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Costa Rica is a veritable nature wonderland, largely regarded as one of the world's last unspoiled wildernesses. The Costa Rican government has led the world in the protection of this natural paradise, designating a quarter of the country's landmass to be protected national parks. Costa Rica is also a relatively small country, making it the perfect destination to explore even on a week-long trip. Although this might feel like a short time to explore Costa Rica, 7 days gives you enough time to see the country’s best highlights. 

Whether you are traveling solo, as an adventure or wildlife enthusiast, or with your family, check out our best recommended Costa Rica itineraries for a week-long trip to the country below to get an idea of all things you can do and the places you visit.

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1. Rainforest and Tropical Coast: 6 days in Costa Rica

Kids ziplining in Costa Rica
Ziplining is a fun, family-friendly activity, popular in Arenal. 
Day 1 Explore the streets of La Fortuna 
Day 2  Explore the hanging bridges in Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 3 Drive past farmlands and forests as you head towards the Nicoya Peninsula
Day 4 Sail to Tortuga Island and enjoy water sports 
Day 5 Bid farewell to the Nicoya Peninsula and make your way toward San Jose
Day 6 Depart from San Jose towards your next destination

This Costa Rica 6-day itinerary is perfect for kids and adults alike! The kids will love being surrounded by the sights and sounds of the jungles of Arenal Volcano National Park. When they finally tire of the exotic flora and fauna, enjoy a cooling dip beneath the cascade tiers of La Fortuna waterfall. Kids of all ages will beam on first seeing the tropical paradise that is the Nicoya Peninsula. Here, the family adventure continues as you explore the heavenly beaches, namely Tambor beach. Cruise along the coastal waterways and Pochette Mangroves before landing on the pristine white sands of Tortuga Island.  Head to San Jose to spend a final day exploring the city with its many things to do suited for children, such as the Children’s Museum. See more 6-day tours in Costa Rica.

2. Volcanoes and beaches: 7 days in Costa Rica

Tamarindo beach is a great stop for a 7-day itinerary in Costa Rica
Tamarindo is a popular beach town with stunning coastal areas, perfect for relaxing.
Day 1 Start off the adventure at Rincon de la Vieja National Park 
Day 2 Guided tour of Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Day 3 Zipline in Rincon de La Vieja
Day 4 Explore Tamarindo beach and take a dip into its warm waters
Day 5 Spend a free day at Tamarindo beach
Day 6  Sunset sailing at Tamarindo 
Day 7 Return to Liberia

This easy-going Costa Rica tour is great for travelers who want to experience the best of Costa Rica’s pristine coasts and rainforests. A mix of nature and adventure, this trip allows you to combine the two best things about Costa Rica. Hike through the rainforests of Rincon de la Vieja National Park, among the smoking fumaroles and hot springs of one of Costa Rica’s few active volcanoes. Bound, monkey-like, along specially built walkways that get you right up into the action in the tree canopies. Grab the adrenaline rush with both hands as you shoot through the jungle on one of the country’s best zip lines. Then opt for a change of pace by relaxing on the stunning Tamarindo Beach, capping the adventure with a spectacular sunset voyage onboard a 20-meter-long catamaran. See one-week tours to Costa Rica.

3. One-week Outdoor Adventure and Wildlife trip

A canal in Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero can only be reached via boat through the canals.
Costa Rica itinerary from Tortuguero
Tortuguero is a great place to witness nesting sea turtles
Day 1 Start the journey with sightseeing around San Jose 
Day 2  Pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park to reach Tortuguero National Park 
Day 3  Canal tour through the national park
Day 4  Visit the town of Guapiles for a local lunch on the way to La Fortuna 
Day 5 Spend the day exploring Arenal Volcano National Park 
Day 6  Optional adventure activity in La Fortuna before heading for San Jose  
Day 7 Depart from San Jose towards your next destination

Explore the heavenly freshwater creeks and lagoons on a tour of Tortuguero National Park on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast on foot and by boat. Keep your eyes peeled for the park’s most beguiling residents: endangered sea turtles, manatees, caiman, monkeys, sloths, and even jaguars. Explore Arenal Volcano National Park and enjoy the phenomenal panoramas around the park, which boasts hanging bridges, striking waterfalls, and the famed Baldi hot springs. Choose an adventure of your choice, whether it is a zip-line tour, an ATV tour, canyoning, caving, mountain biking, or even a chocolate tour. See more adventure tours in Costa Rica.

4. Of Mountains and Volcanoes: 7 Days in Costa Rica

For a perfect day trip from San Jose Costa Rica, visit Tortuga
Tortuga Island is a great beach to visit on a day trip from San Jose, Costa Rica.
Day 1 Travel from San Jose to Monteverde
Day 2  Enjoy a zip-lining canopy adventure in Monteverde
Day 3 Take a boat from Monteverde to La Fortuna (Arenal)
Day 4 Spend the day exploring and hiking in Arenal
Day 5 Travel from La Fortuna to Tortuguero
Day 6  Go on a canoe tour in Tortuguero
Day 7  Travel from Tortuguero to San Jose

A week full of excitement awaits you on this adventure-packed tour that will take you from the cloud forests of Monteverde to the Pacific coast of Tortuguero. Zipline over treetops in Monteverde before taking a boat to La Fortuna where you will hike trails around the iconic Arenal Volcano. Embark on a canoe ride through the jungle in Tortuguero and explore this fascinating nature reserve before it's time to head back to San Jose. See more volcano tours.

5. 8-day National Park Adventure

A beach in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio has pristine beaches and dense rainforests, perfect for hiking.
Day 1 Explore San Jose and the Liberia area independently 
Day 2 Drive through the countryside to Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 3 Hike the rainforest surrounding Arenal Volcano
Day 4 Arenal discovery drive or boat ride, head to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Day 5 Explore Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve with optional activities, and head to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast
Day 6 Enjoy a leisurely day at the park with activities of your choice
Day 7 Choose from a series of activities in Manuel Antonio National Park before heading off to Alajuela 
Day 8 Bid goodbye to Alajuela and prepare for your next adventure

The whole family will also love this full Costa Rica one-week itinerary. This 8-day Costa Rica trip takes you right into the heart of Costa Rica’s most popular national parks such as Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and Manuel Antonio National Park. Start with a trip to Arenal Volcano National Park and explore the jungle on foot, with the option to crash through the region’s white water on a rafting trip or repel down mighty waterfalls. You’ll then explore the unique cloud forest habitats of Monteverde where you can select optional activities. Head out for an ATV tour or go for tours in the national park to see bats and frogs. While on the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve tour, take a stop at the cheese factory before heading to the Pacific coast’s Manuel Antonio National Park, an idyllic tropical beach landscape with activities including snorkeling and sea kayaking. On the final day, transfer to Alajuela to prepare for departure. See tours.

6. Whitewater Rafting and Rainforest Hikes: 8 days in Costa Rica

Whitewater rafting in Pacuare river
Pacuare River is a haven for whitewater rafting in Costa Rica.
Day 1  Explore the streets and historic buildings of San Jose 
Day 2 Start the day with a scenic drive to La Cruz and paddle through the first section of Pacuare River 
Day 3 Spend another day rafting in Pacuare River and transfer to La Fortuna in the evening
Day 4 Prepare for an adventurous day in Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 5 Road trip to Manuel Antonio National Park and enjoy a day at the beach
Day 6 Explore Manuel Antonio National Park and surroundings independently
Day 7  Make time for some other activities in the national park before you head to San Jose 
Day 8 Depart from San Jose

This Costa Rican adventure tour offers an unmatched way to discover the country’s sublime rainforests, with an unforgettable whitewater rafting experience extending 3 days along the Pacuare River. Once reaching Arenal Volcano National Park, you’ll encounter life up in the canopy and delve even deeper into jungle habitats en route to the always breathtaking La Fortuna waterfall. The area is famous for adrenaline activities such as a canopy zip-line tour, ATV tour, or canyoning. Pick your adventure! The adventure ends on the pristine Pacific coast beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park with time for some well-earned sun, sea, and sand.

An overview map of the routes of 7 day Costa Rica itineraries
An overview map of the routes of 7-day Costa Rica itineraries

7 days in Costa Rica offers the opportunity to explore some of this Central American nation’s most phenomenal natural sights. Whether it’s hiking through the rainforest, a leisurely beach time, a relaxing dip in the natural hot springs, or an exciting session of whitewater rafting, we know you’ll join the host of travelers who has already fallen for this incredible country. In case you want a little bit more about the country, why not check out our guide on 10 days or 14 days in Costa Rica? If you are short on time, check out our guide on 5 days in Costa Rica instead. 

Feel free to reach out to our local travel experts who can help you design your personalized trip to Costa Rica.

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Published by Sofie, updated on October 12, 2022

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