5 Day RoadTrip In Costa Rica

PURA VIDA, a phrase that you will hear and see everywhere in Costa Rica and it means "pure life" or "simple life".

In the beginning of this year we did a 5 day road trip in Costa Rica and it exceeded our expectations in every aspect. This amazing country has so much to offer - incredible mountains, tropical rainforests, pristine beaches, beautiful waterfalls, natural hot springs and active volcanoes.

Getting around Costa Rica is relatively easy, we highly recommend renting a car that makes exploring this country so much easier. For the most part the roads are well paved, but time to time you'll see potholes on the roads or will be driving on a dirt road, so prefer renting a car with higher ground clearance.

We rented a 4x4 from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, since we get a corporate discount with them. However, the local buses are a good option as well if you're travelling on budget.

Here's how to spend 5 days in Costa Rica

Day 1: Arriving in San José

We arrived in San José ( at one of the two International airports) late in the afternoon and picked up our car rental. San José is the capital of Costa Rica, a bustling city surrounded with nature. We spent the evening strolling around the Central market, listening to some live music on the streets and eating delicious food.

However, there are so many other amazing places to see in Costa Rica, so we advise staying only a night in San José, or if you are short on time you can totally skip this city.

Day 2: Montezuma

We left San José in the morning, drove to Puntarenas ferry dock, took the ferry to Paquera dock and then drove to our destination, Montezuma. The ferry takes about an hour and a half from Puntarenas to Paquera and is a very comfortable ride. But just be mindful the ferry runs on a schedule so plan to leave accordingly.

Montezuma is a small town known for its quiet beaches, thick jungles and rich wildlife and is filled with vibrant community of locals & mostly backpackers. The beaches were so beautiful and the best part, this area is not overly crowded.

We spent the afternoon taking dips in the water and laying on the beach, followed by a delicious lunch eating Casado, which is the most traditional dish in Costa Rican cuisine.

Later in the evening we went to Santa Teresa beach, its a short 30 minutes drive from Montezuma and this area has total Tulum vibes.

This beach had such a bohemian vibe to it, people were surfing, playing music on the beach, setting campfires, with palm trees in the backdrop and blue water in the front this place was just magic.

For our stay in Montezuma, we had booked a lovely tree house and in the morning we woke up to sounds of birds and trees. Sitting in the balcony with a cup of coffee in our hands, overlooking a beautiful view was an amazing experience.

Day 3: Samara

Samara is one of my favourite places in Costa Rica. This place is great for beginners surfing, horse riding and also has some great hikes.

There are beaches that caters to everyone's need. Samara beach is where you'll find lot of surfers, people chilling at the beach and yachts sailing in the water.

Playa Carrillo on the other hand is a quiet, secluded, beautiful beach where all you hear is waves crashing, leaves rustling and birds chirping.

Day 4: Monteverde

Monteverde is Spanish for "green mountains" and is know for its Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. The forest is home to thousands of wildlife and plant species. As you hike the trails you'll feel fully immersed in nature.

In our opinion it's a good idea to hire a professional guide who will lead you to all the best spots with amazing views and show you the surrounding wildlife, as the wildlife is so camouflaged that it becomes really hard to see them.

There are also night tours, which usually begins in the early evening, as there are many many nocturnal animals in the forest.

For all adrenaline junkies, there are other adventurous activities like zip lining.

Day 5: La Fortuna

La Fortuna is a small town that totally lives up to it's hype and is also know as gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park. This was the last destination of our road trip. Arenal volcano is an active volcano still laced with lava flows.

There are plenty of things to do in La Fortuna. We started our day by visiting Rio Celeste waterfall, drove around Arenal volcano, took a dip in Rio Fortuna waterfall, drank way too much coffee (PS - Costa Rica is heaven for coffee lovers) and to wrap up our day we soaked ourselves in natural hot springs at Baldi Hot Springs Resort.

It was an epic adventure exploring Costa Rica and we are really looking forward to visit this country again soon.

Watch our full Costa Rica Travel Series on YouTube!!

If you have never been to Costa Rica, be sure to add this in your bucket list.


Shabnam (and Sid)