Itinerary #1: Highlights of Arenal, Corcovado, & Puerto Viejo
On this self-guided road trip, you'll travel all around Costa Rica, including both Pacific and Caribbean coasts, Arenal Volcano, and the Osa Peninsula.
|Day 1||Arrive in Costa Rica - Experience San José's Culture and History||San José|
|Day 2||San José - Transfer to Turrialba Region||Turrialba|
|Day 3||Transfer from Turrialba to Puerto Viejo||Puerto Viejo de Talamanca|
|Day 4||Sloths, Monkeys & Beach Time||Puerto Viejo de Talamanca|
|Day 5||Puerto Viejo to Sarapiquí||Sarapiquí|
|Day 6||Transfer from Sarapiquí to La Fortuna||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 7||Volcano Hike & La Fortuna Waterfall||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 8||La Fortuna to Carara National Park||Carara National Park|
|Day 9||Carara National Park Guided Tour||Carara National Park|
|Day 10||Transfer from Carara to Dominical & Uvita||Dominical|
|Day 11||Free Day in Dominical||Dominical|
|Day 12||Dominical to Osa Peninsula - Explore Bahía Drake||Corcovado National Park|
|Day 13||Corcovado National Park Hike||Corcovado National Park|
|Day 14||Snorkeling & Scuba Diving at Isla del Caño Biological Reserve||Corcovado National Park|
|Day 15||Osa Peninsula to San José||San José|
|Day 16||Depart San José|
Start the trip in San José, then drive to Turrialba to see the Turrialba and Irazú volcanoes. You'll move onto the beaches of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and have a chance to see sloths and monkeys at the Jaguar Rescue Center before heading to the gorgeous jungle waterfalls at La Fortuna. Hike around Arenal Volcano and the waterfalls before moving on to lesser-visited Carara National Park for a guided tour. Here, you'll spot scarlet macaws in the wild, not to mention white-faced and howler monkeys, toucans, iguanas, and a wide variety of exotic birds.
On day ten, drive to Dominical and Uvita and see whales in the water at Marino Ballena National Park. Go for a snorkeling excursion at Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, home to whales, dolphins, sea turtles, marine birds, and one of the healthiest coral reefs on the Pacific coast. Then drive south to the village of Sierpe, a base for excursions to the secluded Osa Peninsula. You'll take an early-morning ferry to Bahía Drake (Drake Bay), the main village on the north end of the peninsula and a gateway to the famed Corcovado National Park. Hike through virgin rainforests and relax on empty beaches before making your way back to civilization in San José. Learn more
Itinerary #2: Road Trip Arenal & the Nicoya Peninsula
Drive yourself to Costa Rica's rainforests, volcanoes, and Pacific beaches on this self-guided adventure that includes whitewater rafting excursions and time to relax in laid-back surf towns.
|Day 1||Arrival in Liberia - Transfer to La Fortuna & Hotsprings||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 2||Arenal Zip-Line Tour||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 3||Chocolate Experience - Swimming in Waterfalls||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 4||Arenal Free Day||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 5||Arenal to Playa Tamarindo||Tamarindo|
|Day 6||Private Surf Lesson at Playa Tamarindo||Tamarindo|
|Day 7||Sunset Catamaran Adventure||Tamarindo|
|Day 8||Free Day in Tamarindo||Tamarindo|
|Day 9||Tamarindo to Nosara - Optional Beach Excursion||Nosara|
|Day 10||Nosara Mangrove Tour - SUP Paddle Board||Nosara|
|Day 11||Nosara - Free Day||Nosara|
|Day 12||Nosara to Santa Teresa||Santa Teresa|
|Day 13||Free Afternoon and Evening Bioluminescent Bay Tour||Santa Teresa|
|Day 14||Free Day in Santa Teresa||Santa Teresa|
|Day 15||Surfing Lesson at Playa Santa Teresa||Santa Teresa|
|Day 16||Santa Teresa to Liberia & Depart Costa Rica|
After arrival in Liberia, the first few days of the trip take you to La Fortuna and Arenal for a mix of adventure and relaxation. Soak in the hot springs, zip-line through the jungle, go for a swim in fresh waterfall pools, and learn about how chocolate is made during a hands-on tour. On day five, you'll drive to the beach of Playa Tamarindo for a private surf lesson and a sunset catamaran cruise. After a day to relax on the beach or to try whitewater rafting on the Tenorio River, activities continue the next day with a mangrove tour in Nosara and the option to try SUP (stand-up paddleboarding).
On the second part of the trip, you'll head to Santa Teresa, known for its pristine beaches and lively surf culture. In addition to water sports, the area offers a special highlight: an evening bioluminescent tour of the bay that starts with a short sea kayaking excursion from the Curú Wildlife Refuge to Quesera Beach, then a sunset picnic with drinks. Take a surfing lesson at the end of the trip, or go horseback riding or hiking near the beach. Then you'll head back to Liberia, where the trip ends. Learn more
Itinerary #3: Rafting, Rappeling, & Hiking Adventure
Outdoorsy travelers love this action-packed itinerary that goes to the beaches, rivers, and rainforests of Costa Rica.
|Day 1||Arrive in San José||San José|
|Day 2||Rafting Río Pacuare||Río Pacuare|
|Day 3||Free Day in the Jungles of Río Pacuare||Río Pacuare|
|Day 4||Rafting Class III-IV Rapids - Arrive in Arenal Volcano National Park||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 5||Volcano Hike & La Fortuna Waterfall||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 6||Waterfall Rappelling in Arenal||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 7||Arenal to the Gulf of Papagayo||Gulf de Papagayo|
|Day 8||Beach Day and Sunset Catamaran Sail in Guanacaste||Gulf de Papagayo|
|Day 9||Free Day in Papagayo||Gulf de Papagayo|
|Day 10||Gulf de Papagayo - Transfer to Monteverde||Monteverde|
|Day 11||Zip-Line Fun in the Cloud Forest||Monteverde|
|Day 12||Monteverde to Jacó||Jacó|
|Days 13-14||Free Day in Jacó||Jacó|
|Day 15||Jacó to San José||San José|
|Day 16||Depart San José|
After a day and night in San José, the adventure begins in the wilderness. You'll go rafting on the Río Pacuare river and have a day for hiking in the jungle. On day four, arrive in Arenal Volcano National Park, where you'll hike to Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna waterfall. The following day, try out waterfall rappelling—also known as canyoning, one of the most popular adventure sports in the country—in the national park.
Transfer from Arenal to the Gulf of Papagayo and take it easy with a day on the beach and a sunset catamaran sail in Guanacaste. The next day, go rafting on the Tenorio River or hike a jungle trail in Rincón de la Vieja National Park. Next up is a stop in Monteverde for a zip-lining adventure in the cloud forest. You'll end up the trip in Jacó, a surf village near San José, where you can hang out on the sand or hike up to El Miro, an observation deck, for panoramic views of the coast. Head back to the big city to catch your flight out. Learn more
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
Itinerary #4: Wellness, Nature, and Luxury in Costa Rica
Treat yourself—and challenge yourself—on this diverse trip plan that balances wellness and adventure at some of Costa Rica's top destinations.
|Day 1||Arrival in Costa Rica - Private Transfer to The Retreat||Alajuela|
|Day 2||Luxury Wellness Experience at The Retreat||Alajuela|
|Day 3||Luxury Rainforest Lodge on the Pacuare River||Turrialba|
|Day 4||Exclusive Pacuare River Trip||Turrialba|
|Day 5||Rafting the Río Pacuare - Bajos del Toro||Bajos del Toro|
|Day 6||Bajos del Toro Waterfall Hike With Private Guide||Bajos del Toro|
|Day 7||Transfer to Arenal - Luxury Tabacón Hot Springs||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 8||Exclusive Chocolate Making Experience in Arenal||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 9||Arenal 1968 Hike With Private Guide||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 10||Transfer to the Pacific Coast - Playa Esterillos||Quepos|
|Day 11||Pacific Coast Excursion With Private Guide||Quepos|
|Day 12||Transfer to San Isidro del General||San Isidro del general|
|Days 13-14||Free Day at Hacienda AltaGracia||San Isidro del general|
|Day 15||Transfer to Alajuela||Alajuela|
|Day 16||Depart Costa Rica|
When you land in Costa Rica, you'll immediately go by private transfer to The Retreat, a luxury wellness center on the slopes of a mountain just outside Atenas. Practice yoga and get a massage during the retreat's luxurious wellness experience, or simply go for a swim in the pool. The next day, you'll check into the high-end Pacuare River Lodge, then go for a naturalist-led tour to see exotic birds and native flora and fauna. Go rafting on day five, followed by a waterfall hike with a private guide in Bajos del Toro on day six.
As the second week of the trip begins, continue onto Arenal and La Fortuna to go for a dip in the Tabacón Hot Springs, learn about the chocolate-making process with a hands-on tour, and go for a guided hike with a knowledgeable private guide. Head to the Pacific Coast, where you'll stay at Alma del Pacífico Beach Hotel & Spa on the beach at Playa Esterillos. Go canoeing or kayaking with your guide, then move onto San Isidro del General, where you'll be staying at luxurious Hacienda Altagracia. Visit Chirripó National Park, home to Costa Rica's tallest mountain, or hike to Nauyaca Waterfalls, one of the country’s most spectacular cascades, at the end of the trip. You'll spend the last night of the itinerary at the five-star Xandari Resort and Spa outside Alajuela. Learn more
Itinerary #5: Luxury Osa Peninsula Eco-Adventure
Hike through cloud forests, feel the spray of hidden waterfalls, and spot exotic birds in the wild on this adventure that mixes luxury and the great outdoors.
|Day 1||Arrival in Costa Rica - Private Transfer to Vara Blanca||VaraBlanca|
|Day 2||Private Tour of La Paz Waterfall Gardens||VaraBlanca|
|Day 3||Private Transfer to San Isidro del General||San Isidro del general|
|Day 4||Exclusive Horseback Riding Adventure||San Isidro del general|
|Day 5||Private Tour of Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary||San Isidro del general|
|Day 6||Exclusive Horseback Coffee Country Adventure||San Isidro del general|
|Day 7||Luxury Tasting of San Isidro Farmer’s Market||San Isidro del general|
|Day 8||Guided Horseback Excursion and Farm Experience||San Isidro del general|
|Day 9||Private Charter Flight to the Osa Peninsula||Puerto Jiménez|
|Day 10||Birding and Waterfall Hike With a Private Guide||Puerto Jiménez|
|Day 11||Private Guided Medicine Hike and Rainforest Walk||Puerto Jiménez|
|Day 12||Exclusive Osa Trail Hike and Matapalo Adventure||Puerto Jiménez|
|Day 13||Sunset Birding With a Private Guide||Puerto Jiménez|
|Day 14||Osa Peninsula Private Nocturnal Nature Walk||Puerto Jiménez|
|Day 15||Exclusive Plant a Tree Experience||Puerto Jiménez|
Get off the beaten path from the start of the trip with a private transfer to Vara Blanca on day one. You'll enjoy a private tour of
La Paz Waterfall Gardens before making the journey to San Isidro del General, where a horseback riding adventure awaits, followed by a private tour of Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary, a gourmet tour and tasting at San Isidro Farmer’s Market, and a hands-on experience at a local farm. On day nine, leave San Isidro del General behind, taking a private charter flight to the remote Osa Peninsula.
You'll stay in Puerto Jiménez for the second week of the trip, going on a bird-watching and waterfall hike with a private guide on day ten and a "medicine hike" in the rainforest on day 11, during which you'll learn about indigenous traditions and natural remedies using native plants. Go on the exclusive Rain Forest Ridge Walk the following day. Hike the Osa Trail and visit the village of Matapalo before you go on a sunset birding tour with a private guide. Finish the trip with a tree-planting experience in an emerging forest: a great way to offset your carbon footprint before returning home. Learn more
Itinerary #6: Cultural Costa Rica - Coffee Farms, Volcanos, & More
Learn about Costa Rica's people, flora, and fauna on this popular itinerary that includes interactions with indigenous communities and plenty of opportunities to spot sloths (and possibly jaguars) in their natural habitats.
|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 the Turrialba Volcano Region||Turrialba|
|Day 4||Local Farm Experience & Coffee Tour||Turrialba|
|Day 5||From 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||Transfer from Puerto Viejo to Tortuguero||Tortuguero|
|Day 9||Boat Tour of Tortuguero National Park||Tortuguero|
|Day 10||Tortuguero to Arenal Volcano||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 11||Los Campesinos Farm Experience||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 12||Arenal 1968 Volcano Guided Hike - Natural Hot Springs||Arenal/La Fortuna|
|Day 13||Arenal to Rincón de la Vieja National Park||Rincon de la Vieja|
|Day 14||Cowboy for a Day||Rincon de la Vieja|
|Day 15||Rincón de la Vieja to San José||San José|
|Day 16||Depart San José|
Hit the ground running in San José with a city tour and a culinary introduction to Costa Rica at the capital's many markets, bars, and restaurants. On day three, transfer to the Turrialba Volcano region for a local farm experience, a trip to the volcano, and a coffee tour where you'll learn about the process behind the scenes. Move onto the Caribbean coast on day five and relax during sunset at the beach in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. On day six, you'll transfer to Bambú and take a boat ride to the village of Yorkín, which is home to the indigenous Bribri people. Get a crash course on the group's language, culture, and food during your afternoon in the community.
The next day, you'll go on a waterfall hike, then transfer to Tortuguero National Park for a canoe tour and the chance to spot sloths, howler and capuchin monkeys, and 300 species of birds in the wild. Move onto Arenal Volcano and go for a guided hike and a swim in natural hot springs after learning about life on a sustainable farm near the village of Agua Azul. Finish up the trip at Rincón de la Vieja National Park and experience what it's like to live like a cowboy during a full-day excursion to rural Hacienda Guachipelin. On the working ranch, you'll help milk cows, herd cattle, and repair fences. Enjoy a relaxed picnic lunch before heading back to the capital for one last night on the town in San José. Learn more
More Great 16-Day Costa Rica Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your Costa Rica trip? Check out these other 16-day Costa Rica itineraries, ranging from active, to cultural, to luxury, or family-friendly trips.
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