10 Days in Costa Rica: A Jungle & Beach Itinerary

Welcome to Costa Rica, where lush jungles and pristine beaches surround you. With our curated 10-day itinerary, every moment promises a balance of adventure and relaxation. Join us as we dive deep into the heart of this tropical paradise, uncovering hidden gems and creating lasting memories along the way.

This 10 day itinerary will take you from landing in San Jose, to the Caribbean Coast, to the jungles of La Fortuna, and back to San Jose.

Day 1: Arrive in San José, Begin Your Adventure

Upon your arrival in San José, take a moment to soak in the vibrant energy of Costa Rica’s capital city. After snagging your rental car you have several options:
1. Stay a day in the for a night city, relax and grab dinner. Head south first thing in the morning.
2. Begin your drive and stop along the way to rest before dark.
3. Head straight to Cahuita.

Tip: If you’re driving to the coast, factor in sunset and consider whether you want to drive at dark after a night of travel. If not, enjoy a night in vibrant San Jose and get started on your journey first thing in the morning.

See what it’s like to drive in beautiful Costa Rica!

Day 2: Embrace Relaxation and Exploration

Accommodations: Casa Viva
Highlights: Boutique hotel, beachfront, gardens, wildlife, hammocks, privacy, close to town

Today is all about embracing the laid-back atmosphere of Cahuita. After walking to breakfast at GypSea Cafe, take a swim and explore the grounds.
After a leisurely morning, head to the local grocery store and get what you need for your stay.

Today is for relaxing and getting your bearings.

Day 3: Conservation and Culture at the Jaguar Rescue Center

Immerse yourself in Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity with a visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to witness firsthand the incredible work being done to rehabilitate and protect the region’s wildlife.
After your inspiring visit, recharge with lunch in town at Bar Tapas y Más followed by boutique shopping.

In the afternoon head back to the hotel for a swim and explore the natural gardens at Casa Viva.

Wondering what to pack? Check out our all seasons handy packing guide here.

Day 4: Connect with Nature at Ara Manzanillo

In the morning, prepare to watch rainbows fly as you visit Ara Manzanillo, a sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of the majestic Green Macaw. Lose yourself in the vibrant hues of the rainforest canopy.

In the afternoon, take out the kayaks from Casa Viva and explore the coastline.

Day 5: Journey to La Fortuna, Gateway to Adventure

Accommodations: Ti-fikara Boutique Hotel
Highlights: Bird watching, jungle night tour, breakfast, pools & hot tubs, walking distance to La Fortuna waterfall

Bid farewell to Cahuita as you embark on a scenic roadtrip to La Fortuna, a bustling town nestled at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano. We recommend leaving mid to late morning. The stunning drive is about 4-5 hours depending on stops, and this should get you there right around check-in.

Day 6: Traverse the Mistico Hanging Bridges

Ready for birdwatching, wildlife, jungle, hiking, volcanos and the famous hanging bridges?? Enter Mistico Hanging Bridges Park:

Good for all ages and skill levels Mistico Park has something for everyone. Suspended high above the forest floor, these iconic bridges offer unparalleled views of the surrounding canopy and provide the perfect opportunity to spot elusive wildlife.

Here you can hire a tour guide, or walk through the jungle at your own pace. Current prices are $32 USD for adults, and free for children 11 and under.

After the park enjoy lunch at a local Soda before heading back to your hotel for a swim.

Day 7: Discover the Beauty of La Fortuna Waterfall

After coffee and breakfast at your hotel, embark on a picturesque hike to La Fortuna Waterfall. If you stay at Ti-fikara you can walk to the entrance right from your front door.

Take note: While there are benches to rest on along the way, the hike down to the falls is over 500 steps. Pack light and double check your belongings before hiking back up!

There is an entrance fee and guides if needed. You can wear a swimsuit as there are natural pools to take a dip.

Tabacon thermal pools, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Day 8: Indulge in Relaxation at Tabacon Spa

Up for a day of indulging? You deserve it!
As your trip is winding down soothe your senses with a day of pampering at Tabacon Spa. Renowned for its rejuvenating thermal hot springs.

You have the option to get a day pass, or a service which often includes the day pass option (but double check!). We got the SHIROABHYANGA massage in a couples pavilion, hands down the most relaxing massage I’ve ever received!

After your service enjoy the dozens of healing thermal pools to melt away stress. The ambience here is otherworldly.

Day 9: Hike Arenal Volcano and Relax Poolside

Spend your penultimate day in Costa Rica embracing the serenity of La Fortuna. Up for adventure? Try hiking Arenal Volcano.

Whether you choose to relax by the pool, embark on a leisurely stroll through the town, or venture out for one final adventure, savor every moment of your time in this enchanting destination.

Day 10: Return to San José, Reflect on Your Journey

Your final morning in paradise is here. Sip your coffee and enjoy a leisurely bird watching breakfast on the patio.

With its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and abundant wildlife, Costa Rica offers a truly immersive travel experience like no other. By following our 10 day Costa Rica itinerary, you’ll embark on a journey of discovery and adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of Pura Vida, and prepare to be captivated by the wonders of Costa Rica’s jungles and beaches. Your adventure awaits!