Ten days in Costa Rica is an excellent amount of time to discover the country's pristine landscapes while staying in luxury accommodations and indulging. Enjoy the freedom a rental car provides on a road trip adventure stretching from Poás to Manuel Antonio, or take the trail less traveled on a journey featuring the Pacific coast's national parks. Alternatively, consider an activity-filled itinerary featuring Tortuguero, Arenal, and Papagayo, or delight in a bird-watching trip through the country's premier ecolodges.

Itinerary #1: Luxury Costa Rica Road Trip Highlights

This 10-day self-drive itinerary is packed with exclusive activities and lavish accommodations, perfect for first-time visitors seeking a well-rounded luxury trip. You'll experience Costa Rica's diverse landscapes, from the smoldering crater of Poás volcano to the white sand beaches of Manuel Antonio. Other memorable highlights include a guided hike through Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a spa session at Cala Spa, and a nine-course dinner in an exclusive treetop locale. 

Settle into the 5-star Arenas del Mar Resort for views over Manuel Antonio (photo courtesy Arenas del Mar)
Settle into the 5-star Arenas del Mar Resort for views over Manuel Antonio (photo courtesy of Arenas del Mar)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Drive to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Poás Volcano Tour Poás
Day 2 Guided Exploration of La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Drive to La Fortuna Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 3 Bridges, Waterfall & Volcano Tour, Canopy Ziplining Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 4 Tree Climbing in the Rainforest, Private Dinner at Nayara Springs Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Drive to Monteverde, Río Celeste Waterfall Hike Monteverde
Day 6 Private Cloud Forest Reserve Guided Hike, Treetop Dining Monteverde
Day 7 Drive to Manuel Antonio, Rainforest Night Tour Manuel Antonio
Day 8 Manuel Antonio National Park Hike, Rainforest Spa Visit Manuel Antonio
Day 9 Free Morning in Manuel Antonio, Afternoon Sport Fishing Manuel Antonio
Day 10 Drive to San José, Depart Costa Rica  

Welcome to Costa Rica! Upon arrival in San José, you'll pick up your rental car and drive to the 5-star Peace Lodge in La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. Spend the afternoon hiking to Poás Volcano's crater rim, then explore independently the following morning until it's time to hit the road to La Fortuna. Here, you'll check into Nayara Springs resort and dedicate the next two days to Arenal Volcano National Park. Start with an awe-inspiring hike along the Arenal Hanging Bridges, and join a private canopy tour and a unique tree-climbing adventure before a private rainforest dinner experience rounds off your stay. 

Midway through your luxury adventure, your road trip continues to the lush Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Check into the secluded Senda Monteverde Boutique Hotel, which will be the perfect base to embark on a guided hike in search of wildlife and delight in an exclusive treetop dining experience. Then, settle in for a scenic four-hour drive to Manuel Antonio, your new home for three nights. You'll wrap up your trip here by hiking in Manuel Antonio National Park, joining a private fishing excursion, and unwinding at Cala Spa before returning to San José. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Off-the-Beaten-Path Luxury on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast

Spend your days adventuring and your evenings relaxing in 4-5-star accommodations on this off-the-beaten-path luxury trip. Crafted for those seeking a rejuvenating escape with a generous helping of hikes, you'll split your time between the wilds of Bajos del Toro, the smooth beaches of Playa Esterillos, and the beloved adventure town of Puerto Jiménez. Top highlights include a thrilling trek on the Osa Trail, a food tour in the trendy Barrio Escalante, and visits to the Sierpe River Wetlands and Corcovado National Park.

 Explore the untamed coast of the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado
Explore the untamed coast of the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Transfer to Bajos del Toro, Jungle Night Hike Bajos del Toro
Day 2 Del Toro Waterfall Hike, Oxcart Painting Bajos del Toro
Day 3 Early Morning Birding Tour, Cloud Forest Hike Bajos del Toro
Day 4 Transfer to Esterillos Este, Optional Surfing & Zipline Esterillos Este
Day 5 Estrella Beach Day, Optional Manuel Antonio Hike Esterillos Este
Day 6 Sierpe River Wetlands Tour, Transfer to Puerto Jiménez Puerto Jiménez
Day 7 Early Morning Birding Tour, Matapalo Village & Rainforest Hike Puerto Jiménez
Day 8 Trek the Osa Trail, Optional Corcovado National Park Hike Puerto Jiménez
Day 9 Transfer to San José, Barrio Escalante Food Tour San José
Day 10 Optional Museum Visit, Depart San José  

Your adventure begins with a seamless transfer from San José to the hidden gem of Bajos del Toro, renowned for its spectacular waterfalls and rivers. Spend your afternoon unwinding at your 4-star hotel, and over the next few days, immerse yourself in diverse activities, including a trek to the majestic Catarata del Toro, an oxcart painting workshop, and a bird-watching tour. Afterward, journey to Playa Esterillos and check into the beachfront 4-star Alma del Pacifico Hotel. Enjoy an evening of surfing or ziplining and dedicate the following day to exploring the untouched rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park.

Next, continue to Puerto Jiménez on the Osa Peninsula, and upon your arrival, settle into the secluded Lapa Rios Ecolodge for a three-night stay. Rejuvenate with an evening at the on-site spa, readying yourself for the days ahead filled with hikes through bird-rich rainforests and explorations along the famed Osa Trail or within Corcovado National Park. Then, with your trip winding down, catch a short flight to San José. While based at the luxury boutique Grano de Oro hotel, you'll have time to roam through Barrio Escalante, savor dinner at Mercado Escalante, and visit the Museo del Jade before departure. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Coast-to-Coast Luxury in Costa Rica: Tortuguero, Arenal & Papagayo

Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Costa Rica during this coastal luxury tour across Tortuguero, Arenal, and the Gulf of Papagayo. Ideal for nature lovers and thrill-seekers eager to explore the many extraordinary landscapes of the country, you'll boat through lagoons in search of river otters, hike through lava fields, and snorkel in tropical fish-filled waters. In between, unwind at 5-star resorts, rejuvenate in natural hot springs, and spend an uninterrupted day at the beach. 

End your trip on the Gulf of Papagayo at Casa Chameleon (photo courtesy Casa Chameleon)
End your trip on the Gulf of Papagayo at Casa Chameleon (photo courtesy of Casa Chameleon)
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Transfer to Tortuguero, Welcome Dinner Tortuguero
Day 2 Tortuguero Boat Tour, Turtle Nesting Experience Tortuguero
Day 3 Puerto Limón Walking Tour, Tortuguero Mountain Hike Tortuguero
Day 4 Transfer to La Fortuna, Hot Springs & Forest Night Hike Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Arenal Volcano Park Hike, Canopy Tour Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 6 Arenal Hanging Bridges & La Fortuna Waterfall, Private Dinner Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 7 Transfer to Gulf of Papagayo, National Park Boat Tour Gulf of Papagayo
Day 8 Snorkel Catalina Islands & Kayak Tour Gulf of Papagayo
Day 9 Papagayo Free Day Gulf of Papagayo
Day 10 Transfer to Liberia, Depart  

Straight off the plane in Tortuguero, you'll quickly discover why Costa Rica is renowned for its pristine landscapes as you journey by boat to the 4-star Tortuga Lodge & Gardens. Settle in over a welcome dinner and fully experience Tortuguero National Park wonders over the following days while boating, watching sea turtles hatch, and hiking up Cerro Tortuguero. Next, hop on a flight bound for La Fortuna, a small town at the base of Arenal volcano. Check into your mountainside villa at the luxurious Nayara Tented Camp, then spend your evening relaxing at EcoTermales Hot Springs.

With two more days based in Tortuguero, you'll find plentiful time to explore your otherworldly surroundings. Memorable activities include hiking through Arenal 1968, ziplining over treetops, walking the famous Arenal Hanging Bridges, and dining near the cascading La Fortuna Waterfall. Next, transfer to the Gulf of Papagayo, where you'll quickly find yourself lazing on the golden beach of Playa Panama. While here, you'll also tour Palo Verde National Park by boat, join a half-day Catalina Islands snorkeling trip, and take a day to relax before transferring to Liberia to catch your onward flight. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Pura Vida Luxury Adventure in Costa Rica: Turrialba, Arenal & Tamarindo

Indulge your inner adventurer on this active luxury tour, featuring a week of fully guided activities, including rafting excursions, rainforest hikes, and optional surfing lessons. Starting in Turrialba, you'll discover the natural wonders of Central Valley while rafting, canyoning, and touring a coffee farm. Then, spend three days in Arenal, where you'll zipline and join a special tree-climbing experience before rounding off your trip in Tamarindo. In between, rejuvenate at upscale accommodations and during scenic transfers.

Go canyoning off cliffs and waterfalls in Turrialba
Go canyoning off cliffs and waterfalls in Turrialba
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Transfer to Turrialba Turrialba
Day 2 Río Pacuare Whitewater Rafting Turrialba
Day 3 Canyoning Adventure, Chocolate & Coffee Tour Turrialba
Day 4 Transfer to Arenal/La Fortuna, Sarapiquí Nature Hike Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Rainforest Tree Climbing Adventure Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 6 Arenal Volcano Hike, La Fortuna Waterfall & Zipline Tour Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 7 Transfer to Tamarindo, Hike the Río Celeste Tamarindo
Day 8 Kayak & Snorkel in Tamarindo, Sunset Catamaran Tour Tamarindo
Day 9 Free Day in Tamarindo, Optional Surfing & Boat Tours Tamarindo
Day 10 Transfer to Liberia, Depart  

After arriving in San José, your luxury adventure begins with a private transfer east to Turrialba, a scenic town renowned for its thrilling activities. Any lingering jet lag will quickly fade as you whitewater raft down the Río Pacuare, embark on a canyoning excursion, and visit a historic coffee farm. Next, a more relaxed pace awaits during a transfer to La Fortuna and time to rejuvenate in your accommodation's hot springs. Then, it's back to the exciting excursions, first during a unique tree-climbing adventure followed by a private tour around Arenal volcano and a zipline excursion through the rainforest. 

A visit to Costa Rica wouldn't be complete without time spent on its picturesque coast, which is why your next stop is Tamarindo, a beloved beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula. Upon arrival, check into the luxurious Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas, then take the evening to relax by the outdoor pool or indulge in a spa treatment. The excitement continues with a morning kayak trip to Isla El Capitán on Day 8, capped by a catamaran outing along the Gold Coast, a strip of coastline known for white-sand beaches, secluded bays, and tropical jungles. Finally, savor a free day in Tamarindo before you depart from Liberia. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Luxury Costa Rica Birding Getaway

Experience the unparalleled beauty and biodiversity of Costa Rica on this luxury getaway, which has been handcrafted for bird and wildlife enthusiasts. You'll hop between the country's top birding spots throughout your adventure, including San Gerardo de Dota, Rancho Naturalista, Sarapiquí, and Boca Tapada. Numerous naturalist-guided hikes promise you the best chance of spotting over 450 species of birds, while immersive experiences such as a chocolate plantation tour, a hike in the Maquenque Wildlife Refuge, and a boat trip on the San Carlos River round off your adventure. 

Spot the great green macaw in the Maquenque Wildlife Refuge
Spot the great green macaw in the Maquenque Wildlife Refuge
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Transfer to San Gerardo de Dota San Gerardo de Dota
Day 2 Quetzal Watching Excursion, Coffee Tour & Spa Treatment San Gerardo de Dota
Day 3 Transfer to Turrialba, Guayabo Archaeological Tour Turrialba
Day 4 Rancho Naturalista Birding Hike & Cacao Farm Tour Turrialba
Day 5 Transfer to Sarapiquí, Night Forest Hike Sarapiquí
Day 6 Tirimbina Bird-Watching Tour & Rainforest Nature Hike Sarapiquí
Day 7 Transfer to Boca Tapada & Maquenque Wildlife Refuge Boca Tapada
Day 8 Maquenque Bird-Watching & Nocturnal Animals Tour Boca Tapada
Day 9 San Carlos River Cruise & Boca San Carlos Town Tour Boca Tapada
Day 10 Transfer to San José, Depart   

Your luxury escape starts with a scenic transfer from San José to the quaint town of San Gerardo de Dota, which borders the renowned Los Quetzales National Park. Dedicate a day here to the pursuit of the resplendent quetzal before you journey through the mountainous landscapes to Turrialba. Upon arrival, check into the renowned birding lodge of Rancho Naturalista and join a naturalist guide for a memorable meander through primary forests, followed by a cacao plantation visit. Next, your journey brings you to Sarapiquí, where you'll enjoy a two-night stay at the rainforest-surrounded Selva Verde Lodge.

Spend your first evening in Sarapiquí hiking in search of nocturnal animals, then experience your surroundings in daylight during a bird-watching tour in Tirimbina. Next, venture off the beaten path to Boca Tapada, where you'll be welcomed at the Maquenque Ecolodge. Enjoy a restful first night lazing by the garden pool, which will prepare you for the following morning's 5:30 am expedition to the Maquenque Wildlife Refuge. On your final day, delight in a serene boat journey along the Río San Carlos and learn about local customs in Boca San Carlos before your return to San José. Learn more

More Great 10-Day Costa Rica Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these other 10-day Costa Rica itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


Map of 10 Days in Costa Rica - 5 Luxury Itinerary Ideas
Map of 10 Days in Costa Rica - 5 Luxury Itinerary Ideas