The road is calling your name. Endless paths, surprises and sights to see; windows down, tunes on, and nowhere to be. For the adventurous, wanderlust-driven traveler, a Costa Rican road trip will satiate your soul. There are innumerable destination you can pick for your road trip itinerary and Costa Rica is a relatively easy country to navigate by car. With a little bit of planning, the perfect road trip is just around the corner.
Most major airlines fly into the Juan Sanatamaria International Airport. This is also where you will pick up your rental car. It is highly recommended that you reserve a 4×4 and purchase insurance. Car rentals can be a bit pricey but the benefits will far outweigh the cost.
While there are points where the road gets a bit curvy, the drive from San José to La Fortuna isn’t too treacherous. This part of Costa Rica is a must-see, especially for nature-lovers and adventure-seekers – and you can visit as part of a small group of culturally curious travellers by joining Culture Trip’s specially curated nine-day Costa Rica trip. Near La Fortuna, you will find the Arenal Volcano National Park, an impressive forest which hosts a great assortment of wildlife and exotic plants. There are fabulous white-water rafting tours, horseback riding trips, hanging bridges, rainforest walks, and for when you’re ready to call it a day, a few different accommodation-options ranging from hostels to five-star boutique hotels and resorts. We recommend you spend at least two full days exploring the area.
Experience it with Culture Trip on our epic nine-day Costa Rica adventure, led by our Local Insider.
After spending time in the sleepy cloud-forests of Monteverde, a few days in Tamarindo will be a welcome change of pace. Tamarindo is a melting pot of cultures from around the world. There are over a 100 different dining options, multiple two for one (drinks) sunset spots on the beach, several yoga studios, incredible boutiques, surf lessons, and all night parties (if that’s your thing). Tamarindo is also an excellent starting point to explore the surrounding beaches, embark on adventure tours, and explore the flora and fauna of the dry forest.
There are two different routes from Tamarindo to Santa Teresa. The coastal route should only be taken if you are road tripping during the dry season months. Both routes offer quite splendid scenery. You will also drive through little towns where you can stop for homemade empanadas or a casados at any of the sodas (small restaurants which serve local food) along the way. Santa Teresa has a beautiful bohemian vibe and is a great destination for those looking to surf, hike to waterfalls, do yoga, and or just zen-out and relax in one a picturesque beach setting. There are also a wide variety of accommodation and dining options in Santa Teresa to meet every traveler’s needs.
While you can drive to Manuel Antonio from Santa Teresa, the best and most exciting option is to take the ferry across the Gulf of Nicoya with your car. There is a ferry that leaves once a day from Montezuma, just a short drive from Santa Teresa. The ferry takes approximately three and a half hours. This is a unique opportunity to experience Costa Rica from the sea (and get a well earned break from driving). Manuel Antonio is home to one of Costa Rica’s most famous national parks — a very special place where dense rainforest meets the area’s stunning beaches. The flora and fauna is rich and quite diverse here. All in all, a nature-lovers paradise.
The end of the road is coming soon, unless of course you decide to keep venturing on. There is actually a great selection of cafes, restaurants, museums, and boutique hotels in San José for those who want a few extra days in Costa Rica. The surrounding areas of San José also offer some great adventure tours like zip lining, white-water rafting, horseback riding, and hiking. You can also participate in some very informative, and delicious, coffee and chocolate tours.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.