How to spend 3 weeks In Costa Rica - 5 itineraries

Explore Costa Rica's enchanting diversity by choosing from our five carefully crafted 3-week Costa Rica itineraries. Discover hidden gems, take part in exciting activities, and relax amid breathtaking scenery. These itineraries, carefully planned by day, promise an unforgettable introduction to Costa Rica's amazing beauty and eco-adventures.

Itinerary #1: Rainforest & Coast Expedition

Costa Rica's natural wonders await you during this 3-week adventure. Arrive in San Jose and begin your journey. On day two, fly to Puerto Jimenez and transfer to Lapa Rios Ecolodge and spend days 3 through 5 conducting ecological excursions of your choice.

On day six, immerse yourself in the local culture of Los Bajos del Toro Amarillo. On day seven, you'll enjoy early bird watching along the lodge's trails. Embark on a horseback ride through the Bajos del Toro countryside on day eight.

The ninth day is marked by a journey to a new destination. On the tenth day, make your way to Manuel Antonio National Park. Day eleven offers an exploration of hidden coves by sea kayak, while day twelve offers a relaxing catamaran cruise.

On the thirteenth day, you will return to San Jose. On day fourteen, head to Tortuguero National Park, famous for nesting turtles. On the fifteenth day, explore its canals by boat.

On the sixteenth day, head to the Arenal Volcano area. A hike to Arenal Volcanoes National Park awaits on the seventeenth day. The eighteenth day offers relaxation in natural hot springs.

On the nineteenth day and the twentieth day, you will be transferred to the Monteverde Cloud Forest and discover its biodiversity during guided walks. On the twenty-first day, return to San José to complete this fulfilling adventure.

National monument of Costa Rica is a sculptural group located in the National Park of San Jose © Shutterstock

The National Monument of Costa Rica in the National Park of San Jose © Shutterstock

Sunrise in Puerto Jimenez Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Sunrise in Puerto Jimenez Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check the overview of this Costa Rica itinerary for 3 weeks.

    Day one

  • Arrival in San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day two

  • Transfer to Puerto Jimenez.
  • Overnight in Lapa Rios Ecolodge.

    Day three

  • Lapa Rios Lodge Excursions.
  • Overnight in Lapa Rios Ecolodge.

    Day four

  • Lapa Rios Lodge Excursions.
  • Overnight in Lapa Rios Ecolodge.

    Day five

  • Lapa Rios Lodge Excursions.
  • Overnight in Lapa Rios Ecolodge.

    Day six

  • Los Bajos Cultural Experience.
  • Overnight in Bajos Del Toro.

    Day seven

  • Daybreak Bird Watching and Horseback Riding.
  • Overnight in Bajos Del Toro.

    Day eight

  • Horseback Riding.
  • Overnight in Bajos Del Toro.

    Day nine

  • Transfer to Manuel Antonio.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day ten

  • Manuel Antonio National Park Tour.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day eleven

  • Kayaking Tour.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day twelve

  • Catamaran Cruise.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day thirteen

  • Transfer to San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day fourteen

  • Transfer to Tortuguero National Park.
  • Overnight in Tortuguero.

    Day fifteen

  • Tortuguero National Park Exploration.
  • Overnight in Tortuguero.

    Day sixteen

  • Transfer to Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day seventeen

  • Arenal Volcano National Park Hiking Tour.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day eighteen

  • Day of Relaxation at Arenal Hot Springs.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day nineteen

  • Transfer to Monteverde Cloud Forest.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day twenty

  • Monteverde National Park Hiking Tour.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day twenty one

  • Transfer and Departure from San Jose.

Looking for a new experience? Book your trip now.

Best time to visit Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio @ Shutterstock

Cloudforest-Bosque-Nuboso-Monteverde-Costa-Rica-shutterstock_509875324

Cloudforest Bosque Nuboso, Monteverde @ Shutterstock

Catarata del Toro waterfall in Bajos del Toto, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Catarata del Toro waterfall in Bajos del Toto, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Itinerary #2: Wildlife Discovery & Pacific Retreat

Explore Costa Rica's diverse ecosystems on this 3-week trip. Start in San Jose and fly to Tortuguero on the second day. On the third day, cruise the canals and observe wildlife.

On the fourth day, head to the Arenal Volcano area. Day five is a hike in the Arenal Volcanoes National Park. Relax in the natural hot springs and spend the rest of the day as you wish on day six.

On the seventh day, a trip to the Monteverde Cloud Forest awaits, and on the eighth day, explore its lush beauty on guided walks. The ninth day is marked by a transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park.

On the tenth day, enjoy the beaches and nature of the park. On the eleventh day, embark on a sea kayak trip. On the twelfth day, a relaxing catamaran excursion awaits you.

Return to San Jose on the thirteenth day. Day fourteen is dedicated to exploring Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula during guided tours. Exploring the underwater world of Drake's Bay awaits you on the fifteenth day.

Transfer to the Nicoya Peninsula will take place on the sixteenth day. Spend the days seventeenth to twenty relaxing on unspoiled beaches.

On the twentieth day, you will travel back to San José. And on the twenty-first day, get ready to head home.

What better way to plan a trip than to rely on personalized experiences? Our content manager has traveled to Costa Rica and shares with you what to consider when planning your trip.

Arenal volcano in Costa Rica ©Shutterstock

Arenal volcano, Costa Rica © Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock

Scarlet macaw (Ara macao) in flight with nut in its beak, Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Central America, Costa Rica

Scarlet macaw, Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula @ Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check the overview of this Costa Rica itinerary for 3 weeks.

    Day one

  • Arrival in San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day two

  • Transfer to Tortuguero.
  • Overnight in Tortuguero.

    Day three

  • Tortuguero Canals Exploration.
  • Overnight in Tortuguero.

    Day four

  • Transfer to Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day five

  • Hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day six

  • Day of Relaxing in Arenal Hot Springs.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day seven

  • Transfer to Monteverde Cloud Forest.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day eight

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Exploration.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day nine

  • Transfer to Manuel Antonio.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day ten

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day eleven

  • Kayaking Tour.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day twelve

  • Catamaran Cruise.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day thirteen

  • Transfer to San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day fourteen

  • Transfer to the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park Exploration.
  • Overnight in Osa

    Day fifteen

  • Drake Bay Exploration.
  • Overnight in Drake Bay.

    Day sixteen

  • Transfer to Nicoya Peninsula.
  • Overnight in Nicoya.

    Day seventeen

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Nicoya.

    Day eighteen

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Nicoya.

    Day nineteen

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Nicoya.

    Day twenty

  • Transfer to San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day twenty one

  • Transfer and Departure from San Jose.

Interested? Don't miss the opportunity to book this trip now.

corcovado-costa-rica-shutterstock_257689762

Corcovado, Costa Rica @ Shutterstock

Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park @ Shutterstock

The black sand beach of Bahia Drake at sunset © Shutterstock

The black sand beach of Bahia Drake at sunset © Shutterstock

Itinerary #3: Caribbean Bliss

Explore Costa Rica's mountains and its Caribbean beauty with our 3-week trip. Start your trip in San Jose and on the second day head to Tortuguero. On the third day, cruise through its naturally beautiful canals.

On the fourth day, take a trip to the Arenal Volcano area. The fifth and sixth days are dedicated to hiking in the Volcanoes National Park and bathing in the natural hot springs.

On the seventh day, travel to the Monteverde Cloud Forest and experience its diverse flora and fauna on the following day. On the ninth day, you will be transferred to Manuel Antonio National Park.

On the tenth day, relax on the golden shores of Manuel Antonio, and on the eleventh day go on an exciting sea kayak trip through hidden coves. The twelfth day is dedicated to a catamaran cruise.

On the thirteenth day, you'll return to San Jose, and on the fourteenth day, experience Caribbean culture in Puerto Viejo. Spend the fifteenth day relaxing on idyllic beaches.

On the sixteenth day, you'll head to Cahuita National Park, and the next day tour the park's exotic trails. Day eighteen is marked by a transfer to Bocas del Toro, and day nineteen is spent exploring the archipelago. Return to San Jose for day twenty. Finally, on the last day, a departure awaits you, concluding the tropical journey.

Eco lodge rainforest, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica @ Shutterstock

Cahuita-costa-rica-shutterstock_319631105

Cahuita, Costa Rica @ Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check the overview of this Costa Rica itinerary for 3 weeks.

    Day one

  • Arrival in San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day two

  • Transfer to Tortuguero.
  • Overnight in Tortuguero.

    Day three

  • Tortuguero Canals Exploration.
  • Overnight in Tortuguero.

    Day four

  • Transfer to Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day five

  • Hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day six

  • Day of Relaxing in Arenal Hot Springs.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day seven

  • Transfer to Monteverde Cloud Forest.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day eight

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Exploration.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day nine

  • Transfer to Manuel Antonio.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day ten

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day eleven

  • Kayaking Tour.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day twelve

  • Catamaran Cruise.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day thirteen

  • Transfer to San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day fourteen

  • Transfer to Puerto Viejo.
  • Overnight in Puerto Viejo.

    Day fifteen

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Puerto Viejo.

    Day sixteen

  • Transfer to Cahuita National Park.
  • Overnight in Cahuita.

    Day seventeen

  • Cahuita National Park Tour.
  • Overnight in Cahuita.

    Day eighteen

  • Transfer to Bocas del Toro.
  • Overnight in Bocas del Toro.

    Day nineteen

  • Bocas del Toro Exploration.
  • Overnight in Bocas del Toro.

    Day twenty

  • Transfer to San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day twenty one

  • Transfer and Departure from San Jose.

Looking for a new experience? Book your trip now.

Iguana in Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Iguana in Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Tabacon Hot Springs River at Arenal Volcano, Alajuela, San Carlos, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Tabacon Hot Springs River at Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

monteverde -costa-rica-shutterstock_1164189547

Monteverde, Costa Rica @ Shutterstock

Itinerary #4: Volcanoes & Beaches of Costa Rica

Embark on a fascinating odyssey through Costa Rica, where the poetry of nature is intertwined with tales of volcanoes and tranquil shores. Begin your journey in San Jose, and on day two, ascend into the realm of the majestic Arenal Volcano. Day three invites you to walk the trails of Arenal Volcano National Park.

On the fourth day, you'll plunge into the embrace of natural hot springs, a gentle symphony of warmth against a backdrop of volcanic grandeur. On the fifth and sixth days, the mists of Monteverde's cloud forest invite you to explore.

On the seventh day, you'll find yourself in the coastal splendor of Manuel Antonio National Park. In the leisurely embrace of day eight, you bask on the sandy shores - a peaceful respite before your sea kayaking adventure on day nine.

On day ten, a catamaran takes you through azure waters. On the eleventh day, return to San Jose. On the twelfth day, Rincon de la Vieja opens up before you. The narrative of the thirteenth day unfolds amidst its fiery beauty. On the fourteenth day, you will travel further to the Papagayo Peninsula. The fifteenth day offers water sports and tranquility.

The journey of the sixteenth day will take you to Tamarindo Beach. The seventeenth day is a canvas for surfing, and exploring the surroundings. Days eighteen to twenty are days at leisure. On the twenty-first day, you will be transferred to San Jose for your departure.

Sun rising over the Playa Blanca beach in Peninsula Papagayo in Guanacaste, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Playa Blanca beach in Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Playa-Tamarindo-costa-rica-shutterstock_184286795

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica @ Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check the overview of this Costa Rica itinerary for 3 weeks.

    Day one

  • Arrival in San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day two

  • Transfer to Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day three

  • Hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day four

  • Day of Relaxing at Arenal Hot Springs.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day five

  • Transfer to Monteverde Cloud Forest.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day six

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day seven

  • Transfer to Manuel Antonio.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day eight

  • Day at Leisure at Manuel Antonio.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day nine

  • Kayaking Adventure.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day ten

  • Catamaran Tour.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day eleven

  • Returning to San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day twelve

  • To Rincon de la Vieja.
  • Overnight in Rincon de la Vieja.

    Day thirteen

  • Rincon de la Vieja Exploration.
  • Overnight in Rincon de la Vieja.

    Day fourteen

  • Transfer to Papagayo Peninsula.
  • Overnight in Papagayo.

    Day fifteen

  • Day at Leisure at Papagayo Peninsula.
  • Overnight in Papagayo.

    Day sixteen

  • Transfer to Tamarindo Beach.
  • Overnight in Tamarindo.

    Day seventeen

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Tamarindo.

    Day eighteen

  • Day at leisure.
  • Overnight in Tamarindo.

    Day nineteen

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Tamarindo.

    Day twenty

  • Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Tamarindo.

    Day twenty one

  • Transfer and Departure from San Jose.

Interested? Don't miss the opportunity to book this trip now.

arenal-volcano-costa-rica-shutterstock_1337924888

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica @ Shutterstock

La-Fortuna-waterfall-Arenal-volcano-Costa-Rica-shutterstock_634125518

La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica @ Shutterstock

Beautiful aerial view of Tamarindo Beach and Town in Guanacaste Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Aerial view of Tamarindo Beach and Town in Guanacaste Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Itinerary #5: Coastal Adventure & Rainforest Retreat

Discover the charm of Costa Rica's coastal area and verdant rainforests with this 3-week itinerary. Begin your odyssey in San José. On the second day, your journey continues to Manuel Antonio National Park. The third day is a day at leisure.

Day four is a journey through the waves in a sea kayak. On day five fascinating catamaran tour awaits. On the sixth day, with a gentle breeze, you will return to the heart of San José.

On the seventh day, you will travel to Tortuguero, and on day eight, you will become an explorer of hidden waterways and colorful wildlife. On the ninth day, you will transfer to Arenal Volcano.

The tenth day unfolds the trails of Arenal Volcanoes National Park. Day eleven is dedicated to relaxing in natural hot springs. Day twelve is a transition into the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

On the thirteenth day, you will explore Monteverde Cloud Forest. On the fourteenth day, travel further into the heart of the Osa Peninsula. Day fifteen is dedicated to a tour of Corcovado National Park.

On day sixteen, you'll be transferred to Drake Bay. On the seventeenth day, Tamarindo Beach awaits. The eighteenth day is an invitation to dive into a world of thrills and water sports.

Day nineteenth beckons to Rincon de la Vieja. On day twenty, the volcanic narrative unfolds, revealing the very essence of Costa Rica's spirit. And on the twenty-first day, the journey ends with a transfer and departure from San Jose.

Sirena-rio-Corcovado-Costa-Rica-shutterstock_147110726

Sirena Rio Corcovado, Costa Rica @ Shutterstock

A large coastal wave crashes on the reef. Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica, Drake Bay © Shutterstock

Costa Rica, Drake Bay © Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check the overview of this Costa Rica itinerary for 3 weeks.

    Day one

  • Arrival in San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day two

  • Transfer to Manuel Antonio.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day three

  • Day at Leisure at Manuel Antonio.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day four

  • Kayaking Adventure.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day five

  • Catamaran Tour.
  • Overnight in Manuel Antonio.

    Day six

  • Returning to San Jose.
  • Overnight in San Jose.

    Day seven

  • Transfer to Tortuguero.
  • Overnight in Tortuguero.

    Day eight

  • Tortuguero Canals Exploration.
  • Overnight in Tortuguero.

    Day nine

  • Transfer to Arenal.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day ten

  • Arenal Volcano National Park Exploration.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day eleven

  • Day of Relaxing at Arenal Hot Springs.
  • Overnight in Arenal.

    Day twelve

  • Transfer to Monteverde Cloud Forest.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day thirteen

  • Monteverde Cloud Fores.
  • Overnight in Monteverde.

    Day fourteen

  • Transfer to the Osa Peninsula.
  • Overnight in Osa.

    Day fifteen

  • Corcovado National Park Tour.
  • Overnight in Osa.

    Day sixteen

  • Departure to Drake Bay.
  • Overnight in Drake Bay.

    Day seventeen

  • Tamarindo Beach Day at Leisure.
  • Overnight in Drake Bay.

    Day eighteen

  • Day at leisure.
  • Overnight in Drake Bay.

    Day nineteen

  • To Rincon de la Vieja.
  • Overnight in Rincon de la Vieja.

    Day twenty

  • Rincon de la Vieja Exploration.
  • Overnight in Rincon de la Vieja.

    Day twenty one

  • Transfer and Departure from San Jose.

Feeling curious? Take a step forward and book this trip now.

Arenal Lake, @ Shutterstock

Costa Rica Sunset at Manuel Antonio Antonio National Park  © thefilmpoets/Shutterstock

Costa Rica Sunset at Manuel Antonio Antonio National Park © thefilmpoets/Shutterstock

Halloween Crab (Gecarcinus quadratus) in defensive posture on beach, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Halloween Crab, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

For even more inspiration, check out The Rough Guide to Costa Rica. You can also browse our customized Costa Rica itineraries or chat with our local Costa Rica experts.

written by

updated 03.06.2024

Ready to travel and discover
Costa Rica?

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍