7 Days In Costa Rica Itinerary

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise with diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly locals. With its breathtaking beaches, lush rainforests, and stunning volcanoes, it’s no wonder why this small Central American country is a popular tourist destination. If you’re planning a 7-day trip to Costa Rica, we’ve got you covered with the perfect itinerary that will allow you to experience the best of what this country has to offer.


In this itinerary, you will explore the bustling capital city of San Jose, soak up the sun on picturesque beaches in Manuel Antonio and Tamarindo, and discover the rich biodiversity of Monteverde Cloud Forest. You’ll also have the opportunity to hike up a volcano, go zip-lining through the jungle, and indulge in delicious local cuisine along the way.

Planning a 7-day Trip to Costa Rica

So , you’ve decided to visit Costa Rica for a week-long vacation. Congratulations! Now it’s time to start planning your trip. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your 7 days in this beautiful country.

Day 1: La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano

On your first day in Costa Rica, start off by flying into the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose. From there, you can take a shuttle or rent a car to drive to the town of La Fortuna, which is about 2.5 hours away. This charming town is located at the base of Arenal Volcano and offers stunning views of the majestic volcano.


Spend your first day exploring La Fortuna and its surroundings. You can take a dip in the natural hot springs, visit La Fortuna Waterfall, or go on a hike through the Arenal Volcano National Park. End your day by indulging in delicious Costa Rican cuisine at one of the many local restaurants in town. Don’t forget to try the traditional dish of gallo pinto, a delicious mix of rice and beans.


Also, don’t miss out on the opportunity to try some local coffee from one of the many coffee plantations in the area. Costa Rica is known for its high-quality and sustainable coffee production, so it’s a must-try for any coffee lover.

Day 2: Monteverde Cloud Forest

On your second day, head to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a world-renowned nature sanctuary that is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. To get there from La Fortuna, you can take a scenic drive or book a tour. The quickest route from Arenal to Monteverde is by car, typically taking between 3 to 4 hours, though this can vary based on traffic and your familiarity with driving in Costa Rica. Most tourists find the journey takes around 4 hours.  Opting for a private transfer is the most luxurious but also the most costly choice. This direct method simplifies the journey but comes at a premium, with rates around $210 for a group of 1 to 6 passengers, varying slightly with specific pickup and dropoff locations. Alternatively, the most budget-friendly option is public transportation, though it’s less straightforward. Expect to set off early from Monteverde and spend about half a day traveling to Monteverde.


Spend the day exploring the trails and canopy walkways of the cloud forest while admiring its unique ecosystem. You may even spot some exotic animals and birds, such as howler monkeys, toucans, and quetzals. In the afternoon, take a break from your nature adventures and visit the nearby town of Santa Elena. Here, you can shop for souvenirs, try some local delicacies at the farmer’s market, or simply relax in one of the many cafes. End your day with a delicious dinner at one of the eco-friendly restaurants in town.

Also, don’t forget to try the famous Monteverde cheese. This region is known for its delicious and unique artisanal cheese made from locally sourced cow or goat milk.

Day 3: Tamarindo

On the third day, it’s time to hit the beach! Tamarindo is a popular coastal town located on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. One significant challenge when traveling from Monteverde to Tamarindo is the lack of car rental services in Monteverde. This means if you’re planning to use public transport to reach Monteverde with the intention of driving to Tamarindo afterward, you’ll need to reconsider your plans. The drive itself usually takes between 3 to 4 hours. For those traveling alone or in pairs, opting for a group shuttle from Monteverde to Tamarindo is a smart and efficient choice. This service operates daily as a shared ride, offering a practical solution for getting to Tamarindo. Prices for the shuttle may vary based on seasonality and demand, typically costing around $67 per person each way, with the journey lasting between 4 to 4.5 hours.


Spend your day at one of Tamarindo’s stunning beaches, such as Playa Tamarindo or Playa Langosta. You can relax on the white sand, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or try some water sports like surfing or paddleboarding.


In the evening, head to Tamarindo’s lively town center where you can find a variety of restaurants and bars. You can also take a sunset cruise along the coast to witness the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.


If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take a day trip to nearby national parks like Rincon de la Vieja or Palo Verde. These parks offer hiking trails, waterfalls, and opportunities to spot wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and crocodiles.

Day 4: Manuel Antonio

On the fourth day, head to Manuel Antonio, a small town located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. From Tamarindo, you can take a scenic drive or book a shuttle to get there. By private transfer the journey takes about 5-6 hours and by bus 7-10 hours. 


Manuel Antonio is home to one of the country’s most popular national parks – Manuel Antonio National Park. Spend your day exploring this beautiful park which offers stunning beaches, hiking trails, and opportunities to spot wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and colorful birds.


Afterward, head to the town center where you can find a variety of restaurants and souvenir shops. In the evening, don’t miss out on the chance to witness the beautiful sunset at Playa Biesanz.


Additionally, Manuel Antonio is known for its vibrant nightlife. You can find a variety of bars and clubs in town where you can dance the night away to the beats of Latin music. Plus, don’t miss out on trying some of the delicious seafood dishes that are a specialty in this coastal town. From ceviche to grilled fish, there’s something for every seafood lover. Lastly, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can book a sunset horseback riding tour or go on a jungle ATV adventure for some adrenaline-pumping fun.

Day 5: San Jose

On the fifth day, head back to San Jose for a taste of Costa Rica’s urban life. Spend your day exploring the city’s historic landmarks like the National Theater and the Metropolitan Cathedral. You can also visit museums like the Jade Museum or the Gold Museum to learn about Costa Rican culture and history.


In the evening, take a stroll through Barrio Escalante, a trendy neighborhood known for its vibrant street art, delicious restaurants, and lively bars. Don’t forget to try some of the local craft beers while you’re there!


Be sure to check out Mercado Central, a bustling market where you can find everything from fresh produce to souvenirs. You can also try some authentic Costa Rican dishes like olla de carne (beef stew) or casado (traditional dish with rice, beans, and meat).


And if you’re looking for some entertainment, catch a live music performance at one of the many bars or clubs in San Jose.

Lastly, end your day with a delicious dinner at one of the city’s top restaurants such as La Esquina de Buenos Aires or Grano de Oro. And don’t forget to try some Costa Rican desserts like tres leches cake or arroz con leche (rice pudding).

Day 6: Canopy Titi Tour

On your last day, embark on an exciting adventure at Canopy Titi Tour, located near Manuel Antonio National Park. This eco-adventure park offers a variety of activities like ziplining, rappelling, and hanging bridges.

Start your day by soaring through the treetops on the zipline course. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the rainforest as you glide from platform to platform.


Next, challenge yourself on the hanging bridges and rappelling course. These activities will give you a unique perspective of the forest and allow you to get up close with its diverse flora and fauna.

After your adrenaline-pumping adventures, relax at Canopy Titi Tour’s beautiful natural pool and waterfall. You can also enjoy a delicious lunch at the park’s restaurant, which uses locally sourced ingredients.


In the afternoon, head back to San Jose for your last evening in Costa Rica. Take some time to reflect on your amazing trip and perhaps do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs or gifts.

Day 7: Tabacon Springs with Dinner

On your final day, treat yourself to a relaxing and rejuvenating experience at Tabacon Springs. Located near the Arenal Volcano, this luxurious hot springs resort offers natural thermal pools surrounded by lush rainforest.

Spend your day soaking in the warm volcanic waters and indulging in spa treatments like massages or facials. You can also take a guided walk through the resort’s botanical gardens to learn about Costa Rica’s native plants and wildlife.


In the evening, enjoy a delicious dinner at Tabacon’s award-winning restaurant, Ave del Paraiso. The menu features a fusion of international and locally inspired dishes made with fresh, organic ingredients.


After dinner, head back to your room for one last restful night in Costa Rica. Take some time to reflect on your trip and all the amazing experiences you’ve had throughout the week.


And before you depart, be sure to take a dip in the hot springs one last time under the starry sky – a perfect way to end your unforgettable journey through Costa Rica. We hope you enjoyed your stay and come back soon for more adventures!  So, don’t wait any longer and start planning your next trip to this beautiful country. Pura Vida!

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