With eleven days in Costa Rica, travelers have plenty of options. Combine three major highlights like Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio, or dive deep into the offerings of one region, like the Caribbean coast. Take a tour of the country's top highlights, take a national parks road trip, snorkel on a private tour with luxury accommodations, or learn about Costa Rica's indigenous communities: you'll learn how with these five unique itineraries.

Itinerary #1: Costa Rica Essentials - Tortuguero to the Pacific Coast

Hit up the country's best cultural and natural highlights—including food-focused tours, beach days, and national park visits—on this popular trip plan.

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Costa Rica - Foodie Tour San José
Day 2 Flight to Tortuguero National Park Tortuguero
Day 3 Turtle Spotting in Tortuguero Tortuguero
Day 4 Transfer to Sarapiquí - Optional Rafting Trip Sarapiquí
Day 5 Transfer to La Fortuna Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 6 Hike Arenal 1968 - Tabacón Hot Springs Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 7 Transfer to Rincón de la Vieja - Optional Innertubing Rincon de la Vieja
Day 8 Transfer to the Pacific Coast - Beach Day Playa Sámara
Day 9 Sámara Beach Free Day Playa Sámara
Day 10 Transfer to the Central Valley - Optional Coffee Tour Alajuela
Day 11 Depart San José  


Begin the tour in San José. On the first day, you'll go on a foodie tour of the city, trying local specialties from gallo pinto (rice and beans) to ceviche with plantains. You'll fly to Tortuguero National Park the next day for a turtle-spotting tour: the beach is a nesting area for hawksbill, leatherback, and green sea turtles, and you may also spot manatees and howler monkeys.

Transfer to Sarapiquí, where you can go on a rafting trip or tour a cacao plantation. You'll explore Arenal Volcano National Park and take a dip in Tabacón Hot Springs, then head to Rincón de la Vieja National Park for inner-tubing and horseback riding.

On day eight, you'll make your way to the Pacific coast. Check into five-star lodgings and take a day to relax on the beach of Playa Sámara. The following day, you could take a tour of Palo Verde National Park, known for bird-watching and limestone caverns, or check out the coffee shops and art galleries in the charming beach town of Sámara. You'll travel to the Central Valley at the end of the trip, where optional activities include touring a coffee plantation—Costa Rica is, after all, one of the largest coffee producers in the world—and visiting the eco-theme park at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, where you can hike through cloud forest to a series of refreshing waterfalls. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Road Trip to Arenal, Monteverde, & Manuel Antonio

This self-guided road trip leads you around many of Costa Rica's top attractions, featuring active adventures along the way from swimming in waterfalls to snorkeling to a zip line tour.

A capuchin monkey in  Manuel Antonio National Park
A capuchin monkey in Manuel Antonio National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José San José
Day 2 Pick Up Rental Car - Drive to Arenal Volcano & Hot Springs Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 3 Arenal Hanging Bridges & Arenal 1968 Reserve Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 4 Waterfall Hike & Cooking Class Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Drive from Arenal to Monteverde - Night Nature Tour Monteverde
Day 6 Aerial Fun in the Cloud Forest Monteverde
Day 7 Drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio Manuel Antonio
Day 8 Guided Hike of Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio
Day 9 Sea Kayaking & Snorkeling at Manuel Antonio Manuel Antonio
Day 10 Drive from Manuel Antonio to San José San José
Day 11 Depart San José  


After landing in San José, pick up a rental car to begin the adventure. After a night in the city, drive to Arenal Volcano, where you'll check out the volcano and hot springs, Arenal Hanging Bridges, and the Arenal 1968 Reserve. Take a waterfall hike at La Fortuna, then an afternoon cooking class at La Guaria Morada restaurant, followed by a traditional dinner. On day five, drive from Arenal to Monteverde for a nighttime nature tour and adrenaline-raising activities at the Sky Adventures Monteverde Park, an aerial amusement park in the cloud forest.

Continuing along the road trip, surfers will want to make a stop at Jacó, a lively town that's a jumping-off point for popular breaks. Drive to Manuel Antonio National Park for sea kayaking, snorkeling, and wildlife viewing: the region is a great place to spot capuchin monkeys in the wild, plus sloths and over 200 species of birds. End the trip in San José with a city tour that takes you to the National Theater and the busy Mercado Central marketplace. Finish with a three-course meal featuring traditional Costa Rican cuisine. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Río Pacuare Rafting & Corcovado National Park

Pristine landscapes and rugged hiking trails await travelers on this itinerary that takes you around the country's southern region.

Marino Ballena National Park
An empty beach in Marino Ballena National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Costa Rica - Experience San José's Culture and History San José
Day 2 Rafting Río Pacuare Río Pacuare
Day 3 Río Pacuare - Transfer to Turrialba Turrialba
Day 4 Canyoning and Zipline Turrialba
Day 5 Transfer to San Gerardo de Dota - Optional Birding San Gerardo de Dota
Day 6 Transfer to the Southern Pacific Coast Dominical
Day 7 Kayak in Marino Ballena National Park Dominical
Day 8 Free Day in Dominical Dominical
Day 9 Horseback Ride to Nauyaca Waterfalls Dominical
Day 10 Transfer to San José and Sightseeing San José
Day 11 Depart San José  


Get to know the city of San José on the first day of the trip, then head into the wilderness for an adventure on the Río Pacuare, one of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the world. Transfer to Turrialba for a tour of a virgin forest that incorporates waterfall rappelling, a canopy zip-line adventure over the treetops, and a walk across a 131-foot hanging bridge. Move onto San Gerardo de Dota, an ideal spot for birdwatching opportunities, then keep going to the southern Pacific coast and beautiful Marino Ballena National Park, where you'll go kayaking and have time to relax on the beach.

On the next stop of the trip in Dominical, you have a few options: trekking and spotting howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, and jaguars in Corcovado National Park, snorkeling around Caño Island, and boating to secluded Violin Island, a secluded island bordered by the mangrove forests of the Sarapiquí River, for swimming and a picnic lunch. Go horseback riding to the Nauyaca Waterfalls before heading back to San José for an afternoon of sightseeing and learning about Costa Rican food, history, and culture. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Luxury Wildlife & Adventure Sports Getaway

Soak in hot springs and sleep in stylish jungle lodges on this luxurious tour around Costa Rica.

Corcovado National Park
 A quiet trail in Corcovado National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Costa Rica - Transfer to Arenal and Luxurious Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 2 Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall - Exclusive Farm Tour & Cooking Lesson La Fortuna
Day 3 Private Nature Walk in Ecological Park & Butterfly Garden Danaus La Fortuna
Day 4 Arenal Hanging Bridges & Luxury Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 5 Full-Day Exclusive Whitewater Rafting Trip on the Balsa River La Fortuna
Day 6 Private Transfer from Arenal to Bajos del Toro Bajos del Toro
Day 7 Bajos del Toro Private Guided Waterfall Tour Bajos del Toro
Day 8 Grand Safari on the Tárcoles River Uvita
Day 9 Private Guided Hike in Corcovado National Park Uvita
Day 10 Exclusive Snorkeling Trip at Caño Island Biological Reserve Uvita
Day 11 Departure  


Kick off the trip in style by checking into a luxury hotel in La Fortuna and going for a dip in the onsite hot springs. On day two you'll go horseback riding to La Fortuna Waterfall, then enjoy a private tour of an organic farm complete with a cooking lesson and a meal served outdoors. You'll go on a guided nature walk to Ecological Park & Butterfly Garden Danaus the next day, home to more than 40 species of butterflies, 600 varieties of plants, and areas designed for frog reproduction. See the Arenal Hanging Bridges before a full-day whitewater rafting trip on the Balsa River.

On the second part of the trip, you'll travel to Bajos del Toro for a guided tour of jungle waterfalls. Then you'll drive to Uvita for a boat safari on the Tárcoles River, a haven for crocodiles and the home to many species of exotic birds. Go for a private guided hike of Corcovado National Park, then head to Caño Island Biological Reserve for a private snorkeling tour. It's a perfect way to finish the tour: with turquoise waters and fantastic underwater visibility, it's not only one of the best places in Costa Rica for snorkeling and diving, but it's also a wonderful place to experiment with underwater photography. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Culture & Nature on the Caribbean Coast

On this diverse trip plan that covers the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, you'll see sea turtles, surf towns, and coffee plantations.

Swimming at sunset in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Swimming at sunset in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Costa Rica – Experience San José's Culture San José
Day 2 City Tour of San José San José
Day 3 San José to Turrialba Volcano Turrialba
Day 4 Local Farm Experience & Coffee Tour Turrialba
Day 5 Turrialba to the Caribbean Coast Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 6 Transfer to Bambú - Boat Ride to Bribri Village Yorkin
Day 7 Waterfall Hike - Transfer to Puerto Viejo Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 8 Puerto Viejo to Arenal Volcano Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 9 Los Campesinos Farm Experience Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 10 Arenal to San José San José
Day 11 Depart San José  


You'll spend a couple of days in San José at the beginning of the trip for a city tour and overview of Costa Rica's culture, history, and cuisine. Then head to Turrialba Volcano for hiking, a visit to a local farm, and a coffee plantation tour. By day five, you'll be on the Caribbean coast for a sunset swim at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

The next day, transfer to Bambú, located in the Talamanca Mountains, and catch a boat to Yorkín, home of the native Bribri people. You'll have the chance to learn about chocolate-making, palm-thatching, and archery during a guided tour of the community, and at night, you'll have dinner with a local family in their home.

On day seven, after a ride on a cayuco (a traditional indigenous canoe), head back to Puerto Viejo for a hike around a series of waterfalls. Then you'll backtrack to Arenal Volcano for hiking and a dip in hot springs. At the end of the trip, you'll go to the small town of Agua Azul, a jumping-off point for a hands-on visit to a sustainable farm where you'll learn how to milk a cow, extract juice from sugar cane, and distill liquor. Circle back to San José for one last day and night exploring the city's cultural highlights, eating fresh fruit in the marketplace, and getting a feel for Costa Rican nightlife. Learn more