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Costa Rica itinerary (2-3 weeks)

Level Contributor
10 posts
2 reviews
Costa Rica itinerary (2-3 weeks)

Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are going to Costa Rica for around 2.5 weeks in August.

Our current itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: flight lands at 9pm so stay in San Jose

Day 2-4: Manuel Antonio

Day 5-7: Monteverde

Day 8-11: La Fortuna/Arenal

Day 12-14: Tortuguero

Day 15-17: Puerto Viejo

Day 18: San Jose

Day 19: Fly home in the morning

Is there anything anyone would add to this? I'm aware that if we took a day off each stop we could stop somewhere else, but am not sure where.

Also - we are planning on using mainly public buses, is this feasible?

Final thing: will the weather in August affect any of these stops and make them not worth going to?

Any comments at all are welcome! This is only a very rough itinerary.

Thanks a lot,

Georgia :)

5 replies to this topic
Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
9,766 posts
70 reviews
1. Re: Costa Rica itinerary (2-3 weeks)

I like your itinerary. I would not add more destinations.

We were in some of your destinations mid to end August. last summer (MA, Arenal, S. Caribbean, though we do not stay in PV itself and prefer Cahuita or Manzanillo, or possibly Punta Uva). We were able to get a clear view of Arenal volcano for 1 full day out of 3 days/4 nights there, but Arenal gets rainy a lot in general. We thought it was a beautiful area and would not say that August is the time not to go there.

August is a turtle season in Tortuguero. For transportation options to the village see http://casamarbella.tripod.com/id6.html , for ex. It gives ideas for public transportation, too.

On the way from Tortuguero, you will need to go via Moin dock, not La Pavona as at the beginning, I.e. a much longer boat transfer portion. Followed by a taxi to Limon, then a bus Limon to...wherever south you will be staying - PV, etc.

Great site for planning your S. Caribbean portion- https:/…transport-to-puerto-viejo.php .

Not sure what days of the week your Manuel Antonio days are, but remember that it is closed on Mondays.

Have a good trip!

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
3,836 posts
51 reviews
2. Re: Costa Rica itinerary (2-3 weeks)

You definitely don't want to add any other locations. I would say that this is the absolute maximum. Taking the buses is a great idea but it will add a lot of time to the traveling from place to place. You will barely have two days in each spot. In fact, it may be best if you eliminate one.

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
Level Contributor
7,537 posts
149 reviews
3. Re: Costa Rica itinerary (2-3 weeks)

Public bus from Arenal to Tortuguero would be a huge pain. Would recommend splurging for a direct shuttle--about $60/person.

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
19,581 posts
63 reviews
4. Re: Costa Rica itinerary (2-3 weeks)

Yours is a good itinerary for 3 weeks (as it is).Personally, as it will be August and weather should be a bit drier on the Caribbean side, and if wildlife is important to you (it is to me), I would skip Manuel Antonio and would add Sarapiqui between La Fortuna and Tortuguero.

Paris, Canada
Level Contributor
7,840 posts
20 reviews
5. Re: Costa Rica itinerary (2-3 weeks)

The public bus from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde will take 6-7 hours (via Puntarenas). And, as mentioned above, Arenal to Tortuguero will take 5 bus changes and take more than 10 hours. You might want to splurge on a shuttle or break the trip up by staying in Sarapiqui. You might indeed want to skip Manuel Antonio. I would stop in Cahuita on the way from Tortuguero to Puerto Viejo. It is a nice town and the Cahuita National Park is amazing. Lots of wildlife and less people than Manuel Antonio. If you decide not to stay in Cahuita make sure you go to the National Park for the day. I would also not stay in Puerto Viejo but on one of the beaches south of PV. If you can afford it consider the rafting trip on the Rio Pacuare on day 18 ($99 per person) with drop-off in San Jose.

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