Eight to 10 days is the most popular trip length for Costa Rica travelers interested in visiting the Gulf of Papagayo, especially when also including Arenal/La Fortuna and Monteverde. For travelers wanting to visit the Gulf of Papagayo exclusively, plan about 5 days for a well-paced trip. A fast-paced highlights trip is possible in 3 or 4 days for travelers with limited time. Check out our favorite Gulf of Papagayo trips below.

How many days do you need?

  • Most travelers spend 5 days in the Gulf of Papagayo
  • Visiting the Gulf of Papagayo in 3 or 4 days is possible, but will feel rushed
  • With 6 or more days, most travelers choose to add more stops to their trip
  • The most common extensions are Arenal/La Fortuna and Tortuguero

How Many Days Should You Spend in Costa Rica?

Recommended Itineraries for the Gulf of Papagayo

Recommended Itinerary for 5 Days

The Guanacaste region on the Pacific Coast is known for its arid landscape and beautiful beaches
The Guanacaste region on the Pacific Coast is known for its arid landscape and beautiful beaches
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Liberia - Transfer to Gulf de Papagayo Gulf of Papagayo
Day 2 Day of Adventure - Zipline, Horseback Riding, and Hot Springs Gulf of Papagayo
Day 3 Snorkeling tour at the Catalina Islands Gulf of Papagayo
Day 4 Beach Day and Sunset Catamaran Sail in Guanacaste Gulf of Papagayo
Day 5 Gulf of Papagayo to Liberia, Depart Costa Rica  


This five-day beach getaway takes you to the heart of Guanacaste Province, in northwestern Costa Rica. You'll have plenty of time to relax and soak up the unique landscapes and beaches of the region, with just the right amount of adventure thrown in. Read more

Extended Itineraries

8-Day Itinerary Including Arenal/La Fortuna and Monteverde

Baby squirrel monkey and mother
Baby squirrel monkey and mother
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in San José -> Transfer to La Fortuna Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 2 Hanging Bridges & La Fortuna Waterfall Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 3 Arenal to Monteverde by Boat with Free Afternoon Monteverde
Day 4 Free Day - Night Tour in Monteverde Monteverde
Day 5 Monteverde Transfer to the Gulf of Papagayo Gulf of Papagayo
Day 6 Beach Day and Sunset Catamaran Sail in Guanacaste Gulf of Papagayo
Day 7 Free Day in Papagayo Gulf of Papagayo
Day 8 Gulf of Papagayo to Liberia, Depart Costa Rica  


Costa Rica is an ideal destination for families and this itinerary ensures you'll experience the best the country has to offer. On your 8-day adventure, you'll explore the towering Arenal Volcano, visit the beaches of Guanacaste, and have time to relax in volcanic hot springs. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from waterfall hikes to crossing suspension bridges above the trees. Read more

10-Day Itinerary Including Arenal/La Fortuna

The Guanacaste region on the Pacific Coast is known for its arid landscape and beautiful beaches
The Guanacaste region on the Pacific Coast is known for its arid landscape and beautiful beaches
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José San José
Day 2 San José Transfer to Arenal and Hot Springs Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 3 Hanging Bridges & Hiking in the Arenal 1968 Lava Fields Reserve Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 4 La Fortuna Waterfall - Free Afternoon Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Wildlife Spotting at the Caño Negro Refuge Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 6 Arenal Transfer to the Gulf of Papagayo Gulf of Papagayo
Day 7 Beach Day and Sunset Catamaran Sail in Guanacaste Gulf of Papagayo
Day 8 Palo Verde Boat Tour and Artisan Village Gulf of Papagayo
Day 9 Free Day in Papagayo Gulf of Papagayo
Day 10 Depart San José  


Costa Rica is a favorite destination for all ages. This 10-day adventure allows your family to experience the highlights of the country from the towering Arenal Volcano, to the spectacular, remote beaches of Guanacaste. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from sampling locally produced chocolate, to zip lining through the trees, to surf lessons in the Pacific. Read more

14-Day Itinerary Including Arenal/La Fortuna, Monteverde, and Tortuguero

The Guanacaste region on the Pacific Coast is known for its arid landscape and beautiful beaches
The Guanacaste region on the Pacific Coast is known for its arid landscape and beautiful beaches
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José San José
Day 2 Private Transfer San José to Tortuguero National Park Tortuguero
Day 3 Turtle Tour in Tortuguero Tortuguero
Day 4 San Jose Transfer to Arenal - Whitewater Rafting on the Sarapiquí River Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 5 Volcano Hike & Hot Springs Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 6 Chocolate Experience - Swimming in Waterfalls Arenal/La Fortuna
Day 7 Boat to Monteverde, with Coffee & Chocolate Tour Monteverde
Day 8 Zip-Line Fun in the Cloud Forest Monteverde
Day 9 Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve Guided Hike Monteverde
Day 10 Monteverde Transfer to the Gulf of Papagayo Gulf of Papagayo
Day 11 Beach Day and Sunset Catamaran Sail in Guanacaste Gulf of Papagayo
Day 12 Day of Adventure - Zipline, Horseback Riding, and Hot Springs Gulf of Papagayo
Day 13 Free Day in Papagayo Gulf of Papagayo
Day 14 Gulf of Papagayo to Liberia, Depart Costa Rica  


Experience the country from both coasts on this two-week trip. You'll visit San José, Tortuguero National Park, the towering Arenal Volcano, Monteverde's cloud forest, and the remote beaches of Guanacaste. There will be plenty of activities to choose from along the way: watch sea turtles hatch on a Caribbean beach, sample locally produced chocolate, and take a surf lesson in the glittering Pacific. Read more