Costa Rica Travel Itinerary – Best places to visit

November 10, 2021
November 10, 2021 Joe Morgan

With so many beaches to surf, mountains to climb and wildlife to spot, travelers are spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where in Costa Rica to explore. So in this blog post, we provide some sample itineraries to help you decide where to visit when traveling to Costa Rica.

If you are just starting to plan your trip to Costa Rica, read this blog post on the The Best Places to visit in Costa Rica

If you like wildlife, this blog post highlights the Where to see Wildlife in Costa Rica

Whilst Costa Rica isn’t a big country, it does take time to get around, and the spirit of the people here means things are not meant to be rushed, so we recommend trying to enjoy a few places and immerse yourself into those experiences rather than trying to race around the country to see everything.

One Week / 7-day Costa Rica Travel Itinerary

Summary: Mix of wilderness jungle hiking, hot springs, volcanoes and beaches.
Best Airport: Liberia (LIR)
Areas: Monteverde, La Fortuna/Arenal, Playa Grande.

Enjoy the best of what Costa Rica has to offer with a trip into the cloud forest of Monteverde for jungle trekking and wildlife spotting, then relax in the hot springs of La Fortuna with views of Arenal Volcano, before coming to Guanacaste and surfing the waves of Playa Grande or sip cocktails on the beach.

It’s best to fly into Liberia (LIR) airport for this, as it will dramatically reduce your travel time relative to flying into San Jose (SJO). This itinerary works if you are hiring a car or taking a shuttle (we recommend: www.interbusonline.com)

Suggested Itinerary:
Monteverde: 2/3 days
La Fortuna/Arenal: 2/3 days
Playa Grande: 3 days

10-day Costa Rica Travel Itinerary


Summary: Everything above + Manuel Antonio for sloths, monkeys and beautiful beaches
Best Airport: Liberia (LIR) or San Jose (SJO)
Areas: Monteverde, La Fortuna/Arenal, Playa Grande + Manuel Antonio.

With these extra three days, we recommend adding Manuel Antonio into the itinerary. This beachside jungle wildlife paradise is highly worth a visit, even if it is very touristy. You can take a trip into the Manuel Antonio National Park to see sloths and monkeys, whilst checking out some of the country’s most picturesque beaches.

Three extra days and the inclusion of a stop in Manuel Antonio make SJO a viable airport for this itinerary. Manuel Antonio is accessible by car and shuttle and is a beautiful drive by itself.

Suggested Itinerary:
Monteverde: 2/3 days
La Fortuna/Arenal: 2/3 days
Playa Grande: 3 days
Manuel Antonio: 2/3 days

Two Week / 14 day Costa Rica Travel Itinerary


Summary: Everything above + Corcovado National Park for the most biologically intense place on Earth
Best Airport: Liberia (LIR) or San Jose (SJO)
Areas: Monteverde, La Fortuna/Arenal, Playa Grande, Manuel Antonio + Corcovado National Park.

If you have two weeks to enjoy Costa Rica and seeing wildlife is your thing, then a visit to Corcovado National Park and Drakes Bay is a must add-on to your itinerary.

National Geographic famously called Corcovado National Park “the most biologically intense place on Earth.”

Most travelers choose to enter Corcovado via Drakes Bay, a beautiful lush bay offering unprecedented coastal views – an excellent place to relax before exploring the National Park.

This itinerary would require a car to get to Sierpe or Puerto Jimenez to access Corcovado National Park.

Suggested Itinerary:
Monteverde: 3/4 days
La Fortuna/Arenal: 2/3 days
Playa Grande: 3 days
Manuel Antonio: 2/3 days
Drakes Bay: 1 night either side of Corcovado
Corcovado National Park: 2 nights, 3 days

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