Costa Rica 5-Day Tours & Itineraries

Explore 12 trips designed by local kimkim specialists to get ideas for your trip to Costa Rica.

Five days is all you need to experience the variety of Costa Rica. With 2 international airports, one in San José and one in Liberia, you'll likely need 2 full days for transfers, leaving you with 3 to explore. Beach-bound travelers looking for a fast-paced trip can head to the Caribbean Coast, stopping in Turrialba along the way to raft down the Pacuare River. For a more relaxed pace, consider an inland adventure at Arenal Volcano or Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve—these areas can be visited from both airports with reasonable transfer times by road.

See our itineraries below, or read a roundup of 5-day trip ideas for Costa Rica.

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Beautiful Toucan in Corcovado National Park
Map of Osa Peninsula Luxury Jungle Adventure - 5 Days
Osa Peninsula Luxury Jungle Adventure - 5 Days

The Osa Peninsula is located in one of the most remote areas of Costa Rica and is home to windswept beaches, virgin rainforest, and exotic wildlife. Over five days you'll alternate between a pampered holiday lifestyle, rugged jungle treks, and scuba-diving/beach adventures. It's the best way to enjoy this gem of biodiversity tucked away in the great tropical paradise that is Costa Rica.

Pacuare river rafting trip
Map of Costa Rica Adventure: Whitewater Rafting and Surfing - 5 Days
Costa Rica Adventure: Whitewater Rafting and Surfing - 5 Days

Make your trip to Costa Rica one to remember! From a whitewater rafting adventure along miles of tropical scenery on the Pacuare River to an excursion to one of the country's top surf spots, this short and sweet itinerary is jam-packed with thrilling aquatic experiences.

The Guanacaste region on the Pacific Coast is known for its arid landscape and beautiful beaches
Map of Explore Guanacaste from Liberia - 5 Days
Explore Guanacaste from Liberia - 5 Days

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.

Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast is known for its diverse wildlife and beautiful beaches
Map of San José and Manuel Antonio - 5 Days
San José and Manuel Antonio - 5 Days

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.

Arenal Volcano
Map of Arenal Expedition - 5 Days
Arenal Expedition - 5 Days

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.

Hanging bridge in Monteverde National Park
Map of Monteverde Cloud Forest - 5 Days
Monteverde Cloud Forest - 5 Days

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.

A panoramic view of Lake Arenal
Map of Arenal Volcano & Monteverde Cloud  Forest - 5 Days
Arenal Volcano & Monteverde Cloud Forest - 5 Days

Enjoy a quick and eventful five days exploring two of Costa Rica’s best-known attractions. Begin in La Fortuna, where you can take some time to explore the village and dine in town. Then, discover Arenal Volcano on a nature hike, and soak in the natural hot springs. Next, float along scenic Lake Arenal to Monteverde. Mingle with the locals and then hike through the biodiverse Cloud Forest Reserve, which is home to many species of plants and animals—including plenty of exotic birdlife. Integrate this quick trip into other travel plans, or arrive and depart from San José, depending on your preference.

Volcan Arenal
Map of Monteverde & Samara - 5 Days
Monteverde & Samara - 5 Days

This fun, five-day Costa Rica itinerary takes in many of the country's natural highlights, from wildlife reserves to beautiful beaches. Enjoy a combination of outdoor activity and relaxation, structured and free time, to ensure your quick trip to Monteverde and Samara is just what you want it to be. As this is a self-driving tour you can go at your own pace.

Arenal Volcano, an active stratovolcano in northwestern Costa Rica
Map of Arenal Volcano & Playa Sámara Excursion - 5 Days
Arenal Volcano & Playa Sámara Excursion - 5 Days

Embark on this five-day adventure that introduces you to the natural beauty of northwestern Costa Rica. You'll get to witness native animals during rainforest and sea tours, hike through Arenal Volcano National Park and stand on the active side of the volcano, and take up various activities at Sámara Beach, from snorkeling to horseback riding and laying on the golden sand.

Hike to the Río Celeste waterfall
Costa Rica Rainforest & Beach Escape: Río Celeste & Playa Conchal - 5 Days

Escape to the lush rainforests and blissful beaches of northwest Costa Rica on this relaxing 5-day itinerary. Explore pristine cloud forests and brilliant blue rivers in the Río Celeste area, then transfer to the coast, where the white sands and crystalline waters of Playa Conchal beckon. With a perfect blend of laidback activities and lots of downtime, this quick Costa Rican getaway is sure to recharge your batteries.

You'll together brave the rapids on Río Pacuare, one of the best rafting rivers on earth
Map of Rafting & Romance in the Jungle - 5 Days
Rafting & Romance in the Jungle - 5 Days

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.

View of the Arenal Volcano
Arenal & Manuel Antonio - 5 Days

This whirlwind 5-day itinerary is perfect for first-time travelers who want to experience quintessential Costa Rica nature and rainforests. You'll take in awe-inspiring views of Arenal volcano and have an exciting day of zip lining before heading to Manuel Antonio to explore the jungle and white sand beaches of this nature lovers paradise.

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