Are you looking to plan an exciting 15-day Costa Rica itinerary? You have come to the right place! In this article, I will guide you through an unforgettable tour of some of the most impressive destinations in Costa Rica. From dreamy beaches to lush tropical jungles and incredible national parks, this itinerary will allow you to discover the natural beauty of this fascinating country. Get ready for an adventure filled with stunning landscapes and exciting experiences!
Best Travel insurance for Costa Rica
2-week route through Costa Rica
This 15-day itinerary through Costa Rica will allow you to discover the natural and cultural diversity that this country has to offer. From the energy of San José to the paradisiacal beaches of Puerto Viejo and Bocas del Toro, passing through the impressive volcanoes of La Fortuna and the natural wonders of Uvita and Drake Bay, each day will offer you new experiences and amazing landscapes. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Costa Rica!
Day 1: San José – The Gateway to Costa Rica
Start your trip in the vibrant city of San José, the capital of Costa Rica. Although many travelers quickly pass through this city on their way to other destinations, I would recommend making the most of your stay in San José. Explore the charm of its old town, visit the National Museum to immerse yourself in the history and culture of the country, and savor the delicious local cuisine in the traditional markets and restaurants.
Transportation: To get to San José, you can fly directly into the Juan Santamaría International Airport or use ground transportation from other destinations in Costa Rica.
Day 2-3: Puerto Viejo – Caribbean Beaches and Laid Back Life
On days 2 and 3, head to Puerto Viejo, a quaint seaside town on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Here you will find dream beaches, a vibrant Caribbean culture and a relaxed life. Enjoy the warm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, relax on the beach of Punta Uva or Manzanillo, and explore the Cahuita National Park, where you can walk along trails surrounded by exuberant vegetation and immerse yourself in an incredibly colorful underwater world while you snorkel.
Transportation: From San José, you can take a bus or a private transfer to Puerto Viejo, which takes approximately 4-5 hours.
Day 4-5: Bocas del Toro (Panama) – Close Caribbean Exoticism
Although technically located in Panama, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit the beautiful islands of Bocas del Toro, which are located near the border with Costa Rica. On days 4 and 5, cross the border and enter this Caribbean paradise. Explore the islands on a boat tour, enjoy white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, and immerse yourself in Bocas Town’s vibrant nightlife. You can also snorkel, surf or simply relax in a hammock while enjoying the paradisiacal surroundings.
Transportation: From Puerto Viejo, you can take a bus or shuttle to the Panama border, and then continue by water taxi to Bocas del Toro.
Day 6-8: La Fortuna – Volcanoes and Hot Springs
On days 6-8, travel north into Costa Rica until you reach La Fortuna, a destination known for its mighty Arenal Volcano and soothing hot springs. Enjoy breathtaking views of the volcano, explore the trails of the Arenal Volcano National Park, and relax in the natural hot springs found in the area. You can also visit the impressive La Fortuna waterfall and venture into activities such as zip lines, boat rides and walks on hanging bridges.
Transportation: From Bocas del Toro, take a water taxi and then a bus or shuttle to La Fortuna, which usually takes about 5-6 hours.
Day 9-11: Uvita – Encounter with Nature in the Ballena Marine National Park
Continue your itinerary towards the Pacific coast and discover the beauty of Uvita. Here you will find the Marino Ballena National Park, famous for its impressive coral formations and for being an important place for whale watching. Enjoy the pristine beaches, swim in the natural pools known as “Las Ventanas” and feel at one with nature while you explore the park on a kayak or paddleboard. Do not miss the incredible experience of watching humpback whales in their natural habitat.
Transportation: From La Fortuna, you can take a bus or a transfer to Uvita, with an approximate duration of 5-6 hours.
Day 12-14: Drake Bay – Osa Peninsula Adventure
On days 12-14, head to Drake Bay, a remote corner of Costa Rica located on the Osa Peninsula. From Drake Bay, you can take a tour to Corcovado National Park, one of the most impressive natural treasures in the country. Explore the unique biodiversity of the rainforest, spot monkeys, sloths, and exotic birds, and marvel at waterfalls and pristine beaches. Plus, enjoy activities like hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking in the area.
Transportation: From Uvita, you can take a bus or shuttle to Sierpe and then a boat that will take you to Drake Bay. The boat ride takes approximately 1-2 hours.
Day 15: San José – Farewell and Unforgettable Memories
On your last day, head back to San José to end your Costa Rican adventure. Take advantage of this day to enjoy the last moments in the city, visit a museum or market that you have not explored before, and reflect on the incredible memories and experiences that you have lived during these 15 days.
Transportation: From Drake Bay, you can take a boat to Sierpe and then a land transfer to San José, with a total duration of approximately 6-7 hours.
Tours in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a country with a wide variety of fauna and nature. You can visit volcanoes, national parks, towering waterfalls, sunbathe at the beach, go kayaking,…
There are different TOURS and ACTIVITIES that you can do during your trip, so you can make the most of your stay:
Is Costa Rica SAFE to Travel?
Costa Rica is a moderately dangerous country, where nothing should happen to you if you go carefully and take precautions. Remember to follow these recommendations:
- In case of robbery, do not resist physically.
- Do not show a high purchasing power, that is, do not go with jewels, bags, etc … that are expensive.
- Be careful if you go out at night, and stay in crowded places where you are surrounded by other people.
- Thefts are usual, so don’t go with the camera or mobile in your hand or hang out of your neck.
- Try to avoid carrying the backpack on the back. Put it in front of you, or use a belt pouch or a cross bag.
Personally, I spent 3 months traveling alone in Costa Rica (I visited San José, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, Bay Drake and Puerto Jiménez) and I did not find myself in any really serious situation.
Going down the street with the camera, several Costa Rican people approached and warned me that they were carefully with robberies, since they told me that they are very frequent.
In my case, during the trip they tried to steal 2 times and, luckily, I realized on time and I could avoid it. In any case, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance (👉5% discount) that can compensate you financially and help you if a medical emergency occurs.
If you are interested in traveling alone, I recommend this article about the reasons and benefits of traveling alone and this other article with tips for traveling alone being a woman. I encourage you to try it since it is a great and very profitable experience for oneself.
Eating VEGAN in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is not a country faced with vegan food. Anyway, they have some traditional dishes that are vegan or that you can ask without egg or sauces such as the pico of rooster (rice with beans for breakfast), black bean soup or rice with vegetables.
You should always ask if the purés or soups are made with some type of dairy product or meat broth, since at first glance they might seem vegan dishes but not be.
In San José you can find some vegan restaurants, but when you leave the capital the offer is very limited or non -existent. Next, I make three recommendations and in this link you can read tips to travel vegan.
- Try to stay in hotels that are characterized by cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes. This is the best option and the most practical for not having to be looking for places where to eat comfortable without always repeating the same dishes.
- Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
- Costa Rica is a country where you can find a variety of fresh products (fruits and vegetables) to prepare salads and breakfast with fruits. In any city or town, you will easily find some supermarket or stalls on the street where you can buy groceries.