Itinerary #1: Explore the Volcanoes & Wildlife of Arenal
Discover Costa Rica's landscapes and wildlife on this four-day highlights itinerary around the Arenal region that includes a guided rainforest hike, a visit to a sloth habitat, a chocolate tour, and a soak in natural hot springs.
|Day 1||Arrive in San José, Transfer to La Fortuna & Nighttime Rainforest Walk||La Fortuna|
|Day 2||Go on a Sloth and Bird Hike & Dip in Hot Springs||La Fortuna|
|Day 3||Explore the Hanging Bridges & Visit a Chocolate Farm||La Fortuna|
|Day 4||Transfer to San José, Depart|
Welcome to Costa Rica! You'll arrive in San José, then transfer to La Fortuna, your jumping-off point for exploring the Arenal region. You'll go on a guided hike to spot nocturnal wildlife before getting some rest. On Day Two, you'll walk through a sloth habitat, looking for the slow-moving creatures in the trees, and enjoy a relaxing dip in the Tabacon Hot Springs to finish the day.
On Day Three, you'll have a chance to explore the rainforest as you walk along the famous Hanging Bridges of Arenal. Then you'll learn how chocolate is made, from bean to bar, on a tour of a cocoa bean farm. Enjoy dinner at a restaurant in La Fortuna before heading back to San José on Day Four to catch your flight out. Learn more
Check out Ultimate Guide to Arenal for more information.
Itinerary #2: Discover Manuel Antonio National Park
This action-packed four-day adventure in Manuel Antonio National Park leads you around the park's lush rainforest and white sandy beaches for kayaking, surfing, bird-watching, and wildlife viewing.
|Day 1||Arrive in San José & Transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park||Manuel Antonio|
|Day 2||Explore Manuel Antonio National Park||Manuel Antonio|
|Day 3||Kayak Through the Mangrove & Learn to Surf at Playa Scull||Manuel Antonio|
|Day 4||Transfer to San José, Depart|
Touch down in San José, then travel to Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll spend the rest of the trip. Try some water sports on Espadilla Beach or head to the adjacent town of Quepos for sunset views and dinner. On Day Two, you'll go on a guided tour to see white sandy beaches and exotic wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, birds, reptiles, and butterflies.
After nightfall, you'll go on another guided hike to look for nocturnal wildlife. Then get some rest before the next day's kayaking and surfing adventures. You'll paddle through a unique mangrove setting and have the option to take a surfing lesson—or just relax on the sand—at Playa Scull. Head back to the capital city to catch your flight home. Learn more
Read Ultimate Guide to Manuel Antonio National Park for more ideas.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Itinerary #3: Monteverde Cloud Forest Adventure
Vibrant birdlife, aerial thrills, and delicious coffee await you on this exciting four-day journey around the Monteverde Cloud Fores that features an excursion on horseback and an exhilarating zip line adventure through the rainforest.
|Day 1||Arrive in San José & Transfer to Monteverde||Monteverde|
|Day 2||Tour Monteverde Cloud Forest & Sky Adventures Park||Monteverde|
|Day 3||Enjoy Birdwatching & Horseback Riding in the Cloud Forest||Monteverde|
|Day 4||Enjoy a Coffee & Cocoa Bean Tour, Depart|
After arriving in San José, you'll transfer to the Monteverde region. Day Two brings a guided tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, called the "green lung of Costa Rica" due to its rich biodiversity, and the chance to spot more than 350 bird species, including the quetzal. Enjoy a thrilling zip line experience at Sky Adventures Park in the afternoon, plus a ride in an open-air gondola for sweeping views across the mountains.
Explore the Curi-Cancha Reserve, a birdwatcher's paradise, on Day Three. You might also see armadillos, coatis, agoutis, ocelots, two-toed sloths, and three species of monkeys. Go horseback riding this afternoon through Monteverde's picturesque landscapes, learning about the coffee, banana, and sugar grown in the area. On Day Four, you'll tour a coffee farm and a chocolate processing center before flying out of San José. Learn more
Check out Best Things to Do in Monteverde for more ideas of what to see and do.
Itinerary #4: Wildlife Luxury Adventure on the Osa Peninsula
Snorkel, hike, and bird-watch by day, then sleep in elegant eco-lodges at night on this luxury four-day tour around Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, including Corcovado National Park and the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve.
|Day 1||Arrive in Drake Bay & Take a Bird-watching Tour||Drake Bay|
|Day 2||Hike in Corcovado National Park||Drake Bay|
|Day 3||Snorkel at Isla del Caño Biological Reserve||Drake Bay|
|Day 4||Drake Bay to San José, Depart|
Catch a connecting flight from San José's airport to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula, then check into a luxury hotel like Lapa Rios Lodge. You'll go on a bird-watching tour right away. Get some rest before Day Two's excursion into Corcovado National Park. Begin the trip with a 30-minute boat ride to the San Pedrillo Ranger Station, then enjoy hiking, wildlife spotting, relaxing on the beach, and swimming in waterfalls.
Day Three takes you to the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve for a scuba or snorkeling excursion. After a safety lesson geared to all ages and experience levels, plunge into the water to see sea turtles, parrotfish, eels, manta rays, puffer fish, snappers, sea cucumbers, and more. You'll fly back to San José on Day Four to make your connection home. Learn more
Find out more about activities in the area by reading this article on the best things to do on the Osa Peninsula.
Itinerary #5: Culture & Wildlife in Tortuguero National Park
Spot colorful wildlife and learn about Costa Rican culture on this educational four-day itinerary that features sightseeing in San José, a visit to a coffee farm, a boat tour, and a stop in an Indigenous village in Tortuguero National Park.
|Day 1||Arrive & Explore Downtown San José||San José|
|Day 2||Transfer from San José to Tortuguero National Park, Village Visit||Tortuguero|
|Day 3||Boat Along the Tortuguero Canals||Tortuguero|
|Day 4||Visit a Coffee Farm, Depart|
Arrive in San José and spend the day touring the capital city. You'll visit Mercado Central (Central Market), Central Park, the 19th-century Teatro Nacional, the Museo del Oro Precolumbino, and more. On Day Two, transfer to Tortuguero National Park. You'll visit a small village and spend time chatting with the locals about their way of life and the history of settlement in this Caribbean coastal outpost.
On Day Three, you'll go on a boat tour of the national park's jungle waterways. There are nearly 200 resident bird species in the area, along with three kinds of monkeys, crocodiles, caimans, toucans, sloths, and much more. You'll spot wildlife in the trees as you cruise down quiet canals. On Day Four, visit a coffee farm to learn about local coffee production before continuing to the San José airport. Learn more
Check out this article on the best things to do in the national park.
More Great 4-Day Costa Rica Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these other four-Day Costa Rica itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.