Costa Rica 12-Day Tours & Itineraries

Explore 21 trips designed by local kimkim specialists to get ideas for your trip to Costa Rica.

With 12 days in Costa Rica, travelers can tour the country across multiple regions while making it their own. Wildlife lovers can build an itinerary with more time in biodiversity hotspots: identify quetzals in the rainforest of Volcán Poás, have a shot at seeing a jaguar at Corcovado, and view nesting turtles in Tortuguero National Park. Or bike, hike, and whitewater raft your way from the Pacific to the Caribbean on a coast-to-coast adventure tour. Of course, the classic stops will always be worthy of a visit: first-time visitors can easily incorporate Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio into one 12-day trip with room to spare.

See more options below, or check out 12 Days in Costa Rica: 5 Unique Itineraries.

Plan your trip to Costa Rica
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
Howler monkeys in a Costa Rica rainforest.
Map of Costa Rica Wildlife Explorer – 12 Days
Costa Rica Wildlife Explorer – 12 Days

This 12-day Costa Rica adventure takes you to the nation’s top biodiversity hotspots. Along the way, you’ll dip your feet in cold rivers, track resplendent quetzals at dawn, and listen for the calls of howler monkeys set to a backdrop of smoking volcanoes, thick jungle and sandy beaches.

Getting started!
Map of Mountain Biking from Manuel Antonio to the Caribbean Coast - 12 Days
Mountain Biking from Manuel Antonio to the Caribbean Coast - 12 Days

If you can't get enough mountain biking, hiking, and rafting in exotic locales, then come to Costa Rica, where you can do all three. This physically demanding 12-day itinerary involves traveling from the Pacific to the Caribbean coast by foot, bicycle, and raft/kayak. It will test the limits of your endurance, but by the end, you'll have seen and experienced some of the most beautiful locales in the Americas.

Beach on the Pacific Coast at Sunset
Map of Costa Rica Arenal, Monteverde & Pacific Coast Self-Drive Tour - 12 Days
Costa Rica Arenal, Monteverde & Pacific Coast Self-Drive Tour - 12 Days

Explore the highlights of Costa Rica, from volcanoes and jungles to beach and surfing in one self-drive vacation. Arrive in Liberia and head to Tenorio National Park, where you'll hike along the electric blue waters of the Río Celeste. Next up is Arenal Volcano National Park, a hotbed of adventure activities. After a waterfall trek and whitewater rafting excursion, drive to Monteverde for a zip-line tour of the cloud forest canopy and a guided wildlife night hike. Finally, it's off to the beaches of Sámara and Tamarindo on the Nicoya Peninsula for surfing and relaxation.

Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica
Map of Wildlife, Rainforest & Beach Adventure - 12 Days
Wildlife, Rainforest & Beach Adventure - 12 Days

Go from coast to coast as you encounter wildlife, swim under jungle waterfalls, and unwind on magnificent beaches on this well-rounded Costa Rican adventure. You'll start in the rugged Osa Peninsula on the remote southwestern coast, where you'll find untouched shores and a plethora of tropical animals. Then explore the rainforests of Monteverde and Arenal before embarking on a two-day whitewater rafting trip down the famous Pacuare River. End your unforgettable stay in the Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo, where you'll snorkel, surf, and enjoy the pura vida.

View from under the palm trees in Manuel Antonio National Park
Map of Costa Rica's Relaxation and Wildlife Tour - 12 Days
Costa Rica's Relaxation and Wildlife Tour - 12 Days

Costa Rica is a nation as biodiverse as it is beautiful and the best way to experience all this nature and beauty is by touring the country's many national parks, reserves, and protected areas. Also, no trip to Costa Rica is complete without visiting the famous Pacific coast. This nearly two-week itinerary delivers both these highlights with plenty of time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the Costa Rican way of living "Pura Vida!"

Howler monkey in a Costa Rica rainforest
Map of Highlights of Costa Rica Wildlife - 12 Days
Highlights of Costa Rica Wildlife - 12 Days

This itinerary is specifically tuned for wildlife lovers. Expect to get up early and stay out late to see monkeys, lizards, birds, insects, and other spectacular fauna that inhabit the virgin rainforest, cloud forest, and swampy estuaries covered here. The trip begins with a southwest journey from San José to Parque Nacional Corcovado (Corcovado National Park) before continuing northwest along the Pacific coast. Next, head inland to Monteverde for birdwatching and spotting wildlife in the unique ecosystem of the cloud forest.

Costa Rica Volcanoes & Pacific Coast Adventure - 12 Days
Map of Costa Rica Volcanoes & Pacific Coast Adventure - 12 Days
Costa Rica Volcanoes & Pacific Coast Adventure - 12 Days

Combine a beach holiday and jungle adventure in one self-drive vacation. Arrive in Liberia and head to Tenorio National Park, where you'll hike along the electric blue waters of the Río Celeste. Next up is Arenal Volcano National Park, a hotbed of adventure activities. After a waterfall trek and whitewater rafting excursion, drive to Monteverde for a zip-line tour of the cloud forest canopy and a guided wildlife night hike. Finally, it's off to the beaches of Sámara and Tamarindo on the Nicoya Peninsula for surfing and relaxation.

Arenal Volcano
Map of Costa Rica Adventure Tour - 12 days
Costa Rica Adventure Tour - 12 days

This high-octane trip is designed to get your adrenaline pumping as you take on some of the best adventure activities Costa Rica has to offer. You'll see the country's rainforests, volcanoes, and beaches, and encounter tropical wildlife as you take part in a variety of thrilling activities. From whitewater rafting through the rainforest to biking around a volcano to zip-lining down a mountain, this exhilarating itinerary is sure to make for an unforgettable experience.

Costa Rica's dramatic Western coastline
Map of Discover Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, and Tamarindo - 12 Days
Discover Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, and Tamarindo - 12 Days

Costa Rica prioritizes the protection of its abundant (and delicate) biodiversity, and national parks and reserves make up nearly a quarter of the country's land. This makes it a fabulous spot for travelers keen on experiencing outdoor activities and spotting wildlife. This immersive 12-day trip includes a guided nature hike in coastal Manuel Antonio National Park, birdwatching and zip-lining in the Monteverde Could Forest Reserve, and aquatic fun in the estuaries of Tamarindo.

costa rica
Map of Costa Rica Luxury Wildlife & Outdoor Adventure Tour - 12 Days
Costa Rica Luxury Wildlife & Outdoor Adventure Tour - 12 Days

On this 12-day adventure, you'll enjoy the most famous activities in Costa Rica. You'll do it all, from river rafting and jungle hikes to wildlife tours, snorkeling, horseback riding, and even stand-up paddleboarding. The journey combines luxury accommodations with outdoor excursions as you travel from Arenal Volcano to the waterfalls of Tenorio National Park and finally to the beaches of Guanacaste Province.

White water rafting in Costa Rica
Map of Costa Rica's Wild South - 12 Days
Costa Rica's Wild South - 12 Days

If you prefer an active holiday in the great outdoors amid exotic wildlife, then this is the trip for you. Over 12 days of travel throughout Costa Rica, you'll indulge in almost every activity the country is famous for. This includes zip-line tours, canyoning, horseback rides, rafting trips, and kayak excursions. All in all, this itinerary packs 10 vacations worth of experiences into just 12 days.

bird
Map of Guided Birding Safari in Costa Rica - 12 Days
Guided Birding Safari in Costa Rica - 12 Days

Costa Rica has a couple of things in abundance: exotic locales and exotic birds. On this 12-day ornithological trip, you'll witness various avian species amongst misty cloud forests, lowland rainforest canopies, and even soaring overhead on the Pacific coast. Throw in a bit of hiking, wildlife spotting, and sightseeing in the nation's capital, and you have the ideal active vacation.

Arenal Volcano
Map of Luxury Wildlife and Adventure Sports in Costa Rica - 12 Days
Luxury Wildlife and Adventure Sports in Costa Rica - 12 Days

The only thing better than enjoying a pampered holiday is doing so in the tropical paradise that is Costa Rica. On this 12-day excursion, you'll alternate between relaxing in natural hot springs and embarking on a number of adventure activities, be it a zip-line tour in the rainforests of Arenal Volcano National Park or a crocodile river safari near the Pacific coast. You'll spot even more exotic wildlife with a hike in Corcovado National Park, the most biologically diverse area in the country.

costa rica
Map of Costa Rica Nature Parks and Cultural Immersion - 12 Days
Costa Rica Nature Parks and Cultural Immersion - 12 Days

Costa Rica is filled with beautiful Caribbean beaches and national parks abounding with towering volcanoes, plunging waterfalls, and exotic wildlife. On a 12-day tour of Costa Rica you'll not only experience these highlights but you'll unforgettable experiences with the local culture. These include day trips to indigenous villages as well as working cattle and horse ranches.

costa rica
Map of Luxury Beach Hikes, Mountain Adventures, and Wildlife Tours in Costa Rica - 12 Days
Luxury Beach Hikes, Mountain Adventures, and Wildlife Tours in Costa Rica - 12 Days

There are few countries where you can enjoy a luxury vacation complete with eco-tourism adventures and immersion in the local culture. Costa Rica is one such place, and on this 12-day itinerary, you'll hike to tropical waterfalls, visit secluded beaches, horseback through the mountains, and embark on many wildlife tours. To cap the adventure you'll do some exotic bird-watching as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.

costa rica
Map of Birding Road Trip in Paradise - 12 Days
Birding Road Trip in Paradise - 12 Days

One of the best places in the Americas to spot the widest variety of exotic birds is Costa Rica. This relatively small nation is home to some 850 species, including colorful motmots, parrots, toucans, and even the rare resplendent quetzal. This 12-day self-drive birding excursion will take you from the Pacific coast to the remote mountains and rainforests for the best  vantage points to witness the most marvelous specimens.

Due to the exuberance of the vegetation that surrounds it, and the numerous rapids that form during its descent towards the Caribbean plains, suitable for rafting, the Pacuare is an important tourist attraction of Costa Rica. The Pacuare basin has been protected by the Matina Pacuare Forest Reserve.
Map of Luxury Spas and Outdoor Adventures in Costa Rica - 12 Days
Luxury Spas and Outdoor Adventures in Costa Rica - 12 Days

This packed 12-day itinerary combines the mind and body rejuvenation offered by wellness retreats with all the tropical adventure Costa Rica is famous for. You'll enjoy spa treatments and soaking in natural hot springs before embarking down wild rivers and hiking to exotic waterfalls. Add in some beach time on the Pacific coast and you have the perfect vacation for total enrichment.

costa rica
Map of Overland Biking Adventure From the Coast to Arenal - 12 Days
Overland Biking Adventure From the Coast to Arenal - 12 Days

On this unique 12-day Costa Rican adventure, you'll travel overland from one coast to the other by mountain bike, river raft, and kayak. It beings with cycling along the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, past the Tilarán Mountains, and traveling down the Río Pacuare to the Caribbean coast. You'll even have time for adventure sports in the Arenal region like waterfall hikes.

Vibrantly hued toucans on a tree branch in Costa Rica's jungle
Map of Highlights of Costa Rica: Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde & Manuel Antonio - 12 Days
Highlights of Costa Rica: Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde & Manuel Antonio - 12 Days

From the depths of the sea to the jungle treetops, this exciting 12-day itinerary takes you to Costa Rica's top highlights for outdoor adventures and wildlife viewing. Spot vibrantly colored frogs and monkeys on a guided nature walk, boat along the canals of Tortuguero National Park, hike around Arenal Volcano, and dip in natural hot springs nearby. Then zip-line through the trees in the cloud forest and snorkel in Manuel Antonio National Park—all of this and more await you on this outdoorsy journey.

Overnight in luxury accommodation in the Osa Peninsula (photo courtesy of Lapa Rios Lodge)
Map of Wildlife Luxury Adventure in Arenal, Monteverde & the Osa Peninsula - 12 Days
Wildlife Luxury Adventure in Arenal, Monteverde & the Osa Peninsula - 12 Days

Enjoy the best of Costa Rica on this adventurous 12-day itinerary featuring excursions with private guides and overnight stays in luxury hotels. Begin with a few days of birdwatching, snorkeling, and hiking on the Osa Peninsula, then transfer to La Fortuna, your base for exploring the Arenal area. Trek around Arenal Volcano and relax in hot springs before continuing to Monteverde for a coffee tour and an unforgettable trip through the cloud forest on horseback.

Looking down at Carrillo Beach near Sámara, Costa Rica
Map of Explore Costa Rica's Volcanoes & Pacific Coast - 12 Days
Explore Costa Rica's Volcanoes & Pacific Coast - 12 Days

This 12-day adventure around Costa Rica's spectacular natural landscapes leads you to volcanoes, national parks, and Pacific beaches. You'll start the trip in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, where you'll soak in hot springs and ride horses, then you'll continue to Arenal for wildlife spotting and volcano hikes. Swing through the trees on a zip-line in Monteverde, watch sea turtles nesting on the beach in Tamarindo, and kayak or snorkel through clear turquoise waters off the coast of Sámara.

Other durations: 4 days · 5 days · 6 days · 7 days · 8 days · 9 days · 10 days · 11 days · 12 days · 13 days · 14 days · 15 days · 16 days