Costa Rica on a Budget: Can it be Done?

Costa Rica on a Budget: Can it be Done?

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Costa Rica has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful destinations in Central America. But it also has a reputation for being quite an expensive place too. Some of the vacation rentals in Costa Rica can cost several hundreds of dollars per night. Luckily other types of accommodation are much more affordable. While you’ll probably hear how expensive it is to travel to Costa Rice, it might not be as bad as everyone says.

How Expensive is it to Travel to Costa Rica?

The easiest way to compare the price of Costa Rica is to expect prices in the same range as back home. This might seem a bit unusual given its location in Central America. Prices in bordering countries are a fraction of the price. But unfortunately, it’s true. Because of the highly developed tourist infrastructure and the endless influx of tourists, the costs in Costa Rica are quite high.

There are lots of ways to have a more affordable trip. Some tourists claim to travel quite comfortably on less than $50 per day by choosing affordable accommodation, relying on public transport and eating at the local restaurants.

The Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica

Depending on how much time you have and the must-visit attractions you want to visit, it might be easy to find ways to cut the costs. Hostels and campsites are located in almost every corner of Costa Rica with very affordable prices. The guesthouses and homestays are also good value for money. Some hostels along the coastlines have ahammock for just a few dollars per night.

What about if you’re travelling with kids? Well, the prices tend to be mid-range for basic hotels and Airbnb,and you should expect to spend a few hundred dollars over the course of your trip. But if you want to cut the costs, try to visit outside the peak season.

How Much Does it Cost to Eat and Drink

There are two choices. The first is to eat at the international restaurants and bars found in all the major tourist destinations. If you go to one of these, expect the prices to be high and similar to the United States. Typical mealscost at least $20 per person. Expect decent portions and good table service inside comfortable restaurants.

The second is to visit and eat at the sodas. In Costa Rica, family-owned sodas serve up typical Costa Rican meals, which often includes portions of rice and beans for approximately 30% of the price elsewhere. And not only will it save you a few dollars but it gives you an idea of the local way of life and culture too. If you try to eat inside one of these family-run restaurants, you’ll end up saving a significant amount over your trip. Walk a few minutes away from the central areas and you’ll probably find one. Or ask a local where their favorite eatery is.

Getting Around

The fastest way to get from one destination to the next in Costa Rica is to take advantage of the short flights. A domestic flight often takes around 30 minutes and will get you to your destination in no time at all. Expect a one-way ticket to cost more than $100 per person.

When tourists first arrive in Costa Rica, one of the first things they do is rent a car. Having acar gives you the flexibility to get around at your own pace. But, rental prices are ridiculously steep costing in the region of $400 for a single week. This is much higher than in the United States and many countries around Europe. The reason for the high price is that you have to buy mandatory insurance.

But, despite the high costs, there’s a little bit of good news. Public transport is cheap. Getting around the towns or citiesusingthe bus costs a few dollars. And taking a bus rather than flying often saves around $100 per person. If you have the time and can spend four or five hours on the bus, the extra money saved will probably cover accommodation for the next few days.

Sightseeing in Costa Rica

Fans of the outdoors often rave about how fantastic Costa Rica is to visit. There are lots of opportunities to go ziplining through the rainforest canopies, surfing, kayaking, rafting, snorkeling and diving. Not to mention the vast diversity of landscapes, national parks, wildlife and volcanoes.Having one of these incredible experiences will come at a price.

Depending on what you want to do, expect to spend at least a couple of hundred dollars if you really want to experience Costa Rica. And getting a tour guide when you go inside the national parks comes highly recommended. However, if you’re on a tighter budget and happy to skip the canopy walk or miss out on kayaking along the rivers,then you’ll save much more. There are lots of free things to experience in Costa Rica and endless stretches of coastline for anyone looking to save a couple of dollars.

Costa Rica on a Budget

So, can it be done? The short answer is yes. The costs might be high compared to other parts of Central America and similar to back at home. But it’s not as bad as you might think. If you’re savvy, it’s possible to visit Costa Rica without spending more than $40 to $50 per day. But you might need to skip a few of the activities. Set realistic expectations about the total cost of your dream trip.

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