Many people want to know how many days they need to visit Costa Rica. The short answer is that I have been running tours in Costa Rica for the last 15 years and I still need time to see it all. Always something new in Costa Rica so just plan on coming back. But here is a simple breakdown of what you can do with different amount of days:
3 Days: Staying in Costa Rica for a long weekend you will have the option of flying into Liberia Airport which is a short 40 minutes from some beautiful beaches. If your stay is only three days you probably won’t plan on doing much outside of the hotel to avoid spending too much time in a car. Another option is to fly into the San Jose airport and try to get in on an early flight and head to the Central Pacific beaches which will be a two or three hour drive. Every hour counts when you only have the long weekend so flight times are essential.
4 – 5 Days: Now that you have a few extra days you have the luxury of visiting at least two different areas. Because time is still short visiting areas that have easy access though “touristy” is probably the most efficient. For this time frame you can easily do an Arenal Volcano to Guanacaste trip flying in and out of Liberia Airport. Or you could fly into San Jose and visit the Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens and then head to Manuel Antonio. You can get a lot done if you have things planned out in advance.
6 – 9 Days: This is the ideal time for a Costa Rica trip. This will allow for sightseeing, adventure, culture, and some beach time. To be honest the options are unlimited and we always try to convince our guests to venture over to Turrialba and see the smoking volcano, fewer tourists, and Nat Geo’s third most scenic river on the planet, the Pacuare River. So much to see and do with this amount of time and having the right company and guide to organize the trip will make all the difference in the world.
Keep in mind that nine days in Costa Rica you will still leave some amazing sites unseen, but as we mentioned before the only real way to experience it all is to keep coming back to Pura Vida land.