With six days to spend in Costa Rica, one excellent option is a classic tour that takes you to popular highlights like Arenal and Manuel Antonio National Park. Active travelers might opt for a cycling tour or an adventurous itinerary featuring a two-day whitewater rafting excursion. Other great options include a wildlife luxury trip to the Osa Peninsula and a trip that mixes culture and nature in the Gulf of Papayayo. Learn more about the possibilities with these five unique itineraries.

Itinerary #1: Discover Costa Rica's Natural Highlights

Explore Costa Rica's great outdoors, from volcanoes and hot springs to forests and beaches, on this lively six-day tour around Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio National Park, and the Damas Island Estuary.

Take in views of Arenal Volcano at sunset
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José & Transfer to Arenal/La Fortuna Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 2 Hike Around Hanging Bridges & Arenal Volcano, Soak in Hot Springs Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 3 Transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio
Day 4 Explore Manuel Antonio National Park  Manuel Antonio
Day 5 Boat Around Damas Island Estuary Manuel Antonio
Day 6 Manuel Antonio to San José, Depart  


Welcome to Costa Rica! Fly into San José and transfer drive to La Fortuna, the base for your adventure in Arenal Volcano National Park. You'll walk on the famous Arenal Hanging Bridges, hike around the base of Arenal Volcano, and soak in the volcano-warmed waters of the Tabacón Hot Springs.

Next, head to Manuel Antonio National Park, home to some of the best beaches in Costa Rica. Hike on the park's trails, keeping your eyes open for monkeys, sloths, and more than 200 bird species. On day five, you'll go on a boat tour of the mangroves along the Damas Island Estuary with a private guide. Learn more

Check out this Ultimate Guide to Manuel Antonio National Park.

Itinerary #2: Luxury Wildlife Adventure in the Osa Peninsula

Travel around Costa Rica in style, sleeping in luxury hotels along the way, on this six-day trip around the wildlife habitats and scenic landscapes of Drake Bay, Corcovado National Park, and Arenal.

Swim in thermal waters at a luxury ecolodge
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Explore Downtown San José
Day 2 Transfer to Drake Bay & Take a Birdwatching Tour Drake Bay
Day 3 Hike in Corcovado National Park Drake Bay
Day 4 Spot Nocturnal Wildlife at Ecocentro Danaus  La Fortuna
Day 5 See Sloths & Birds in the Wild, Visit Proyecto Asis  La Fortuna
Day 6 Arenal/La Fortuna to San José, Depart  


Spend some time in the capital city of San José at the start of the journey. Then you'll transfer to Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula and head off on a birdwatching tour with a knowledgeable guide. Check into a luxury lodge and get some rest before the next day's hiking excursion around Corcovado National Park.

Travel to La Fortuna next, a jumping-off point for exploring the Arenal region. You'll go on a guided nighttime nature walk at Ecocentro Danaus on day four, then walk through a sloth habitat and visit Proyecto Asis, a wildlife rehabilitation center, on day five. Head back to San José, where the trip ends. Learn more

For more ideas and inspiration, read this Ultimate Guide to Luxury Travel in Costa Rica.

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Itinerary #3: Active Adventure on Costa Rica's Rivers & Caribbean Coast

Whitewater rafting, hiking, cycling, and kayaking are all on the agenda on this action-packed six-day adventure around Costa Rica's rushing rivers and picturesque Caribbean coastline.  

Whitewater raft on the Río Pacuare
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Explore Downtown San José
Day 2 Whitewater Raft Río Pacuare Río Pacuare
Day 3 Continue to Siquirres, Puerto Viejo Bike Tour Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 4 Tour Cahuita National Park Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 5 Kayak Adventure & Rainforest Hike in Punta Uva Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 6 Return to San José, Depart  


After a day in San José, the real adventure begins—a two-day rafting trip down the Río Pacuare. The first day covers 8 miles (13 km) of Class III rapids. Take a break in the evening at a wilderness lodge, only accessible by water, with safari-style facilities and access to hiking trails. Class IV rapids and a 14-mile (23-km) paddle await on day three.

Step back onto dry land in Siquirres. Move on to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, where you'll get oriented on a bike tour. Day four is devoted to a full-day exploration of Cahuita National Park. Finish the itinerary with a day of ocean kayaking and rainforest hikes in Punta Uva, where you'll spot monkeys, sloths, colorful birds, river turtles, bats, and iguanas. Learn more

Take a look at this article on the Best Things to Do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Itinerary #4: Explore Culture & Nature in Costa Rica

Visit an indigenous village, ride horses in a national park, and snorkel with tropical fish on this six-day itinerary offering a mix of cultural and outdoor activities in Rincón de la Vieja National Park and the Gulf of Papagayo. 

Shop for traditional Costa Rican pottery
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Liberia, Soak in the Río Negro Hot Springs Rincón de la Vieja
Day 2 Ride Horses in Rincón de la Vieja National Park Rincón de la Vieja
Day 3 Sail on the Gulf of Papagayo at Sunset Gulf of Papagayo
Day 4 Go on a Jungle Cruise & Visit an Indigenous Village Gulf of Papagayo
Day 5 Snorkel Around the Catalina Islands Gulf of Papagayo
Day 6 Return to Liberia, Depart  


This trip begins in Liberia. Recover from the journey with a relaxing soak in the Río Negro Hot Springs, then get some rest. On day two, a horseback riding excursion in Rincón de la Vieja National Park introduces you to the region's pristine landscapes and abundant wildlife.

By day three, you'll be off to the Gulf of Papagayo for a sunset catamaran ride on the water. Enjoy a jungle cruise in Palo Verde National Park, looking for white-faced capuchin monkeys in the trees, then visit the indigenous village of Guaitil. Snorkel around the volcanic Catalina Islands on the last full day of the trip. Learn more

Find out more here about snorkeling around the Catalina Islands.

Itinerary #5: Costa Rica Cycling & Rafting Adventure

Perfect for active travelers, this six-day cycling itinerary leads you along the beautiful beaches, coastal mountain ranges, vast valleys, and rugged rainforests of Costa Rica.

Beach Cycling
Go cycling along the beach
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Costa Rica – Experience San José's Culture San Jose
Day 2 Transfer to Quepos - Biking to Naranjito Naranjito
Day 3 Cemetery Hill Trekking & Cycling Santa Maria de Dota
Day 4 Biking Over the Continental Divide Orosi
Day 5 Cycling & Trekking Through Tapantí Taus
Day 6 Pacuare River Adventure – Transfer to San José - Depart San Jose

Arrive in San José and take the day to tour the capital city. The next morning, transfer to the coastal town of Quepos, where your biking journey begins. Cycle steep inclines and mountains on your way to Esquipulas, where you'll go for a hike and camp in Naranjito. Bike toward the Continental Divide and cycle the famed Cemetery Hill, descending to Santa Maria de Dota for dinner.

Enjoy a sunrise cycle to the highest point of the journey, then coast downhill toward the stunning Orosi Valley, filled with coffee fields. Pedal to Tapani National Wildlife Refuge and go for a hike through the rainforest. Go whitewater rafting with views of the rainforests, surrounding canyons, and exotic waterfalls to cap off the trip. Learn more

Check out this full range of Costa Rica Biking Tours & Itineraries.

More Great Costa Rica Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these other Costa Rica itineraries, explore family-friendly ways to spend six days in Costa Rica, or discover the best time to visit Costa Rica.


Map of 6 Days in Costa Rica - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 6 Days in Costa Rica - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas