21°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Parks Nature

Side Trips

Poas Volcano, Irazu Volcano National Park, Mariposas Sarchi, Jardin Botanico Lankester
Find places to stay Jan 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica ©
Museo Nacional De Costa Rica
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica

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