26 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

26 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

26 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

Start: Milan
+2
Fly + Bus + Taxi:  20​h
1
Monteverde
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Tamarindo
— 4 nights
Drive:  5​h 45​min
3
Manuel Antonio
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
4
Drake Bay
— 4 nights
Drive:  6​h 30​min
5
San Jose
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
6
La Fortuna de San Carlos
— 5 nights
+2
Shuttle + Bus + Fly:  21​h 15​min
End: Milan

3
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.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Ecological Sanctuary and Chorotega Arts & Crafts. Take a break from the city and head to Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and Zipline. And it doesn't end there: take in the views from Santa Elena Skywalk, get a dose of the wild on a nature and wildlife tour, stroll through Monteverde Frog Pond, and take in the exciting artwork at Arte Jaguar Gallery.

To see where to stay, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Monteverde trip planner .

Milan, Italy to Monteverde is an approximately 20-hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also do a combination of train, flight, and taxi; or do a combination of flight and bus. The time zone changes from Central European Time (CET) to Central Standard Time (CST), which is usually a -7 hour difference. Traveling from Milan in December, expect Monteverde to be warmer, temps between 32°C and 32°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Monteverde

Wildlife Parks Tours
Find places to stay Dec 13 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Ecological Sanctuary ©
Ecological Sanctuary

4
nights
Tamarindo

Surfing remains the main reason to take a trip to Tamarindo, as the beachside town is mostly known for its excellent waves.
Take a break from the city and head to Tamarindo Beach and Playa Avellana. Visit Playa Conchal and Playa Dantita for some beach relaxation. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tamarindo: MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY (in Nosara) and Samara Beach (in Playa Samara). There's lots more to do: see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, glide peacefully along the water with some of the best stand-up paddleboarding in the area, and relax and rejuvenate at some of the best spas.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, maps, and tourist information, go to the Tamarindo trip planner .

Traveling by car from Monteverde to Tamarindo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December in Tamarindo, expect temperatures between 32°C during the day and 32°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Fri) so you can drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Playa Flamingo, Playa Dantita, Playa Conchal, Samara Beach, MAEL's ABSTRACT ART GALLERY
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

4
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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Playa Manuel Antonio and Playa Biesanz. Escape the urban bustle at Nature & Wildlife Tours and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Take a break from Manuel Antonio with a short trip to Zipline in Jaco, about 1h 25 min away. And it doesn't end there: take a memorable tour with Tours, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, take in the exciting artwork at The Captain's Booty, and stroll around Parque Nahomi.

To see maps, where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, use the Manuel Antonio sightseeing planner .

Traveling by car from Tamarindo to Manuel Antonio takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) so you can drive to Drake Bay.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Quepos, Zipline
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Zipline

4
nights
Drake Bay

Get in touch with nature at Corcovado National Park and Nature & Wildlife Tours. Spend a day of island exploring on the 27th (Fri) at Cano Island.

For reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Drake Bay holiday builder tool .

Traveling by car from Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or take a bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) so you can drive to San Jose.

Things to do in Drake Bay

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Corcovado National Park
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Corcovado National Park ©
Corcovado National Park
Cano Island ©
Cano Island

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.
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica and Museo Nacional De Costa Rica are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Get outdoors at Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz and Irazu Volcano National Park. Venture out of the city with trips to Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles (in Cartago) and Poas Volcano (in Poas Volcano National Park). There's lots more to do: take an in-depth tour of Jade Museum, see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, explore the world behind art at Museo de Arte Costarricense, and browse the exhibits of Galeria Namu.

For where to stay, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the San Jose driving holiday 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. In December, daily temperatures in San Jose can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in San Jose

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trips

Irazu Volcano National Park, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Santuario Nacional Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles, Poas Volcano
Find places to stay Dec 28 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Irazu Volcano National Park ©
Irazu Volcano National Park
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica

5
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.
Get in touch with nature at Tabacon Hot Springs and Canyoning & Rappelling Tours. Get a sense of the local culture at Iglesia de La Fortuna de San Carlos and Wood & Art Gallery. And it doesn't end there: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, get engrossed in the history at ChocoMuseo La Fortuna, explore the activities along Lake Arenal, and take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Estudio.

To see traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip website .

Traveling by car from San Jose to La Fortuna de San Carlos takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
La Fortuna Waterfall ©
La Fortuna Waterfall

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