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Costa Rica Two Week Itinerary: Best of Costa Rica

by Sean
costa rica two week itinerary

Costa Rica is a haven of biodiversity, culture, and beauty. It’s full of ecotourism activities, gorgeous waterfalls, chilled out beach towns, and all-around good vibes. If you’re planning a two-week trip to Costa Rica, you’ll realize there’s no shortage of things to do in this Latin American country. Here’s our Costa Rica two week itinerary of the best things to do in this lush Central American country. 

Travel Tips to go Along With Your Costa Rica Itinerary:

The best way to explore Costa Rica is by renting a car. Though you can get most places by bus, they can be hot and uncomfortable, so while planning your trip, consider using a rental car service to maximize your trip.

You can often pay in both dollars of colones in Costa Rica, but it’s worth taking out colones for street side markets, taxis, and locations that only accept colones. You can do this quickly and easily at an ATM.

Day 1 San José (1 night)

Fly into San José and spend your first night there to get yourself adjusted. The city isn’t as exciting compared to your journey ahead so don’t worry too much about not spending enough time here. You can explore around the city center and grab lunch or dinner out.

A great choice for lunch or early dinner: Cafe Rojo is a delicious vegetarian-friendly restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio area with a deck as well as indoor seating. The food is Costa Rican means Vietnamese. 

For dinner: Check out Olio just outside the city center. The restaurant is beautiful, and they serve Mediterranean dishes like tasty tapas, calamari, goats cheese croquettes, and more.

Where to stay in San José:

Budget & mid-range options: Selina San José

Days 2-3 Monteverde (2 nights)

Head across the volcano to Monteverde where you can experience an incredible cloud forest and adventure tourism. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is also an excellent place to start exploring the fauna and flora of Costa Rica. Upon arrival, you’ll be surrounded by moist dripping greenery, hanging bridges, and the cloudy ambiance of this forest.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Coffee & Jungle Night Walk

Many of Costa Rica’s wildlife don’t often show their faces until the sun goes down. Take advantage of this by enjoying a coffee tour (with a twist) in Monteverde! Two of Costa Rica’s major crops are the coffee bean and the cacao plant, meaning there’s no shortage of either in Costa Rica.

The Coffee’N Jungle Night Tour provides a little bit of everything. You’ll begin learning about the coffee process by visiting a plantation, go on a mini chocolate tour, and then the night walk in the woods. Expect to observe various animals such as sloths, frogs, and insects.

Ziplining through the clouds

One of the best things to do on a two-week Costa Rica trip is to go ziplining. Soar through this cloudy jungle on an exciting zipline course and experience Costa Rica from a new perspective.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Hike independently or with a guide as you explore the awe-inspiring views of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Admission costs $22, but it’s full of lush greenery, mystical forests, and wildlife.

Where to stay in Monteverde:

Budget: Sleepers Sleep Cheaper Hostel | Mid-range: Camino Verde B&B Monteverde Costa Rica

Days 4-6 La Fortuna (3 nights)

La Fortuna is a perfect next stop on your two-week Costa Rica itinerary. It’s basically Costa Rica’s adventure capital so you know you’re in for fun.

The best things to do in La Fortuna is check out the volcano, hike to the La Fortuna waterfall, and relax in hot springs.


Arenal Volcano

While in La Fortuna, the Arenal Volcano can’t be missed, partially because it’s massive and partially because it’s a fantastic site to see. So, head to the Arenal Volcano National Park. There are many guided tours through the park showing you the best views of the volcano and Arenal Lake located next to it.

La Fortuna Waterfall

Indulge in an amazing hike to the La Fortuna waterfall. Getting to the waterfall requires hiking down 400 steps (and back up), but it’s completely worth it when you stumble upon its spectacular views. Treat yourself with a quick dip in the pool once you arrive.

Be sure to pack good shoes and swimsuit for this short hike.

Hot Springs

Another amazing thing to do during your two weeks in Costa Rica is check out natural hot springs around La Fortuna. These naturally occurring mineral hot springs will be the perfect way to spend your last day in La Fortuna before heading onward. You can check out resorts like Eco Termales Fortuna though you can also ask around to locals for recommendations on free springs, too.

Where to stay in La Fortuna:

Budget: Arenal Hostel Resort | Mid-range: Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs

Days 6-7 Tortuguero National Park (2 nights)

Tortuguero National Park

If you’re looking for diverse wildlife and a chance to see sea turtles, Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean Coast will be your next stop. All four species of sea turtles lay their eggs on the beaches at this park. Plus, you’ll likely see many birds, monkeys, and perhaps even sloths.

To get here, you’ll drive from La Fortuna to Moín and take a boat, as it’s only accessible via boat or small plane. If you decide against driving, you can get a bus to Moín or book a package to visit Tortuguero.

Days 8-11 Puerto Viejo (4 nights)

Continue your two weeks in Costa Rica with a trip to Puerto Viejo, also on the Caribbean Coast. This lively beach town offers a relaxed pace, boutique shops and restaurants, and a combination of Costa Rican and Caribbean culture.

You can easily spend a handful of days here simply laying on the beach, surfing, and chatting with locals.


Rent bikes and cycle.

The best way to explore Puerto Viejo is just as the locals do – on bikes. There are plenty of bike rental locations in town, so you can easily enjoy an adventure around town and along the coast.

Visit the top beaches.

The area offer several incredible beaches. The town’s main beach, Playa Cocles, is long and wide and full of life. Take surfing lessons, walk on the slackline, or sunbathe.

Then there’s Playa Chiquita which is more relaxed and full of charming palm trees. Find the best beaches in Puerto Viejo.

Check out a chocolate tour.

Next to Playa Cocles, you’ll find Caribeans a delicious coffee and chocolate cafe. Beyond just serving up their delicious treats, they also offer tours of their chocolate plantation. Book a chocolate tour and taste the cacao fruit, learn all about the bean to bar process, sample some delicious chocolate, and enjoy the stunning ocean views as well.

Snorkel at Punta Uva.

Accessible via bike or car, head down to Punta Uva for one of the area’s best beaches for snorkeling. Check out fish and coral along this beautiful area.

Feel free to bring your own snorkel gear or rent on site.

Go on a jungle walk.

It’s common to see monkeys and sloths in Puerto Viejo. Begin your jungle walk at the beach next to Salsa Brava Rasta Bar and follow the trail which leads you to Playa Cocles. This walk features both the sea and the lush jungle. It’s a perfect combination. There’s even a beautiful viewpoint that you can follow to discover gorgeous views of the Caribbean Sea.

Take a tour of the Jaguar Rescue Center.

A visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center is a treat. There aren’t actually any jaguars here, but there’s so much more. It’s a volunteer-run organization where wildlife animals are rehabilitated and sent back into the wild, if able. It’s an amazing organization to support and the tour guides are very insightful. You’ll get up close with sloths, birds, monkeys, reptiles, and even a deer—surprisingly, Costa Rica’s national animal.

Where to stay in La Fortuna:

Budget & mid-range: Selina Puerto Viejo | Mid-range: Coco Loco Lodge

Days 12-14 San José (2 nights)

You’re likely going to be a bit tired at this point, so head back to the capital city to relax and unwind on your last day and a half. You can take the bus from Puerto Viejo to San José or go by car.

Explore around the city center, visit museums, and enjoy your last Costa Rican dishes.


National Museum of Costa Rica

Check out the National Museum of Costa Rica to learn up about Costa Rica’s rich history and art work. The building itself is beautiful, both inside and outside.

Restaurante Tiquicia

For a traditional restaurant in San José, Restaurante Tiquicia is worth a visit. Located in the trendy neighborhood of Escazú, overlook the mountains and San José as you enjoy traditional cuisine, Costa Rican dancing, and plenty of fun. It’s a great way to end your two-week adventure in Costa Rica.

Where to stay in San José:

Budget & mid-range options: Selina San José

Note: You could also opt to stay directly in Alajuela as the airport is located here. It’s a small town with interesting architecture and is quite easy to explore. However, the great thing about the Selina accommodation in San José is that it has a bar, restaurant, and beautiful set up. They offer Costa Rican dishes, live music, a cinema, and a lot of other fun opportunities for their guests. It makes for a relaxing and comfortable end to your stay in Costa Rica.

Fly home from Costa Rica

So long and pura vida, Costa Rica! Your two weeks in Costa Rica has officially ended, but you’re sure to be leaving with a few tan lines and lasting memories. If you followed this Costa Rica two week itinerary you surely had an incredibly memorable experience.

Other Options While Traveling Costa Rica

Of course, there are other options you can go with while seeing Costa Rica. In this section we will go over some of the different paths you can choose on your travels.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Costa Rica. This stunning park is known for its lush green jungle, pristine white sand beaches, and incredible ocean views. As a tourist, there are several things to keep in mind when visiting the park to make the most of your trip.

One of the first things to consider is the best time to visit the park. The park is open every day from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, and it’s best to arrive early to avoid the crowds. The park is busiest from December to April, which is the dry season in Costa Rica. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the rainy season from May to November. While it may rain during your visit, the park is less busy, and you’ll have a better chance of spotting wildlife.

When visiting the park, it’s important to wear comfortable clothing and shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking and hiking. The park has several hiking trails that range in difficulty, so be sure to choose a trail that suits your fitness level. Bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no food or drink vendors inside the park.

One of the highlights of visiting Manuel Antonio National Park is the opportunity to see wildlife up close. The park is home to a variety of animals, including monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and colorful birds. Be sure to keep a safe distance from the animals and avoid feeding them, as this can be harmful to their health.

Finally, don’t forget to take in the stunning views of the park’s beaches and ocean. The park has several lookout points that offer incredible views of the coastline. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the beauty of Manuel Antonio National Park.

In conclusion, visiting Manuel Antonio National Park is an unforgettable experience for any tourist traveling to Costa Rica. With its stunning natural beauty, incredible wildlife, and breathtaking views, the park is a must-visit destination. By keeping these helpful tips in mind, you can make the most of your trip and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Tamarindo in Costa Rica is an absolute gem of a destination that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a tropical paradise to escape to. The town is located in the Guanacaste Province and is known for its stunning beaches, amazing surf, and laid-back vibe that is perfect for a relaxing vacation.

One of the things that I loved about Tamarindo is the variety of activities available. The beaches are perfect for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing, and there are plenty of tour operators that offer activities such as horseback riding, zip-lining, and snorkeling. I also enjoyed exploring the town, which has a great selection of restaurants, bars, and shops. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and it’s easy to get around the town on foot or by bike.

The beaches in Tamarindo are absolutely gorgeous, with crystal-clear water and soft white sand. Playa Tamarindo is the most popular beach in town, and it’s easy to see why. The surf is great for beginners and experienced surfers alike, and there are plenty of beach bars and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy the view. I also enjoyed visiting Playa Langosta, which is a bit quieter and more secluded than Playa Tamarindo.

Another thing that I loved about Tamarindo is the incredible wildlife. The town is surrounded by lush jungle, and it’s not uncommon to see monkeys, iguanas, and other wildlife roaming around. I went on a sunset boat tour of the estuary and saw crocodiles, birds, and even a family of howler monkeys. It was an unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend.

In conclusion, Tamarindo in Costa Rica is an amazing destination that I would recommend to anyone looking for a tropical paradise. The beaches are stunning, the locals are friendly, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Whether you’re looking to surf, relax on the beach, or explore the jungle, Tamarindo has something for everyone. I can’t wait to go back!

Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano National Park in Costa Rica is a jaw-dropping destination that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the country. The park is located in the central part of Costa Rica, and it’s known for its stunning views of the Arenal Volcano, lush rainforest, and incredible wildlife.

One of the highlights of visiting Arenal Volcano National Park is the opportunity to see the volcano up close. The volcano is one of the most active in Costa Rica, and it’s possible to see smoke and ash coming from the crater on a clear day. The park has several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the volcano, as well as the surrounding rainforest and lake.

Another thing that I loved about Arenal Volcano National Park is the incredible wildlife. The park is home to a variety of animals, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, and colorful birds. I went on a guided hike through the rainforest and saw several species of monkeys swinging through the trees. It was an unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the park.

One of the things that I appreciated about Arenal Volcano National Park is the variety of activities available. In addition to hiking and wildlife watching in national parks, there are plenty of tour operators that offer activities such as zip-lining, horseback riding, and white-water rafting. There are also several hot springs in the area that are perfect for relaxing after a long day of exploring.

In conclusion, Arenal Volcano National Park is an incredible destination that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Costa Rica. The park offers stunning views of the volcano, incredible wildlife, and a variety of activities that are perfect for adventure-seekers and nature lovers alike. Whether you’re hiking through the rainforest, soaking in a hot spring, or watching monkeys swing through the trees, there’s something for everyone in Arenal Volcano National Park.

Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park is a beautiful and biodiverse national park located on the southwest tip of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. The park is known for its high levels of biodiversity, and is one of the most diverse regions and ecosystems in the world. It is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including 140 mammal species, 117 amphibians and reptiles, 367 bird species, and 6,000 insect species.

The park has numerous hiking trails and rustic camping refuges for visitors to enjoy. However, it is mandatory to enter with an authorized guide to ensure visitor safety and to protect the park’s fragile ecosystem. Less adventurous visitors can also enjoy the park by boat or on a guided tour.

One of the most unique experiences in Corcovado National Park is encountering the park’s resident tapirs. These gentle giants are the largest land mammals in Central America and are known for their distinctive long snouts. They can often be seen grazing on vegetation in the park’s open areas.

Another highlight of the park is its stunning beaches. The park’s coastline is home to four main beaches: La Leona, Carate, San Josecito, and Sirena. These beaches are unspoiled and offer visitors a chance to relax and soak up the sun in a truly pristine environment.

Corcovado National Park is also a popular destination for birdwatching. The park is home to a large number of bird species, including the scarlet macaw, which is one of the most iconic birds in Costa Rica. Visitors can also spot toucans, parrots, and a variety of hummingbirds while exploring the park’s trails.

I have not personally visited Corcovado National Park, but many visitors have shared their experiences online. One visitor on TripAdvisor described the park as “a nature lover’s paradise” and praised the park’s “unbelievable wildlife sightings.” Another visitor on Lonely Planet called the park “one of the most beautiful and untouched places on earth.”

In conclusion, Corcovado National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and anyone interested in exploring Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity. With its stunning beaches, unique wildlife, and breathtaking scenery, it’s no wonder that the park is considered one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.

FAQs About Traveling to Costa Rica

What is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

The best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so if you’re looking to avoid crowds, consider visiting during the rainy season from May to November.

What is the official language of Costa Rica?

The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, but many people in the tourism industry speak English.

Do I need a visa to visit Costa Rica?

If you are a citizen of the United States, Canada, or the European Union, you do not need a visa to visit Costa Rica for up to 90 days. However, you will need a valid passport and proof of onward travel.

What is the currency in Costa Rica?

The currency in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón (CRC), but U.S. dollars are widely accepted in many places.

Is it safe to travel to Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it’s important to exercise caution and common sense when traveling in any foreign country. Be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on your belongings, and follow the advice of locals and authorities.

What are some popular destinations in Costa Rica?

Some popular destinations in Costa Rica include Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and Tamarindo Beach.

What is the food like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rican cuisine is known for its use of fresh, local ingredients. Some popular dishes include gallo pinto (rice and beans), ceviche (marinated seafood), and casado (a traditional meal that typically includes rice, beans, plantains, salad, and a choice of meat).

What are some popular activities in Costa Rica?

Some popular activities in Costa Rica include surfing, zip-lining, hiking, wildlife watching, and relaxing on the beach. There are also several hot springs and spas throughout the country that are perfect for relaxation.

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