Perfect for nature lovers and first-time travelers to Costa Rica, this fast-paced itinerary takes you to two of the country's most beloved national parks. With the diverse wildlife of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the jungle-lined white sand beaches of Manuel Antonio, you'll get to the essence of the Costa Rican motto: Pura Vida!
Costa Rica Travel Insights
Travel to three of the best destinations in Costa Rica to ride the waves on this 6-day trip. Start in Playa Santa Teresa, home to major surf competitions and some of the most consistent waves in the country. End the adventure in Playa Tamarindo for surf days that end with glorious Pacific Coast sunsets. You'll also have time to relax on the beach and get acquainted with the country's vast wildlife.
This two-week itinerary is perfect for eco-minded travelers thirsting for a comprehensive Costa Rican adventure. Kick off the journey in metropolitan San José before braving the whitewater rapids of jungle rivers, hiking the base of Costa Rica's most famous volcano, exploring rare cloud-forest eco-systems, and learning to surf (or polish your skills) and Pacific beaches. Enjoy spotting many of Costa Rica's wildlife species along the way.
This road trip itinerary is a truly off-the-beaten-path nature excursion. Head to the remote beaches and rainforest of the Osa Peninsula before a scenic drive up the Pacific coast. You'll experience white-sand beaches in Manuel Antonio National Park, along with the cloud forest ecosystem of Monteverde where you'll hike over the jungle canopy via suspension bridges. Finally, you'll pay a visit to Arenal, an active volcano and one of Costa Rica's most famous landmarks.
This 10-day itinerary combines mountain adventures with a bit of a beach holiday. Spend two days in Rincón de la Vieja exploring the area around one of the country's most active volcanoes. Then travel deeper inland to cross suspension bridges in the jungle, zip-line over trees, and enjoy guided hikes in La Fortuna and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. You'll end your trip by returning to Guanacaste for relaxation on the beaches of Papagayo.
This immersive nature expedition packs a lot of outdoor adventure in a short timeframe. In just five days you'll experience the greatest hits of Arenal Volcano National Park, including swimming in a waterfall lagoon, hiking above misty cloud forests, and soaking in hot springs. You'll also enjoy some metropolitan excitement as you spend an evening exploring Costa Rica's capital, San José.
Experience the best of Costa Rica's tropical flora and fauna on this 10-day trip. Spend a fun-filled week hiking in the rainforest, snorkeling in coral reefs, rafting the world-class rapids of Río Pacuare, and more. This itinerary is ideal for travelers heading to Costa Rica during the "green season" (May - November), as the Caribbean coast stays relatively dry during rainy months—and it's also the best time to see turtles nesting in Tortuguero National Park.
Corcovado National Park, located on Costa Rica's remote Osa Peninsula, is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. It's the perfect spot for jungle exploration, and this six-day itinerary mixes rugged adventure with culture and luxury. It's designed for those who want an off-the-beaten-path nature experience featuring windswept Pacific beaches and trails that meander through virgin rainforest abounding with wildlife.
Experience Costa Rica's many ecosystems on this two-week trip. You'll visit San José, the towering Arenal Volcano, Monteverde's cloud forest, and the remote beaches of Gulf de Papagayo. There will be plenty of activities to choose from along the way: raft on the world-class rapids of Río Pacuare, sample locally produced chocolate, and take a surf lesson in the glittering Pacific.
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.
This fun weeklong itinerary highlights Costa Rica's amazing natural scenery through a thrilling series of adventurous activities including whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, and more. Starting in the nation's capital, you'll make your way to rivers, jungles, waterfalls, and cone-shaped volcanoes, culminating on the Pacific coast with time to relax on Manuel Antonio's four white-sand beaches—each one accessed by hiking trail.
On this 7-day food-themed itinerary you'll explore food stalls at San José's Mercado Central, learn how to make traditional dishes during a hands-on cooking class, participate in chocolate making—one of Costa Rica's most important exports. You'll also experience the country's incredible natural surroundings with jungles, beaches, and plenty of relaxation.
Head to the Monteverde region if you want to experience a distinct ecosystem, spot wildlife, and have plentiful options for hiking and zip-lining. Perfect for a quick getaway, the 6-day version of this itinerary will take you to both Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves, along with two nights in vibrant San José.
Costa Rica's mountainous Monteverde region is a traveler favorite, topping lists for its distinct cloud forest ecosystem, abundant wildlife, and options for hiking and zip-lining. Perfect for a quick getaway, the five-day version of this itinerary will take you to both Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves, along with two nights in vibrant San José.
This 5-day itinerary is ideal for adventure-loving couples. Starting and ending in San José, you'll brave the rapids of the scenic Río Pacuare on a guided whitewater excursion, zip line and hike the coastal jungle, and enjoy downtime together in a luxury eco-lodge. With plenty of free time to choose your own activities, it's bound to be a trip you'll always remember.
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.
This quick getaway will let you experience the many sides of Costa Rica in just five days. After enjoying an evening in San José, you'll head to Manuel Antonio, a national park boasting some of Costa Rica's most famous white sand beaches and coastal jungles. Hike, kayak, and snorkel until your heart's content before heading home.
One of the best ways to experience a destination is through its cuisine, and Costa Rica is no exception. This itinerary will have you visiting food stalls at San José's Mercado Central, trying your hand at traditional recipes in a cooking class, aand sampling coffee at a plantation. You'll also have time to relax and experience the jungles and beaches Costa Rica is known for.
Spend 10 days getting to know the diverse wildlife of Costa Rica's rainforests, with plenty of adrenaline-pumping activities, too. You'll zip-line through the rainforest, hike to waterfalls, and mountain bike on a volcano, with opportunities for kayaking and relaxing in hot springs.
This self-drive tour is ideal for families who love animals and exploring the outdoors. You'll spot plenty of the country's adorable mammals like sloths and monkeys, as well as rare species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and tropical fish. Along the way, stay at unique eco-lodges
On this 8-day adventure, experience every facet of Costa Rica's culture, from food to national museums, native people, and even wildlife. Starting and ending in San José, the itinerary includes a visit to a coffee plantation, immersing with one of the country's last indigenous tribes, and opportunities to explore by land and sea.
This 10-day adventure allows you to experience Costa Rica from both coasts. Visit San José, check out Tortuguero National Park, marvel at Arenal Volcano, and lounge on the remote beaches of Guanacaste. Enjoy plenty of activities along the way: watch sea turtles hatch on a Caribbean beach, sample locally produced chocolate, or take a surf lesson in the Pacific.
Costa Rica's dry season is from November to April. But May signals the beginning of the rainy season, and it's then that the rivers rise—making it the best time for aquatic adventurers of every skill level to hit the country's rivers in search of whitewater.
This adventurous itinerary checks off four of Costa Rica’s key regions. Raft down some of the world’s best rapids, head to Arenal for hikes and hot springs, and lounge on the Pacific beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. End your journey on the remote Osa Peninsula, where rainforests, wildlife, and a near-empty coastline await.
This romantic itinerary is ideal for adventurous couples with more than a week to spend. Together, you'll bask in Costa Rica's biodiversity, take a whitewater rafting trip down the Río Pacuare, and go on multiple day hikes. Relax on Pacific beaches, soak in natural hot springs, and check into some of the country's best luxury resorts throughout your memorable stay.
Costa Rica offers an array of adventures, from city to cloud forest to sea. This ten-day itinerary includes hiking near an active volcano, some of the world’s best bird-watching, and snorkeling with sea turtles. Travelers will get to know the culture of local villages as well as that of San José, Costa Rica’s dynamic capital.
The perfect honeymoon mixes romance with fun, adventure with relaxation, and promises stellar scenery, food, and lodging throughout. Look no further than Costa Rica: from cushy Pacific resorts to rainforest hikes and chilled-out surf spots, this little slice of Central America has something for every couple. Read on for itinerary ideas, planning tips, and lodging suggestions.
The Osa Peninsula is one of the most remote areas in Costa Rica. In recent years its untouched rainforests and beaches have given rise to a fitting style of jungle accommodation: the eco-lodge. Here are your best options for lodging that operates in harmony with the area's delicate ecosystem.
With epic surf, rainforest eco-adventures, romantic getaways, and more, only one question remains: when should you go to Costa Rica? The dry months are certainly popular with tourists, but the rainy season can be a great time to go—think beaches all to yourself, cooler temps, brilliant vegetation, and lower prices. Maximize your travels with these tips on where and when to go during Costa Rica's "green season."
Costa Rica's Guanacaste Province is an eco-playground with plentiful beaches and large expanses of protected rainforest. This guide covers everything you need to know to discover this Pacific gem—you'll be learning to surf in Tamarindo or visiting the cascading falls of Viento Fresco in no time.
Scarlet macaws fly over secluded lagoons, wild ocelots roam the jungle, and the call of howler monkeys carry in the wind. This is the Osa Peninsula, an area famous for its remote rainforests and abundant marine life. Whether you're on a solo spiritual journey or a family adventure, this guide shows you how to enjoy it to its full potential.
In the northern Costa Rican lowlands sits Volcan Arenal, a monolith that draws visitors from across the globe. The surrounding area is a perfect base for nature excursions, but there's no need to rough it—these boutique lodging options feature all the tropical paradise and creature comforts you desire.
Culture, nightlife, haute cuisine—travelers are discovering the virtues of San José. And with more lodging options than ever before, you can take your pick of style, neighborhood, and amenities on offer. Make your decision an easy one with this list of premier boutique hotels in Costa Rica's capital.
For sheer diversity, Manuel Antonio National Park has it all: rainforests, coral beaches, and wild rivers abound. Stay the night nearby in one of these recommended boutique hotels or ecolodges, all offering noteworthy views, architecture, and proximity to the park.
With two coasts, Costa Rica is a dream for travelers looking to catch a wave. Both the Pacific and Caribbean sides offer some of the best breaks in the world, with enough variety to accommodate beginners and experts alike. If you’re keen to surf the “Rich Coast,” you don’t have to be a professional—you just need to know where to go.
Costa Rica's mountainous Monteverde region is a traveler favorite, topping lists for its distinct cloud forest ecosystem, abundant wildlife, and options for hiking and zip-lining. Head northwest for a long weekend from San José or visit after a few days at Arenal—whatever you choose, this guide has everything you need to plan your time.
More than a quarter of Costa Rica is protected jungle, home to a wide variety of native wildlife—including 850 colorful species of birds. Learn about the country's best areas to spot them, from the Osa Peninsula to the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Costa Rica abounds with wildlife and outdoor activities, setting the scene for an ideal family vacation. But you don't need to head straight to the beach—travelers flying into urban San José will find plenty to do with kids upon arrival. Interactive museums, local markets, and more are a great way to spend a day in the city.
Manuel Antonio is a slice of paradise on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. A short flight (or four-hour drive) south of San José, the national park and surrounding area have rainforest hiking trails and lots of beaches to explore, each with its own character. Learn where to eat, stay, and play with this comprehensive guide.
While the majority of visitors to Costa Rica will head west to the Pacific, the laidback lifestyle and Afro-Caribbean culture and cuisine of Puerto Viejo beckon you to come experience life on the country's eastern coast. This guide will introduce you to the playas, towns, and wilderness areas that make up Puerto Viejo — let's get started.
Costa Rica has a culinary tradition all its own, and travelers in search of local experiences need look no further than the food. Read on for an overview of must-try delicacies, including the country's national dish, snow cones with a Costa Rican twist, and other fun specialties best tried in-country.
Costa Rica is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, and over a quarter of its territory is protected. Use this list of recommended viewing locales for your best shot at seeing howler monkeys, humpback whales, jaguars and more.
Every year travelers from around the world travel to the tiny Costa Rican town of La Fortuna. They come for one reason and one reason alone—to experience the majesty of Costa Rica's most famous active volcano and its surrounding natural wonders. Here is our expert guide to discovering Arenal.
Costa Rica's rainforest and windswept beaches lure travelers from all over the world to practice yoga and enjoy other soul-nourishing activities while communing with nature. Some retreat centers are in the country's remote corners, while others are just outside of major cities—this list covers six of the best.
If you have just three days to spend in Costa Rica, it’s wise to prioritize one activity or region. From whitewater rafting to wildlife viewing and catching a world-class wave, here are some suggestions for how to spend a long weekend in this beautiful country.
San José offers much more than the international airport most visitors fly into. Costa Rica's capital is a cultural hub worth getting to know, and provides a great intro to the country's food and history. Take a day or two to explore the city—this guide will help you make the most of your time.
Costa Rica is proof that big things can come in small packages. Although this Central American gem is barely the size of West Virginia, it’s the most biodiverse country on the planet—and given its extensive coastlines and varied landscapes, it is arguably one of the most beautiful. This list will help you experience the best of it.
This two-week itinerary includes many of Costa Rica's greatest hits. You'll venture into the country's most beautiful national parks and enjoy zip-lining adventures, nature hikes, beach excursions, and more. All the while you'll spot exotic animals as you traverse some of the most virgin rainforest landscapes in Central America.
With your kids in tow, get out and explore Costa Rica's capital city before making your way through the lush lowlands towards the Caribbean Coast in this adventure tour. From nature treks, to river rafting, to pristine beaches, this weeklong itinerary is created for families who want to experience Costa Rica's splendid scenery, wildlife, and distinctly laid-back culture.
Hilly nature walks are practically guaranteed while visiting the rugged terrain of Costa Rica. While some travelers prioritize beaches and water sports on either coast, many will want to save space on the itinerary to explore the vast interior and myriad of wildlife. Good news for hiking enthusiasts: The majority of Costa Rica's 27 national parks offer well-maintained trails. From volcanoes, to tropical dry forests, to remote rainforests, here’s a list of the country’s 10 best national parks for hiking.