Due to the COVID quarantine, I am creating rough draft, “off the shelf” travel itineraries for when travel resumes normal operations so we do not waste any time getting out and exploring!
Costa Rica popped up on my “rough draft” list because this country has opened their boarders to international travelers. The first iteration required negative COVID testing within 72 hours of travel but when I checked the requirements recently, that has even been dropped. An online health assessment must be completed and provide proof of travel insurance what would cover COVID treatment or quarantine costs. Not too bad! (Update: As this year has gone, these have already changed and now the US requires a test upon arrival – make sure to always check the requirements in both destinations!)
I know quite a few people who have traveled to Costa Rica with overwhelmingly positive experiences so I was definitely looking forward to creating the itinerary. A week in Costa Rica is actually not a ton of time to see everything. There are popular places that travel bloggers seem to focus on and for good reason – I had no idea how much there was to see and do. Besides the active portions of hiking, rappelling, canyoning, rafting, and more – there is a ton of wildlife including the very popular sloths and all sorts of new birds for Kevin to find.
What is there to do?
Let’s break it down by the stops along the route I have mapped out. One thing that makes seeing a lot of places in a week here is the need to have a car. Many people recommend not driving at night or in the dark so long drives can consume valuable time. There are non-car options but it seems like a car is the best way to go.
San Jose – the location where you will most likely be traveling in and out of. Many itineraries I found spent little to no time here with a short itinerary due to how much there is to see outside the city. If you are choosing a longer trip and plan on staying in San Jose, here are some great places to visit:
- Toucan Rescue Ranch
- Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center
- Doka Coffee Tour
- Braulio Carrillo National Park
- La Paz Waterfall
- Poas Volcano
La Fortuna – A very popular destination to explore the rain forest and volcano! There is really an endless amount of things to do here and can easily spend the entire week here.
- Cavernas de Venado
- Waterfall rapelling and canyoning
- White water rafting
- La Fortuna waterfall
- Chato Volcano
- Hot Springs
- Arenal Volcano National Park / Arenal Observatory
- Chocolate and coffee tours
- Hanging Bridges
- Arenal Sky Adventures park – 4 suspension bridges, 2 waterfalls
- Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park – 6 suspension bridges, 1 waterfall, night walk option
- Sky Walk Monteverde – 5 suspension brides, night walk option
- Selvatura Park – 6 suspension bridges
Manuel Antonio – you cannot go to Costa Rica without some beach time and there are so many options. I picked Manuel Antonio due to the combination of activities that can be
- Manuel Antonio National Park (closed Mondays)
- Beaches – Manual Antonia Beach, Espadilla Beach, Biesanz Beach,
- Isla Damas and the mangroves
- White water rafting
Where to eat?
There seem to be no shortage of great food wherever you go in Costa Rica – just watch out for those tourist locations and you will be able to indulge in authentic, fresh cuisine. Here are the places I have marked to visit:
|La Fortuna||Monteverde||Manuel Antonio|
Chifa La Familia Feliz
Tipico La Yunta
Tico y Rico
Taco Taco Taqueria
|Baldi’s Fresh Restaurant |
Based on the above information and the proximity of each activity, here is how I would structure a week in Costa Rica!
|Day 0||Morning||Arrive / Rent car|
Drive to La Fortuna
|Afternoon||La Fortuna Waterfall|
|Evening||Downtown / Sloth Watching Trail|
|Day 1||Morning||Day Adventure |
– Cavernas de Venado
– Waterfall rappelling / canyoning
|Day 2||Morning||Chato Volcano Hike|
|Afternoon||Arenal Volcano National Park / Arenal Observatory|
|Day 3||Morning||Arenal Hanging Bridges|
|Afternoon||Drive to Monteverde|
|Evening||Night walk at Sky Adventure Park|
|Day 4||Morning||Cloud Forest Hanging Bridges|
|Afternoon||Drive to Manuel Antonio|
|Day 5||Morning||Manuel Antonio National Park|
|Afternoon||Chocolate and Coffee Tour|
|Day 6||Morning||White water rafting |
(location season dependent)
|Day 7||Morning||Kayak Isla Damas Mangrove|
If you have been to Costa Rica, let me know what I missed and what your favorites are!
Don’t forget to check out all DESKRIB itineraries here!