One Week Costa Rica Itinerary – 7 Days in Costa Rica

Imagine an unspoiled natural wonderland, where lush rainforests, misty cloud forests, and pristine beaches coexist in harmony.

Welcome to Costa Rica, a Central American gem renowned for its exceptional biodiversity and commitment to sustainable tourism.

With over 25% of its land designated as protected national parks, this tiny nation packs an incredible punch, offering adventurous souls a chance to immerse themselves in the “Pura Vida” – the pure life.

In just one week, you can embark on an unforgettable journey through Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes, from the majestic Arenal Volcano to the enchanting cloud forests of Monteverde, and the sun-kissed shores of Manuel Antonio.

This carefully crafted 7-day Costa Rica itinerary promises an exhilarating blend of nature, culture, and adventure, leaving you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Local help with your planning

Planning a trip to a new destination can be both exciting and overwhelming, but fear not – you have a trusty local ally in Jorge, our Naranjo-based expert.

With his insider knowledge and passion for Costa Rica, Jorge can help you craft the perfect travel plan tailored to your interests.

Through a one-on-one travel consultation, he’ll share invaluable tips, hidden gems, and answer all your burning questions, ensuring you make the most of your one week in this tropical paradise. 7-Day Costa Rica Itinerary are given below:

Day 1: San José

San José

Your Costa Rican adventure begins in the vibrant capital city of San José. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry as you explore the historic Barrio Amón neighborhood, admiring the colorful colonial architecture and savoring the aroma of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee.

Next, delve into the nation’s history at the National Museum, housed in the former Bellavista Fortress, and marvel at the pre-Columbian and colonial-era artifacts.

Continue your cultural exploration at the Museum of Jade, dedicated to showcasing the intricate craftsmanship of ancient indigenous cultures.

As the day winds down, embrace the culinary scene by dining at the renowned Restaurante Grano de Oro or exploring the trendy Escalante neighborhood, where you’ll find a diverse array of restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Day 2: La Fortuna and Volcán Arenal

La Fortuna and Volcán Arenal

After a scenic drive through the picturesque countryside, you’ll find yourself in the shadow of the mighty Arenal Volcano.

This natural wonder, standing tall at 5,358 feet, is the star attraction in the charming town of La Fortuna.

Embark on a guided hike through the Arenal Volcano National Park, traversing a network of trails and hanging bridges that offer breathtaking views of the volcano and the surrounding rainforest. Keep your eyes peeled for the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home.

As the sun sets, indulge in the ultimate relaxation at the area’s famous hot springs, such as Tabacón.

Surrounded by lush tropical gardens, these natural thermal pools provide the perfect setting to unwind after an adventurous day.

Day 3: La Fortuna to Monteverde – Volcano to Rainforest

La Fortuna to Monteverde - Volcano to Rainforest

Kick off your morning with an adrenaline-pumping activity like canyoning or waterfall rappelling (weather permitting) before embarking on a scenic journey to the misty cloud forests of Monteverde.

Along the way, make a pit stop at Cafetería Orquídeas, a charming family-owned café known for its delectable homemade pastries and rich Costa Rican coffee.

Upon arrival in Monteverde, explore the quaint town’s shops and cafés or venture into the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where you can embark on a guided nature walk and immerse yourself in the lush greenery.

Day 4: Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Today, prepare for an exhilarating adventure as you soar through the treetops on a thrilling canopy tour and zipline adventure.

Companies like Selvatura Park offer a range of activities, including a network of hanging bridges that traverse the canopy, providing unparalleled views of the cloud forest.

Explore the area’s rich biodiversity at attractions like butterfly and hummingbird gardens, insect museums, and even a sloth sanctuary.

After a day filled with excitement, indulge in traditional Costa Rican cuisine at Sabor Tico Restaurant, savoring dishes like casados, gallo pinto, and plantains.

Day 5: Monteverde to Manuel Antonio – from the Clouds to the Beach

Monteverde to Manuel Antonio - from the Clouds to the Beach

Bid farewell to Monteverde as you embark on a scenic drive to the sun-kissed shores of Manuel Antonio, one of Costa Rica’s most popular beach destinations.

Along the way, the winding roads will take you through dense forests, offering glimpses of the country’s rich biodiversity.

Upon arrival, head straight to the beach and soak up the sun or indulge in thrilling activities like ziplining through the lush forest canopy with companies like Canopy Safari.

As the day winds down, treat yourself to a unique dining experience at El Avión, a refurbished cargo plane turned restaurant, renowned for its delectable seafood dishes and panoramic ocean views.

Day 6: Manuel Antonio – nature parks and ocean cruises

Manuel Antonio - nature parks and ocean cruises

No visit to Manuel Antonio would be complete without exploring the renowned Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its exceptional natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and pristine beaches.

Embark on a guided nature walk or explore the park’s trails at your own pace, keeping an eye out for monkeys, sloths, and vibrant birdlife.

In the afternoon, experience the beauty of the Pacific Ocean on a catamaran cruise, snorkeling through vibrant coral reefs and scanning the waters for dolphins and sea turtles.

As the sun sets, savor fresh seafood at the beachside Marlin Restaurant, taking in the stunning ocean views.

Day 7: Manuel Antonio – relaxation and beach time

Manuel Antonio – relaxation and beach time

Start your final day in Costa Rica with a visit to the Manuel Antonio Spice Farm, where you’ll learn about the wide variety of spices and tropical fruits grown in the region.

Indulge in a delicious breakfast featuring fresh fruits, aromatic coffee, and other local delicacies.

Next, treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa treatment or massage at the Raindrop Spa, surrounded by nature’s tranquility.

Feeling refreshed, spend the afternoon on the secluded Biesanz Beach, where you can snorkel, paddle board, or simply bask in the sun while savoring the laid-back “Pura Vida” vibe.

As the sun sets on your Costa Rican adventure, enjoy a farewell dinner at Emilio’s Café, savoring their famous garlic shrimp and soaking in the breathtaking Pacific Ocean views.

Planning a Costa Rica trip

While this 7-day itinerary offers an unforgettable introduction to Costa Rica’s natural wonders and vibrant culture, there’s so much more to explore in this tiny yet diverse nation.

To ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience, it’s essential to plan your trip carefully.

When to visit

Costa Rica’s tropical climate offers two distinct seasons: the dry season (December to April) and the rainy season (May to November). Each season has its unique appeal and advantages:

Dry Season (December to April):

  • Consistently sunny weather with minimal rainfall
  • Ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, wildlife spotting, and beach days
  • Peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices

Rainy Season (May to November):

  • Regular afternoon showers and occasional downpours
  • Lush, verdant landscapes and increased wildlife activity
  • Fewer crowds and lower prices for accommodation and tours
  • Great for water-based activities like whitewater rafting

Transportation in Costa Rica

Getting around Costa Rica is relatively straightforward, with several options to suit your travel style:

  • Renting a Car: Renting a car offers the ultimate flexibility to explore at your own pace. Major international rental companies like Hertz and Payless operate alongside local agencies, often offering better deals. Websites like DiscoverCars and RentalCars are great resources for comparing prices and booking.
  • Public Transportation: Costa Rica has a reliable intercity bus system that connects major destinations. While not as comprehensive as having your own vehicle, it’s an affordable and comfortable option for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Uber and Taxis: Uber operates in most cities and towns, providing a convenient and cost-effective alternative to taxis, which can be more expensive, especially for tourists.


Costa Rica offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference, from budget-friendly Airbnbs and hostels to luxurious resorts and eco-lodges. Here are a few tips for finding the perfect place to stay:

  • Research and book your accommodations in advance, especially during the peak dry season, to avoid disappointment.
  • Consider the location and proximity to the attractions you wish to visit during your one-week stay.
  • Look for sustainable and eco-friendly lodges that prioritize preserving the natural environment.
  • Check online reviews and ratings to ensure you’re making an informed decision.


Despite its reputation as one of the happiest and most peaceful nations in the world, it’s always wise to exercise caution when traveling to a new destination. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable vacation in Costa Rica:

  • Listen to your intuition and avoid situations or areas that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Keep important documents and valuables in a secure place, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • When renting a car, don’t leave valuables in plain sight, especially when you’ll be away from the vehicle for an extended period.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek assistance from the reliable local police force in case of an emergency or if you feel unsafe.

Pro-tips and local advice

While this travel itinerary provides a comprehensive overview of the highlights, there’s no substitute for insider knowledge.

Jorge, our Naranjo-based local expert, is a wealth of information and can offer invaluable tips and recommendations to elevate your Costa Rica adventure.

From hidden gems to navigating local customs and etiquette, his personalized guidance can help you truly immerse yourself in the “Pura Vida” lifestyle.

Here are a few pro-tips from Jorge to whet your appetite:

  • “Don’t miss the opportunity to try our famous ‘gallo pinto’ (rice and beans) for breakfast, a quintessential Costa Rican dish.
  • “When visiting national parks, arrive early to avoid crowds and experience the tranquility of nature at its finest.”
  • “Embrace the laid-back ‘Pura Vida’ spirit and take time to connect with the warm, welcoming locals – they’ll make your trip even more memorable.”

By following this carefully curated 7-day plan, you’ll embark on an unforgettable journey through Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes, immersing yourself in its rich biodiversity, vibrant culture, and the infectious “Pura Vida” spirit.

So, pack your sense of adventure, and let the natural wonders of this Central American paradise captivate you.

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