7 Days in Costa Rica: Our Recommended Itineraries


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 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 the country, 7 days in Costa Rica 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 Costa Rica itineraries for 6, 7 and 8 days below.

6 days in Costa Rica: Rainforest and Tropical Coast

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 Nicoya Peninsula
Day 4 Sail to Tortuga Island and enjoy water sports 
Day 5 Bid farewell to Nicoya Peninsula and make your way towards 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 the Tambor beach. Cruise along the coastal waterways and Pochete Mangroves before landing on the pristine white sands of Tortuga Island. Then return back 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 tour

7 days in Costa Rica: Volcanoes and beaches

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 tour

7-day 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 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 jaguar. Then transfer to 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 package

7 Days in Costa Rica: Of Mountains and Volcanoes

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 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 its time to head back to San Jose. See tour.

8-day National Park Adventure

A beach in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio has pristine beaches and dense rainforest, 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, 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 an optional activity. Head out for an ATV tour or go for tours in the national park to see bats and frogs. While at Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, 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 tour

8 days in Costa Rica: Whitewater Rafting and Rainforest Hikes

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. See tour

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 have already fallen for this incredible country. In case you want a little bit more of the country, why not check out our 10-day or 14-day Costa Rica itineraries? If you are short on time, check out our 5-day itineraries instead. 

Get in touch with one of our travel experts in Costa Rica to inquire about a customized trip. If you’d like to book a package trip or join a group, check out our tours in Costa Rica.

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  • Ellen Zoe Golden
    Ellen Zoe Golden
    Travel Expert in Costa Rica
  • Alberto Molina
    Alberto Molina
    Travel Expert in Costa Rica
  • Randall Jiménez Moreno
    Randall Jiménez Moreno
    Travel Expert in Costa Rica
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