Manuel Antonio National Park is a microcosm of many of the things that travelers come to Costa Rica for, and its proximity to San José makes it an ideal destination if you're short on time in the country—it's possible to go for just a day. But for travelers with more flexibility, extra time spent in and around Manuel Antonio won't be wasted, with so many natural and outdoor activities to enjoy. Here's a guide to spending your time in Manuel Antonio wisely.
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Manuel Antonio Essentials
Costa Rica is blessed with countless beautiful beaches, but two destinations that consistently top the list are Manuel Antonio and Tamarindo. Both offer stunning coastlines, abundant activities, and unique experiences, but each has its own distinct charm. In this guide, our local specialists, Randall Jiménez, Sergio Bolaños , Yuliana Valverde and Olman Romero help you decide which beach destination is the perfect fit for your Costa Rican adventure, covering aspects like activities, wildlife, accessibility, nightlife, and accommodation.
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.
Manuel Antonio National Park has it all: rainforests, coral beaches, and wild rivers. Make the most of your time in this exceptionally scenic and diverse area with a mix of relaxation and active excursions. To this end, we've compiled a list of the best boutique hotels and ecolodges, all offering unforgettable views and close proximity to the park.
Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica's smallest protected area, yet its ecological diversity is surprisingly plentiful. The same goes for restaurants—the tiny town of Quepa, gateway to the national park, has more quality eateries than you might expect. Learn where to eat in the Manuel Antonio area in our list below, where beachfront seafood spots, Mediterranean falafel shops, and more await.
Manuel Antonio is a family-friendly destination, chock full of activities and perks adored by all ages. Kids and adults alike will love hiking through the national park and time spent on the beach. Luckily, kimkim recommends quite a few family-friendly hotels in Manuel Antonio, so you can ensure everyone is happily entertained.
Manuel Antonio is one of the most beautiful regions in Costa Rica, as it blends dense jungle hillsides with the scenic coastline of the Pacific Ocean. Many hotels and resorts use the hillside to offer some of the country’s best scenery overlooking the jungle and ocean. Elevate the beauty by staying in one of kimkim’s recommended luxury hotels in Manuel Antonio.
Manuel Antonio perfectly mixes sandy ocean beaches with hilly rainforests, so it’s no surprise that many travelers head to the region for its exceptional views. When staying in the area, make the most out of this perk by booking one of kimkim’s recommended hotels with the best ocean and jungle views.
If you’re staying in Manuel Antonio, you probably already know about the area’s exceptional beaches. Don’t miss a moment in the sand and surf by booking one of kimkim’s recommended hotels with beach access, a surprisingly unique amenity for the area.
Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio region packs a lot of activity into one small area. It's a dream location for active travelers and adventure seekers, as you can combine coastal water sports with land-based excursions. Enjoy surfing at Playa Scull, scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling, all in one place. Then, take your adventures inland for activities like whitewater rafting, nature hikes, and horseback riding through the rainforests.
Whether you’re traveling to Manuel Antonio for the beaches or national park, you have plenty of options for accommodations. Try one of kimkim’s recommended mid-range hotels in Manuel Antonio. Although you’ll find plenty of luxury lodgings that fit perfectly into this beautiful region, you don’t have to break the bank to find exceptional views, comfort, and those upscale amenities.
Manuel Antonio attracts visitors across the globe for several reasons: pristine beaches, a rainforest that stretches down the coast, and an abundance of wildlife. With the scenic Manuel Antonio National Park as the backdrop, you can visit wildlife sanctuaries, discover organic spice farms, enjoy trekking excursions, take boats on rivers and through estuaries, plus kayak and snorkel in the ocean. End your stay with a sunset catamaran cruise or a surf lesson at one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica!
Costa Rica offers adventures suitable for all ages, making it an excellent choice for a family vacation. Kids and adults alike love spotting wildlife, ziplining through cloud forests, learning how to surf, touring organic farms, and much more. The unique experiences you can enjoy in Costa Rica—a country leading the world in eco-tourism and wildlife conservation—will leave a lasting impression on the entire family for years to come.
It's no surprise that many nature enthusiasts make their way to Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio region. Located on the central coast, you get a little bit of everything here: white-sand ocean beaches, lush rainforests, mangrove estuaries, islands, nature parks, waterfalls, and more. Discover Manuel Antonio's nature with hiking, boat tours, snorkeling, wildlife safaris, and more.
Blending ocean and jungle, Manuel Antonio offers a slew of activities to enjoy, including sea kayaking, snorkeling, mangrove boat tours, wildlife hikes, foodie tours, and more. Budget-minded travelers might want to save on accommodation to splurge on adventures. If that’s you, check out kimkim’s recommended standard hotels in Manuel Antonio, which offer reasonable pricing without compromising quality.
Manuel Antonio Itineraries
Most people visiting Manuel Antonio spend about 8 to 10 days in Costa Rica, which usually includes some time in Arenal/La Fortuna and Monteverde as well. For travelers wanting to visit Manuel Antonio 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 Manuel Antonio trips below.
Make the most of a short stay in Costa Rica with this action-packed four-day adventure in Manuel Antonio National Park. On guided nature hikes through the park's lush rainforest and beautiful beaches, you'll spot colorful frogs, playful monkeys, and an incredible variety of birds. Kayak through a quiet estuary and learn to surf in crystalline blue waters before heading back to San José, where the trip comes to an end.
Experience some of Costa Rica's most pristine beaches and diverse wildlife with this immersive five-day trip that focuses on one spectacular location. You'll start and end in the city of San José, but spend most of your time in the idyllic natural expanse of Manuel Antonio National Park, enjoying rainforest hikes, monkey meetings, and of course, the soft, white sands of the Pacific coast.
Explore Costa Rica's great outdoors on this lively six-day tour around the country's natural highlights, from volcanoes and hot springs to forests and beaches. Start in Arenal with a visit to the Hanging Bridges, a hike around Arenal Volcano, and a dip in the Tabacón Hot Springs. Then transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park for snorkeling, hiking, a sunset catamaran cruise, and a boating excursion in the Damas Island Estuary.
Explore the natural beauty and biodiversity of Costa Rica on this 6-day adventure around the country's beautiful landscapes. The itinerary begins with a hike around La Fortuna Waterfall Reserve and a walk along the famous Arenal Hanging Bridges. Enjoy views of volcanoes and relax in natural hot springs before continuing to Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll interact with sloths at a wildlife sanctuary and boat through a unique tidal landscape around Damas Island. Offering a mix of active excursions and relaxation, this trip is perfect for families.
This exciting 6-day itinerary is perfect for travelers who want to experience quintessential Costa Rica. You'll take in awe-inspiring views of Arenal volcano, and have an exciting rafting day on the Sarapiqui River before heading to Manuel Antonio to explore the jungle and white sand beaches of this nature lovers paradise.
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.
This fun weeklong itinerary highlights Costa Rica's incredible natural scenery through a thrilling series of adventurous activities, including whitewater rafting, kayaking, ziplining, 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 a hiking trail.
Most people visiting both Arenal and Manuel Antonio spend about 8 to 10 days in Costa Rica, usually with some time in Monteverde as well. For travelers wanting to visit Arenal and Manuel Antonio exclusively, plan 6 to 8 days for a well-paced trip. With less time it's possible to see the highlights in as few as 4 days. Read on for best itineraries to explore Arenal and Manuel Antonio.
This 4-day quick getaway allows you to experience a taste of the diversity of Costa Rica. Start off in the bustling capital of San José, you'll have time to explore the history and culture of the city for an evening before heading on to Manuel Antonio, a national park boasting some of Costa Rica's most pristine white sand beaches and coastal jungles.
Natural wonders await on this refreshing weeklong journey around Costa Rica. Highlights along the 7-day trip include the beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park, the awe-inspiring Arenal Volcano and the nearby Hanging Bridges, the pristine Damas Island Estuary, and much more. Mixing wildlife viewing and outdoor adventure, this itinerary captures the essence of the Costa Rican motto — Pura Vida!
Most people visiting both Manuel Antonio and Monteverde spend about 8 to 10 days in Costa Rica, which usually includes some time in Arenal/La Fortuna as well. For travelers wanting to visit Manuel Antonio and Monteverde exclusively, plan on 6 to 7 days for a well-paced trip. With less time, it's still possible to see the highlights in as few as 5 days. Check out our favorite Manuel Antonio and Monteverde trips below.
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.
With abundant wildlife, a nocturnal nature tour, a visit to the jungle in Manuel Antonio National Park, and time to relax on the beach, this trip captures the essence of Costa Rica's motto: Pura Vida! Starting in San José, you'll travel first to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, where you'll encounter Costa Rica's famed biodiversity. Continue on to Manuel Antonio National Park, where the forest meets the sea, for activities including a sunset catamaran cruise.
This supremely romantic—and slightly active —honeymoon adventure in Costa Rica is made for beach lovers. Over five magical days, you and your special someone will experience two luxury hotels on the Pacific coast, starting at Manuel Antonio, for rainforest hikes and nearby waterfalls. Then head south to Dominical to enjoy more spacious beaches and snorkeling among sea turtles. End each day the same way—with predinner drinks that coincide with Costa Rica's amazing sunsets.
Get a taste of Costa Rica's exotic landscapes and wildlife on this luxury five-day tour. Start in the lush Central Valley, where you'll stay at a lavish rainforest lodge in La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park, home to rescued wildlife and crashing waterfalls. Hike to the moon-like crater of the Poás volcano before escaping to Manuel Antonio to bask on soft-sand beaches, take a deep-sea fishing trip, and spot native wildlife on a private national park hike.
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.
Discover Costa Rica's natural wonders on this eight-day adventure around the country's volcanoes, hot springs, cloud forests, coral reefs, and beaches. Spot sloths in the wild and soak in hot springs in Arenal before continuing to Monteverde for a cloud forest hike, a guided nature walk, and a visit to a coffee farm. Finally, you'll boat, snorkel, hike, and swim in the pristine wilderness of Manuel Antonio National Park.
The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica offers everything—cities, beaches, and many unique ecosystems to explore. This itinerary encompasses the country's most spectacular landscapes, plus an opportunity to savor the culture of local villages and the capital city. Hike near a volcano, experience world-class bird-watching, snorkel with sea turtles, and more.
Spend an unforgettable honeymoon in Costa Rica on this nine-day trip that mixes adrenaline-rushing adventure with plenty of beach relaxation. You'll explore the jungle, go rafting and horseback riding, go snorkeling on the coast, and more on this whirlwind getaway.
Designed for families and perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, this 9-day adventure takes you to many of Costa Rica's most beautiful natural landscapes, including Arenal Volcano, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, and Manuel Antonio National Park. This action-packed trip also takes you off the beaten path to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve—a haven for wildlife viewing—and the spectacular Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, where you'll dive or snorkel in a colorful underwater ecosystem.
Fun for the whole family, this itinerary covers two of Costa Rica's most famous areas. Arenal and Manuel Antonio are some of the best representations of Costa Rica; Arenal area features one of the most famous volcanos in the country, surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, while Manuel Antonio National Park is renown for its white sandy beaches and vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife.
This 8-day trip is ideal for travelers looking to experience Costa Rica's highlights. Go for a dip in Arenal's hot springs and spot monkeys and other wildlife on hikes around the famous volcano. Continue to Monteverde, where you'll discover the remarkable flora and fauna of the cloud forest. Finally, spend a few days in Manuel Antonio National Park, kayaking through turquoise waters and relaxing on pristine white sand beaches.
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.
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!
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.
Explore the best of Costa Rica on this exciting 10-day adventure through the country's outdoor landscapes. Get to know the capital city of San José before heading off to Arenal for several days of volcano hikes and soaking in natural hot springs. You'll explore the cloud forest, learn about coffee production in Monteverde, and then continue to Manuel Antonio National Park for boating and snorkeling in aquamarine waters.
See Costa Rica's outdoor highlights on this weeklong adventure around the country's volcanoes, hot springs, cloud forests, wildlife habitats, and beaches. After exploring Arenal Volcano and its surroundings for a few days, you'll move on to Monteverde to sip locally-produced coffee and trek through the cloud forest. Then finish the week in Manuel Antonio National Park for hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.
This 10-day itinerary showcases three of Costa Rica's most popular destinations: Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio. In Arenal, you'll paddleboard past the volcano on the lake, traverse tropical forests on suspension bridges, and soak in the region's hot springs. Monteverde offers the chance to spot monkeys, birds, and more of the country's wildlife as you zip-line through the Cloud Forest Reserve, while Manuel Antonio provides downtime at the beach, where days end with spectacular Pacific Coast sunsets.
Combining Arenal/La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde - Recommended Itineraries from 8 to 14 Days
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.
This 11-day vacation offers everything you could imagine on a trip to Costa Rica–volcanic views of Arenal, the beautiful Pacific beaches of Playa Panama and Manuel Antonio, and fun activities along the way. Enjoy a chocolate-making class, a mangrove tour by boat, horseback riding along the ocean, and more.
If you're an intrepid traveler who likes testing the limits of endurance, this Costa Rican adventure is for you. Over 14 days you'll engage in a variety of physical disciplines including mountain biking, white-water rafting, and kayaking. Your goal is to travel from one coast to the other solely on your own power, and you'll do this by conquering mountains, volcanoes, rivers, and even crossing over the Continental Divide.
Snorkel with tropical fish, hike through the rainforest, and spot sloths hanging from the trees on this exciting week-long trip through the wilderness of Costa Rica. This itinerary leads you through three of the country's most beautiful destinations: Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio National Park, for a variety of outdoor excursions and hands-on activities. This lively adventure is fun for the whole family, featuring boat rides, wildlife viewing hikes, and a chocolate-making workshop.
Discover Costa Rica's rushing waterfalls, colorful rainforests, and vibrant wildlife habitats on this 10-day tour that's perfect for families. After sightseeing in San José, you'll continue to Arenal to spot sloths in the wild and soak in natural hot springs. Then explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest and visit a wildlife rehabilitation center. Finish up the adventure in Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll hike, snorkel, sail, and at the Damas Island Estuary, explore mangroves on a boat tour.
This family-oriented journey around Costa Rica leads you around the country's beautiful waterfalls, lush rainforests, and vibrant wildlife habitats. Do some cultural sightseeing in San José before moving on to Arenal to hike around a volcano, look for sloths in the wild, and go for a dip in hot springs. Learn how chocolate is made from bean to bar before exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest. The adventure culminates in Manuel Antonio National Park with a sailing and snorkeling trip.
Most people visiting San José, Arenal/La Fortuna, and Manuel Antonio spend about 8 to 10 days in Costa Rica, which usually includes some time in Monteverde. If you're not interested in Monteverde, a week to eight days is enough for your San José, Arenal/La Fortuna, and Manuel Antonio trip. With less time, seeing the highlights in as few as five or six days is still possible. Read below for kimkim's recommended San José, Arenal/La Fortuna, and Manuel Antonio trips.
Hiking in the jungle, soaking in hot springs, snorkeling with tropical fish, horseback riding to waterfalls—these are just a few outdoor adventures that await travelers on this thrilling 14-day itinerary around Costa Rica. After a day in San José, you'll head to the Caribbean coast and spend a few days exploring Tortuguero National Park. Discover the natural wonders of Arenal and Monteverde before finishing up the adventure on the Pacific coast at Manuel Antonio National Park.
Suitable for even the youngest family members, this two-week trip showcases the best of Costa Rica. Set off from San José for Arenal Volcano National Park. Discover waterfalls, go rafting, and get up close to jungle creatures on kid-friendly nature walks. Next up, it's the hanging bridges of Monteverde's Cloud Forest, followed by hands-on coffee and chocolate tours. Round it all off with a few days of beach time, boating, and easy-paced hiking at Manuel Antonio before returning to the capital.
Families with very little ones will find this 14-day Costa Rican tour fun and accommodating for all ages! Start in vibrant San José, where you'll explore city markets and stroll through Parque Central. Then, it's off to La Fortuna and Arenal for volcano walks, visits with sloths, and a family cooking class. Traverse hanging bridges in the cloud forests of Monteverde, wander through colorful butterfly gardens, and end with swimming, snorkeling, and sunning on the beaches of Manuel Antonio.
This self-guided road trip is ideal for those who love adventure. Visit Costa Rica's highlights, from the famous Arenal Volcano to the misty cloud forests of Monteverde and powdery beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. Along the way, you'll fly over the treetops on a zip line tour, swim in waterfall lagoons, and spot wildlife on nature walks and snorkeling excursions.
This itinerary combines mountain excursions with a bit of a beach holiday and some aquatic adventure. You'll arrive in Liberia, the hub of Costa Rica's Guanacaste Province. From there, drive to Arenal Volcano National Park, where you'll hike to a waterfall, relax in natural hot springs, and raft world-class whitewater. Then it's west to the Monteverde to see the cloud forest canopy via suspension bridges and a zip-line tour. A drive south will take you to Manuel Antonio, a unique destination with a combination of the beach, jungle and national park. After a couple days enjoying the beach and wildlife in Manuel Antonio, you'll return to San Jose for your journey home.
This 11-day itinerary combines mountain adventures with beaches, starting in Rincón de la Vieja to explore the environs of one of the country's most active volcanoes. Then travel deeper inland to spend a few days crossing suspension bridges, ziplining over trees, and hiking through the jungles of La Fortuna and the Monteverde Cloud Forest. More than stunning white-sand beaches, you'll end your trip in Manuel Antonio National Park, rich in biodiversity and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Experience Costa Rica's most spectacular national parks on this 15-day tour. You'll catch glimpses of sea turtles and monkeys in Tortuguero National Park and spot hundreds of bird species in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Then it's time to head to the country's largest and most famous volcano, Arenal, for a mix of wildlife and heart-pumping excursions. Finally, you'll end the trip in Manuel Antonio, where you'll snorkel among colorful fish and traverse jungle trails.
Enjoy a 15-day honeymoon adventure that covers several of Costa Rica’s greatest outdoor destinations. Begin in the capital city for a welcome dinner, before heading to the Arenal region for river rafting, volcano hikes, scenic waterfalls, and more. Next, go snorkeling and kayaking in the ocean on the shores of beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park. Venture into the cloud forests of Monteverde to take suspension bridges and ziplines through the greenery, followed by downtime in Tamardino Beach to surf, sail, and relish magnificent sunsets.
Add a little adrenaline to your family vacation with this eight-day Costa Rica adventure. Starting in San José, you'll set out to experience the rainforest and its hidden treasures first-hand in Arenal Volcano National Park. Raft the rapids of the Sarapiquí River, zipline through the jungle canopy, and visit with monkeys and parrots at a local wildlife center. End your trip where the rainforest meets the ocean at Manuel Antonio National Park, where kids can swim and snorkel, relax on pristine white sand beaches, and go dolphin-spotting on a catamaran cruise.
Get your adrenaline pumping with this active 8-day itinerary showcasing Costa Rica's magnificent natural wonders. Starting in the capital of San José, you'll journey through a land of rivers, jungles, waterfalls, and volcanoes to reach the spectacular white-sand beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park. Along the way, enjoy a perfect blend of thrilling activities and relaxing downtime as you brave whitewater rapids, hike high into the rainforest's canopy, and sail and swim off the pristine Pacific coast.
From whitewater rafting to waterfall rappelling, this active eight-day itinerary around Costa Rica is filled with adventure! After a day of sightseeing in San José, you'll embark on two days of rafting down Class III-IV rapids on the Río Pacuare. Continue to Arenal for volcano hikes and a zip-lining excursion through the rainforest. You'll finish up in Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll spot crocodiles, snorkel with tropical fish, and sail along the coast at sunset.
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 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.
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.
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.
With a mix of rugged jungles, active volcanoes and world-class beaches, Costa Rica offers some of the best natural sights and experiences in the world, all conveniently packed into one country. Almost a quarter of the land is preserved within national parks, allowing a wide range of animals and plants to flourish, making Costa Rica an ideal destination for ecotourism. With this itinerary, you'll discover the best attractions Costa Rica has to offer in just a week.
Explore Costa Rica's amazing natural scenery through a thrilling series of activities including whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, and more. This tour will take you to a wide range of coasts, jungles, and rivers, all while keeping your adrenaline pumping.
The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica, offers an array of adventures, from city to cloud forest to the 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.
Some 25% of the total area of Costa Rica is protected. You'll see evidence of this in the country's many national parks and reserves—the goal being to ensure that Costa Rica's natural wonders and delicate eco-systems remain viable for years to come. This is great for visitors such as yourself, who can luxuriate in Costa Rica's natural beauty on this immersive 9-day itinerary.
This 14-day seaside adventure takes you from scenic Uvita Beach on the south Pacific Coast all the way to Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean side. Along the way, you’ll stop in Manuel Antonio, with its beautiful beaches and namesake national park. Then, enjoy a day exploring La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano. Mingle with monkeys, sloths, and other animals at the Jaguar Rescue Center on this family-friendly vacation that ends in the capital city of San José.
Travel from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific coast, enjoying outdoor adventures along the way, on this exciting 13-day itinerary across Costa Rica. Spend a day sightseeing in San José before heading on to Tortuguero National Park for a boat tour and a nighttime nature hike. Continue to Arenal for volcano hikes, hot springs, and a visit to a wildlife rehabilitation center, then zipline through the cloud forest in Monteverde and end the trip in Manuel Antonio National Park.
Eight to 10 days is a great length of time for a Costa Rica trip with stops in San José, Arenal/La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde. However, it's also possible to hit the highlights in six or seven days if you don't mind a fast-paced journey. Travelers with more time can enjoy extra sights and activities at each stop or explore more of the country. Some recommended itinerary extensions include Tortuguero, Tamarindo, or Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. See below for more itinerary ideas for San José, Arenal/La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde.
Eight to nine days is a great length for a Costa Rica trip with stops in San José, Arenal/La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, and Río Pacuare. It's also possible to hit the highlights in six days to a week if you don't mind a fast-paced journey. With more time, you can enjoy extra activities at each stop or a few days in another region, like Monteverde, Corcovado National Park, or Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Keep reading for more inspiring San José, Arenal/La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, and Río Pacuare itineraries.
Crafted with intrepid nature lovers in mind, this national parks-focused itinerary includes the four best parks in Costa Rica. So clear two weeks off your calendar—it's time to experience Costa Rica fully.
This self-guided road trip is ideal for those who love nature, beaches, and adventure activities. It covers all of Costa Rica's highlights, starting at the famous Arenal Volcano. From there, on to the Gulf of Papagayo on the northern Pacific coast. It's the perfect spot to snorkel and take a sunset sailing cruise. Then, you'll venture into the misty cloud forests of Monteverde—spot rare birds, partake in a zipline canopy tour, and embark on a nocturnal wildlife excursion. End your trip with hiking and beach time in Manuel Antonio National Park.
Explore Costa Rica's beautiful natural landscapes—and treat yourself to luxury hotel stays—on this two-week adventure around the country. The itinerary takes you to two national parks, Corcovado and Manuel Antonio, for hiking, snorkeling, and boating excursions. You'll also spot wildlife on a night tour, visit a coffee farm, zip-line through the jungle in the Monteverde cloud forest, and hike to Arenal Volcano, enjoying a dip in natural hot springs nearby to finish the trip.
Take in the best of Costa Rica's wildlife and nature on this two-week trip into the rainforest. Start in Arenal to hike around the Arenal Volcano and soothe your muscles in the regenerative hot springs, then head to Monteverde for a treetops adventure in the cloud forest. You'll zip line through the canopy and hike through the nighttime forest before ending your trip in Manual Antonio, where crystal clear water and endless beaches await.
Experience Costa Rica's highlights on this luxurious coast-to-coast tour. You'll travel from sun-soaked Caribbean shores to volcano-spotted highlands and mystical cloud forests, ending on the biodiverse Pacific coast. Along the way, take private trekking and snorkeling tours of four wildlife-filled national parks and stay in 5-star resorts, indulging in everything from luxury catamaran cruises to hot spring soaks, rainforest spa sessions, and local cooking classes.
Families with tweens and teens will love this active 14-day adventure that starts on the coasts of Tamarindo, where you'll hike to electric-blue waterfalls and see nesting sea turtles. Then, it's off to Monteverde for horseback rides through lush cloud forests and a visit to a sloth sanctuary. Play on the beaches of Manuel Antonio, kayak through the mangroves of Isla Damas, and snorkel at Drake Bay's Isla del Caño before ending in the capital city of San José to see its colorful streets, lively markets, and historic sights.
Perfect for families with school-aged kids, this adventurous two-wee Costa Rican tour starts in dynamic San José, where you'll tour the Jade Museum and other cultural landmarks. Then, it's off to the coast for nature walks and wildlife sightings in Manuel Antonio National Park. Take a night trek through cloud forests, tour a working coffee farm in Monteverde, play on the white-sand beaches of Sámara, and end with the aqua-blue waterfalls, volcanoes, and hot springs of Rincón de la Vieja National Park.
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 itinerary is designed for those who want a classic tropical excursion into Costa Rica's rainforests. Start with the remote Osa Peninsula, where you'll visit beaches and hike through the rainforest. Then, drive north along the Pacific coast to the white-sand beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park before heading northwest into the Monteverde region. Finally, pay a visit to Arenal, an active volcano and one of Costa Rica's most famous landmarks.
If you prefer an active holiday in the great outdoors amid exotic wildlife, then this is the trip for you. Over 11 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 11 days.
Enjoy active adventures and luxurious stays on this 11-day Costa Rica journey. Conquer whitewater rapids in Pacuare, before heading to the Arenal Volcano region with opportunities to zipline, hike, and soak in natural hot springs. Then, stop to visit the crocodiles along the Tarcoles River en route to coastal Manuel Antonio, where you'll explore the rainforest and snorkel in pristine waters. Next, hop a flight to an Osa Peninsula eco-lodge, before one last day of exploration in San José.
This 11-day itinerary celebrates Costa Rica’s remarkable biodiversity and highlights four of the country’s magnificent national parks. Traverse the coastal Caribbean waterways of Tortuguero, see the mythical quetzal bird in the cloud forests of Los Quetzales, and search for jaguars and tapirs in the remote habitats of Corcovado. After a day of snorkeling with colorful sea life at Caño Island, travel up the Pacific coast to the white sand beaches and lush jungles of Manuel Antonio.
Experience Costa Rica in style, enjoying excursions with private guides and overnight stays in luxury hotels on this wide-ranging itinerary around the country. Start with birdwatching and snorkeling on the Osa Peninsula, then transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll take surf lessons. Go horseback riding in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, hike around Arenal Volcano, and relax in natural hot springs before heading back to San José for one last night out on the town.
For most travelers, 12 to 15 days is the right length of time for a trip to Costa Rica, with stops in San José, Arenal/La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, and Tortuguero. Travelers with less time can hit the route's highlights in 8 to 11 days, which makes for a fast-paced journey. Or, extend your trip and explore more of the country—some of the best-loved trip extensions include Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Tamarindo, or Corcovado National Park.
Costa Rica is a nation as biodiverse as it is beautiful. 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!"
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.
This jam-packed tour of Costa Rica's highlights takes you from the Caribbean to the Pacific. Begin with a boat tour of Tortuguero before two days of relaxation on Puerto Viejo Beach. Conquer the rapids on the Pacuare River en route to adventure-filled Arenal. Then, head to Monteverde, where you'll zipline through the rare cloud forest, followed by a cultural tour of local plantations. The trip winds down in Manuel Antonio, with its gorgeous beaches and abundant wildlife.
This 13-day trip is packed with the best that Costa Rica's nature has to offer: volcanoes, cloud forests, coastlines, and more. You'll start in Poas to see the Tenorio Volcano and visit the La Paz Waterfall, then continue north to Arenal for a look at the iconic volcano and a chance to learn about coffee and chocolate production. Continue to Rio Celeste to see the spectacular blue water for yourself, then end your trip in Monteverde and Manual Antonio for sunny beaches and wildlife walks.
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 two-week nature tour is all about Costa Rica's biodiverse national parks. Begin in Tortuguero, where, depending on the time of year, you can embark on a nighttime turtle nesting tour. In Monteverde, explore the cloud forests via the hanging bridges and ziplines. Manuel Antonio provides the best of both worlds—rainforest and beach scenery–while a tour of the famous Corcovado National Park is a bucket list field trip for nature enthusiasts.
On this 14-day tour, you’ll experience some of Costa Rica’s most iconic destinations. First, stroll the capital city of San José prior to adventuring through La Fortuna, from Arenal volcano to whitewater rafting. Next, zipline through the biodiverse cloud forests of Monteverde. Then, tour three of the country’s most iconic beaches—Manuel Antonio, Uvita, and Jacó—which will include equal-parts exploration and relaxation, topped off with beautiful nightly sunsets.
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.
Cycle from coast to coast on this epic adventure tour that will take you from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. See the real Costa Rica as you bike from village to village—past the farms, banana plantations, and sugar cane fields of the lowlands. You'll experience all this gorgeous country has to offer as you make your way towards the west coast, from jungle rivers to mountains to an active volcano to Costa Rica's famous coffee growing region. After an unforgettable cross-country bike ride, celebrate your achievement on the beaches of the storied Manuel Antonio National Park.
Checking off three key regions in Costa Rica, this 10-day itinerary is perfect for adventurous travelers. The trip starts with a visit to Costa Rica's famous Arenal Volcano for hiking and natural hot springs before continuing to the Pacific Ocean for some beach time at Manuel Antonio National Park. Finish off in one of the country's most remote areas—Osa Peninsula—for undeveloped rainforests, rare wildlife, and near-empty coastline.
Over an immersive 16 days, you'll alternate between adventure and leisure in Costa Rica. Some days will be filled with culture in the capital of San José, others you'll spend whitewater rafting, and others will involve zipline excursions over the jungle canopy. If that's not enough, you'll also visit Costa Rica's largest active volcano and even make time for surf lessons.
Explore many of Costa Rica's off-the-beaten-path destinations on this 16-day self-drive tour. You'll travel to all corners of the country, from the surf town of Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast, to Arenal Volcano in the north, and to Pacific beaches and protected areas home to exotic wildlife like scarlet macaws. The final leg of this adventure will be a trip to the far south and the remote and beautiful Osa Peninsula.
There's no better way to rejuvenate your body and spirit than with a long soak in natural hot springs and some tropical outdoor adventures. Costa Rica offers all of this in the form of waterfall hikes, beach excursions, and whitewater rafting. You'll enjoy all of this plus spend a few days getting pampered in some of the most luxurious spas and eco-resorts in the world.
There's no better place to replenish your mind, body, and soul than Costa Rica. It's a country as abundant in world-class wellness resorts as it is natural beauty. On this 15-day itinerary, you'll compliment the spa treatments with some exciting adventure excursions the country is famous for, like whitewater rafting, waterfall hikes, and ocean trips off the Pacific coast.
Head off to Costa Rica for a wellness excursion guaranteed to recharge your batteries. Over 14 days you'll enjoy yoga sessions and spa treatments in some of the most incredible eco-resorts in the world. Aside from total relaxation, you'll hike to tropical waterfalls, brave whitewater rapids, and experience the beaches of the Pacific coast.
This 16-day tour of Costa Rica will recharge your batteries through a combination of luxury wellness experiences and thrilling outdoor adventures. On this excursion, you'll travel across the country, from Arenal Volcano to the wild Pacuare River and out to Pacific beaches. Throughout the adventure, you'll replenish your body and soul in some of the most luxurious eco-retreats anywhere in the world.
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.
In Costa Rica, it's possible to seamlessly mix tropical adventures with luxury wellness retreats and eco-resorts. Over 11 days you'll replenish your mind and body with yoga sessions and spa treatments while also enjoying some thrills in the form of white-water rafting and waterfall hikes. As a bonus, you'll get to laze on Pacific beaches and even learn the secrets to making chocolate.