On this Costa Rica itinerary, you’ll be visiting three national parks; exploring cloud forests, rainforests and jungles; going snorkeling and swimming in crystalline waters; going on adventures on ziplines and hanging bridges and volcanoes and canyons and hot springs and rivers; and meeting many of Costa Rica’s most famous wildlife residents.

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Volcanoes and sizzling spring rivers. Misty cloud forests. Howler monkeys swinging by way of the treetops. White sand seashores. Costa Rica is a tropical, eco-friendly paradise, stuffed with colourful wildlife and plush forest canopies simply ready to be explored on ziplines and hanging bridges and vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. 

Over the various journeys we’ve taken and the weeks we’ve spent backpacking by way of this stunning nation, we’ve discovered a couple of issues.  Like that you just want REALLY good bug repellant (I swear by this mixed with this). Or that there are a LOT of things nobody tells you about Costa Rica. 

And at last, we’ve mixed all of our experiences into one epic route that visits all of our favourite locations: the final word Costa Rica two week itinerary! You’ll be visiting visiting three nationwide parks; mountain climbing in cloud forests, rainforests and jungles; snorkeling and swimming in crystalline waters; traversing the tree cover on ziplines and hanging bridges; exploring volcanoes, canyons, sizzling springs and rivers; and befriending sloths, monkeys, macaws, toucans, and extra. And in the event you’re something like us, you’ll most likely be reserving your subsequent journey to Costa Rica as quickly as you come back residence once more.

Able to dive in? Pura Vida!

Psst: Try a few of our different posts earlier than your journey:

Want some assist packing? We’ve created a FREE Printable Packing Record with the whole lot you should plan your journey to Costa Rica. We’ll additionally ship you suggestions that will help you put together in your journey! Simply enroll beneath.

Beach and boat at the entrance to Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Welcome to Corcovado Nationwide Park, absolutely the spotlight of your two weeks in Costa Rica. It’s distant and laborious to get to however so, SO well worth the schlep!

Costa Rica 2 Week Itinerary Abstract

The route you’ll be taking over this Costa Rica itinerary is San José > La Fortuna > Monteverde > Manuel Antonio > Corcovado > San José

Right here’s the route damaged out by days:

  • Day 1, San Jose to La Fortuna
  • Day 2 & 3, La Fortuna
  • Day 4, Journey to Monteverde 
  • Day 5 & 6, Monteverde
  • Day 7, Journey from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio
  • Day 8 & 9, Manuel Antonio
  • Day 10, Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay
  • Day 11 & 12, Drake Bay
  • Day 13 & 14, Drake Bay to San Jose and fly residence

Notes and Solutions

  • In case your arrival flight lands within the night, you should lose a day someplace – or fly again from Drake Bay and take a night flight residence.
  • If you wish to add further time to one of many locations within the itinerary, you can go to Manuel Antonio for only one full day moderately than two, particularly in the event you get an early begin within the morning.
  • You’ll word we don’t have you ever spending a lot time in San Jose. We’ve now been to Costa Rica a number of instances and town simply isn’t probably the most thrilling half concerning the journey.
Riding a Shuttle Bus in Costa Rica
Using a Shuttle Bus in Costa Rica. You do NOT have to rent a car – there are snug, dependable buses and shuttles all around the nation! We’ve included particulars about methods to get to every cease all through the itinerary.

Costa Rica Itinerary: Issues to Know

  • This itinerary combines a number of journeys we’ve taken through the years. You’ll be visiting La Fortuna (together with Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park), Monteverde, Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park, Corcovado Nationwide Park, and San José. Sure, y’all: that’s THREE of Costa Rica’s beautiful nationwide parks in ONE epic itinerary.
  • This Costa Rica itinerary focuses on the Pacific facet of the nation – there are not any Caribbean-side locations. That mentioned, you may be visiting two phenomenal snorkeling/swimming locations with heat, clear blue water!
  • You do NOT have to hire a automotive. Buses and van shuttles join all around the nation for a low worth, though they’ve very particular schedules or run occasionally. A lot of the shuttles on this itinerary are bookable on-line prematurely by way of Bookaway or different on-line tour operators, and lots of will embody direct lodge pickup and drop-off. In contrast to many locations, the value to ebook on-line prematurely would be the similar as the value you’d pay in particular person to ebook final minute, so we strongly suggest reserving your whole transit prematurely! We’ve included particulars about methods to get to every cease all through the itinerary.
  • It’s useful to talk Spanish, however English talking is widespread. You received’t have a lot problem speaking within the areas on this itinerary – the tourism business is powerful and most tour guides, lodge employees, and bus drivers will communicate some English. That mentioned, studying some Spanish is at all times useful – to not point out well mannered!

For extra issues to know, head to our information to things nobody tells you about Costa Rica. We even have a Costa Rica packing list that will help you pack in your journey!

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Two Weeks in Costa Rica

Visiting Costa Rica makes you need to get a “pura vida” tattoo and a lifetime provide of salsa lizano – it’s a troublesome place to depart.

Which is why I’ve been again 4 instances! The primary time I visited Costa Rica with my household, I used to be simply 8 years previous and in absolute awe. I’d by no means imagined a spot like this might actually exist – it was a literal paradise, stuffed with journey and toucans and monkeys and orchids. I bear in mind galloping on horseback alongside the seashore, kayaking by way of rapids on a river, chewing sticks of recent sugarcane, befriending a child squirrel monkey, and plucking a candy starfruit from a tree. Our household journey was stuffed with wildlife and journey, which cemented a lot of what would later turn into my most popular journey fashion. 

And on the 4 subsequent journeys to Costa Rica I’ve taken through the years, my awe has by no means gone away: Costa Rica is actually one of the vital stunning locations on earth. 

As an grownup, I do know that Costa Rica’s pure magnificence is fastidiously maintained, due to complete and conscientious sustainability insurance policies: Costa Rica is without doubt one of the world leaders in ethical and sustainable tourism. So whereas it isn’t as low-cost of a vacation spot to go to as most of its Central American neighbors, for me, that further value is value it as a result of I do know that my presence as a vacationer is just not negatively impacting native communities or wildlife!

With out additional ado, let’s soar into the Costa Rica 2 week itinerary.

Handmade coffee pour-over in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is residence to phenomenal espresso, and La Fortuna is a espresso area! Should you see a pour-over arrange like this at a restaurant, you recognize it’s legit AF.

Day 1: San José to La Fortuna

I’m gonna be trustworthy right here: San José is the least thrilling a part of this Costa Rica itinerary. After we go to Costa Rica, we just about bounce as quickly as we hit the tarmac – though to be honest, we are likely to favor smaller cities and extra rustic locations to massive cities as a rule. 

Should you like massive cities greater than we do, we suggest exploring San Jose on the finish of your journey, once you’ll have a while to kill earlier than your flight.

So, the primary day of your itinerary is definitely a journey day: you’ll arrive in San Jose after which instantly hop on a bus or shuttle and head to La Fortuna!

Verify into Hotel Los Lagos Spa & Resort, situated just some miles exterior of the city middle. With a number of hot-spring-fed swimming pools and a surprising mirador looking to Arenal Volcano, this surprisingly budget-friendly resort is an absolute dream and the proper place to base your self for the following 2 days of journey in La Fortuna.

Arrival

  • Get to San Jose: There are two airports you possibly can fly into: Liberia and San Jose. We suggest San Jose. Should you can, attempt to arrive within the morning: most flights from the West Coast are red-eyes, that means you’ll be sleeping on the aircraft (our lengthy haul flights packing checklist will assist with that). The sooner you arrive, the sooner you may get to La Fortuna, and also you would possibly be capable to squeeze in a day/night exercise in your first day!
  • The place to Keep in San Jose: Significantly, don’t spend the night time in San Jose. Adventures in La Fortuna are ready for you! But when your flight arrives late and you should spend the night time in San Jose earlier than flying out, we suggest reserving certainly one of these budget-friendly apartments in downtown San Jose.

Departure

  • Get to La Fortuna: A bus or shuttle from San Jose to La Fortuna takes about 3 hours. There are many choices out there on Bookaway – choose a time that works along with your arriving flight.
  • The place to Keep in La Fortuna: Hotel Los Lagos Spa & Resort has a number of on-site sizzling spring-fed swimming pools and a surprising view of Arenal Volcano.
View of Arenal Volcano from La Fortuna, Costa Rica
La Fortuna is on the base of the still-very-much-active Arenal Volcano. You may’t miss it: it’s big.

Day 2 & 3: La Fortuna

Pure sizzling springs, forest canopies stuffed with wildlife, lively volcanoes, and gushing rivers and waterfalls: welcome to La Fortuna, aka Arenal. Surrounded by a lush jungle, and situated on the base of two volcanoes – Arenal Volcano, which continues to be lively, and Chato Volcano, which is dormant – this little city is the gateway to the Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park and is named Costa Rica’s finest journey city! 

An journey city is actually a spot the place you are able to do a bunch of journey journey actions, like white water rafting, ziplining and cover excursions, canyoning, horseback using, and extra – and La Fortuna (and Arenal, which is what number of guests consult with the final space) has all of it. Along with exploring the jungles and canopies, due to the thermal exercise coming from the volcano, the realm can be filled with thermal sizzling springs – and one sizzling spring river.

Should you got here to Costa Rica searching for journey and wildlife (and, after all, you probably did, proper?), you’ll be off to an important begin right here.

We suggest spending 2 full days in La Fortuna. The best way we usually construction our days in journey cities is with one adrenaline-rush, high-intensity exercise and one much less exhausting, extra stress-free exercise every day – say, canopying within the morning and a soothing river safari within the afternoon. So, it’s best to be capable to choose 2-4 actions to fill your days in La Fortuna. 

Beneath are one of the best issues to do in La Fortuna:

You wouldn’t suppose mountain climbing is a high-octane journey exercise, would you? Properly, we disagree: this 6-hour tour additionally consists of 3 of La Fortuna’s finest sights in a single actually epic day. You’ll hike by way of the jungle, scramble up lava rocks on a volcano, cross hanging bridges throughout forest canopies, go swimming on the beautiful La Fortuna waterfall, and finish your day with a cocktail in a pure sizzling spring (which is by the way the one factor you’ll really feel like doing after a full day filled with journey)

The tour consists of transportation, lunch, a bilingual information who will each be sure that you reside and likewise assist level out wildlife within the jungle, and the aforementioned cocktail-in-the-hot-springs scenario. Should you’re up for the problem, that is THE tour to do throughout your journey! Notice that it’ll take up one full day of your keep.

Canyoning combines a bunch of various actions into one thrilling journey. Basically, it entails going right into a canyon after which getting again out of it, by way of a mix of mountain climbing, rappelling, cliff diving, mountain climbing, and just about the rest you possibly can consider – it’s thrilling, and Jeremy completely loves it. 

He recommends this half day tour, on which you’ll journey a 4×4 into the forest, rappel down waterfalls, rock climb up a hidden rain forest canyon, and zip line throughout the canyon! Plus, the tour consists of lunch and transportation. 

This Balsa River white water rafting tour covers class II and III rapids – straightforward to intermediate in the event you get pleasure from white water rafting, superior in the event you’re frightened of something greater than completely nonetheless water, like me.

Your guides will choose you up out of your  lodging and drive about 45 minutes exterior of city to a personal put-in of the Balsa River, adjoining to personal restrooms and altering rooms.

You’ll be taught the fundamentals of white water rafting, gear up, and hop in for six miles of rolling rapids! Throughout lulls, your information will level out wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and toucans within the lush greenery alongside the river.

After your tour, you’ll eat a refreshing lunch subsequent to a gorgeous waterfall and swimming gap – be at liberty to hop in and luxuriate in!

One factor to notice: I’m fairly positive I bought an ear an infection from this river, so I might extremely suggest sporting ear plugs – as long as you’re nonetheless capable of hear the information’s directions, after all.

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Three toed sloth and baby swinging from the trees in Costa Rica.
Three toed sloth and child swinging from the bushes! You’ll see loads of wildlife like this on a river safari – with the assistance of a information, who’s an precise skilled at recognizing animals.

River safaris are excellent scaredy cats like me who simply need to be on a river with out all the terrifying bits. You’ll float down the river for about 2 hours with a wildlife information, who will assist spot toucans, sloths, caymans, kingfishers, and extra. 

Your information will navigate the river utilizing poles or paddles, so you possibly can sit again and chill out and hearken to the sounds of calling birds and buzzing bugs jungle round you and the water gliding previous you. 

And, er, howler monkeys: we glided proper beneath a pack of them! They sound like Godzilla and are legitimately nerve-wracking – they received’t like, damage you, however they are going to completely fling poo at you and make actually loud noises, which is sufficient for my nervousness to behave up.  This half day tour consists of snacks and low at a neighborhood farm!

There are tons of sizzling springs to soak in round La Fortuna, starting from rustic to luxurious. Lots of them are situated at motels or resorts, so you possibly can really ebook lodging that comes with sizzling spring entry – or simply purchase a day go. 

Tabacón River Hot Springs is fabulous however dear, round $100 for a day go that features lunch or dinner – a splurge, however a worthy splurge. However there may be additionally a free public entrance to the Tabacón River, situated throughout from Tabacon Resort: search for a small car parking zone filled with locals strolling right down to the river! 

Baldi Hot Springs is sort of a sizzling spring waterpark and appears superior, however trying on the views we have been a bit postpone … it appears a bit … er, sketch? Not tremendous clear? Not completely protected? Perhaps we have been simply being too cautious? 

Anyway, this information to hot springs in La Fortuna will assist you determine the place to go!

There are a LOT extra issues to do in La Fortuna, however we’ve lower out a number of actions that you just’ll be doing in a while within the itinerary, together with Hanging Bridges and ziplining, which you’ll be doing in a cloud forest in Monteverde; and horseback using, which you’ll be doing by way of the jungle and on the seashore in Corcovado. 

We did say this was the final word Costa Rica two week itinerary, didn’t we??

After an action-packed two days, you’ll head up into the clouds – er, cloud forest, that’s – to Monteverde!

Girl Admiring the View in Monteverde Costa Rica from a Balcony
Admiring the view from the balcony atCamino Verde B&B in Monteverde

Day 4: La Fortuna to Monteverde

At this time is a journey day: you’ll be departing La Fortuna and heading up into the mountains to close by Monteverde. However despite the fact that these locations seem shut on a map, there’s an enormous volcano, an enormous lake, and a Nationwide Park separating them!

 An Interbus direct shuttle takes about 4 hours and departs solely as soon as per day, arriving in Monteverde at midday. The shuttle will choose you up and drop you off at your lodging.

However there may be one other transit possibility which entails taking a ship throughout Lake Arenal moderately than driving round it. It cuts a couple of half hour off your complete transit time, plus you get a pleasant stress-free ferry boat journey to interrupt up the lengthy automotive journey! 

The price is comparable for both possibility, so it actually simply comes down to non-public desire. You’ll ebook the whole van-boat-van/taxi-boat-taxi transport service with a single firm. This taxi-boat-taxi transit service picks you up and drops you off at your lodging.

Journey Tip: No matter which possibility you select, there are some curvy roads on this route, and the final half of the journey is on bumpy roads winding up into the mountains. We suggest taking a non-drowsy Dramamine to assist keep away from nausea!

When you arrive, test into Camino Verde B&B. The small, budget-friendly lodge presents stunning views from its outside deck: when the morning and night fog clears, you possibly can see all the way in which to the Pacific Coast, the ocean and islands on one facet, and Monteverde city on the opposite! The b&b is situated a brief stroll into city (down a brief hill and up a brief hill). 

One factor we cherished about this lodge was the incredible service: everybody was tremendous pleasant and accommodating, and after we checked in, the entrance desk clerk sat us down and booked us all the excursions we wished to take action our itinerary was all organized for us.

Plus, a scrumptious and filling breakfast is included every day with a number of choices like gallo pinto, scrumptious pancakes, and fruit. We might undoubtedly keep right here once more!

  • Get to Monteverde: There are two choices: an Interbus direct shuttle will take about 4 hours to drive round Lake Arenal, and a taxi-boat-taxi transit service will take about 3.5 hours with a ferry journey throughout the lake. 
  • The place to Keep in Monteverde: We suggest Camino Verde B&B, situated a really brief stroll from city. The small, budget-friendly lodge presents stunning views from its outside deck and a scrumptious breakfast is included along with your keep.

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Monteverde Orchid Garden in Costa Rica-5
Orchids on the Monteverde Orchid Garden. Monteverde is in a cloud forest, and the bushes are lined with epiphytes together with bromeliads, ferns, monsteras, and naturally, orchids!

Day 5 & 6: Monteverde

Welcome to the mountains of Costa Rica! Monteverde is a high-elevation city positioned instantly on the Continental Divide amongst a dense cloud forest. The climate is far cooler than the remainder of the nation – you’ll undoubtedly need to pack some hotter layers and a rain jacket for this portion of the journey.

However taking a break from the heat of the low-elevation tropics is nicely value it to discover a totally completely different ecosystem in Monteverde. Throughout the extremely biodiverse cloud forests orchids, ferns, and bromeliads climb up towering avocado and strangler fig bushes as monkeys, sloths, hummingbirds, Quetzal birds and butterflies flit among the many treetops. 

Plus, due to the dense forest cover, Monteverde is residence to a few of the longest zip strains and hanging bridges within the nation! 

I’m going to out myself as an enormous Lord of the Rings nerd right here, however the easiest way I can describe the cloud forests of Monteverde is that it is sort of a real-life Lothlorien: image huge hole bushes hiding pure ladders, boughs laden with flowers and crops, and hanging bridges criss-crossing by way of a misty cover … it’s otherworldly, y’all. And if that doesn’t make you need to go, you undoubtedly want to look at LotR once more!

One of the best issues to do in Monteverde – very like the remainder of Costa Rica – contain wildlife and outside journey. Right here’s what we suggest throughout your two days in Monteverde:

I’ll be trustworthy: orchids had by no means me earlier than this journey. However the Monteverde Orchid Backyard modified my thoughts. The small backyard is packed with a really mind-blowing number of orchids that I didn’t understand existed. 

We looked for teeny tiny orchids with magnifying glasses – together with the smallest orchid on this planet, which is concerning the measurement of a freckle. We discovered orchids formed like hearts and orchids that appear like alien squids. Do you know that vanilla is an orchid?! I didn’t. Orchids are dope, y’all! 

I like to recommend making this a soothing afternoon cease in your first half-day in Monteverde, after you arrive and test into your lodging. Situated a really brief stroll away is one of the best Tico (conventional Costa Rican) restaurant on the town, Sabor Tico – head right here for lunch or dinner!

Jeremy ziplining through a cloud forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Jeremy ziplining by way of a cloud forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Tip: put on a rain jacket (his, mine) and fast drying pants (his, mine).

Costa Rica invented ziplining, and whereas you are able to do it virtually anyplace within the nation, it’s actually particular contained in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. From a surprising one-mile lengthy superman swing over the tree cover – the longest and highest zipline route in all of Latin America – to a spine-tingling Tarzan swing, that is undoubtedly not your primary zipline course. 

The route is without doubt one of the longest in Costa Rica and winds by way of the tree cover throughout hanging bridges. (Notice that there’s a 250lb weight restrict on the Tarzan swing. Which *ahem* means Jeremy skipped it – however nonetheless had a good time.) 

Notice that there are two most important locations to go ziplining in Monteverde, Aventura Park and Selvatura Park – we suggest Aventura.

Confession: we’re obsessed with sloths, however we often solely get to see their little fuzzy butts hanging out of bushes by way of binoculars. On the Sloth Sanctuary, you possibly can see them up shut! 

Importantly, breeding sloths is prohibited in Costa Rica, and also you completely can’t contact or work together with the sloths – so, splendidly, that is an moral animal expertise. 

The Sloth Sanctuary at Selvatura Park is just one of two working in Costa Rica, and takes care of sloths that have been rescued as infants and can’t be launched again into the wild due to their dependence on people. (That is completely different from a rescue middle, which takes in injured sloths and nurses them again to well being earlier than releasing them again into the wild.) 

We extremely suggest this expertise for sloth lovers like us!

Girl on Hanging Bridge in La Fortuna Costa Rica
Hanging bridges mean you can stroll throughout the highest of a forest cover! They’re nerve-wracking at first:attempt to stroll slowly and within the very center to keep away from swinging the bridge – and maintain onto the perimeters.

Along with the sloth sanctuary (and adjoining butterfly garden), the park additionally options hanging bridges and ziplines by way of the Monteverde Cloud Forest tree cover. 

We extremely suggest taking a self-guided stroll by way of the cover. You’ll be traversing an easy to observe stone path. The route has a couple of small hills, however is just not difficult. Take it gradual in the event you’re a slower hiker (like us) – it ought to take round 1.5-2 hours in the event you’re not in a rush. Apparently some folks do it in 1 hour, although I don’t understand how.  

Alongside the way in which, you’ll cross hanging bridges of various lengths spanning the treetops. For a non-adventure lover like me, the hanging bridges have been scary at first. Attempt to stroll slowly and within the very center to keep away from swinging the bridge, and maintain onto the perimeters. I additionally waited to start out every bridge till the ppl forward of me have been completed. However by the previous few bridges I used to be used to it and it wasn’t so scary anymore!

Deliver a pair of binoculars and preserve an eye fixed out for monkeys taking part in within the bushes! In our case, we didn’t even want our binoculars: on the longest bridge, a gaggle of howler monkeys popped up into the cover throughout us, munching on leaves like 2 ft away from us within the bridge, completely unbothered. So freaking cool!! We may have stayed there watching them endlessly. 

A ticket to Selvatura Park consists of transportation from native motels – your lodging ought to be capable to prepare it for you, or you possibly can ebook instantly on-line on the Selvatura Website. 

  • Journey Tip: We made the error of heading to Selvatura on the afternoon shuttle at 2pm. However the final bus again into city is at 4:30pm. So round 4pm we have been nonetheless on hanging bridge #5 of 8 having a second with some monkeys within the treetops after we realized we have been working late. We RAN and made the bus, however we didn’t get to totally recognize half of it! Give your self ample time particularly in case you are a gradual hiker like we’re, and depart earlier within the day.
  • Discover a Cloud Forest on foot

It’s one factor to expertise a cloud forest from a dangling bridge or zipline within the treetops, nevertheless it’s fairly one other to stroll by way of it on the very base of the forest. To totally recognize the cloud forests, we suggest taking the time to do each.

There are a number of cloud forests and reserves you possibly can go to in Monteverde, and it’s laborious to choose only one to go to – however time is proscribed. There’s the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (which you’ll be ziplining by way of at Aventura Park), the 2 hottest choices.

You may even do a guided night hike in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest – night time is the time when wildlife is most lively, so that is an incredible alternative to see a totally completely different facet of the forest!

After which there’s the Curicancha Reserve, a a lot smaller attraction that enables fewer folks to go to every day. We are likely to keep away from crowds and other people – they scare off the wildlife! But in addition sure we’re form of misanthropic like that – so we selected to go to Curicancha. We booked a guided tour by way of our lodge with Monteverde Experts, and our naturalist information made the forest come alive as he defined the wildlife, the historical past, and identified wildlife.

One factor we cherished concerning the Curicancha Reserve is how accessible it’s: the strolling paths are good and huge, though rocky (they’re at the moment working to enhance oath accessibility for wheelchairs.) There are bogs and benches all through, and you’ll even hire 4x4s so that you don’t need to stroll. The strolling itself goes slowly as you’re steadily stopping to have a look at wildlife, and there are a couple of small hills, however the route may be very doable at a mild tempo even for non-hikers. Simply make sure to gown for rain and dirt!

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  • Take pleasure in native meals & espresso

We now have a couple of ideas for the place to eat and drink in Monteverde:

  • Tree House Restaurant & Cafe: This restaurant constructed into an enormous ficus tree is freaking beautiful. Remember that you don’t go right here for the meals, you go for the ambiance. However nothing is sort of like eating in a tree surrounded by art work whereas birds name and play within the branches overhead. Y’all: it’s very Lothlorien! We extremely suggest making this a cease throughout your journey.
  • Cafe Monteverde is a incredible specialty espresso store on the town serving Costa Rican brews in a wide range of preparation strategies. You too can pattern a number of completely different roasts and purchase a bag to convey residence with you! This space is a espresso area, and in the event you like, you possibly can even ebook a coffee farm tour by way of the store.
  • Sabor Tico: Situated up on a hill near the Orchid Backyard, this was one of the best Costa Rican meal we ate throughout our keep in Monteverde. The parts are big, the view is beautiful, and the meals is scrumptious. It’s a little bit of a schlep on foot, although – 10 minutes or so, however with a few brief hills – so we suggest consuming right here once you go to the Orchid Backyard so that you solely need to make the journey as soon as.
Hostel Plinio in Quepos Manuel Antonio Costa Rica-4
Hostel Plinio is a gorgeous, cheap hostel a brief bus journey from Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park. We suggest a personal ensuite, however even the dorm rooms have stunning ocean views!

Day 7: Monteverde to Manuel Antonio

At this time you’ll be leaving very first thing within the morning to go about 4 hours from Monteverde to your subsequent vacation spot, Manuel Antonio, residence of Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park.

You may have two choices. The best means is to book an Interbus shuttle leaving at 8am. The shuttle will choose you up and drop you off proper at your lodging.

The cheaper however barely extra difficult possibility is to take 2 buses. First you’ll board an early morning bus from the bus station in Santa Elena to Punta Arenas. From there, you’ll take a bus to Quepos, the most important city adjoining to Manuel Antonio. From there you’ll have to hail a taxi to get you to your lodging (there might be a lot close by, and Quepos is barely about quarter-hour from Manuel Antonio). You’ll find the bus schedules and costs on Rome2Rio.

For what it’s value, we’ve discovered that the general public buses in Costa Rica are each snug and dependable, and the bus stations are straightforward to navigate with clear signage and many useful attendants, so don’t fear – even in the event you aren’t conversant in taking public transit in Costa Rica, you’ll be simply advantageous!

If you arrive in Quepos, test into your lodging. We’ve stayed on the cheap however stunning Hostel Plinio twice now – every time in a personal ensuite room, although their dorms are additionally incredible! The hostel is located up a hill with ocean views from a lot of the rooms, an on-site restaurant and pool, and an open-air lounge the place breakfast is served. It’s a incredible hostel! 

That mentioned, it’s a bit removed from the principle cause you’re within the space, Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park. Public buses heading to the park run each quarter-hour proper previous the hostel till 7:30 PM, so it’s straightforward to hop on one and take a reasonably brief, cheap journey to the park.

Should you’d favor to be nearer to the park and the seashore and don’t thoughts paying extra, Hotel Manuel Antonio is a superb choose, strolling distance to the doorway of the Nationwide Park and throughout the road from the seashore!

  • Get to Manuel Antonio: You may book an Interbus shuttle with lodge choose up and drop-off, or take a public bus. First you’ll board an early morning bus from the bus station in Santa Elena to Punta Arenas. From there, you’ll take a bus to Quepos, then take a taxi to your lodging. You’ll find the bus schedules and costs on Rome2Rio. 
  • The place to Keep in Quepos: We love Hostel Plinio, a gorgeous, cheap hostel a brief bus journey from the Nationwide Park. As a substitute, Hotel Manuel Antonio is strolling distance to the doorway of the Nationwide Park and throughout the road from the seashore.
White sand beach on a sunny day at Manuel Antonio State Park in Quepos, Costa Rica
White sand seashore on a sunny day in Manuel Antonio State Park! That is the principle seashore, a couple of 30 minute stroll from the park entrance.

Day 8 & 9, Manuel Antonio

Manuel Antonio National Park is Costa Rica’s smallest, however one of the vital widespread – and for good cause. With stunning seashores, well-maintained trails working by way of the forest and mangroves, and considerable wildlife, the park is without doubt one of the finest locations on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. You’re extremely more likely to see Capuchin, Howler, and Squirrel Monkeys, plus sloths, iguanas, agoutis, and tons of birds!

You’ll arrive in Manuel Antonio with a lot of the day left to chill out or hit the seashore. One of the best seashores on this space, after all, are inside the Nationwide Park – however that’s an entire day exercise.  Two, in truth!  

Right here’s what you’ll be doing in Manuel Antonio:

On the half day of your arrival, head to Playa Espadilla Norte, the seashore exterior of the park within the city of Manuel Antonio. You’ll discover distributors on the seashore providing chair and umbrella leases, surf classes, and even meals supply. The water is superbly heat and swimmable, and also you’ll see surfers having fun with the waves, too. Throughout from the seashore, there are many small retailers to browse for trinkets and snacks. Calm down and luxuriate in!

Alternatively, you possibly can head to the far more secluded (and due to this fact a lot emptier) Playa Biesanz. Search for a jungle path that begins by the facet of the highway near Resort Parador. You’ll head by way of a small opening in a fence and down a steep hill with unfastened pebbles for about 10 minutes. When you arrive, the seashore might be all yours – nicely, yours and a buzzing jungle stuffed with monkeys, sloths, lizards, and birds, after all.

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Plus sized girl in a bathing suit on the beach in Manuel Antonio, Quepos, Costa Rica
Put together for rain at anytime. Don’t fear, the water was nonetheless heat and delightful! (Psst: that is certainly one of my favourite swimsuits for curvy girls!)

To entry the park entrance, you’ll have to stroll from the highway up a rocky grime path and over a bridge. It would really feel type of such as you’re going the flawed means however there are indicators directing you to the general public park entrance!

On the entrance, you’ll pay the doorway charge (check the site for the present price) and have the choice of reserving a guided tour. It prices 10,000 colones per particular person, and actually, in the event you actually need to spot animals, that is your finest likelihood! It’s very laborious to identify critters with no information, and the park guides have fixed studies about the place all of the wildlife is hanging out all through the day. That mentioned, in case your purpose is simply to go mountain climbing and swimming, then the tour isn’t value it.

Apart from searching for wildlife, there are two most important actions in Manuel Antonio: mountain climbing and swimming on the seashore!

Attending to the seashore in Manuel Antonio takes about half-hour down a large, largely flat path – the principle path within the park. Sure sections of the path additionally dovetail to boardwalks by way of the mangroves, which personally I discover to be much less crowded and extra scenic. (The boardwalks are a part of the El Perezoso path, and run parallel to the principle path.)

Simply up the hill from the seashore, you’ll a restaurant, altering rooms, bogs, and lockers to retailer your stuff. These are the one services, so don’t head all the way in which down the hill to the seashore till you’re actually prepared!

The seashore is gorgeous, scenic, and heat. That mentioned, do watch out for excessive tides and swells.

Boardwalk Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica
Boardwalk alongside the El Perezoso Path in Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park.

The opposite most important exercise in Manuel Antonio is mountain climbing. The park is filled with trails, most of that are brief (although not essentially straightforward). Right here’s a fast information:

  • La Catarata Path: Situated near the park entrance, this medium depth .6 mile lengthy path results in a small waterfall (therefore the title: catarata means waterfall in Spanish). Hold an eye fixed out for frogs alongside the way in which!
  • El Perezoso Path: These are the boardwalks that run parallel to the park’s most important path. Because the title suggests, preserve an eye fixed out overhead for sloths!
  • Punta Catedral Path: This mile-long path results in one of the vital iconic elements and scenic of the park, a excessive peak that divides the seashore exterior the city and the park’s seashore. Though the hike is comparatively brief, it’s steep – convey loads of water and be ready to climb! You’ll discover the trailhead on the finish of the seashore
  • Playa Gemelas Path: This brief, straightforward path from the principle seashore will take you to a second seashore, Playa Gemelas. It additionally connects to the opposite trails and to the western portion of the park. Throughout low tide, you possibly can see a view of Punta Catedral on this path.
  • Mirador Path: This mile-long path results in a scenic lookout of Punta Serrucho, a rocky landmark. Heads up, this path is difficult!
  • Congo Path: This brief path connects Playa Gemelas and the Mirador Path and it may be used as a substitute return route.

One, yet another factor: there are gonna be monkeys, they usually’re gonna need your stuff. I might discourage you from bringing in any snacks or meals – the primary time we visited Manuel Antonio, we watched a monkey snatch a backpack off of somebody’s shoulder, run up a tree with it, and proceed to dig out all of her snacks! 

The park has since enforced stricter rules about meals. There’s a small restaurant close to the seashore that sells sandwiches, drinks, ice cream, pastries, and souvenirs – and whether or not you convey your individual meals or not, that is the one place that’s protected so that you can eat it. It is best to NEVER, EVER feed a wild animal – even inadvertently!

When it comes to what to convey with you, you’ll desire a day bag filled with mountain climbing sneakers/sandals, a swimsuit, a towel, sunscreen, a rain jacket and travel umbrella, and bug repellant. Put on garments which can be snug to hike in and dry shortly – we’ve bought particular ideas in our Costa Rica Packing List.

Apart from the nationwide park, there are a number of different issues to do in Manuel Antonio:

Costa Rica’s wildlife residents are most lively at night time, and the jungle is a completely completely different place after the solar goes down! This tour will lead you thru a close-by rainforest the place the extinct harlequin frog reappeared and was rediscovered, an thrilling scientific discovery.

Throughout your journey you might even see bats, Jesus Christ lizards, arachnids, owls, tons and many frogs, snakes and all kinds of fascinating bugs. You’ll be supplied with the whole lot you should navigate safely and see wildlife with out disturbing them.

The night time stroll consists of lodge pickup and drop-off in addition to a meal, and takes about 2-2.5-hours. 

Should you’re up for locating the critters that fill the rainforest once you’re not trying, make sure to put on close-toed sneakers (in order to not get bitten by something). If the concept of taking a look at bugs and spiders offers you the heebie-jeebies, perhaps simply skip it!

Capuchin Monkey Calling in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica
Capuchin monkeys are so named as a result of their coloring seems to be like a cappuccino: mild foam on the highest and darkish espresso beneath!

Kids Saving The Rainforest runs the one authorized rescue middle that rehabilitates wounded, sick and deserted rainforest animals on the Pacific Coast. The non-profit, situated about quarter-hour exterior of Quepos, protects and rehabilitates wildlife, conducts scientific analysis, and gives outreach and training about conservation and moral tourism. 

The middle rescues greater than 100 animals annually, focusing totally on rehabilitating and releasing wild animals again into their habitats at any time when attainable.

For animals that can’t be launched again into the wild, the middle has an onsite wildlife sanctuary which guests can tour. You’ll see 5 varieties of monkeys, together with Spider Monkeys, White Confronted Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, Tamarins, & Marmoset; Coatis; Two-toed sloths; Nocturnal Kinkajous (if they’re awake); and Parrots!

Notice that you just’ll have to electronic mail to make a reservation prematurely in your tour – more information here.

Head out on the ocean for two.5 hour kayaking and snorkeling journey! On and off your kayak, you’ll see marine birds and their nesting grounds, parrot fish, starfish, angelfish and probably a couple of sea turtles.  The tour will offer you snorkeling gear, so simply convey a towel

I extremely suggest sporting swim leggings and a rash guard so that you don’t want to fret about sunscreen besides in your fingers, face, and ft – plus, it’s the proper outfit for leaping and and out of the water!

The tour consists of pickup and drop off out of your lodge and a scrumptious meal!

Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park encompasses some mangroves, however simply 10 minutes away is Damas Island, an infinite protected mangrove forest with unimaginable biodiversity. Throughout your stress-free journey in a 12-person lined boat, you’ll wind by way of lush inexperienced vegetation as you information helps spot white-faced monkeys, anteaters, boa constrictors, iguanas, birds, and colourful mangrove crabs!

The tour consists of pickup and drop-off and a meal. I extremely suggest placing on loads of bug repellent for this tour, and bringing your individual pair of binoculars, since you by no means know when a critter would possibly disappear earlier than you’ve had an opportunity to look by way of your information’s!

Day 10: Manuel Antonio to Drake Bay

Manuel Antonio and its neighboring city, Quepos, is simply up the Pacific coast out of your subsequent vacation spot, however you possibly can’t drive all the way in which there. Your subsequent vacation spot is, er, a bit distant. Like, on a tiny bay, on a tiny peninsula, proper subsequent to an enormous nationwide park that you may solely entry by boat. Yup: it’s superior!

From Quepos, you’ll take a shuttle to the boat dock in Sierpe. On the Sierpe boat dock, you’ll board a ferry that may take you down a river to Drake Bay and drop you off on to the dock of your subsequent lodging.

Truthfully, the schlep is all a part of the journey of attending to the vacation spot: the boat journey takes about an hour and travels by way of stunning mangroves alongside the Sierpe River, earlier than crossing over the mouth of the river connecting to the Pacific Ocean after which heading to a different, a lot smaller, river. The primary time I visited, the ferry boat was tiny – actually like, a tiny little boat with room sufficient for a cooler filled with Fanta, the boat captain, our baggage, and my household of 4. However extra vacationers go to the realm now, and in the present day the ferry is a big, snug boat with ample seating, loads of area for baggage, and a canopy to guard you from the solar.

Although it might sound a bit difficult, don’t fear – you don’t want to rearrange any of this by yourself: your lodging can set all of it up and ebook it for you! 

For the ultimate cease in your journey, you’ll be staying on the Aguila de Osa Rainforest Lodge, a sustainable eco-lodge on the mouth of the River Agujitas simply exterior Corcovado Nationwide Park. 

All the rooms and the open-air lodge characteristic sweeping views of Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula. The lodge is a 1 minute stroll away from a small seashore, and also you’ll be capable to ebook all the excursions and actions you need instantly from the lodge once you arrive.

Notice that this cease on the itinerary is certainly the costliest, however actually? It’s an extremely worthy splurge. The lodge is like an all-inclusive resort, besides rustic and eco-friendly and sustainable. Your entire meals are included in the price of your room – breakfast, lunch, appetizers, and dinner – and have recent, regionally sourced elements, like no matter recent fish was caught by native fisherman that morning and natural greens picked from the lodge’s close by farm. Meals are served within the beautiful, open-air nice room and are actually one of many highlights of every day.

There’s additionally no have to ebook any excursions prematurely: your lodging will show you how to plan your itinerary and ebook the whole lot for you when you arrive.

That mentioned, there are cheaper locations to remain in Drake Bay (take a look here), and all the lodging within the space will supply roughly the identical tour choices. Simply don’t look forward to finding any massive motels close by: the whole lot right here is small, rustic, and deep within the rainforest. Should you ebook an lodging that doesn’t supply assist prepare transportation, you possibly can contact Transportes Alvarez to rearrange a shuttle.

  • Get to Drake Bay: From Quepos, you’ll take a shuttle to Sierpe. Then, you’ll board a ferry that may take you down a river to Drake Bay and drop you off on to the dock of the lodging at your subsequent cease. It is best to be capable to ebook the whole lot by way of your lodging, but when not, contact Transportes Alvarez to rearrange your shuttle.
  • The place to Keep in Drake Bay: Aguila de Osa Rainforest Lodge is an unimaginable, sustainable eco-lodge within the rainforest overlooking the ocean – mainly, paradise! It’s a splurge, however belief us after we say that it’s a spotlight of this itinerary and nicely value it. Your meals are all included.

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Lia Walking on Beach in Corcovado National Park Costa Rica carrying a pair of shoes
Falling in love with Costa Rica for the 4th time in Corcovado Nationwide Park.

Day 11 & 12, Drake Bay/Corcovado

It is likely to be laborious to consider after the adventures you’ve been having for the final two weeks, however we really saved one of the best for final. We needed to: if we put this vacation spot earlier within the itinerary, all over the place else would have felt like a downer. 

Corcovado Nationwide Park – residence to the most important rainforest in Central America – and the tiny city of Drake Bay are, fingers down, our favourite locations to go to in Costa Rica. The crystalline waters of the ocean are full of colourful coral reefs and marine life, bordered by jungle stretching all the way in which to the seashore. And subsequent to this beautiful and distant Nationwide Park are a tiny handful of eco-lodges and resorts and the teeny tiny little city of Agujitas. It’s not the simplest place to get to, nevertheless it’s nicely well worth the journey!

Personally, that is the place the place I first fell in love in Costa Rica (and with journey normally) on two unimaginable household holidays, a long time in the past. My dad and mom booked this superior eco-lodge within the jungle, strolling distance from the seashore. We rode horses on the sands of Corcovado Nationwide Park, snorkeled in excellent heat, clear blue water, and woke as much as monkeys, scarlet macaws and toucans and laughing hawks calling and taking part in exterior the home windows of our bungalow every day. Every night time we watched the solar set from the open air lodge over dinner, and drifted off to sleep lulled by the scent of ylang ylang bushes and the sound of buzzing cicadas. It was heaven.

It was such a gorgeous and memorable journey for our household that my sister returned on her honeymoon … and eventually, after years of telling Jeremy about this unimaginable place, we determined to make it our first journey after COVID. Why did we wait so lengthy? As a result of it’s form of a splurge, and we’re like… hostel folks, not resort folks. However after 2 years of being caught at residence, we have been able to ball. I used to be terrified that I’d constructed it up in my head, that we’d arrive and it wouldn’t be something like I remembered it.

River feeding into the ocean on a sunny day in Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.
A view from a swimming gap with a waterfall in Corcovado Nationwide Park. Actually heaven, y’all.

However. Y’all. It was precisely as magical as I remembered it being! This unimaginable little place, on the foot of a river opening as much as the ocean – accessible solely by boat – is a dream. Actually: it’s the place I think about in my head after I’m making an attempt to go to sleep, listening to rain and jungle noises on a Spotify playlist I made for this actual function. (Enjoyable reality: in 2020, my Spotify most performed checklist was actually all simply rain/jungle noises. It was a tough 12 months, okay??!)

And to not make it bizarre, however let’s simply say that I lastly sat down to write down this publish 8.5 months after our journey… and a pair of weeks earlier than welcoming a tiny new member to our household. You do the mathematics. And sure, we absolutely intend to convey our youngster right here and level at varied issues and inform them it’s the place they have been conceived. As a result of what’s the level of getting a toddler if to not embarrass and probably traumatize them??

Anyway. My private historical past with this place apart, you HAVE to go. I do know, it’s laborious to get to. I do know, it’s pricier than the remainder of the locations on this itinerary. However don’t skip it! Belief us – you’ll thank me later. (Otherwise you’ll come again right here and depart me a strongly worded remark telling me about your expertise, one or the opposite. However I actually suppose you’ll have an incredible time!)

Right here’s what we suggest doing throughout your keep in Drake Bay. (Notice that a lot of the excursions might be shared with a number of native resorts/motels, and the whole lot may be booked on arrival at your lodging.)

Boat filled with snorkellers at Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica.
Snorkeling atCaño Island subsequent to Corcovado Nationwide Park
  • Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

The clear waters of Caño Island Organic Marine Reserve are an unimaginable place for each scuba diving and snorkeling. You’ll see wholesome coral reefs, colleges of vibrant tropical fish, turtles, reef sharks, and rays.

I’m a snorkeler and Jeremy is an authorized PADI scuba diver, so we break up up for this exercise – and we have been each deeply happy with our separate experiences!

Your lodging will present all of the gear you want and ebook and prepare your boat tour.

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Male Howler Monkey in a Tree in Costa Rica
An especially ballsy Howler monkey. Isn’t nature wonderful?
  • Go on a wildlife hike in Corcovado Nationwide Park

Corcovado Nationwide Park is the crown jewel of this area, and a visit into the rainforest is a spotlight of any journey to the Osa Peninsula! Hikes start and finish at San Pedrillo, Corcovado Nationwide Park’s northernmost ranger station – however first, you must get there by boat. The journey is about 25 minutes, and also you’ll need to put on sandals and quick-drying pants: there might be a moist touchdown (and it’s a little bit little bit of a nail biter – however don’t fear, your boat captain does this actually day by day). 

Your naturalist information may have binoculars and can level out wildlife alongside the way in which. On our final hike in Corcovado we noticed white-faced, spider and howler monkeys, an cute white-lipped peccary mother and child pair, scarlet macaws, and a coati.

The hike isn’t difficult by way of distance and is sort of flat, however it’s sizzling, humid, muddy and sweaty – convey loads of water, put on breathable clothes, and slather on bug repellant prefer it’s your job. Halfway by way of your hike, you’ll go to a swimming lagoon on the base of a small waterfall to take a brief swim (so make sure to put on or convey a swimsuit!)

  • Journey Tip: Put on breathable, quick-drying garments and a swimsuit, and produce each sandals and durable mountain climbing sneakers with good grip. Trekking poles are useful on muddy days, although we did with out and have been advantageous. A number of water, sunscreen, and bug repellent are a should as nicely. And pack a light-weight rain jacket and travel umbrella simply in case – it’s known as the rainforest for a cause!
Palomino Horse in Corcovado National Park Costa Rica
A small, mild Palomino Horse in Corcovado Nationwide Park Costa Rica

Certainly one of my favourite actions in Costa Rica is horseback using, due to their very small, closer-to-the-ground-than-usual Palomino horses, that are MUCH much less scary to journey than tall thoroughbreds (or Clydesdales, which we rode precisely one time – it felt like using a T-Rex).

And it’s nice that the horses are small and mild, as a result of horseback using on this space is certainly extra on the adventurous facet. 

You’ll journey your horse instantly by way of a river, on winding paths by way of the rainforest, and throughout the seashore – and your horse will virtually definitely break right into a trot or canter on the seashore. (For what it’s value, Palominos are the ONLY horse I’ve ever felt snug cantering on!)

The tour provided by Aguila de Osa ends at a waterfall and a seashore the place you possibly can swim and chill out earlier than using again!

The River Agujitas in Drake Bay Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula
The River Agujitas in Drake Bay Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula.
  • Kayaking on the Agujitas River

Borrow a kayak out of your lodging and take a self-guided kayak tour at excessive tide! You may head upriver deeper into the rainforest, or depart the river and head down the coast to discover sandy seashores.

Though it is a fairly relaxed exercise, don’t get too complacent: the river can get a little bit uneven in elements and is residence to very small, reportedly innocent crocodiles that however scared the residing daylights out of us – particularly after we hit a few tough patches of water. (It seems that Jeremy and I are BOTH scaredy cats with regards to tiny crocodiles.)

Additionally, I wouldn’t swim within the river – and take care to not get your ears moist, both. Each my dad and I contracted gnarly ear infections (a few a long time aside) as a direct results of our ears coming into contact with river water in Costa Rica. Should you’re liable to ear infections like we’re, you would possibly need to put on a pair of earplugs simply to be protected.

Truthfully, in the event you’re able to not flipping your kayak, you’ll be advantageous… however perhaps don’t do that as your very first kayaking journey ever. Let’s name this an intermediate kayaking expertise.

  • Take an evening wildlife tour

Do you know that Costa Rica’s wildlife residents are most lively at night time? You may not see a lot exercise in the course of the day, however you’re just about assured to see critters at night time!

​​Our tour was led by a neighborhood scientist, the Bug Woman. And though we didn’t journey far (a lot of the tour is simply on paths across the resort) we noticed a couple of snoozing sloths, a number of tree frogs, sleeping birds, moths, opossums, owls, and a bunch of fascinating bugs and arachnids! 

Sure – I mentioned arachnids. On this tour, you’ll undoubtedly want to have the ability to recognize that spiders are bros – or no less than that they’re stunning and various creatures! Probably the most memorable arachnid associates we noticed on our night time hike have been trapdoor spiders, which stay in tiny little hobbit holes. Our information gently opened a wonderfully hidden spherical door, and a little bit spider arm got here out and SLAMMED it shut. I’m guessing he had most likely learn the Hobbit and knew to not let a gaggle of strangers in, lest he find yourself on a protracted journey with the destiny of the world resting on his tiny spider shoulders. What number of LotR references in a single weblog publish is just too many? 

Anyway: in the event you’re up for locating the critters that fill the rainforest once you’re not trying, make sure to put on close-toed sneakers (in order to not get bitten by something). And if this part gave you the heebie-jeebies, perhaps simply skip this one!

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Beach in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
So, this isn’t San Josecito – it’s a seashore in Corcovado Nationwide Park – nevertheless it seems to be so much like San Josecito, besides with extra rocks and no picnic tables.

San Josecito is fingers down probably the most stunning seashore on the Osa Peninsula: image a sandy cove with splendidly swimmable water, ringed with palm bushes filled with scarlet macaws. Many excursions cease right here at one level, however you may as well hike, horseback journey, or take a ship to get right here.

Should you select the two.5 hour hike, you’ll discover the trailhead on the hanging bridge throughout the Rio Agujitas close to the mouth of the river. This guide will assist you recognize what to anticipate. Costume appropriately and put on water/mountain climbing sandals, as a result of there’s a water crossing at one level – we extremely suggest a pair of Tevas for each women and men.

Should you’d like to go to San Josecito by horseback or boat, simply ask your lodging: they’ll know who to name and what to rearrange to get the whole lot arrange for you, and let you know what it should value.

  • Actually simply chill out, take a look at the view and hearken to the rain

Staying in a gorgeous eco-resort is a big a part of why the journey to this a part of Costa Rica is so value it, so take full benefit! 

All of the rooms on the  Aguila de Osa Rainforest Lodge have an outside patio with beautiful ocean views. Some have rocking chairs, others have hammocks. 

We extremely suggest spending a day out on the patio, listening to the sounds of the tropical rainforest and simply stress-free. Bonus factors if you are able to do it throughout a heavy rain. Annnd I simply turned on my Spotify playlist once more…

There are additionally a couple of different actions you are able to do throughout your keep, together with zip lining, hen watching, visiting the native city, and mountain climbing to the seashore. Ask your lodging for different choices in the event you’re !

Sunset over Drake Bay Costa Rica
Be sure you savor your final sundown overlooking Drake Bay, so it lasts till your subsequent journey to Costa Rica!

Day 13 & 14: Return to San Jose and Fly Residence

Leaving Drake Bay is a little more difficult than the way in which you arrived, since at this level you’ve traveled fairly a methods from San Jose! 

The best, quickest, and most enjoyable option to get again is by taking a teeny tiny little aircraft (undoubtedly an journey in and of itself) from both Drake Bay or Palmar Sur. (Notice that in the event you fly out of Palmar Sur, you’ll have to repeat the boat journey again from Drake Bay to Sierpe – the airport is about quarter-hour exterior of Sierpe.) 

You may ebook your flight by way of Sansa Airlines or Aerobell. Should you time issues good and your flight house is after 4PM or so, you possibly can depart instantly from San Jose when you arrive on the airport! (That additionally means you’ve gotten an additional day in the event you’d like so as to add time someplace on this itinerary.)

That mentioned: flying can be the costliest possibility.

Beach in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Can I squeeze in a single final image of the seashore in Corcovado Nationwide Park??

A less expensive possibility is to take a shuttle again to San Jose. You’ll first hop again on the boat to Sierpe, you then’ll be taking the Costanera (Coast Street) all the way in which again up the Pacific Coast earlier than turning inland to San Jose. The drive takes about 4.5 hours. Should you’re reserving this selection, ask your lodging for help or reserve a shuttle on-line on Bookaway.

The most affordable possibility is to take a public bus. You’ll first have to take the ferry again to Sierpe, then a taxi to the bus station, the place you’ll board a bus to Quepos. From there, you’ll board a bus again to San Jose. You should utilize Rome2Rio to determine the precise route. It’s undoubtedly extra difficult, however in the event you can pull it off, you’ll save a bunch of money. 

Nonetheless, your most important problem is timing: buses from Sierpe to Quepos depart at 7:30 AM, however the boat from Drake Bay to Sierpe leaves at 7:15 AM, so that you received’t make it – that means you’ll want to remain in a single day in Sierpe. And at that time, it’s most likely value it to simply ebook the dang shuttle. (We do that math each time we go to Costa Rica, and we at all times find yourself taking the shuttles!)

As a result of it takes fairly a while to get from Drake Bay to San Jose on the shuttle, we ended up needing to remain the night time in San Jose. Should you’re desperate to discover town, ebook your self a later flight or think about including an additional day – however we actually don’t suggest it.

We wished to spend as little time as attainable in San Jose, so we booked a reasonable place near the airport and an early morning flight. Sadly, the place we booked had some type of reserving difficulty and turned us away on the door. We ended up having to stroll a number of blocks on foot with all of our baggage to a different close by lodge to see if they’d room for us. And there was completely nothing round to do or see within the space, so we simply sat in our low-cost lodge for the remainder of the day feeling unhappy about our journey ending. It was not the easiest way to finish a visit!

Finally, it will have been higher for us to remain in an space with extra motels and extra issues to do close by, even when it meant waking up earlier to take a taxi to the airport within the morning (our least favourite factor ever – we’re serial oversleepers). 

Our freakish unhealthy luck most likely received’t occur to you (we’re journey catastrophe magnets, it’s scientific reality) however however, we suggest staying in a extra walkable a part of city so that you no less than get some exploration in in your final night time and might say a correct goodbye to Costa Rica! We suggest reserving certainly one of these budget-friendly apartments in downtown San Jose proper on Central avenue. It’s conveniently situated inside strolling distance of a number of of town’s finest museums, together with the Jade Museum, the Costa Rica Nationwide Museum, and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. When you have time earlier than your flight, choose one to discover!

  • Get to San Jose: The best, quickest, and most enjoyable option to get again is by taking a teeny tiny little aircraft from both Drake Bay or Palmar Sur. You may ebook your flight by way of Sansa Airlines or Aerobell. Should you time issues good, you possibly can depart instantly from San Jose when you arrive on the airport! A less expensive possibility is to take a 4.5 hour shuttle again to San Jose; you possibly can reserve a shuttle on-line on Bookaway or ask your accomodation to assist make preparations.
  • The place to Keep in San Jose: If you should spend the night time in San Jose earlier than flying out, we suggest reserving certainly one of these budget-friendly apartments in downtown San Jose.

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Costa Rica Packing List: 42 Essentials to Pack for Costa Rica

Lia and Jeremy on the beach at Manuel Antonio National Park in Quepos, Costa Rica.
Let’s fake we’re fashions and name that sweat a pleasant “glow” from the hike to get to this seashore at Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park. Jeremy is sporting his Teva Sandals and quick-dry shorts, and Lia is sporting her favourite hot-weather travel pants and Teva sandals.

Necessities to Pack for Costa Rica

  • Bug Repellant: We take a two-pronged strategy to avoiding bug bites: Insect Repellant Lotion and handled clothes. Earlier than your journey, spray all the garments you’ll be bringing with Permethrin Spray, a bug repellent which adheres solely to materials, leaves no odor or residue on garments, and doesn’t hurt human pores and skin. Throughout your journey, slather your whole unclothed pores and skin in lightweight Picaridin lotion. It’s extremely efficient, the protection of the lotion is MUCH higher than spray-on bug repellant (to not point out much less dangerous for the surroundings) and it doesn’t depart a gross oily residue in your pores and skin. Between these two repellants, we not often get bitten!
  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen: You could put on reef-safe sunscreen each time you go into the ocean. Reef-safe sunscreen is designed to biodegrade and never hurt marine life. Regular sunscreen bleaches coral and ensures humanity’s swift demise from local weather change. So please, for the love of society’s inevitable collapse, put on reef-safe sunscreen in the event you’re going into the ocean! Notice that though reef-safe sunscreen is at all times mineral, not all mineral sunscreens are reef-safe. Sunscreen should use “non-nano zinc oxide” particles to be reef protected(more details here). That is my favorite reef-safe sunscreen, and I take advantage of this lightweight sunscreen on my face. Higher but, convey a rash guard so that you want much less sunscreen total!
  • Swim Leggings: This itinerary entails a variety of hikes and horseback rides to the seashore, which suggests you should be sporting one thing that may dry shortly. Personally, my pores and skin chafes simply fascinated about sporting a moist swimsuit, so my go-to choose is swim leggings, that are mainly like leggings constructed from swimsuit materials! They’re fast drying and intensely snug to put on whereas moist (sure, you possibly can really hike in them even once they’re soaking moist). Plus, they supply wonderful solar safety, so that you don’t want to fret about sunscreen even once you’re butt-up on a snorkeling tour. For extra info, head to the total assessment of my favourite pair of sustainable swim leggings!
  • Binoculars: Each tour information in Costa Rica may have a pair of binoculars or an enormous telescope. However then you must share it between everybody else on the tour, and critters don’t like to face round ready for full viewers appreciation. So, stick some travel-friendly binoculars into your day-bag!
  • Travel Towel: You’ll need to convey a full-sized, quick-drying travel towel. Towels are usually not usually offered on excursions, and also you’ll be going to plenty of seashores!
  • Teva Sandals (his & hers): Not solely are these rugged sandals snug and rugged sufficient to stroll and hike for miles comfortably, however in addition they double as water shoes. They keep strapped tightly to your ft within the water and are excellent for journey sports activities like canyoning or rafting. Plus, they’re light-weight, sturdy, and legitimately cute!
  • Rain Gear: From rainforests to cloud forests, you have to be ready for it to rain at any second! All the time preserve an Extremely-Mild Rain Jackets (His & Hers) and a teeny tiny light-weight Travel Umbrella in your day bag, simply in case.
  • Day Bag: Jeremy and I every carry a day bag on journeys. This cute backpack is ideal for some snacks, a few jackets, a travel umbrella, cameras, telephones, and no matter we want for the day. It additionally doubles as our lockable carry-on valuables bag whereas on transit, which is vital for security (by no means let your passport, digicam, or laptop computer out of your sight on journey days)! For extra lively days, we pack up a Camelbak Hydration Pack that matches 70oz of water along with all our gear. It’s excellent for hikes or exploring on sizzling days once you’ll want to remain further hydrated!

We’ve bought a ton extra packing suggestions and particular ideas in our Costa Rica packing list!

We’ve additionally created a FREE Printable Packing Record with the whole lot you should plan your journey to Costa Rica. We’ll additionally ship you suggestions that will help you put together in your journey! Simply enroll beneath.


Able to pack your luggage and take off for 2 weeks in Costa Rica? Do you’ve gotten any questions on our Costa Rica 2 week itinerary? Drop us a remark beneath!

Psst: Try a few of our different posts earlier than your journey:

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Our Prime Journey Suggestions & Assets

Listed below are our favourite journey suggestions & sources for saving cash and planning journey logistics! For extra suggestions, take a look at our travel tips resource page or our guide to planning a trip.

  • Reserving Flights: To attain flight offers, search on Google Flights or Kayak. Cash-saving suggestions: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on solely on a funds airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
  • Lodging: We often keep in budget-friendly trip leases, boutique motels or non-public rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to ebook motels (we love their versatile cancellation coverage) and Hostelworld to ebook hostels (low deposit, straightforward change/cancellation, and wonderful opinions). For trip leases, we favor to ebook utilizing VRBO as a result of they have decrease charges and higher help than Airbnb, and we’re not followers of Airbnb’s unethical observe document. You too can ebook trip leases on Expedia and Hotels.com. We additionally use TrustedHousesitters as each hosts (for our residence and our fur-child) and vacationers!
  • Journey Insurance coverage: We at all times, at all times, ALWAYS purchase journey insurance coverage for worldwide journeys, and we STRONGLY counsel it – go to our Travel Insurance Guide to search out out why. We suggest both World Nomads or SafetyWing for worldwide journey insurance coverage. SafetyWing is without doubt one of the few insurance policies that covers Covid-19, they usually have wonderful month-to-month insurance policies which can be excellent for Digital Nomads and long run vacationers!
  • Journey Credit score Card: We ebook all of our journeys on our favourite journey bank card. Not solely will we earn money again that we are able to spend on extra journey, however the card presents incredible journey perks like journey insurance coverage, journey delay and cancellation protection, misplaced baggage reimbursement, and rental automotive protection, which helps defend us on our travels. Learn more here.
  • Vaccines & Meds: We use the journey guides on the CDC website to analysis really useful drugs and vaccines for worldwide journeys. We at all times suggest getting each vaccine really useful by the CDC! You may get them at your major care physician’s workplace or a walk-in pharmacy.
  • Excursions: We love reserving guided excursions, particularly meals excursions and strolling excursions, to get a neighborhood’s perspective and a historical past lesson whereas sight-seeing! We ebook our excursions utilizing Viator and GetYourGuide.
  • Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to determine methods to get from place to position, and ebook native transportation on-line utilizing Bookaway wherever we are able to. After we ebook a rental automotive, we use Kayak to check rental corporations and discover one of the best deal.
  • Baggage Storage: Each time we’re trying out early or making the most of a protracted layover, we use LuggageHero to securely retailer our baggage whereas we’re working round. Use the code PRACTICALW for two hours of free baggage storage on us.
  • VPN Service: A VPN retains your digital info (like web site login particulars, financial institution data, and many others) protected, even once you’re linked to an unsecured community whereas touring. Plus, it permits you to use Netflix & different streaming websites overseas! We use NordVPN. Use the code WANDERLUSTPROMO once you enroll!
  • What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we convey on each journey. We even have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and lots of extra. Check out all of our packing guides!



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