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: Paris
Fly:  14​h 30​min
1
San Jose
— 4 nights
bus + taxi:  3​h 30​min
2
Tortuguero
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h
3
Tamarindo
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
4
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Manuel Antonio
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
+2
shuttle + bus + Fly:  18​h 30​min
End: Paris

4
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.
Explore San Jose's surroundings by going to La Paz Waterfall Gardens (in Vara Blanca) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). There's much more to do: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, explore the world behind art at Precolumbian Gold Museum, step off the mainland to explore Cocos Island National Park, and stop by J.LANG Atelier & Showroom.

To see maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our San Jose trip planner.

Paris, France to San Jose is an approximately 14.5-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Central European Time (CET) to Central Standard Time (CST) is minus 7 hours. Traveling from Paris in May, things will get somewhat warmer in San Jose: highs are around 32°C and lows about 22°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Tue) to allow time to take a shuttle to Tortuguero.

Things to do in San Jose

Nature Parks Adventure

Side Trips

Cocos Island National Park, Poas Volcano, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, J.LANG Atelier & Showroom
Find places to stay May 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum ©
Pre-Columbian Gold Museum
Galeria Namu ©
Galeria Namu

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 15th (Tue): explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

For other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Tortuguero journey planning site .

Getting from San Jose to Tortuguero by shuttle takes about 3.5 hours. In May in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 32°C during the day and 23°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Wed) so you can travel to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Nature Parks
Find places to stay May 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park

2
nights
Tamarindo

Tamarindo ©
Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Wed): identify plant and animal life at Monkey Park, then look for gifts at Azul Profundo Boutique, and then stop by Diamante Boutique.

To find more things to do, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Tamarindo driving holiday site .

Getting from Tortuguero to Tamarindo by combination of shuttle and flight takes about 6 hours. Other options: do a combination of shuttle, flight, and taxi; or do a combination of shuttle, taxi, flight, and bus. Traveling from Tortuguero in May, you will find days in Tamarindo are a bit warmer (39°C), and nights are about the same (26°C). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Fri) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Find places to stay May 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Bolas Locas Mini Golf ©
Bolas Locas Mini Golf

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.
Kick off your visit on the 18th (Fri): admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Bat Jungle and then kick your exploration up a notch at some of the top local zipline courses and adventure parks. Keep things going the next day: identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Frog Pond and then identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

For ratings, where to stay, maps, and tourist information, use the Monteverde trip maker website .

Getting from Tamarindo to Monteverde by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Sun) early enough to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Adventure
Find places to stay May 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
The Bat Jungle ©
The Bat Jungle

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.
Manuel Antonio is known for beaches, adventure, nightlife, nature, and outdoors. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Manuel Antonio, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, stroll through Playa Biesanz, and whizz through the canopy at MidWorld Costa Rica.

To see maps, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Manuel Antonio road trip tool .

Drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and bus; or take a bus. In May, daily temperatures in Manuel Antonio can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 23°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Wed) so you can travel to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Adventure Tours
Find places to stay May 20 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
MidWorld Costa Rica ©
MidWorld Costa Rica
River Rafting & Tubing

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, trails, wildlife, and theme parks. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in the natural beauty of Tabacon Hot Springs, get interesting insight from Tours, take in the dramatic scenery at La Fortuna Waterfall, and get impressive views of Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal).

To see photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna de San Carlos by combination of taxi and flight takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

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

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