Help need with Costa Rica itinerary in May!


Hello everyone,

I have five full days to spend in May, arriving Monday morning and leaving Saturday morning from San Jose.

My wish list includes seeing a volcano, hiking to sloths, and seeing a pretty beach!

It sounds like La Fortuna is great place to start but Arenal is dormant. Also, no sloths.

I’ve given up on Manuel Antonio as it sounds like the park is really just Costa Rica’s Times Square full of tourist with hustling guides & parking attendants.

Any suggestions at all for how I could see an active volcano or a pretty beach in my short 5 days?

Doesn’t it seem like a waste to spend my entire trip just in La Fortuna?


I agree about Manuel Antonio, which is small, really crowded, and not terribly pleasant to be in.


Any places you really enjoyed in the La Fortuna area that you’d recommend?


Sorry to say we did not go there.


There are 3 volcanoes close to San Jose and any of them can be visited on an easy day trip. Poas and Turrialba are active and blowing their lids as we speak. Do some research and, of course, check locally because the National Parks surrounding these two might be closed due to eruptions. Irazu volcano is nearby and equally as beautiful. As for the rest of your trip, my advice is to head south. Beautiful beaches abound about an hour south of Manuel Antonio. Among them Dominical, Uvita and the Marino Ballena National Park. Or, if your feeling really adventurous, head down to the Osa Peninsula (Drakes Bay). Sloth sightings guaranteed! May is a great time to visit, less crowded and the start of the rainy season. It will be a million shades of green! Enjoy!


Thanks a lot! We decided to head towards the Puerto Viejo side and check out Turrialba. The park is closed due to the activity but there are places nearby we can go for sights. We’re also hoping to hike Irazu is the weather is nice.

After much research we decided to skip the Manual Antonio area all together.


Sounds like a solid plan. PV is a great spot and won’t be crowded in May. I lived in Manuel Antonio for 20+ years and unfortunately it has changed immensely. But, as the saying goes, “if you live in a beautiful place, people will come visit.” Have fun! Pura Vida!