The Perfect 2-Week Costa Rica Itinerary

Post summary: The perfect itinerary for 2 weeks in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica may be a small country, but it has A LOT to offer. 

Something that sets Costa Rica apart from nearby Central American countries like Belize and Guatemala is it’s country-wide dedication to sustainability and conservation. This small Central American country is a nature lover’s paradise and the world’s poster child for eco-tourism. 

Costa Rica has an abundance of striking scenery, exotic wildlife, and a serious commitment to sustainability. Couple those with the laid-back pura vida lifestyle and it’s easy to see why it’s so easy to fall in love with this tropical paradise!

Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation (or both!), Costa Rica is the perfect destination for your next two week trip. So let’s dive into the planning, logistics, and must-see stops to help you plan an epic two weeks in Costa Rica!

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How to spend two weeks in Costa Rica

The Perfect 2-Week Costa Rica Itinerary

Costa Rica’s diverse landscape includes rainforests, mountains, beaches, and volcanic crater lakes. It’s also home to an abundance of wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, toucans, and turtles. And the best part is that Costa Rica is relatively small, making it possible to see a whole lot in just two weeks!

With those things in mind, I crafted this itinerary based on our own Costa Rica road trip, the places we loved, and the things we wish we did a little bit differently. 

This is the best itinerary if you want to see a little bit of everything – and then some! It’s also jam packed to make sure you have the most epic adventure possible.

Keep reading for an overview and detailed day-by-day outline.

Pristine beaches along the Drake Bay Public Trail in Costa Rica

The 2-Week Route Overview

This 2 Week Costa Rica Itinerary starts and ends at San Jose International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. It heads north from San Jose to the town of La Fortuna, before heading to the mountains of Monteverde and then all the way down the Caribbean coast to Corcovado National Park on the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula.

You can also start this trip from Costa Rica’s second largest airport in Liberia. However, starting from Liberia will require some backtracking, and flights into San Jose are usually much cheaper. 

For getting around, this itinerary is best completed with a car. But it’s not an issue if you won’t have a car because Costa Rica has a wonderful bus system. Relying on public transport will just require more advanced planning overall and you will not be able to make all of the stops in between destinations.

Here’s a quick overview: Click here to view the map in Google Maps

A road trip itinerary for spending 2 weeks in Costa Rica

Day 1: San Jose

Day 2-4: San Jose to La Fortuna

Day 5: La Fortuna to Monteverde

Day 6: Monteverde

Day 7: Monteverde to Manuel Antonio 

Day 8: Manuel Antonio to Uvita 

Day 9 – 10: Uvita

Day 11 – 13: Drake Bay 

Day 14: San Jose 

Estimated total drive time: 15 hr 16 min

Estimated total miles for this route: 519 miles (835 km)

Short on time? Scroll down for this 10 day itinerary!

10 days in Costa Rica Trip Map

Have extra time? Scroll down for this extended 4 week itinerary!

A road trip itinerary for spending 4 weeks in Costa Rica

 

  Read next: How to plan your road trip using Google Maps

Day 1: Arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica

This 2-week Costa Rica road trip starts in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. 

On your first day, you will arrive in Costa Rica and get your bearings. How much time you will spend in San Jose depends on when you arrive, since some flights land very early in the day and others arrive late at night. 

If you arrive early in the morning, I recommend driving straight to La Fortuna if you have the energy. Overall, I don’t recommend wasting your time sightseeing in San Jose. It’s not a great city and there are a ton of incredible places waiting for you in La Fortuna! 

However, if you do decide to spend a day in San Jose, then check out the Central Market, the Municipal Craft Market, or learn about Costa Rica’s history at one of the museums. 

Where to stay in San Jose

The best areas to stay near San Jose are the Cariari Ciudad and San Antonio de Belén areas. These areas are located close to the airport, just outside of the city. 

View all stays in San Jose here.

Day 2: San Jose to La Fortuna

If you spent the night in San Jose, then today is the day to get an early start to the adventure capital of Costa Rica – La Fortuna! 

On the way to La Fortuna, stop at La Paz waterfall gardens, which are located in the cloud forest about 1 hour outside of San Jose.

La Paz is a privately-owned nature preserve that houses rescued wildlife and has some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country. The waterfall gardens are open year round, but visit their website for up to date entrance information before you go.

If you have extra energy after visiting La Paz, take another detour to see Bajos del Toro, which is the tallest waterfall in Costa Rica. The hike to Bajos del Toro is 1.3 miles round trip through the lush cloud forest. This stop adds an extra 1 hour to your total drive time, but you won’t regret it. 

How to get from San Jose to La Fortuna

The driving distance from San Jose to La Fortuna is 131km (81 miles). You can travel this distance by car, bus, or van transfer. The journey will take about 3 to 4 hours, depending on how you get there.

Rental car

Without stops, driving yourself takes approximately 3.5 hours. You won’t need a 4×4 in La Fortuna as most of the roads are in good shape. 

Bus or shuttle

If you don’t have a car, you can take a public bus or shuttle service from the SJO airport to La Fortuna. However, you won’t be able to stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens or Bajos del Toro. 

There are several non-direct buses to choose from. But there is only one public bus that runs directly to La Fortuna from the San Jose. It departs at 8:40AM from Terminal 7-10 in San Jose City Center and costs about 3,000 CRC ($5).  

Private and shared shuttles are also available and come with the advantages of more comfort and door-to-door drop off. The price of a shuttle ranges from $54-$150 depending on the company and how many people are traveling with you. 

It’s easy to get around once you arrive in La Fortuna. You can use the red taxis, Uber, or arrange a tour that offers return transport from your lodge.

Where to stay in La Fortuna

There’s no shortage of hotels, VRBOs, AirBnbs, and eco-lodges in La Fortuna! And the best part is that many of them have a great view of Arenal Volcano.

View all stays in La Fortuna here.

Budget ($): Sloth Cabins (Cabañas Sueños del Arenal) and Hotel Bijagua

Moderate ($$): Hotel El Silencio del Campo

Splurge ($$$): Nayara Gardens

TIP: Check in hours are usually around 2-3PM for most hotels and Airbnb’s in Costa Rica. If you happen to arrive in town well before check in, book a 1/2 day pass to one of the hot springs resorts. This is a super relaxing way to pass the time and also gives you a secure place to park your car with your luggage in it.

Popular resorts, such as Tabacon, usually recommend that you make reservations in advance. However, if your plans are up in the air, check out Hotel Los Lagos, which is first-come-first-served. Hotel Los Lagos is also a real hidden gem because they don’t advertise their day passes online, so it’s rarely crowded and basically never sells out.

For more information, check out my guide to Best Things to do in La Fortuna.

Day 3-4: La Fortuna

Welcome to La Fortuna!

Serving as the gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna is best known for its spectacular nature, ample opportunities for adventure, and it’s proximity to the famous Arenal Volcano. You’ll know you arrived because you have a clear view of the volcano from just about every angle! Seriously, you can’t miss it.

Get ready to spend the next several days relaxing in volcanically heated hot springs, walking above the jungle canopy, hiking through lava fields, and taking on whatever adventure calls your name. 

While you’re in La Fortuna, don’t miss out on hiking Rio Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park. Getting there is an easy and scenic 1.5 hour drive from downtown La Fortuna. The most convenient way to get there is by car, but you can also book a day tour or shuttle to take you there. 

  Read next: Best Things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

 

Day 5: La Fortuna to Monteverde

It’s day 5 of your two weeks in Costa Rica – and I hope you’re excited because today you go to Monteverde, a small adventure town located in the heart of the Cordillera de Tilaran Mountains.

If you are driving, then wake up for sunrise and check out Mistico Hanging Bridges on your way to Monteverde. The hike through Mistico Park is about 2 miles (3.2km) and crosses 16 hanging bridges. We arrived at the hanging bridges around 6:30AM  and had most of the park to ourselves, since tour buses don’t arrive until 9:00 AM. Early morning is also the best time to see wildlife, such as snakes, frogs, and howler monkeys! 

Once you arrive in Monteverde, grab some food at Stella’s, and watch the sunset from Cerro Plano Viewpoint/Mirador Valle Escondido Preserve (here’s the exact location). It was one of the most beautiful sunsets we saw in Costa Rica!

The best sunset from Cerro Plano Viewpoint/Mirador Valle Escondido Preserve in Monteverde
Sunset from Cerro Plano Viewpoint/Mirador Valle Escondido Preserve in Monteverde

How to get from La Fortuna to Monteverde

The distance from La Fortuna to Monteverde is 66 miles (106 km). While the two towns look close to each other on the map, they are separated by Lake Arenal, which makes getting between them a lengthy journey. 

Rental car

By car, your only option is to drive around Lake Arenal via Route 142, which takes about 3.5 hours. 

Coming from La Fortuna, the first half of the drive to Monteverde curves around Lake Arenal on a paved and well-maintained road. However, the last half of the drive is on rough, unpaved roads that climb in elevation through the mountainous Guanacaste region.

We found that high clearance was more important than having 4WD for this drive, but you would likely need a 4×4 in the rainy season.

Shuttle and boat

Without a car, the best way to get from La Fortuna to Monteverde is by taxi-boat-taxi.

You will take a shuttle from your lodge in La Fortuna to the dock at Lake Arenal. From there, it’s a scenic 1 hour boat ride across Lake Arenal, and then another shuttle ride to your lodge in Monteverde. It sounds complicated, but you can hire a tour to take care of all of the arrangements for you – so all you have to do is show up!

You can also book a shuttle from La Fortuna to Monteverde, which takes about 3-4 hours. 

For this trip, I would not recommend taking the public bus because the bus ride can take up to 8 hours.

Where to stay in Monteverde

Monteverde is a another big tourist part of Costa Rica, so there are a ton of places to stay. There’s a place for every budget and experience,  ranging from upscale glamping and unique farm stays, to modest hostels and luxury hotels overlooking the cloud forest.

View all stays in Monteverde here.

Budget ($): Monteverde Rustic Lodge and Casa Rayo de Luna

Moderate ($$): Los Pinos Lodge and Garden

Splurge ($$$): Hidden Canopy Treehouses, Koora Hotel, Chira Glamping Monteverde

For a more remote and local experience, check out this rustic cabin located on an organic farm outside 20 minutes from downtown Monteverde. We stayed here for 2 nights and it was one of the highlights of our trip! However, I don’t recommend this cabin unless you rent a 4×4 because you basically have to go off-roading to get there.

Day 6: Monteverde

Monteverde is famous for it’s rare cloud forests, which are some of the most unique and biodiverse ecosystems in the world. The cloud forests form at high altitudes and are shrouded in a constant layer of mist and low-hanging clouds. These rare forests make up less than 1% of all forests on Earth, yet they support 2.5% of the entire world’s biodiversity!

The best way to experience the cloud forest is by hiking in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Get there by 7AM to beat the crowds and hike the Sendero Camino (Road Trial), which leads to a hanging bridge suspended high above the canopy. From there, take the Sendero Wilford Guindon trail back down. Hiking this loop takes about 1.5 – 2 hours and allows you to see a whole lot in a short amount of time!

  Read next: What to Pack for a Day Hike

If you prefer something more adventurous, visit Monteverde’s hanging bridges parks and go ziplining.

 

 

After you explore the cloud forest, refuel at Cafe Colibri (aka the Hummingbird Cafe) to enjoy the astonishing show of hummingbirds. You can also take a local coffee tour or browse the shops in town.

One of my favorite things in Monteverde was how many local art galleries and craft shops there are! For great local handicrafts, check out Monteverde Art House, which is a locally owned art center that sells original pieces from local artists. We picked up a beautiful handcrafted vase and some other local artwork.

Day 7 of 2 weeks in Costa Rica: Monteverde to Manuel Antonio

Wake up and enjoy breakfast at Orchid Coffee before traveling down the Pacific Coast to the white beaches of Manuel Antonio. It takes about 3.5-4 hours to drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio, so plan to spend a good portion of your day in the car. 

On the way, stop and stretch your legs at the famous Crocodile Bridge. This bridge passes over the Tarcoles River on the Costanera Sur Highway (Route 34), about halfway between Monteverde and Manuel Antonio.

Park your car in front of the shops on either side and then walk out onto the bridge. Once you’re out there, look down to see an astounding number of enormous American crocodiles hanging out on the river bank. 

Note: Please practice responsible wildlife tourism and do not feed the crocodiles!

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How to get from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio

Rental car

It takes about 3.5-4 hours to drive between Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. The drive is very easy and straightforward, as it mainly follows the highway straight down the Pacific Coast to Manuel Antonio.

Bus or shuttle

There is no direct bus between Monteverde and Manuel Antonio, so you will have to take three separate buses. Take the first bus from Monteverde (Santa Elena) to Puntarenas and then take another one from Puntarenas to Quepos. Finally, take a third one from Quepos to Manuel Antonio. 

Alternatively, you can book a shuttle to Manuel Antonio through trusted companies like Interbus, Monteverde Shuttle Bus, or RideCR. While it’s pricier than the bus, the shuttle is a very convenient way to get directly from your hotel in Monteverde to your hotel in Manuel Antonio without having to worry about changing buses and finding your way around. 

However, if you rely on public transportation for this 2-week itinerary, then I suggest staying overnight in Uvita instead of  Manuel Antonio. The reason for this is because the town of Manuel Antonio is not that great and if you stay there for 1 night, then you will have to worry about finding a place to store your luggage the next day while you visit the national park. It’s honestly just not worth the hassle, so just go straight to Uvita and book a guided day trip from Uvita to Manuel Antonio National Park for the next day. 

Where to stay in Manuel Antonio

There’s no shortage of places to stay in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Whether you’re looking for a luxury bungalow or a more budget-friendly option, you’ll be able to find it here.

The majority of lodgings are located along the main road between the town of Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park, but there are also Airbnb’s, resorts, and more local stays along side roads and in the hills.

Prices for lodging tend to be toward the mid-to-high end as you get closer to the national park, but there are still some budget friendly options and hostels. The most affordable prices are closer to Quepos.

View all stays in Manuel Antonio here

 

Budget ($): Hostel Plinio and Peace of Paradise Hotel

Moderate ($$): Tranquilidad Resort and Hotel La Mariposa

Splurge ($$$): Tulemar Bungalows & Villas

Day 8: Manuel Antonio to Uvita

You will spend the first half of this day exploring the picture perfect beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park.

Tickets to the national park can only be purchased online directly from the national park website or as part of a guided tour package. There are only 300 tickets per time slot, so book your ticket a few days ahead in order to get the earliest time available.

The park is open from 7AM – 4PM every day, except it is closed on Tuesday. To get there, put this location into your GPS, which will take you to the correct entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park. 

While you can visit the park on your own, you will get the most out of your experience if you hire a licensed guide. A guide will help you spot hidden wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and iguanas and use a spotting scope so you can see them up close.

You can purchase an official guided tour for about $60 per person, which includes your entrance fee. However, I recommend booking through Airbnb Experiences instead because group sizes are usually a lot smaller. You can book this quick 2 hour tour through Airbnb (entrance ticket not included) or this more robust 3-hour experience that includes your ticket price. 

Capuchin spotted on a one day tour in Manuel Antonio National Park

Note: If you follow this 2-week itinerary, you will check out of your accommodation before you visit the national park. If you have a car, DO NOT take your luggage with you and leave it in the car. Instead, arrange for your accommodation to store your luggage in a safe location during the day. And then go back and pick it up before you drive to Uvita.

How to get from Manuel Antonio to Uvita

Rental car

Uvita is 44 miles (71 km) from Manuel Antonio. The drive only takes about 1 hour and follows the highway down the coast.

While a 4×4 isn’t required on the main roads in Uvita, you may need a 4×4 to reach the accommodations nestled up in the hills. Check with your hotel/host ahead of time. They will advise on what type of transportation you need to get there. 

Bus or shuttle

Taking the public bus is the cheapest way to get from Manuel Antonio to Uvita Center. The bus costs between $3-8 and takes about 3 hours. Alternatively, you can book a shuttle or taxi. The easiest way to arrange a shuttle or taxi is to ask your lodge to recommend a driver. 

However, once you get to Uvita, everything is very spread out. So, either plan to do a ton of walking or call a cab to take you around. If you find a taxi driver you like, ask for their phone number so you can call them whenever you need a ride. 

Where to stay in Uvita

If you want to be close to the action, consider staying in the heart of town. Here, you will be in walking distance to Uvita Beach and Marino Ballena National Park. For a more relaxed and local atmosphere, choose a lodge at the north end of Uvita, in the lush hills above the town. You can also stay around the charming nearby town of Dominical.

View all stays in Uvita here

Budget ($): Casa Viva Barrel, Oasis Uvita, and Ballena Paraiso

Moderate ($$): Oxygen Jungle Villas & Spa and ArtVillas Costa Rica

Splurge ($$$): Rancho Pacifico

Day 9: Uvita 

Uvita is famous for its pristine beaches, lush jungle, and stunning hillside boutique hotels. 

At first glance, Uvita isn’t very spectacular. The town itself is basically a collection of shops and strip malls lining the highway. But if you venture just slightly off beaten path, you’ll find that the real draw of Uvita is its natural beauty. 

Uvita is a popular spot for surfers, thanks to the year-round waves. It’s also home to some of Costa Rica’s most impressive beaches, waterfalls, and wildlife. 

Although it is becoming increasingly popular, Uvita is still relatively unknown to most tourists. For this reason, it’s a lot quieter than other parts of Costa Rica and maintains more of a local feel. So if you crave quieter, less crowded places, Uvita will feel like a breath of fresh air – especially after traveling to Manuel Antonio and all of the other tourist spots in the North Pacific regions!

How to spend 1 full day in Uvita: 

Morning: Book an early morning trip to visit the majestic Nauyaca Waterfalls, which tumble over a combined 200 feet (61 meters) into a large natural swimming pool.
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Alternatively, book an early morning whale watching tour to see humpback whales. The best time to see whales in Costa Rica is January – February and July – September. 

Afternoon: Explore the small town of Uvita and nearby Dominical. I personally loved Dominical and highly recommend browsing the souvenir tables next to Playa Dominical! 

For more adventure, check out the Uvita Waterfall (called “Catarata Uvita” on Google Maps) or Cascada El Pavon. Both waterfalls are easy to reach, so you could probably see both if you really wanted to. However, I recommend picking one and taking your time to relax and enjoy! 

Sunset: Don’t even think about missing a sunset on the Pacific Coast!

For the best sunset, visit Marino Ballena National Park, which is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including dolphins, humpback whales, and turtles. If you have a drone, send it up at low tide to see where the two beaches meet and create a formation known as the whale’s tail!

  Read next: How to Visit Nauyaca Waterfalls near Uvita

Nauyaca Waterfalls is among the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa RicaNauyaca Waterfalls near Uvita, Costa Rica

Day 10: Uvita to Drake Bay

This day of your 2 weeks in Costa Rica will be spent traveling to Drake Bay, located way down on the Osa Peninsula. But don’t worry, this full day of travel isn’t boring as it sounds. Since Drake Bay is super remote, getting there is an adventure in itself! 

While there are a few ways to get to Drake Bay, the best (and most fun!) way to get there is via a 40 minute boat ride from Sierpe (pronounced sea-air-pay).

The boat ride from Sierpe to Drake Bay takes about an hour. It takes you down the Sierpe River and then out into the Pacific Ocean and along the rugged coast of the Osa Peninsula. It’s super fun!

Tip: Make sure you have enough cash to last you in Drake Bay. You will need cash for the majority of things in Drake Bay, including tours, food, and the boat ride to get there. There are no ATMs in Sierpe or Drake Bay, so don’t forget to stop at the ATM in Uvita before you leave!

How to get from Uvita to Drake Bay

From Uvita, you will first need to travel to Sierpe to catch the boat to Drake Bay.

There is a a bus that departs once a day from Uvita Station and goes directly to Sierpe Station. The ride takes about 1h 40m and costs between $3-5. 

By car, the drive from Uvita to Sierpe takes about 50 minutes. It is very important to know that you won’t take the car with you to Drake Bay. Instead, you will leave it in Sierpe until you get back.

To park your car, drive to La Perla del Sur Restaurant, which is right next to the Sierpe River Ferry. There will be people outside asking you where you’re going. Tell them you’re going to Drake Bay and that you need a parking pass. From there, they’ll direct you to the guy handing out parking passes and he’ll tell you where to park.

As of 2022, the price for parking is 3,000 colones ($4.36) per day. Don’t lose your parking pass! You will use it to pay for parking when you come back to pick up the car.

Taxi boat schedule from Sierpe to Drake Bay: 

The boat leaves from Sierpe to Drake Bay twice a day.

  • 11:30 AM – $15 USD (9,000 colones) per person
  • 3:30 PM – $20 USD. (13,000 colones) per person

The cost of the boat is for a one-way ticket, which you will pay in cash (either dollars or colones) before you get off the boat. The ride takes about 1 – 1.5 hours, depending on how many stops the boats take to drop people off at various lodges along the way.

The taxi boat from Sierpe to Drake BayThe taxi boat from Sierpe to Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Where to stay in Drake Bay

If there’s anywhere in Costa Rica to splurge on lodging, it’s in Drake Bay. Partly because Drake Bay is such a beautiful place, but also because most lodging in Drake Bay is more pricey than in other parts of Costa Rica. 

If you want a modest escape, choose a small hotel or rustic cabin close to town. These places are more bare bones and typically offer breakfast packages or a very modest meal service, but have the advantage of being closer to town so you can explore more easily.

For a more luxurious stay, there are top notch eco-lodges and boutique hotels further outside of town that offer all-inclusive packages. These lodges are nestled deep in the hills among secluded slices of jungle or along the coast along private beaches. 

Pretty much everywhere in Drake Bay offers the same tour packages, regardless of where you stay. And every lodge will help you book everything once you get there. However, if you’re a type A planner, then it might give you peace of mind to contact your accommodation ahead of time to let them know what tours you’re interested in.

View all stays in Drake Bay here

Budget ($): Sunset Lodge, Casa Pequeña, Life for Life Hostel (Sea Turtle Marine Conservation Project)

Moderate ($$): Las Cotingas, Las Caletas Lodge

Splurge ($$$): La Paloma Lodge and Copa de Arbol Beach & Rainforest Resort

Day 11 – 12: Drake Bay

Welcome to Drake Bay! While it’s the last stop on your two week Costa Rica itinerary, it’s also the best of them all. 

As one of the least visited parts of Costa Rica, Drake Bay truly feels like you’ve stepped into a real life Jungle Book. Set in a thriving, biologically diverse lowland rainforest, Drake Bay offers a huge variety of pristine beaches, lush jungle, and exotic wildlife.

One of the things you MUST do in Drake Bay is visit Corcovado National Park. Drake Bay is the gateway to Corcovado National Park, which is one of the most intense and biologically diverse places on earth. It is entirely wild and unspoiled, filled with virgin beaches, thick jungle, and wildlife around every single corner. The park is heavily protected and you can only access it with a guide and a permit

Almost all of the lodges in Drake Bay can help you arrange a guided day trip or overnight tour to Corcovado.

A guided tour to Corcovado National Park

Other must-do things in Drake Bay are taking a night tour with Tracie the Bug Lady, relaxing on the secluded beaches along the Drake Bay Public Trail, and snorkeling with vibrant marine life at Caño Island. 

And at the end of an adventure filled day, head over to Kalaluna Bistro for a gourmet meal made from local ingredients. From your table, watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Don’t forget to look up to spot scarlet macaws flying overhead on their way back to their nest for the night. 

Read next: The Ultimate Guide to Drake Bay, Costa Rica

Day 13: Drake Bay to Uvita

On day 13 of your two weeks in Costa Rica, you will say goodbye to Drake Bay and head back to Uvita. To get back to Uvita, you will first take the boat from Drake Bay to Sierpe.

There are two public boats that leave Drake Bay to go back to Sierpe:

  • 7:15 AM – $15 USD per person
  • 2:30 PM – $20 USD per person

You will pay for the ride in cash before you get off the boat in Sierpe. 

If you have a car, pay for your parking with the ticket they gave you when you first arrived.

To take the bus, catch a taxi or shuttle to the station in Palmar Norte, about 20 minutes away. From there, a bus leaves every 4 hours to Uvita. However, if you have an early flight the next morning, then just take this bus straight back to San Jose. 

Day 14:  Uvita to San Jose 

Your adventurous 2-weeks in Costa Rica is coming to an end, as you pack up to catch your flight home.

If you have time, wake up extra early and catch one last sunrise at Playa Uvita. Then, grab breakfast to go at Cafe Mono Congo in Dominical before you make the 3 hour drive back to San Jose.

Hopefully you’ll be ending your trip with plenty of amazing memories and epic photos to tide you over until your next visit to Central America! 

For your IG: 70+ Instagram Captions for Travellers

Costa Rica Entry Requirements for COVID-19

As of writing this (July 2022), Costa Rica is open to travelers from all countries. You do not need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination, or proof of insurance that covers COVID-19 related illness. There are no required health screening procedures required upon entry to Costa Rica.

It is no longer mandatory to wear a mask throughout the country, but hand-washing and temperature taking protocols are still in place in popular tourist areas.

This information is up-to-date as of July 2022. For more details and the most recent information, please review the information from the US Embassy website or the Costa Rica Tourism Board.

Getting to Costa Rica

There are two major airports in Costa Rica:

  • Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose
  • Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) in Liberia 

SJO is usually the best airport to fly into because it’s the often the cheapest and most convenient starting point for a country-wide road trip. It’s also the best airport if you prefer to fly direct because you can usually find a non-stop flight to SJO from major cities in the United Sates.

However, you might want to fly into Liberia if you find a really great flight deal or if your first/only travel destination is in the Guanacaste region, such as Monteverde, Tamarindo, or the Papagayo Peninsula. Flights into Liberia are usually more expensive than SJO, but it might be worth paying slightly more for a flight into Liberia if it means you’ll spend less time traveling once you arrive in Costa Rica. 

When it comes to finding the best flight deals, timing is everything. For the cheapest prices, aim to book your tickets at least three months in advance and avoid peak season and major holidays. For the most part, flight prices are highest during the dry season, which runs from January – April. 

If your travel dates are flexible, you might be able to find cheaper flights during the “green season” from May-December. Within the the green season, the months of September and October tend to have some of the lowest airfare prices. However, the green season is the rainy season, so come prepared for tons of rain to accompany those low prices.

Surfers on the beach in Costa Rica

The best way to travel in Costa Rica: How to get around for a Costa Rica 2 Week Itinerary

Renting a car

If you want to see a lot in a short amount of time, then the best way to travel in Costa Rica is by rental car. A rental car is also the best way to complete this specific 2 week Costa Rica itinerary. 

With a rental car, you can easily visit different regions, go at your own pace, and stop whenever something catches your interest.

While renting a car in Costa Rica can be pretty pricey, I truly think it’s worth splurging on if you can. Luckily, a lot of the roads in Costa Rica are in great shape, so you won’t need a 4×4 for the places on this 2 week itinerary unless you need one to reach your accommodation or if you’re traveling in the rainy season.

In general, renting a 4×2 with high clearance will be fine between December – April , and will save you a ton of money.

I highly recommend renting your car from Adobe Rent a Car to get the best prices without hidden fees. We used them for our own trip and the whole process was flawless.

Using public transportation

If you don’t want to rent a car, public buses, taxis, and shuttle services are very accessible in Costa Rica. While not nearly as convenient as a having your own car, using a combination of public transportation and private shuttles can get you almost anywhere you need to go. 

Though private transfer services appear expensive at first glance, they are often priced for the entire vehicle, not per person. So, depending on how many people you are traveling with, private shuttles might be the cheapest and most comfortable way to get around. 

When to visit

The weather is of the most important things to consider when planning a trip to Costa Rica.

The best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season, which runs from mid-December to April. In the dry season, the weather is hot and humid with occasional rain showers. The downside is that it’s also the busiest time of year in Costa Rica, so expect higher prices and crowded beaches.

The cheapest and least crowded time to visit Costa Rica is the rainy season (May-November). Just be prepared for cooler temperatures and heavy rain. Although the wet weather can be a bit discouraging, the upside is that lodging and other activities are much cheaper during this time. 

The wettest months are September and October, so try to avoid those. For the best combination of weather and crowds, try visiting in May, June or November. 

Playa Dominicalito is one of the best beaches in Uvita and a must see on your road trip in Costa Rica

How much does a two week trip to Costa Rica cost?

A two week trip to Costa Rica can be expensive, depending on your travel style and accommodation choices. The most expensive part of the trip is likely to be the car rental, because prices vary significantly depending on the type of vehicle you choose.

To complete this two week itinerary, having a rental with high clearance is more important than a having a 4×4. Not having a 4×4 will save you a lot of money, but even a 4×2 SUV can cost upwards of $100 per day. Alternatively, you can take public transportation, which is significantly cheaper but may not be as convenient.

Accommodation costs can also add up, especially if you stay in luxury hotels or resorts. However, there are many ways to save money on accommodation in Costa Rica! For example, you can rent a budget hotel or hostel, go glamping, or choose an off-the-beaten-path Airbnb. If you’re willing to rough it, you can even camp for free in some of Costa Rica’s national parks.

When it comes to food, Costa Rica is relatively expensive compared to other countries in Central America. A meal at an upscale or American-style restaurant costs about $20-30. But if you eat at the sodas (the small local restaurants), a typical meal is usually $5-8 for a full plate of food.

Keep in mind that prices can vary greatly depending on the time of year and the location. Overall, a two-week trip to Costa Rica can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3,000, not including your flight.

How much we spent in 2 weeks in Costa Rica

Here’s exactly how much we spent on a 2 week road trip through Costa Rica in January:

  • Car rental: $1400
  • Airbnbs: $1150
  • Food: $580
  • Gas: $140
  • Boats/Public transport: $70
  • Entrance fees and parking: $280
  • Tours: $270
  • Local handicrafts/souvenirs: $150

GRAND TOTAL: $4040

These prices are for two people and we split everything in half, which came to $2020 per person for the whole trip, or $1010/person/week.

We did treat ourselves to some splurge stays and a few fancy meals, so we weren’t being as careful with our budget as we normally are.

But overall, Costa Rica is not an ultra budget friendly destination. We found that prices are extremely comparable to the United States. Especially the price of a rental car, accommodation, and some restaurant prices. There are also entrance fees to just about everything, which is great because the money goes toward conservation. But definitely something to factor into your budget before you go!

Palm trees lining the beach in Uvita, Costa Rica

Is Costa Rica safe?

With its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and friendly people, Costa Rica is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Central America. But is Costa Rica safe? The short answer is yes, as long as you follow a few precautions.

Costa Rica has a relatively low crime rate, and visitors are rarely the victims of violence. However, there are some things to be aware of – as with anywhere you travel.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and theft, is common in busy areas like airports, on buses, and around tourist hotspots. Always be aware of your surroundings, don’t flash expensive items, don’t walk around at night, and hold your backpack on your lap when you’re on the bus.

It’s also important to be cautious when driving. Some roads are in poor condition and there is a risk of carjackings in remote areas. And finally, never assume parking is secure! Never leave valuables visible in your car and always roll up your windows and lock your doors.

Overall, Costa Rica is a safe place to visit, and with a little common sense, you’ll have a wonderful time. 

Download the 2-week itinerary to take it with you on the go!

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The Best 10 Day Itinerary for Costa Rica  

Are you wondering what is the best 10 day itinerary for Costa Rica? Follow this 10 Day Costa Rica itinerary that hits all of the highlights…and then some! 

10-Day Route Overview

Follow this abridged route from the capital city of San Jose, up La Fortuna and then west to the cloud forests of Monteverde. After that, travel straight down the Pacific Coast to Uvita, which can serve as your home base for day trips to Manuel Antonio and Caño Island.

Access the 10 Day Itinerary on Google Maps

10 days in Costa Rica Trip Map

Day 1: San Jose

Day 2-4: San Jose to La Fortuna

Day 5: La Fortuna to Monteverde

Day 6: Monteverde

Day 7: Monteverde to Uvita

Day 8 – 9: Uvita (day trip options from Uvita: Manual Antonio, Caño Island, whale watching)

Day 10: Uvita to San Jose

Estimated total drive time: 13 hr 6 min

Estimated total miles for this route: 432 miles (695 km)

Extend Your Costa Rica Trip: A 4-Week Itinerary 

Have extra time to spare? See both the Pacific and the Caribbean Coast to make a giant and completely epic Costa Rica road trip!

4-Week Route Overview

Costa Rica is a pretty small country, so you can actually cover quite a bit in 4 weeks. Follow this 4 week road trip from San Jose to the Caribbean coastal towns of Puerto Viejo and Tortuguero.

From Tortuguero, travel northwest to La Fortuna and Monteverde, before visiting the volcanos and waterfalls in El Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

Next, hop between the quaint beach towns around the Nicoya Peninsula.

Finally, cross the Gulf of Nicoya and head all the way down the Pacific Coast to the dense jungles of Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park. 

Access the 4 Week Itinerary on Google Maps

A road trip itinerary for spending 4 weeks in Costa Rica

 

Day 1: San Jose

Day 2-7: Visit Puerto Viejo (3 days) and Tortuguero (3 days) on the Caribbean Coast

Day 8-10: La Fortuna

Day 11-12: Monteverde

Day 13: El Rincon de la Vieja National Park

Day 14-18: Drive around the Nicoya Peninsula. Visit Tamarindo (1 day), Nosara (2 days), Santa Teresa (3 days). On Day 18, take the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya to Manuel Antonio.

Day 19: Manuel Antonio to Uvita 

Day 20-21: Uvita

Day 22: Uvita to Sierpe and then take the water taxi to Drake Bay

Day 23-26: Drake Bay 

Day 27: Drake Bay to Uvita

Day 28: Uvita to San Jose 

Estimated total drive time: 36 hr 56 min

Estimated total miles for this route: 1135 miles (1826 km)

 

Did you find this 2 Week Costa Rica Itinerary and Travel Guide helpful? Let me know in the comments!

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