5 days in Costa Rica : Our Recommendations

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Although 5 days in Costa Rica may not sound like much time, the small size of this Central American country (equal to West Virginia or Denmark) means a 5-day tour to Costa Rica is still long enough to experience many of its most extraordinary sights. Spanning pristine protected jungle, stunning beaches, wondrous waterways, and mesmerizing misty mountains, you certainly won’t regret a 5-day trip to Costa Rica. Check out our top picks of Costa Rica itineraries for 4 and 5 days below!

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Tortuga island in Costa Rica can be visited as a day tour
Tortuga Island is a fantastic place to visit on a day trip
Day 1 Arrival and free time in San Jose
Day 2 Catamaran tour to Tortuga Island
Day 3 Enjoy the hot springs around Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 4 Raft and zipline your way around Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 5 Return to San Jose

Arrive at the Costa Rican capital of San Jose and explore the city taking time to explore the top sights such as the Central Market and the National Theatre. After some free time in the urban jungle of San Jose, head to the country’s Pacific Coast and board a luxury catamaran for a day trip from San Jose to the beautiful Tortuga Island, home to white-sand beaches and warm shallows that are just perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Back on land, you’ll be able to experience the natural hot springs that surround the soaring peak of Arenal Volcano, before exploring the area up close by ziplining from tree to tree, and rafting 12 kilometers of the Sarapiqui River — from Hacienda to Chilamate. See tour

Hiking trail in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Hike the nature trails in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Day 1 Explore plantations and landscapes on route to Arenal Volcano
Day 2 Hike through the jungle of Arenal Volcano National Park
Day 3 Wildlife spotting in Monteverde Cloud Forest
Day 4 Trekking through Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Day 5 Return to San Jose

This 5-day Costa Rica vacation package takes in two of the country’s finest protected areas. Start the tour from San Jose, reaching La Fortuna by the afternoon which provides a chance to explore the town. The next day starts with a tour to Arenal Volcano National Park. It may be named for its predominant volcanic peak, rising high over the surrounding land to form spectacular vistas, but it also offers visitors naturally-heated hot springs and incredible hikes through the jungles of its flanks. The misty mountains of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve then provide another magical experience, crisscrossed with walking trails and wildlife spotting opportunities while getting the best ziplining experience in Costa Rica. See tour

Visit the Corcovado National Park the best national park in Costa Rica
The shores of Corcovado National Park
Day 1 Arrive in Sierpe
Day 2 Enjoy a guided tour of Corcovado National Park
Day 3 Boat tour to Cano Island
Day 4 Bid goodbye to Corcovado National Park

Take a shuttle transfer to Sierpe and from there an hour’s scenic boat ride to Drake Bay where you’ll spend your first night. This trip takes you to Corcovado National Park in Osa Peninsula where you will go on guided hike through a tropical ecosystem that is among the most diverse on earth. Pass along beaches, mangrove swamps and rainforest and watch for scarlet macaws and squirrel monkeys. Take a boat to Cano Island, which was once an ancient burial site, and snorkel in some of the bluest waters in the country where you'll enjoy many spectacular sights including coral reefs, sharks, turtles and stingrays. Didn’t think a 4-day tour in Costa Rica will be enough? This trip says you can! See tour

A turtle nesting in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Spot turtles on the shores of Tortuguero National Park
Day 1 Arrive in San Jose
Day 2 Boat rides and turtle spotting in Tortuguero National Park
Day 3 Tour the canals of Tortuguero
Day 4 Free time in San Jose
Day 5 Depart Costa Rica

Only reachable by boat or plane, Tortuguero National Park encompasses a rich landscape of Caribbean Coast beaches and jungle-clad waterways just waiting to be explored. During two full days in the park, you’ll have every opportunity to discover the region and its wildlife for yourself, starting with turtle spotting on the beaches on your first evening in the park. You’ll also take to the waters by boat, the perfect way to try and catch sight of the park’s impressive species list, which includes manatee, jaguar, and caiman. See tour

An overview map of 5-day itineraries for Costa Rica

There’s nowhere quite like Costa Rica, and even with just 5 days, it is possible to get a perfect introduction to all the country has to offer. But if you can, extend your 5-day itinerary in Costa Rica by a few days and enjoy the country to the max. Check out our specific travel guides on 7 days, 10 days, and 14 days in Costa Rica for more ideas.

Make sure to go through our other travel guide to get an idea on how many days to spend in Costa Rica, when is the best time to visit, which places to visit in the country, and what to do while there

Get in touch with one of our travel experts to design your own customized trip to Costa Rica.

Published by Sofie, updated on March 23, 2022

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Plan a trip to Costa Rica We offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to Costa Rica.
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