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: Brussels
train + Fly:  19​h
1
San Jose
— 1 night
bus + taxi:  4​h
2
Rincon de La Vieja
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
3
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
Uvita
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
Puerto Jimenez
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
6
Drake Bay
— 1 night
plane:  1​h
7
San Jose
— Few hours
plane:  3​h 30​min
8
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
— 3 nights
bus:  3​h 30​min
9
San Jose
— 1 night
Fly + train:  15​h 15​min
End: Brussels

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Sat): pause for some serene contemplation at Iglesia La Soledad.

To see reviews, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, use the San Jose trip planner.

Brussels, Belgium to San Jose is an approximately 15.5-hour combination of train and flight. You can also fly. Traveling from Brussels to San Jose, you'll gain 7 hours due to the time zone difference. Prepare for much warmer weather when traveling from Brussels in December: high temperatures in San Jose hover around 30°C and lows are around 22°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sun) so you can travel to Rincon de La Vieja.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 7 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Iglesia La Soledad ©
Iglesia La Soledad

2
nights
Rincon de La Vieja

Rincon de La Vieja ©
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Miravalles Volcano and Cataratas Llanos de Cortes. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Rincon de La Vieja: Liberia (Souvenir Ocarina, Hidden Garden Art Gallery, & more).

For reviews, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the Rincon de La Vieja road trip planner .

You can do a combination of flight and taxi from San Jose to Rincon de La Vieja in 2 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and taxi; or drive. Traveling from San Jose in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Rincon de La Vieja, with lows of 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Rincon de La Vieja

Nature Parks Tours

Side Trips

Liberia, Cataratas Llanos de Cortes, Miravalles Volcano
Find places to stay Dec 8 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Miravalles Volcano ©
Miravalles Volcano
Cataratas Llanos de Cortes ©
Cataratas Llanos de Cortes
Hidden Garden Art Gallery ©
Hidden Garden Art Gallery

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.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Wed): appreciate the extensive heritage of Ecological Sanctuary, tour the pleasant surroundings at Finca el Rodeo, and then admire the masterpieces at Chorotega Arts & Crafts. On the 12th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Sustainability Demonstration Center.

To see other places to visit, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde itinerary planner.

Getting from Rincon de La Vieja to Monteverde by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in December, and nighttime lows around 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 13th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Uvita.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Sustainability Demonstration Center
Find places to stay Dec 10 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary
Sustainability Demonstration Center ©

2
nights
Uvita

Ideal for visitors looking to escape Costa Rica's busy beaches, Uvita offers a serene atmosphere and plenty of uncrowded sand for a leisurely vacation.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Ventanas, then glide through the air with a parasailing or paragliding tour, then identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, and finally soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers.

To see ratings, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, go to the Uvita trip planner .

Getting from Monteverde to Uvita by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sun) so you can drive to Puerto Jimenez.

Things to do in Uvita

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trips

Dominical, Playa Ventanas
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Parasailing & Paragliding
Dolphin & Whale Watching

2
nights
Puerto Jimenez

Puerto Jimenez ©
Step out of the city life by going to Playa Preciosa and Finca Morpho.

To see more things to do, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Puerto Jimenez trip itinerary builder tool .

You can drive from Uvita to Puerto Jimenez in 2.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of bus and ferry. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Wed) to allow time for the car ride to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Puerto Jimenez

Parks Wildlife Beaches
Find places to stay Dec 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Finca Morpho ©
Finca Morpho
Rancho Raices de Osa ©
Rancho Raices de Osa

1
night
Drake Bay

Drake Bay
To see photos, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Drake Bay trip planner .

Drive from Puerto Jimenez to Drake Bay in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or ride a ferry. You will leave for San Jose on the 18th (Wed).

Things to do in Drake Bay

Wildlife Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Dec 17 — 18:

few
hours
San Jose

San Jose
For ratings, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose trip planning website .

Traveling by car from Drake Bay to San Jose takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus; or take a bus. You will leave for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the 19th (Thu).

Things to do in San Jose

Tours Outdoors Wildlife
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 19:

3
nights
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

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.
Explore hidden gems such as La Ceiba and Nature Riders. Get in touch with nature at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Scuba & Snorkeling. There's lots more to do: view the masterpieces at Luluberlu Art Gallery, relax in the rural setting at Finca Tierra, and look for gifts at Choco.

For maps and more tourist information, go to the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca trip tool .

Take a bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 21st (Sat) to allow enough time to take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Wildlife Outdoors Tours
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Scuba & Snorkeling
Luluberlu Art Gallery ©
Luluberlu Art Gallery

1
night
San Jose

San Jose ©
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Sat): get engrossed in the history at Museo Dr. Rafael Calderon Guardia and then view the masterpieces at Galeria Namu.

To find ratings, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the San Jose trip planning app .

Traveling by bus from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to San Jose takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. You'll have a few hours on the 22nd (Sun) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in San Jose

Shopping Museums
Find places to stay Dec 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu
Museo Dr. Rafael Calderon Guardia ©
Museo Dr. Rafael Calderon Guardia
Chieton Moren ©
Chieton Moren

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