28 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

28 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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Route & dates

28 days in Costa Rica Itinerary

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

2
nights
Poas Volcano National Park

Poas Volcano National Park
A trip to Poas Volcano National Park allows you to see one of the world's largest craters, trek through a lush rainforest, and visit a coffee plantation all on the same day.
On the 15th (Sun), contemplate the geological forces at Poas Volcano and then admire the sheer force of Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz. On the 16th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: appreciate the views at Orosi River Valley ( El Valle del Rio Orosi ) and then admire the sheer force of Los Chorros Waterfalls.

To see maps, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Poas Volcano National Park trip itinerary app .

Budapest, Hungary to Poas Volcano National Park is an approximately 18.5-hour combination of flight and car. Traveling from Budapest to Poas Volcano National Park, you'll gain 7 hours due to the time zone difference. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to travel to Tamarindo.

Things to do in Poas Volcano National Park

Parks Nature

Side Trips

Los Chorros Waterfalls, Jardins da Cachoeira de La Paz, Orosi River Valley ( El Valle del Rio Orosi )
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
Los Chorros Waterfalls ©
Los Chorros Waterfalls

4
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Tamarindo: Playa Conchal (in Playa Conchal), Stand-Up Paddleboarding (in Playa Flamingo) and Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (Llanos de Cortez Waterfall & Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands). There's much more to do: kick back and relax at Tamarindo Beach, get in on the family fun at Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, tour the pleasant surroundings at Monkey Park, and get a taste of life in the country at Pura Aventura.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Tamarindo trip itinerary builder website .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Poas Volcano National Park to Tamarindo takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. In December, daytime highs in Tamarindo are 32°C, while nighttime lows are 32°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Monteverde.

Things to do in Tamarindo

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Black Stallion Eco Park & Estates, Playa Conchal, Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands, Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Pura Aventura ©
Pura Aventura
Tamarindo Beach ©
Tamarindo Beach
Playa Conchal ©
Playa Conchal

4
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.
Monteverde is known for adventure, parks, nightlife, fun & games, and zoos & aquariums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, admire the natural beauty at Monteverde Orchid Garden, admire the masterpieces at Chorotega Arts & Crafts, and look for gifts at Monteverde Hummingbird Gallery.

To see reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Monteverde day trip planning website .

You can drive from Tamarindo to Monteverde in 3.5 hours. Other options are to take a shuttle; or take a bus. In December, daily temperatures in Monteverde can reach 32°C, while at night they dip to 32°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) to allow time to drive to La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Things to do in Monteverde

Parks Wildlife Tours
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
El Trapiche Tour ©
El Trapiche Tour

6
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, stroll through Proyecto Asis, contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Arenal, and scramble along the landscape with a canyoning and rapelling tour.

For photos, maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our La Fortuna de San Carlos trip planner .

You can drive from Monteverde to La Fortuna de San Carlos in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Tortuguero.

Things to do in La Fortuna de San Carlos

Parks Nature Tours

Side Trip

Arenal Volcano
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Tabacon Hot Springs ©
Tabacon Hot Springs
River Rafting & Tubing
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

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 31st (Tue): get a new perspective on nature at Sea Turtle Conservancy and then explore the striking landscape of Tortuguero National Park.

To see where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Tortuguero trip itinerary maker website .

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 December in Tortuguero, expect temperatures between 34°C during the day and 25°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Manuel Antonio.

Things to do in Tortuguero

Parks Nature Museums
Find places to stay Dec 30 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Tortuguero National Park ©
Tortuguero National Park
Sea Turtle Conservancy ©
Sea Turtle Conservancy

5
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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Manuel Antonio: Jaco (Costa Rica SUP'ers & Zipline) and Parasailing & Paragliding (in Dominical). And it doesn't end there: tour the pleasant surroundings at Playa Manuel Antonio, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Manuel Antonio National Park, see Off-Road Tours, and let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour.

To see photos, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Manuel Antonio vacation tool .

Getting from Tortuguero to Manuel Antonio by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can take a bus to San Jose.

Things to do in Manuel Antonio

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Quepos, Jaco, Parasailing & Paragliding
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 5:
Highlights from your plan
Playa Manuel Antonio ©
Playa Manuel Antonio
Zipline
River Rafting & Tubing

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.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Jose: Toucan Rescue Ranch (in San Isidro), Jardin Botanico Lankester (in Cartago) and Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum (in Orosi). And it doesn't end there: let the river carry you with a rafting and tubing tour, take in the exciting artwork at Galeria Namu, see the interesting displays at Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, and get engrossed in the history at Jade Museum.

For more things to do, reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our San Jose attractions planner.

Getting from Manuel Antonio to San Jose by bus takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a shuttle. In January, daily temperatures in San Jose can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 21°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Parks Tours

Side Trips

Toucan Rescue Ranch, Jardin Botanico Lankester, J.LANG Atelier & Showroom, Irazu Volcano National Park, Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi and the Museum
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Top Travel Costa Rica ©
Top Travel Costa Rica
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica ©
Teatro Nacional Costa Rica
Irazu Volcano National Park ©
Irazu Volcano National Park

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