A trip to Costa Rica that includes Arenal, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde takes around 8 to 10 days. If you don't have that much time it's possible to see the highlights in 6 or 7 days, but your trip will feel quite fast-paced. If you have more time, or want to pack more places into your trip, you can add Tortuguero, Tamarindo, or Puerto Viejo to your itinerary. Read on for the best itineraries to explore Arenal, Manual Antonio and Monteverde.

How many days do you need?

  • Most travelers spend 8, 9, or 10 days in Costa Rica when combining Arenal/, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde
  • Visiting Arenal, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde in just 6 days is possible, but will feel rushed
  • If you have 11 or more days we recommend adding additional destinations to your trip instead of spending more time in each destination, but of course that depends on how much time 
  • The most common extensions are Tortuguero, Tamarindo, and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
  • Among these, Tortuguero is the most common destination to add. Your trip would then extend to a total duration of approximately 11 to 14 days

How Many Days Should You Spend in Costa Rica

Recommended Itineraries for Arenal/La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde

Recommended Itinerary for 9 Days

End the trip with a drive to the Pacific coast for some beach time
End the trip with a drive to the Pacific coast for some beach time
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Free time to Experience San José's Culture San Jose
Day 2 San José to Arenal and Hot Springs Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 3 La Fortuna Waterfall - Free Afternoon Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 4 Río Celeste Day Trip Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Arenal to Monteverde by Boat, with Coffee & Chocolate Tour Monteverde
Day 6 Zip-Line Fun in the Cloud Forest Monteverde
Day 7 Monteverde Transfer to Manuel Antonio - Free Afternoon Manuel Antonio
Day 8 Sunset Catamaran Cruise with Snorkeling in Manuel Antonio Manuel Antonio
Day 9 Manuel Antonio to San José, Depart Costa Rica  


The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica offers an array of adventures, from city to cloud forest to sea. This weeklong itinerary includes trekking near an active volcano, some of the world’s best bird-watching, and snorkeling with sea turtles. It's a trip that encompasses the country’s most spectacular and varied landscapes, plus an opportunity to savor the culture of local villages as well as that of San José, Costa Rica’s dynamic capital city. Read more

Extended Itineraries

16-Day Itinerary Including Tortuguero

Manuel Antonio National Park has nearby surf spots for all levels and ages
Manuel Antonio National Park has nearby surf spots for all levels and ages
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José, Free time to Experience San José's Culture San Jose
Day 2 Private Transfer San José to Tortuguero National Park Tortuguero
Day 3 Turtle Tour in Tortuguero Tortuguero
Day 4 Tortuguero Transfer to La Fortuna Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Hanging Bridges & Hiking in the Arenal 1968 Lava Fields Reserve Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 6 La Fortuna Waterfall - Free Afternoon Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 7 River Float & Chocolate Tour in Arenal Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 8 Arenal Free Day Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 9 Arenal to Monteverde by Boat, with Coffee & Chocolate Tour Monteverde
Day 10 Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Guided Hike Monteverde
Day 11 Zip-Line Fun in the Cloud Forest Monteverde
Day 12 Monteverde Transfer to Manuel Antonio - Free Afternoon Manuel Antonio
Day 13 Guided Hike of Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio
Day 14 Free Day in Manuel Antonio Manuel Antonio
Day 15 Sunset Catamaran Cruise with Snorkeling in Manuel Antonio Manuel Antonio
Day 16 Manuel Antonio to San José, Depart Costa Rica  


Costa Rica is a favorite destination for all ages. This 16-day adventure allows your family to experience the country from both coasts and includes a visit to the bustling capital of San José, the lush rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, the towering Arenal Volcano, the cloud forest of Monteverde and the spectacular, white sand beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from watching sea turtles hatch on a Caribbean beach to sampling locally produced chocolate to whitewater rafting. Read more