10 DAYS IN COSTA RICA ITINERARY
Costa Rica is the perfect place to go on a vacation if you’re a fan of the outdoors and exploring in nature. From beautiful parks to amazing river rafting to even more extreme sports like zip lining, you’ll never be at a loss of what to do while in Costa Rica. You could easily spend just a few days exploring this country, but 10 days in Costa Rica is the perfect amount of time for an adventure of a lifetime.
In Costa Rica, you’ll find a wide variety of animals, outdoor adventure sports, and even unique markets with great food. You’ll also be able to discover rainforests, museums, beaches, and volcanoes. Traveling in Costa Rica is what dreams are made of!
When you’re planning your next trip, be sure to use this 10 days in Costa Rica itinerary. It will cover all of the highlights and the best places to visit that you won’t want to miss out on!
Transportation in Costa Rica
There are quite a few ways to get around during your 10 days in Costa Rica, but honestly, the best transportation mode for visiting this country is by car. You can easily rent a car here, and prices will vary depending on who you book through.
Helpful tip: Most car rental places in Costa Rica offer a discounted rate after seven days, so you’d save a bit of money by booking for your full 10-day trip.
Buses are another option, though they might not be the most reliable while you’re traveling. However, they will save you quite a bit of money, so this is an excellent option for budget travelers when you travel to Costa Rica.
Last but not least, you could also try to take advantage of shared shuttles, which will allow you to hop into a bus or car with other travelers and save a bit of money. The decision is truly up to you, but just know that renting a car will allow you to travel with a bit more freedom than if you were to choose one of these other options!
Best Time to Visit Costa Rica
There truly isn’t a wrong time to visit Costa Rica because it’s beautiful year-round. The majority of people will opt to visit from December to April because this is when the weather is arguably the best. The sun is always out, and the temperature is comfortable.
Another popular time to visit Costa Rica is in the late spring, from May to June. The weather during this time is excellent, but the crowds won’t be as large as they would be if you were visiting during the other months.
If you want to avoid crowds, consider visiting Costa Rica between July to November. Not many people visit during this time. It’s when the country has the “worst” weather because it rains a lot, but that just makes your Costa Rica travel trip more memorable and authentic.
Costa Rica Packing List
Of course, when packing for Costa Rica, you should absolutely pack the essentials that you’d pack if you were to travel anywhere else. This includes shoes, socks, shirts, shorts, etc., but there are definitely a few things that you’ll want to be sure to pack that you might not think of when writing out your packing list. I’ve got you covered!
The first thing you’ll want to remember when packing for 10 days in Costa Rica is that overall, people dress very casually here. You’ll stand out a bit if you dress super lovely. It’s probably a good rule of thumb to pack at least one good outfit for your trip in case you’d like to dress up for a night out, but you’ll want to pack comfortable, breathable clothes mainly.
Don’t forget to pack a raincoat. You won’t want a super heavy-duty rain jacket because it’s generally quite warm in Costa Rica. Make sure that it’s a lightweight one, or you’ll feel like you’re wearing a heater when it’s raining out, which it often does. Consider getting one that also has ventilation in the armpits so that you can unzip it.
Hiking boots are an absolute must. Though the dress code is casual here, try to forget your sandals at home. If you plan on outdoor exploring, you’ll need either very strong sneakers that can handle all types of weather or hiking boots.
Mosquito repellant is also an important thing to pack, as is sunscreen. These are two things that you could easily pick up when you land too in case you forget to pack them, but save yourself the hassle and throw them in your suitcase if you already have them at home.
Try to pack some local currency as well for your trip because you might visit some smaller villages or towns along your journey that don’t accept debit or credit cards. It’s best always to be prepared when you’re traveling in Costa Rica.
Last but not least, remember to pack a hat or sunglasses because the sun can get quite harsh during your trip to Costa Rica. Again, this is something you can pick up when you get to the country, but you’d save money by bringing your own from home.
Costa Rica Safety
Like most places, there is crime in Costa Rica. However, it’s actually a fairly safe place to travel to as a solo female traveler. It’s a lot safer than its nearby countries in Central America too. Of course, you’ll still want to use common sense when traveling, as you should whenever you’re out on an adventure.
It would also be smart to check out local travel advisories before you go and maybe even talk with your hostel or hotel receptionist to see if they have any safety advice for the area that you’re staying in. This would just be a good extra precaution when you’re seeing Costa Rica in 10 days!
10 days in Costa Rica Itinerary
Costa Rica Day 1: San Jose
The majority of people flying into Costa Rica well go right to the Juan Santamaria airport, which is located in San Jose. This is the perfect place to start the beginning of your 10 days in Costa Rica!
After landing and heading to your hotel, I suggest heading over to Central Market. This is a great spot to go shopping, and there are also great places to eat nearby. In addition to great spots to purchase some souvenirs, you can buy a lot of pieces that are made by locals.
After shopping at the market, consider heading over to the National Museum of Costa Rica. This museum will provide you with an overview of the country’s history and overall culture, which is a great way to officially get introduced to the country in general before you continue along your trip to Costa Rica.
Head to the Plaza de la Cultura on your first day too, which is a popular square that’s great for people-watching. Other great places to visit in San Jose include the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and the Jade Museum, which are great places to spend the afternoon if you have the time from landing in the morning.
Truly, your first day should be used to get introduced to the culture and the way of life in this beautiful country!
Costa Rica Day 2: San Jose
For your second day in Costa Rica, you’ll be starting the morning off in San Jose. Try to see some of the sights that you didn’t have time to visit during your first day in the city. If you have time and you’re up for some fun, stop by the Parque Diversiones, which is a great theme park for all ages.
Another great spot to visit is the Museum of Costa Rican Art, which has a strong emphasis on showcasing artists from Latin America. Be sure to grab a map when you first enter the museum so that you can plan your time in the museum wisely.
The second half of your day will be spent traveling in any mode of transportation mode that you choose to Tortuguero. Grab a quick bite to eat when you finally get there and then head to bed. You’ll have a long day of exploring for your third day!
Costa Rica Day 3: Tortuguero
Wake up bright and early, because there are a lot of great things to see in Tortuguero that you won’t want to miss! Plus, you’ll only have one day in this place.
One thing to know about Tortuguero is that it’s actually most well-known for its nature. There are tons of parks, wildlife, and more, so you’ll want to dress for an adventure today.
After grabbing breakfast, head to Tortuguero National Park, which is a great place to start an outdoor exploration. Keep in mind that this park is unfortunately known as not being the safest place to visit, so consider booking a trip to the park with a tour group just to be safe. This is especially important for solo travelers.
In the park, there are tons of fun activities. You can go hiking, animal sight-seeing, and even boating along the river if you’re interested. You’ll truly just want to spend the whole time becoming one with nature, and you can easily spend the entire day here. In fact, I suggest you do!
If you aren’t interested in spending the full day at the park, don’t worry, because there are other fun things to do here. Explore Tortuguero Village to do some shopping and grab souvenirs. This is also a great way to meet some locals. You could also consider checking out the Sea Turtle Conservancy Visitor’s Center, which is another excellent spot to learn more about animals if you’re interested in seeing sea turtles.
Costa Rica Day 4: La Fortuna
Begin your day by waking up and heading over to La Fortuna from Tortuguero. You’re in for a real treat once you get there!
There are tons of great things to do in La Fortuna, but luckily you’ll be spending two days here. La Fortuna is a great town to visit, so be sure to head right over to the Arenal Volcano. This volcano, though active, is an iconic spot to visit. You can get great views of it from all over La Fortuna. Of course, you can plan a visit over to the volcano on your own or consider booking a trip with a local tour guide to learn more along the way.
Spend the afternoon at the hot springs, which are unique. There are a few hot spring resorts worth checking out to do this; some of the most popular ones are the Baldi Hot Springs Resort Hotel & Spa as well as the Baldi Hot Springs Resort. What better way to reward yourself for all the traveling you’ve done than by relaxing a little bit? This is the perfect time to rejuvenate, and it’s fun knowing that the hot springs are hot because of the nearby active volcano.
This day is mostly for recuperating and rejuvenating, so once you’re done relaxing, and you grab dinner and head back to your hotel room for another day of travel.
Costa Rica Day 5: La Fortuna
Welcome to day 5 of your 10 days in Costa Rica! Can you believe it’s been five days already? You’re halfway through the trip of a lifetime.
Today will involve some more outdoor adventures. Start your day by heading over to the Arenal Ecoglide Park. Yes, you’ll be starting the day on a zipline! Get ready because you’ll be soaring at extraordinary heights right through the rainforest. Yes, this is truly the stuff that makes Costa Rica seem like heaven on Earth!
After that, head downtown and find yourself some lunch because you’ll be outdoor exploring again in the afternoon. The next stop on the itinerary that is perfect for spending the whole afternoon at is the Arenal Natura Ecological Park. You’ll find a wide variety of animals here, including butterflies, geckos, alligators, and butterflies.
After you’re done, hop back into your rental car (or catch your bus) and head to the next stop on the docket: Monteverde.
Costa Rica Day 6: Monteverde
Monteverde is yet another must-visit spot in Costa Rica that is filled with tons of must-visit places. The best way to begin your day here is by heading over to Santa Elena Cloud Forest. There are some great hikes that you can do here too. If you’re an early morning person, consider even waking up early enough to do a sunrise hike and get views of a lifetime.
Next up is Selvatura Park, which is located right near Santa Elena Cloud Forest. This is probably one of the most picturesque spots in the country. In fact, you’ve probably seen photos of it on Instagram because it’s home to some of the most fantastic suspension bridges! You’ll want to remember to bring your camera when visiting here.
For lunch, consider heading to one of the many local cafes in Monteverde. You won’t be disappointed with the options!
The last stop of the day should be the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens. This place has a lot more than just butterflies. You can learn about tons of different insects and spiders while here!
After finishing up, hop back on the road. This time, head to Samara, the destination for day seven during your 10 days in Costa Rica itinerary.
Costa Rica Day 7: Samara
Day 7 is another day to relax when visiting Costa Rica. Samara is the ultimate beachy coastal town in Costa Rica, so you can rejuvenate and give yourself a little boost before starting your last few days in this beautiful country.
In the morning, head over to Samara Beach and watch the sunrise. The water here is a beautiful turquoise blue color, and there is glorious white sand that’s perfect for relaxing. Layout along the water and maybe even dip your toes in if you want. Stop by the nearby shops and restaurants to grab a quick breakfast (or lunch) whenever you get hungry.
After lunch, head to another one of Smara’s amazing beaches. Because it’s what the town is most well-known for, seeing the beaches are the best way to spend the day. The afternoon beach to be at is Playa Carillo, which is a bit more peaceful than Samara Beach. There are beautiful palm trees along the beach, and you’ll find that this isn’t as busy as the other beach either.
Once you’re done here, consider heading to Playa Barrigona for one last beach experience. This is arguably one of the best places to see the sunset in the country, so it’s worth visiting if you have the time.
Costa Rica Day 8: Manuel Antonio
At the beginning of the day on your eighth day, hop in the car (or on the bus) to Manuel Antonio, which is, unfortunately, the last stop on your 10 days in Costa Rica trip!
The perfect place to start your exploration once you get to Manuel Antonio is actually Quepos Town. This is said to be the ideal starting point to explore Manuel Antonio, National Park. This is where you will spend your entire day because there is so much to do here.
Helpful tip: If you aren’t interested in driving to Quepos Town, there is a shuttle bus that might be a little bit more affordable.
The Manuel Antonio National Park is arguably one of the country’s busiest attractions, but that’s because of how amazing it is. This jungle-like park truly makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the rainforest. You can definitely hire a personal guide for your visit to the park, but it’s just as easy to explore it on your own. It’s truly up to you.
Your first day in the park should be spent exploring. Explore the wildlife, go on short hikes, and just walk around the park. There’s also a beach where you could go and relax for a quick treat too!
Costa Rica Day 9: Manuel Antonio
Yes, the second day in Manuel Antonio is also going to be spent at Manuel Antonio National Park, mostly! However, for your second day here, it’s time to take part in some outdoor sports which Costa Rica is most well-known for.
Some of the best outdoor activities to do here include kayaking, fishing, boating, and even surfing. If you want to participate in some of these fun water sports but don’t know how don’t fret. There are tons of great tour groups that you can do it with.
Helpful tip: If you plan on going with a tour group, be sure to book it well in advance. This way, you can guarantee that you’ll be allowed to participate.
In the afternoon, consider heading to one of the beautiful beaches, including Escondido Beach, Playa Las Gemelas, or Espadilla Beach. If you aren’t interested in heading to the beach, you could also go on another canopy ziplining tour, which is popular here!
Costa Rica Day 10: Back to the Airport
Unfortunately, your 10 days in Costa Rica trip has come to an end. Finish out your trip by heading to the airport. Be sure to make it to the airport a few hours in advance, so you don’t miss your flight!
Now you have all of the essential pieces of information that you need in order to plan the perfect trip to Costa Rica. This Costa Rica itinerary is the ultimate way to spend 10 days in the country. Of course, you could switch up the order of the places visited or even visit places that aren’t on the trip. Just remember to do your research and make sure that the journey is perfectly tailored to you and what you’d like to see in the country!
Costa Rica is one country that you absolutely must visit at least once in your life. Even if you aren’t a big nature fan, you will be by the end of your Costa Rica adventure!
DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A FULL-TIME TRAVELER?
Download my free travel guide ''How to become a full-time traveler | Budget breakdown'' and become part of the Nomadic Community where you will benefit from special content and exclusive products.
YES! I WAN'T IT NOW!