Costa Rica – useful itinerary

We explored the beautiful Costa Rica in the summer of 2022. Our itinerary? A round trip San Jose – San Jose with stops at the Caribbean and Pacific coast up to Tortuguero, Cahuita and Corcovado National park in about 20 days. In this blog, you find our itinerary.

Brussels – Madrid – San Jose

We flew with Iberia Airlines over Madrid, so Brussels – Madrid – San Jose.

An alternative routs is with a stop-over in the United States but we didn’t want to risk that because of corona requirements.

Car Rental

We rented a Hyundai minivan with Adobe Rent a Car. The service and rates were excellent. Adobe offers reasonable prices, no hidden fees, total protection and zero deductible possible.

Most of the cars are 4 WD. We couldn’t find any type of 4WD car enabling us to fit in with 6 adults and the luggage. And apparently, there are no roof top bars available to store luggage on the roof. So we settled with a 2 WD van, which was perfect. If you stick to the normal paved roads you don’t need a 4WD. Just check upfront whether your accommodation is easily accessible. At some places, the roads are a bit rough, in particular when the lodgings are in the middle of the rain forest.

We rented the car after our visit to San Jose and Tortuguero. We didn’t need the car in San Jose itself. Also, we didn’t want to leave the car behind at a non guarded car park in La Pavona (boats for Tortuguero). As such, we took a private taxi from San Jose to La Pavona, picking us up after our trip to La Pavona and driving us to Guapiles. For us, a family of 6, the cost of 200 USD was similar to the extra days rental and much less hassle.

Round trip San Jose

We made a round trip San Jose exploring the Carribbean and Pacific coast up to Tortuguero, Cahuita and Corcovado National park This route enabled us to vist the most important national parks, beaches and enjoy some adventures such as rafting and ziplining. It also allowed us to taste the Carribean and Pacific atmosphere of the country. 20 days were sufficient to cover it all in a moderate pace with some rest days in between.

We combined several types of accommodation: hotels (San Jose, Tortuguero), an ecolodge in the middle of the rainforest (La Shamana Ecolodge in Cahuita), small houses (Drake Bay, Monteverde), an apartment (Quepos), a bungalow (La Fortuna) and a splendid stand alone villa with a private swimming pool near the beach in Uvita.

1. San JoseFlight Brussels – Madrid – San JoseLa Sabana Hotel Suites Apartments
Sabana norte
60111 San José
Costa Rica
+506 2220 2422orgarnes
2.San JoseSan Jose – city hikeLa Sabana Hotel Suites Apartments
3.TortugueroSan Jose – La Pavona – Tortuguero
Night turtle tour
Casa Marbella
in front of the Catholic church
70206 Tortuguero
Costa Rica
+506 2709 8011
4.TortugueroTortuguero National Park
Quiet morning tour on the canals
Afternoon hike (park & beach)

Casa Marbella
5.CahuitaTortuguero – La Pavona – CahuitaLa Shamana Ecolodge
Carretera a Carbon 2
70403 Cahuita, Costa Rica 
+506 8518 1461 or + 58 414 3788059
6.CahuitaCahuita National Park La Shamana Ecolodge
7.CahuitaCahuita National Park – beach La Shamana Ecolodge
8.FortunaCahuita – la Fortuna
Pineapple fields
Villas Josipek
702, Alajuela Province, San Ramon, Costa Rica
+506 2479- 9555
WhatsApp: +506 8608 5858
9.FortunaSarapiqui river: rafting Villas Josipek
10MonteverdeLa Fortuna – MonteverdeGreen Forest Rustic Houses
Cerro Plano, Sapo Dorado, 60109
Monteverde Costa Rica
11MonteverdeSelvatura park: ziplining and hanging bridges hikeGreen Forest Rustic House
12MonteverdeMonteverde Cloud Forest National Park – Colibri CaféGreen Forest Rustic House
13QueposMonteverde – Quepos – Crocodile bridgeVillas Jacquelina
800 metros de Finca los Alfaro
Puntarenas Quepos, Costa Rica
+ 506 8345 1516
14Quepos Manuel San Antonio National ParkVillas Jacquelina
15QueposBeachVillas Jacquelina
16Drake BayQuepos – Sierpe – Drake BaySunset Lodge
Agujitas, 11000 Drake, Costa Rica 
+506 6131 5738
17Drake BayCorcovado National Park 
Sunset Lodge
18Drake BayDrake Bay Trail (hiking)
Sunset Lodge
19UvitaDrake Bay – Sierpe – Uvita
Marino Balleno National Park
Casa Mediterránea with Pool and 2100 m2 Garden near Beach and Rain Forest 
 60504 Uvita, Costa Rica 
+506 8855 0141
20UvitaWhale tour UvitaCasa Mediterránea with Pool and 2100 m2 Garden near Beach and Rain Forest 
21BrusselsUvita – San Jose – Madrid – Brussels

Why visit Costa Rica?

  • Costa Rica = rainforest, all over and equally protected.
  • small wildlife is fantastic: slots, beautiful birds, butterflies, reptiles, monkeys, but also whales and dolphins, … in particular on a night tour to spot some animals is a real treat.
  • you can enjoy the wildlife at every location, even in the backyard of your lodgings.
  • there are several adventurous activities: go ziplining over the rainforest, walk on suspension bridges or take a thrilling rafting trip.
  • the beaches are splendid. Warm water and lots of sun. Just don’t forget your sunscreen.
  • even in the rainy season, it’s warm with a lot of dry periods. The rain itself is also spectacular. It’s not just a bit of rain, it’s pooring rain in a short period. And never seen and heard a thunderstorm with lightning such as in Tortuguero.
  • it’s an easy country to travel. As soon as you rent a car, you can drive along at your own pace. There are plenty of restaurants and you find supermarkets and small shops within driving distance.

Read more on our Costa Rican adventures in my blog ‘5 fantastic things to do in Costa Rica’. For an idea on the costs, read ‘Costa Rica- great accommodation, tips and costs’.


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