Are you planning a 2 week Costa Rica itinerary? If so, you’re in for an amazing experience!
Home to stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and active volcanoes, I guarantee you will have the time of your life during your two weeks in Costa Rica.
There’s more to this beautiful country than meets the eye, and with so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.
That’s why I’ve put together this ultimate 2 weeks in Costa Rica itinerary with all the highlights so you can make the most of your time during your visit.
Table of Contents
OVERVIEW – 2-WEEK COSTA RICA ITINERARY
This 14-day Costa Rica itinerary starts and ends in San José, the capital city of Costa Rica, and where the main international airport is located.
Here is an overview of the perfect 2 Week Costa Rica Itinerary with my recommendations of places to visit in this order;
Day 1 – San José (Arrival)
Day 2, 3, & 4 – La Fortuna
Day 5 & 6 – Monteverde
Day 7, 8, & 9 – Santa Teresa
Day 10 & 11 – Manuel Antonio
Day 12 & 13 – Uvita
Day 14 – San José (Departure)
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Before I jump into all of the best places to visit on this Costa Rica two-week itinerary, it’s important to get organized prior to your trip.
Here are some general travel tips you need to know before you go so that when you arrive, you can have a stress-free experience throughout this incredible country in Central America.
HOW TO GET TO COSTA RICA
The easiest and most convenient way to reach Costa Rica is to arrive by plane at San José International Airport SJO (Juan Santamaría International Airport).
For those that are already traveling in Central America, you’ll find many bus routes connecting Costa Rica with the neighboring countries of Nicaragua and Panama.
BEST TIME TO VISIT COSTA RICA
Costa Rica is a country that can be enjoyed year-round, however, the best time to visit Costa Rica is from December to April, during the dry season.
If you’re wanting to avoid crowds during your 2 week Costa Rica itinerary and spend less on accommodation, traveling in July and August is also a good idea, although you may experience some rainy days.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN 2 WEEKS IN COSTA RICA
When planning your Costa Rica 2-week itinerary, you’ll want to know the best modes of transportation to get around the country.
Thankfully, traveling Costa Rica isn’t difficult, and there are many different options available such as by bus, rental car, minivan, private transfers, and ferries, to name a few.
BUS & SHUTTLE BUS
Buses and shuttle buses are the most common way to get around Costa Rica, and they’re very reliable making them a great option for backpackers and the average traveler.
Bus fares vary and will cost you anything between USD $5 and USD $60, depending on the distance.
When traveling from one location to another, you can easily book shared shuttle buses with other travelers.
I recommend using the platform Bookaway to search and book all shuttle buses during your 2 week Costa Rica itinerary.
Renting a car in Costa Rica is one of the best ways to travel around the country at your own pace. The roads are safe to drive on with the majority of them being tar-sealed.
I recommend renting a vehicle with a larger engine that has more grunt to make it up steep, winding hills that you will come across. Or go one better and hire a 4×4 vehicle for your 2 weeks in Costa Rica itinerary.
Although a four-wheel-drive vehicle is not necessary to travel around Costa Rica, it will allow you to reach some areas off the beaten track a standard car would not be able to.
It’s easiest to pick up and drop off a rental car at San José Airport when you arrive and depart.
Please note: It’s best to book online well in advance, especially during high season, because rental cars tend to sell out very fast.
Apart from the above, you will find a variety of other transportation options available for your Costa Rica 2 week itinerary, from minivans and private transfers to taxis and Uber.
In addition, there are ferries that connect the various peninsulas and islands off the coast.
IS COSTA RICA EXPENSIVE?
Traveling for two weeks in Costa Rica on a mid-range budget will cost you around $2,000 – $4,000, including accommodation, meals, day trips, and car rental.
In general, a hotel will cost you anywhere between $50 and $150 (hostels cost as low as $10 a night), a meal costs between $15 and $30 per person, and transportation can be pretty expensive so you’ll want to budget around $200 per person per week.
Lastly, you should plan between $100 and $200 per person per week for entrance fees and day tours. Of course, the more people in your group, the cheaper it’ll get, so that’s another factor to consider.
IS COSTA RICA SAFE?
All in all, yes, Costa Rica is a very safe place. However, you should always use common sense and be mindful of your surroundings.
For instance, avoid leaving your belongings and valuables unattended, don’t go to the beach alone at night, and stay away from buying illegal drugs.
DO I NEED A VISA FOR 2 WEEKS IN COSTA RICA?
A 90-day tourist visa is available for free upon arrival in Costa Rica for citizens of all countries. Click here for more information on entry requirements.
If you’re willing to stay longer in the country, you will need to leave Costa Rica and re-enter to get a new 3-month stamp.
That being said, 2 weeks in Costa Rica is a good amount of time, unless you really fall in love with the country (which I guarantee you will) and want to extend beyond 90 days.
2 WEEKS IN COSTA RICA ITINERARY
Now that we’ve covered all the general travel tips and logistics for planning your two weeks in Costa Rica, let’s get to the fun stuff!
So without further ado, here is the ultimate Costa Rica 2-week itinerary to help you plan your trip.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL TO SAN JOSÉ
Start your 2 week Costa Rica itinerary in San Jose, the country’s capital city.
I recommend booking a hotel in Alajuela, a small city located very near to SJO airport. You can explore some of the local areas or just chill after a long journey of travel to get here.
Also, I suggest purchasing a sim card when you arrive at San José Airport, or from a local phone shop in town, so you can get online to use Google maps and other handy apps for your 2 weeks in Costa Rica itinerary.
If you arrive early enough and want to skip San José altogether, (don’t worry, you’re not missing out on much in this city) then I recommend making your way straight to La Fortuna.
I have gone into more details below about how to get from San José to La Fortuna.
La Fortuna is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and the first stop on this Costa Rica 2 week itinerary.
The small town is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano and its nearby hot springs and waterfalls make it a great place for visitors seeking both relaxation and adventure.
La Fortuna is also home to some of Costa Rica’s best hiking and birdwatching opportunities.
You can hike around the volcano for stunning views, or explore the rainforests in search of rare and exotic birds.
HOW TO GET FROM SAN JOSÉ TO LA FORTUNA
Getting from San José to La Fortuna is very easy as the roads are all tar-sealed and the route is clear with a distance of 115 km and a journey time of around 2.5 – 3 hours.
The earlier you leave San José the better as you’ll avoid the peak-hour city traffic, putting you in La Fortuna around lunchtime which leaves you half a day to explore.
When traveling by rental car to La Fortuna from San José, simply follow the route on Google maps which leads you northwest of the city, and as mentioned above, the journey time is around 2.5 – 3 hours.
BY SHUTTLE BUS
Shuttle bus transportation from San José to La Fortuna is the best and cheapest option for travelers not renting a car.
It’s best to book online in advance to guarantee a seat on the bus and the trip includes a hotel pick-up from San José City and also from Alajuela, and a drop-off to your hotel in La Fortuna.
This journey takes around 4 hours and 15 minutes with two daily departures at 7 am and 2 pm.
La Fortuna is a mecca for adventure with many fun-fuelled activities and experiences to be had.
From walking among the treetops on hanging bridges to getting soaked beneath the falls at La Fortuna Waterfall – there is something here for everyone to enjoy!
Three days in La Fortuna is the perfect amount of time to tick off a few bucket-list adventures during your visit.
The best way to get around in La Fortuna (if you don’t have a rental car) is to rent a scooter or motorbike, hail a taxi, or download the Uber app on your phone and order an Uber which is the cheapest mode of transportation.
HIGHLIGHTS IN LA FORTUNA
La Fortuna Waterfall
El Salto Rope Swing
Mistico Hanging Bridges
Arenal Volcano National Park
La Fortuna Hot Springs
These are just a few of the must-see attractions to check out during your visit, though I have also put together a full blog post of 15 Awesome Things To Do In La Fortuna that you should definitely read!
I personally traveled by boat and shuttle bus to Monteverde which is the most convenient if you don’t have a rental car, and it’s a shorter journey than taking the minivan option around the entire lake.
When booking this option, it includes a hotel pick-up in La Fortuna, you’ll then be transported to the edge of Arenal Lake, from here you’ll jump on a shared boat that will take you across the lake, and waiting on the other side is another shuttle bus that will transport you the rest of the way to your hotel in Monteverde.
Departure times from La Fortuna are 8 am and 2 pm with a total journey time of approximately 3 hours.
Monteverde is a nature lover’s paradise, from coffee plantations to nature walks to welcoming locals, it’s an unmissable destination on your 2-week Costa Rica itinerary.
There are a number of exciting things to do in Monteverde and in just two days you’ll be able to experience the best of the best that this mountainous region has to offer!
As most of the attractions in Monteverde are located outside of Santa Elena (the main town), the best way to get around is by rental car, taxi, Uber, or guided tours that include hotel pick-ups and drop-offs.
Santa Elena, however, can be easily explored on foot as it’s a very small town and all the shops and cafes are located a stone’s throw from one another.
HIGHLIGHTS IN MONTEVERDE
Monteverde Cloud Forest
Bird Watching Adventure
Zip Lining in Monteverde
Coffee and Chocolate Tour
These are just a few of the fun-fuelled adventures to be had during your visit, however, be sure to check out my complete guide to 10 Awesome Things To Do In Monteverde for more!
Costa Rica is home to many beautiful places, and one of the most special is Santa Teresa, a slice of paradise that’s not to be missed on your Costa Rica 2 week itinerary.
This small town is located on the Nicoya Peninsula and is widely known for its stunning beaches and lush jungle landscape.
Among all the activities in Santa Teresa, you can go surfing, hiking, zip-lining, and even take an ATV tour!
HOW TO GET FROM MONTEVERDE TO SANTA TERESA
After enjoying a couple of days in Monteverde, this 2 week Costa Rica itinerary continues to Santa Teresa. There are several ways of getting here including by car, minivan, shuttle + ferry, and local bus.
For the sake of time and convenience, I highly recommend the minivan option for those that aren’t traveling in a rental car. It’s not as cheap as the shuttle and ferry option or traveling by local bus, but it’s the most direct.
For this reason, I have only provided the car and minivan transportation options below, though if you want to see more budget alternatives, see this helpful guide.
From Monteverde to Santa Teresa by car, the distance is 215 km and the journey takes around 4 hours and 15 mins. The road is tar-sealed and when you follow Route 21 on Google maps, you won’t get lost.
As mentioned above, traveling by minivan to Santa Teresa is the most convenient and direct. It includes a hotel pick-up in Monteverde and drop-off at your hotel in Santa Teresa.
There is only one daily departure from Monteverde at 9 am and the journey time to Santa Teresa is approximately 4 hours and 15 mins.
As there is only one departure per day, I recommend booking online well in advance to secure your seat.
The end of this 14-day Costa Rica itinerary is approaching, and before leaving the country, you definitely can’t skip Manuel Antonio, a small coastal town popular for its incredible beaches, diverse wildlife, and hiking trails.
While in Manuel Antonio, you can enjoy plenty of activities such as exploring the stunning national park, soaking up some sun on the beaches, zip-lining through the treetops, and even taking a waterfall tour.
Of course, you’ll find several restaurants and bars, as well as stunning hotels, so you’ll have lots of choice on where to stay in Manuel Antonio.
HOW TO GET FROM SANTA TERESA TO MANUEL ANTONIO
The route from Santa Teresa to Manuel Antonio is a little longer than the previous locations above with a journey time of approximately 5.5 hours.
There are a few transportation options available to get from Santa Teresa to Manuel Antonio including by car + ferry, private transfer, or taxi boat + shuttle bus.
When traveling by car from Santa Teresa to Manuel Antonio, the fastest way is to take the vehicle ferry from Paquera ferry landing to Puntarenas ferry terminal, and from here drive down the coast to reach Manuel Antonio.
Click here to see the complete route on Google maps.
The cost of the ferry is $25 USD per vehicle and $2 USD per person, and the ferry takes 1.5 hours. The ferry departure times from Paquera to Puntarenas are 5:30 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 8:30 pm.
Another great option if you’re traveling in a group of up to four people is to take a private transfer in a minivan for around $400. It takes around 5 hours from Santa Teresa to Manuel Antonio and you can split the cost between you.
There are daily departures from Santa Teresa and you can choose a pick-up time that best suits you. It’s not the cheapest option, but it’s the most direct and definitely worth spending a bit extra for a hassle-free transfer.
This option includes a hotel pick-up in Santa Teresa, a shuttle bus transfer to Montezuma Beach where you’ll jump onboard a taxi boat, the boat will take you across the Gulf of Nicoya to Playa Herradura, and from here another bus will be waiting to transport you the rest of the way to your hotel in Manuel Antonio.
This journey takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes with only one daily departure from Santa Teresa at 7 am.
It’s best to book online in advance to guarantee a seat on the taxi boat and bus.
The last stop on this 2 weeks Costa Rica itinerary is Uvita, a coastal town that is growing in popularity with tourists.
Uvita is situated on the edge of the rainforest and its main attractions are Uvita Beach and the Whale Tail in Marino Ballena National Park.
Both are known for their unique landscapes and azul waters which make it the perfect place to go swimming or surfing.
While you’re here, you may want to consider a day trip to Corcovado National Park or a half-day trip to Nauyaca Waterfall.
HOW TO GET FROM MANUEL ANTONIO TO UVITA
Getting from Manuel Antonio to Uvita is very easy as the roads are all tar-sealed along the coastal route with a distance of 65 km and a journey time of around 1 hour.
If you have a rental car, one stop along the way that I highly recommend is Nauyaca Waterfalls, Costa Rica’s most famous waterfall!
It’s a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Manuel Antonio and after your visit, it’s a further 1-hour drive to reach Uvita.
Alternatively, for those that don’t have their own transport, you can book a tour to visit Nauyaca Waterfalls but please note this tour can only be booked while you’re in Manuel Antonio as this is where the pick-up and drop-off point is.
When traveling by car to Uvita from Manuel Antonio, simply follow the route on Google maps which leads you along the coastline on Route 34 Costanera Sur and the journey time is around 1 hour.
Minivan transportation from Manuel Antonio to Uvita is the best and and one of the cheapest options for travelers not renting a car.
It’s best to book online in advance to guarantee a seat on the bus and the trip includes a hotel pick-up from Manuel Antonio and a drop-off to your hotel in Uvita.
This journey takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes with three daily departures at 7 am, 1:30 pm, and 6:30 pm.
There’s no better place than Uvita to experience all that Costa Rica has to offer, especially for the last days of your 2 weeks in Costa Rica.
From hiking through lush rainforests to relaxing on pristine beaches, there are plenty of things to do in Uvita.
Getting around Uvita on foot is possible, however, some of the attractions are located a little bit outside of the main town so it’s best to rent a car, hail a taxi, or book guided tours. These are the highlights in Uvita.
After an epic 2 weeks in Costa Rica, it’s time to head back to San José Airport (SJO) for departure. It’s a straightforward journey taking just 3.5 hours by car, or 3 hours and 45 mins by shared minivan.
On the last day of your 2 week Costa Rica itinerary, depending on what time your departure flight is, I recommend visiting another beachside town on the way back such as Dominical, or Jaco, or perhaps spending a few hours exploring San José City.
Looking for more? Check out my Travel Resources page for further help with your trip planning!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about how to spend two weeks in Costa Rica, please leave a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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THANKS FOR READING
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