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: Panama City
Drive:  8​h 30​min
1
Uvita
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Manuel Antonio
— 2 nights
bus:  3​h
3
San Jose
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
4
Monteverde
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
5
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
6
Tenorio Volcano National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
7
Liberia
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
End: Managua

2
nights
Uvita

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.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Mon): identify plant and animal life at Oro Verde Biological Reserve, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Ventanas, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. On the 3rd (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Marino Ballena National Park, then relax and rejuvenate at some of the top local wellness centers, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Santa Lucia Falls.

To find maps, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Uvita trip builder website .

Panama City, Panama to Uvita is an approximately 8.5-hour car ride. You can also do a combination of flight and car. Traveling from Panama City to Uvita, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Uvita

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Playa Ventanas
Find places to stay Sep 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena ©
Parque Nacional Marino Ballena
Marino Ballena National Park ©
Marino Ballena National Park
Santa Lucia Falls ©
Santa Lucia Falls

2
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 the city life by going to Playa Manuel Antonio and Manuel Antonio National Park. Step off the beaten path and head to Waterskiing & Jetskiing and Spas. There's lots more to do: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, stop by Beso Loco Boutique de Playa, kick back and relax at Playa Biesanz, and surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Manuel Antonio day trip tool .

Traveling by car from Uvita to Manuel Antonio takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 6th (Fri) to allow time for the bus ride to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Parks Tours

Side Trip

Parque Nahomi
Find places to stay Sep 4 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
River Rafting & Tubing
Nature & Wildlife Tours

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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Fri): take in the architecture and design of Universidad de Costa Rica. On your second day here, pause for some serene contemplation at Metal Church, then take a memorable drive along Top Travel Costa Rica, then identify plant and animal life at Toucan Rescue Ranch, and finally explore the world behind art at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design.

To see ratings, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, read our San Jose travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by bus from Manuel Antonio to San Jose takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a shuttle. Expect a daytime high around 32°C in September, and nighttime lows around 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Mon) early enough to drive to Monteverde.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Metal Church, Toucan Rescue Ranch
Find places to stay Sep 6 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Toucan Rescue Ranch ©
Toucan Rescue Ranch
Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center ©
Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center

2
nights
Monteverde

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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Poas Volcano. Kick off your visit on the 9th (Mon): contemplate the geological forces at Poas Volcano, then look for all kinds of wild species at Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, then take in the dramatic scenery at Catarata Los Murcielagos - Monteverde Waterfall, and finally identify plant and animal life at Monteverde Wild Hikes. On the next day, get to know the fascinating history of Ecological Sanctuary, identify plant and animal life at Valle Escondido Preserve, then learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at The Bat Jungle, and finally identify plant and animal life at Sustainability Demonstration Center.

To see photos, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Monteverde travel route planner .

Getting from San Jose to Monteverde by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. You'll set off for La Fortuna de San Carlos on the 11th (Wed).

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Poas Volcano, Sustainability Demonstration Center
Find places to stay Sep 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Valle Escondido Preserve ©
Valle Escondido Preserve
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano

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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Arenal Volcano, Los Lagos Hot Springs and La Fortuna Waterfall. Escape the urban bustle at Tabacon Hot Springs and Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Butterfly Conservatory and Arenal Oasis Wildlife Refuge. When in La Fortuna de San Carlos, make a side trip to see Catedral de Ciudad Quesada in Quesada, approximately 1h 05 min away. There's still lots to do: surround yourself with nature on a nature and wildlife tour, take in nature's colorful creations at Arenal Natura Ecological Park, and identify plant and animal life at La Fortuna Arenal Volcano Rain Forest Reserve.

To find ratings, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos visit planner.

Traveling by car from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Tenorio Volcano National Park.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Catedral de Ciudad Quesada, Arenal Volcano, Butterfly Conservatory, Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park
Find places to stay Sep 11 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Butterfly Conservatory ©
Butterfly Conservatory
Dave & Dave's Costa Rica Nature Park ©
Nature & Wildlife Tours

1
night
Tenorio Volcano National Park

Tenorio Volcano National Park ©
Rio Celeste has been added to your itinerary. Kick off your visit on the 15th (Sun): contemplate the waterfront views at Rio Celeste.

For photos, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Tenorio Volcano National Park day trip planning site .

You can drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos to Tenorio Volcano National Park in 1.5 hours. On the 15th (Sun), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Liberia.

Things to do in Tenorio Volcano National Park

Nature Parks
Find places to stay Sep 14 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Rio Celeste ©
Rio Celeste

2
nights
Liberia

Liberia ©
Tourism in Liberia has been growing since the opening of its airport, with more and more international visitors using the city as a starting point for explorations of the country's northwest.
Keep things going the next day: identify plant and animal life at Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, then let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Immaculate Church of Concepcion de Maria, and finally stop by Souvenirs La gran Nicoya.

To find traveler tips, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Liberia trip planner .

You can drive from Tenorio Volcano National Park to Liberia in 2 hours. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Liberia

Outdoors Tours Wildlife

Side Trip

Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
Find places to stay Sep 15 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands ©
Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands
River Rafting & Tubing
Church of La Ermita La Agonia ©
Church of La Ermita La Agonia

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