1 week in costa rica

Plan Your Dream Vacation: 1 Week in Costa Rica Guide

Welcome to your comprehensive guide for planning an unforgettable one-week vacation in Costa Rica! From stunning natural landscapes to thrilling adventures, this tropical paradise offers something for every traveler. Whether you seek relaxation on pristine beaches, exploration of lush rainforests, or exhilarating outdoor activities, Costa Rica has it all.

In this guide, we will take you on a virtual journey, highlighting the top attractions and must-see destinations for each day of your 1-week adventure. Get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of La Fortuna, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, and the surrounding areas, as we unveil the secrets of this remarkable country.

So, grab your sunscreen, pack your sense of adventure, and let’s embark on an unforgettable 7-day vacation in Costa Rica!

Key Takeaways:

  • Plan a 1-week trip to Costa Rica for an incredible adventure.
  • Explore the breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders of La Fortuna, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio.
  • Discover top attractions like Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest, and Manuel Antonio National Park.
  • Indulge in thrilling activities such as ziplining, hiking to waterfalls, and relaxing in hot springs.
  • Immerse yourself in the local culture, cuisine, and wildlife of Costa Rica.

Day 0: Arrival

As you embark on your one-week adventure in Costa Rica, the first day is dedicated to your arrival in San Jose and making your way to La Fortuna. After landing at the airport, take some time to settle into your accommodations and get ready for the exciting days ahead.

While Day 0 is primarily a travel day, it’s still an opportunity to soak in the beauty and culture of Costa Rica. On your way to La Fortuna, enjoy the scenic views and immerse yourself in the lush surroundings. Take this time to familiarize yourself with the vibrant landscapes and unique atmosphere that make Costa Rica a popular destination.

Once you arrive in La Fortuna, you can take a stroll around the town and get a taste of the local cuisine. Try some traditional dishes like gallo pinto, casados, or ceviche, and indulge in the flavors of Costa Rica. Unwind and relax as you prepare for the adventures that await you in the coming days.

1 week in costa rica

Table: Things to do on Day 0

Activity Description
Explore La Fortuna Take a walk around the town, visit the local shops, and experience the vibrant atmosphere.
Taste the Local Cuisine Try traditional Costa Rican dishes and savor the unique flavors of the region.
Relax and Unwind Take this day to rest and prepare for the adventurous days ahead.

Day 1: La Fortuna

On the first day of your Costa Rica adventure, you’ll find yourself in the charming town of La Fortuna. This picturesque destination is known for its stunning natural landscapes and thrilling outdoor activities. A must-visit attraction in La Fortuna is the Arenal Volcano National Park, where you can witness the majestic Arenal Volcano up close. Take a hike along the park’s well-marked trails and immerse yourself in the lush tropical rainforest.

Another highlight of La Fortuna is the breathtaking La Fortuna Waterfall. Located just a short distance from the town, this cascading beauty offers a refreshing swimming spot surrounded by lush greenery. Take a dip in the cool waters or simply relax and admire the picturesque surroundings.

“La Fortuna is a truly magical place. The combination of the Arenal Volcano National Park and the La Fortuna Waterfall provides an awe-inspiring experience. The lush green landscapes and the soothing sounds of nature create a sense of tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.”

In addition to these iconic attractions, there are plenty more things to do in La Fortuna. Indulge in some relaxation and rejuvenation by visiting one of the area’s hot springs. Pamper yourself with a luxurious soak in the natural volcanic thermal waters and let your worries melt away.

When it comes to dining, La Fortuna offers a variety of local cuisine options. Try traditional Costa Rican dishes such as casado, a plate of rice, beans, salad, and your choice of protein, or indulge in some delicious ceviche made with fresh local seafood.

Recommended activities in La Fortuna:

  • Visit Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Explore the La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Indulge in a relaxing soak at the hot springs
  • Try traditional Costa Rican cuisine

La Fortuna Waterfall

Table: Top Attractions in La Fortuna

Attraction Description
Arenal Volcano National Park A park known for its active volcano and diverse wildlife.
La Fortuna Waterfall A stunning waterfall with a natural swimming pool.
Baldi Hot Springs A relaxing hot spring complex with multiple pools and amenities.
Local Cuisine Try traditional Costa Rican dishes at local restaurants.

Day 2: La Fortuna

After a thrilling first day exploring the wonders of La Fortuna, get ready for a more relaxed and rejuvenating experience on day two. Today, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the renowned Baldi Hot Springs, where you can soak in the therapeutic mineral-rich waters.

Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance as you unwind in one of the many natural hot springs surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. The soothing warmth of the water combined with the idyllic surroundings creates an oasis of relaxation. Take your time to enjoy the various pools and temperature options, each offering a unique experience.

As you bask in the rejuvenating waters, take a moment to appreciate the breathtaking views of the Arenal Volcano. The steam rising from its peak adds to the magical atmosphere, making your visit to the hot springs even more memorable. Don’t forget to indulge in some delicious local cuisine available at the on-site restaurants, offering a delightful combination of flavors.

“The Baldi Hot Springs is the perfect place to unwind and recharge. The stunning natural surroundings combined with the soothing mineral waters create a truly blissful experience.”

– Local Costa Rican Travel Guide

Additional Activities:

  • Experience a relaxing massage or spa treatment at the hot springs.
  • Indulge in a delicious cocktail from one of the poolside bars.
  • Join a yoga or meditation session amidst the serene surroundings.

Baldi Hot Springs

Table: Baldi Hot Springs Information

Opening Hours 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Entry Fee $45 per person (includes access to all pools)
Location La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Amenities Restaurants, bars, spa services, towel rentals

Day 3: Monteverde

On the third day of your Costa Rica adventure, you will head to the stunning town of Monteverde. Known for its breathtaking cloud forests and rich biodiversity, Monteverde offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

One of the highlights of Monteverde is the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest. Explore the lush greenery and discover a variety of plant and animal species. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you hike through the trails and witness the enchanting fog that blankets the forest.

In addition to the cloud forest, there are plenty of other exciting activities to do in Monteverde. You can soar through the treetops on a thrilling zipline adventure, getting a bird’s eye view of the forest below. For those looking for a more relaxed activity, try a coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane tour, where you can learn about and sample the local flavors.

Experience the natural wonders of Monteverde, from the mystical cloud forest to exhilarating ziplining adventures. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of this unique destination.

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Things to do in Monteverde:

  • Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Go on a thrilling zipline adventure
  • Take a coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane tour
  • Embark on a nighttime wildlife walk


Attraction Description
Monteverde Cloud Forest A mystical cloud forest offering stunning hiking trails and a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Zipline Adventure Soar through the treetops on an exhilarating zipline tour and experience the thrill of being high above the forest.
Coffee, Chocolate, and Sugar Cane Tour Learn about the process of coffee, chocolate, and sugar production while enjoying delicious samples.
Nighttime Wildlife Walk Explore the forest at night with a knowledgeable guide and spot unique nocturnal animals.

Day 4: Monteverde

On the fourth day of your Costa Rica adventure, you have the opportunity to explore the breathtaking Santa Elena Cloud Forest in Monteverde. This unique and diverse ecosystem is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature lovers.

One of the best ways to experience the Santa Elena Cloud Forest is by taking a guided tour. Knowledgeable local guides will lead you through the forest, pointing out interesting plants, animals, and bird species along the way. Keep your camera ready, as you might spot some rare and colorful bird species, such as the resplendent quetzal.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also embark on a thrilling zipline tour through the canopy of the cloud forest. Soar through the treetops and enjoy breathtaking views of the forest below. It’s an adrenaline-pumping experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

“The Santa Elena Cloud Forest is a true hidden gem in Monteverde. The lush greenery, unique wildlife, and peaceful atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.”

Other Things to Do in Monteverde

  • Take a coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane tour to learn about the rich agricultural heritage of the region.
  • Embark on a nighttime wildlife walk to spot creatures that come alive after dark.
  • Visit the Monteverde Butterfly Garden to see colorful butterflies in their natural habitat.
  • Explore the charming town of Santa Elena, where you can find local shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

With so much to offer, Monteverde is a destination that should not be missed during your one-week trip to Costa Rica.

Day 5: Manuel Antonio

On the fifth day of your Costa Rica adventure, you will travel from Monteverde to the breathtaking coastal town of Manuel Antonio. Known for its pristine beaches and abundant wildlife, Manuel Antonio offers a perfect blend of relaxation and outdoor activities.

Manuel Antonio National Park

One of the main highlights of Manuel Antonio is the Manuel Antonio National Park. This protected area is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including monkeys, sloths, and exotic birds. Take a hike through the park’s scenic trails and keep an eye out for wildlife sightings. Don’t forget to relax on the park’s stunning beaches, where you can swim in crystal-clear waters and soak up the sun.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, you can also try out various water activities such as snorkeling and kayaking in the park’s pristine marine reserve. Explore the vibrant coral reefs and encounter colorful tropical fish in their natural habitat.

Other Things to Do in Manuel Antonio

  • Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the bustling main street of Manuel Antonio, lined with shops, restaurants, and local vendors offering unique souvenirs.
  • Embark on a thrilling zip-lining adventure through the lush rainforest canopy, giving you a bird’s-eye view of this stunning natural paradise.
  • Indulge in delicious seafood dishes at the local beachfront restaurants, where you can savor the fresh flavors of the Pacific Ocean.

Manuel Antonio truly offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking to relax on pristine beaches, explore diverse wildlife, or engage in thrilling outdoor activities. With its natural beauty and vibrant atmosphere, it’s no wonder Manuel Antonio is a must-visit destination in Costa Rica.

Day 6: Manuel Antonio

On the sixth day of your Costa Rica adventure, you’ll find yourself in the beautiful coastal town of Manuel Antonio. Known for its stunning beaches and lush rainforests, Manuel Antonio offers a range of thrilling activities and breathtaking natural beauty.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, zip-lining through the rainforest canopy is a must-do. Strap on your harness, feel the wind in your hair, and soar through the treetops, taking in panoramic views of the sparkling ocean and vibrant greenery below. It’s an exhilarating experience that will make your heart race and create memories that will last a lifetime.

After your thrilling zip-lining adventure, why not wind down with a sunset dinner at one of Manuel Antonio’s local restaurants? Indulge in delicious Costa Rican cuisine while taking in the mesmerizing colors of the sunset painting the sky. Whether you’re savoring fresh seafood, traditional dishes, or international fare, the combination of good food and breathtaking views is the perfect way to end your day in Manuel Antonio.

Day 7: Conclusion

Congratulations on completing your one-week adventure in Costa Rica! Over the past week, you have experienced the best that this beautiful country has to offer, from the stunning landscapes of La Fortuna and Monteverde to the breathtaking beaches of Manuel Antonio. It’s time to reflect on your journey and share some concluding thoughts on your Costa Rica trip.

Throughout your 1-week adventure, you’ve been immersed in the rich natural beauty of Costa Rica. From hiking through lush rainforests to witnessing the majestic Arenal Volcano, every moment has been filled with awe and wonder. The diverse wildlife and vibrant ecosystems have provided countless opportunities for exploration and discovery.

But Costa Rica is not just about its natural beauty – it’s also about the warm hospitality of its people. From the friendly locals to the delicious local cuisine, you’ve experienced the genuine warmth and charm that makes Costa Rica such a welcoming destination. Whether it was enjoying a traditional “gallo pinto” breakfast or engaging in conversations with locals, you’ve truly embraced the pura vida lifestyle.

As you prepare to depart from San Jose, take a moment to reflect on the memories you’ve created during your 1-week trip. Remember the exhilaration of ziplining through the cloud forests, the soothing relaxation of the hot springs, and the breathtaking views from the mountaintops. Your adventure in Costa Rica will be etched in your memory forever, and it’s an experience that will leave you yearning to return and explore more of this incredible country.

Costa Rica in a Nutshell:

Highlights Recommendations
Natural Beauty Explore Arenal Volcano National Park and hike to the La Fortuna Waterfall.
Adventure Go ziplining through Monteverde’s cloud forests or take a nighttime wildlife walk.
Beach Bliss Relax on the stunning beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Local Cuisine Indulge in the delicious flavors of traditional Costa Rican dishes, such as gallo pinto and ceviche.
Pura Vida Lifestyle Embrace the laid-back and friendly vibe of the Costa Rican people.

As you bid farewell to Costa Rica, carry the spirit of pura vida with you. Embrace the adventurous and relaxed nature of this beautiful country and let it inspire you to seek new experiences and appreciate the beauty of the world around you. Your one-week trip may have come to an end, but the memories and lessons learned will last a lifetime.

Best Things to do Near Alajuela / San Jose

Near Alajuela and San Jose, there are several attractions and experiences that you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Costa Rica. From natural wonders to cultural delights, here are some of the best things to do in the area:

1. Volcan Poas

Embark on an adventure to Volcan Poas, one of Costa Rica’s most famous and active volcanoes. Witness the breathtaking beauty of the crater, surrounded by lush vegetation and a stunning lake. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the panoramic views from the observation deck.

2. Doka Coffee Plantation Tour

Indulge in a unique coffee experience with a tour of the Doka Coffee Plantation. Learn about the fascinating process of coffee production, from cultivation to roasting. Sample freshly brewed coffee and discover the rich flavors that make Costa Rican coffee renowned around the world.

3. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Explore the lush rainforest and be mesmerized by the breathtaking waterfalls. Visit the animal sanctuary and get up close with toucans, monkeys, and jaguars. Don’t miss the butterfly garden and hummingbird gallery for a truly enchanting experience.

4. Zoo Ave

For animal lovers, a visit to Zoo Ave is a must. This wildlife rescue center is home to over 100 species of birds and animals, including macaws, sloths, and jaguars. Learn about their conservation efforts and get a chance to see these incredible creatures up close.

5. Local Foodie Experiences

Discover the vibrant flavors of Costa Rican cuisine through local foodie experiences. Visit traditional markets like Central Market in San Jose and Mercado Municipal in Alajuela. Try authentic dishes such as gallo pinto (rice and beans), ceviche, and casado (a typical Costa Rican plate). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a refreshing agua dulce (sugarcane juice) or a cup of delicious Costa Rican coffee.

With these incredible activities near Alajuela and San Jose, your Costa Rica adventure is sure to be unforgettable. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, indulge in local flavors, and create lasting memories in this tropical paradise.

Where to Stay in Alajuela / San Jose

Choosing the right accommodations can greatly enhance your experience in Alajuela and San Jose. Whether you prefer budget-friendly options or luxurious hotels, there are plenty of choices to suit every traveler’s needs. Here are some recommended accommodations in both cities:

Accommodations in Alajuela:

  • Hotel Mango: Located in the heart of Alajuela, Hotel Mango offers comfortable rooms at affordable prices. The hotel is known for its friendly staff and convenient location, making it a great option for budget travelers.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton: For those seeking a more upscale experience, Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton provides modern and spacious rooms with a range of amenities. The hotel also features an outdoor pool and fitness center.
  • Hotel La Guaria Inn & Suites: Situated near Juan Santamaria International Airport, Hotel La Guaria Inn & Suites offers comfortable accommodations with easy access to the airport. The hotel provides free airport shuttle service and complimentary breakfast.

Accommodations in San Jose:

  • Grano de Oro: Grano de Oro is a boutique hotel located in the heart of San Jose. It offers elegant rooms, a rooftop terrace, and an acclaimed restaurant that serves fusion cuisine. The hotel is known for its personalized service and attention to detail.
  • Hotel Presidente: Situated in the city center, Hotel Presidente is a popular choice for travelers seeking a convenient location. The hotel features comfortable rooms, a rooftop bar with panoramic views, and a restaurant serving local and international dishes.
  • Hotel Grano Azul: Hotel Grano Azul offers cozy and affordable accommodations in the historic Barrio Amón neighborhood of San Jose. The hotel has a charming garden and a communal kitchen where guests can prepare their own meals.

When booking your stay, consider the location, amenities, and reviews of each accommodation to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience during your time in Alajuela and San Jose.

Getting a SIM Card for Travel in Costa Rica

If you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica and want to stay connected during your adventures, getting a SIM card is a convenient option. With a Costa Rican SIM card, you can enjoy reliable mobile connectivity throughout the country, allowing you to make calls, send messages, and access the internet.

Obtaining a SIM card in Costa Rica is relatively easy. You can purchase one from local mobile service providers, such as Claro, Movistar, or Kolbi. These providers offer different prepaid SIM card options that include data, voice, and text services. Simply visit one of their stores, present your passport, and choose the best plan for your needs.

Using a SIM card in Costa Rica is straightforward. Once you have your SIM card, insert it into your unlocked mobile device. You may need to configure your device’s APN settings, which can usually be found in the device’s settings menu. Once your SIM card is activated, you’ll be able to enjoy mobile data and stay connected wherever you go.

Having a Costa Rican SIM card will ensure that you have access to mobile connectivity throughout your trip. Whether you’re exploring the lush rainforests, relaxing on beautiful beaches, or immersing yourself in the vibrant local culture, having a reliable connection will enhance your travel experience and allow you to stay connected with friends and family.


Can I modify the itinerary to fit my preferences?

Absolutely! This itinerary serves as a guide, but feel free to make adjustments based on your interests and preferences. Costa Rica offers a wide range of activities and attractions, so you can tailor your trip to suit your needs.

How do I get from San Jose to La Fortuna?

The most convenient way to travel from San Jose to La Fortuna is by bus or private transportation. The journey takes around 3-4 hours, and buses are available throughout the day. Private transfers offer more flexibility and can be arranged through tour operators or your accommodation.

Are there vegetarian/vegan options available in Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is known for its fresh and diverse cuisine, which caters to different dietary preferences. Many restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options, and you can also find dedicated vegetarian/vegan establishments in popular tourist areas.

Do I need to book activities in advance?

It is recommended to book certain activities in advance, especially popular tours and attractions. This ensures availability and guarantees your spot. However, some activities can be booked on the day of your visit, depending on availability.

What should I pack for my trip to Costa Rica?

It is recommended to pack lightweight, breathable clothing, comfortable shoes for outdoor activities, swimwear, sunscreen, a hat, insect repellent, a reusable water bottle, and a rain jacket or poncho. Don’t forget your camera to capture the incredible scenery!

Is it safe to travel in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it is always important to take common safety precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and securing your belongings. It is also advisable to have travel insurance to cover any unforeseen incidents.

Can I use US dollars in Costa Rica?

While US dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas, it is recommended to have some local currency, Costa Rican colones, for smaller establishments and markets. You can exchange your money at banks or withdraw colones from ATMs.

What is the best time to visit Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has two main seasons, the dry season (December to April) and the rainy season (May to November). The best time to visit depends on your preferences. The dry season offers sunny days and is popular for outdoor activities, while the rainy season brings lush landscapes and fewer crowds.

Do I need a visa to enter Costa Rica?

Most travelers from the United States, Canada, and European Union countries do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica for stays up to 90 days. However, it is important to check the latest visa requirements for your specific country of residence before your trip.

What is the voltage and plug type in Costa Rica?

The voltage in Costa Rica is 120V, and the plug type is Type A and B. If your electronic devices use a different voltage or plug type, you may need a voltage converter or adapter.

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