Are you presently preparing to embark on your dream trip to Costa Rica and wondering, is costa rica expensive?
One of the most stunning and naturally diverse nations in Central America is Costa Rica. National parks in the nation are renowned for being as diverse as the nation itself. Don’t pass up the opportunity to visit an active volcano in Arenal or the stunning green crater lake in Poas. At Manual Antonio, unwind on the beach while watching monkeys, while at Cahuita, take in the Caribbean atmosphere.
You don’t go to this country to experience city life. The “pura vida” and the country’s natural beauty are its main attractions. Come here to watch sea turtles hatching or to enjoy a cloud forest.
A lot of tourist services, including affordable hotels, dining options, and holiday packages, are available in Costa Rica as a result of the country’s popularity. If you’re pressed for time, you can also take a tourist bus, which travels the routes more quickly than the local buses. You can see a lot of the country in a short period because of its modest size and accessibility. Costa Rica should be more than just a tour of the sights, so do think about your possibilities.
- A weeklong Costa Rica trip cost one person approximately $1,800 or above.
- A weeklong trip to Costa Rica cost two persons approximately $3,000 or above.
- A two-week trip in Costa Rica can set you back $3,000-5,000 for two people.
- The cost of a trip for a family of three or four often decreases, because child tickets are less expensive and hotel rooms may be shared.
Note: Your daily budget will decrease as you move more slowly and for a longer amount of time. In Costa Rica, two persons traveling jointly for one month can frequently spend less per day than one person traveling alone for one week.
I’ll outline all the information you require in this article to travel to Costa Rica on a tight budget.
Colones are used as the local currency of Costa Rica. There are occasions when you can pay in USD for lodging and trips, but attempt to swap for the local currency just in case. To pay at nearby restaurants and other businesses, you’ll need local currency.
539.22 colones = 1$
I advise against changing money at the airport because the exchange rates there are frequently higher. Wait until you reach San Jose or another city or town before exchanging money at a bank there.
Moreover, think about having a debit or credit card with no international transaction fees so you won’t be charged when you use an ATM to withdraw foreign currency.
The cost of your international airline to get there will be one of the budget items that are most subject to change (see saving tips). The total travel costa rica prices for seven or ten days indicated above were calculated using our standard range of $400 to $600 round way from the United States for 2 people.
Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, or Denver are the most common starting points for direct flights from the United States to Costa Rica. We’ve seen round-trip flights costing between $250 and $850 from these gateway cities to San José, Costa Rica’s principal airport (SJO). Before, it was more expensive to fly into LIR, the other international airport outside of Liberia, which is located close to Guanacaste’s northwest beaches.
Anything under $500 roundtrip to SJO and anything under $550 roundtrip to LIR from cities like New York or Chicago is a wonderful price. If you’re not flying from one of the cities with direct service, you’ll pay an additional $100 to $200 for the first leg of your flight.
Remember that airfare costs for vacationing in Costa Rica can vary based on the season.
- The dry season is considered the high season when airfares are typically higher (December to April).
- Flights are typically less expensive during the wet season, or the low season (May to November).
The good news is that Costa Rica has various microclimates spread out across the nation. For instance, the dry season on the eastern Caribbean coast coincides with the wet season in western Guanacaste. As a result, you can travel at the time of year with inexpensive flights and yet experience the benefits of the dry season.
Note: Travel Costa Rica packages rarely include flight because it’s so simple for people to discover their deals. To find the best offers, search flights on Skyscanner! Keep in mind that you can nearly eliminate your flight expenses if you have miles and points. Only taxes and fees need to be paid!
There are many different types of lodging available in Costa Rica, from opulent resorts to inexpensive hostels. Accommodation costs often range from $15 to $400 per night for couples.
San Jose: You can select from cheap to five-star hotels in San Jose, the nation’s capital. If you’re looking for more affordable lodging options, head to Chinatown. There, you can stay at places like the straightforward but spotless Guesthouse. The region around La Sabana Park or Spirogyra Butterfly Garden is where you should go if you’re searching for something a little posher or the slightly more luxurious and cozy hotel in the city. These areas are where you may find lovely hotels also these choices have up-to-date amenities, gyms, swimming pools, and an ideal downtown location.
Basic- $35 per night for two people
Moderate- $91 per night for two people.
Luxurious- $130 to $245 per night for two persons.
La Fortuna: Rather than staying in one of the larger resorts, opt for the Arenal Oasis Ecolodge on the outskirts of town. It was a lovely spot to stay even though there were no hot springs on the grounds. Howler monkeys and jungle sounds may be heard at night from private bungalows and cottages that were situated in the rainforest. Throughout the day, guests are free to roam the grounds and the hotel’s famed Frog Walk, which takes place at night. The staff was courteous, and arranging transportation and cabs inside the city was simple. The cost of the room included breakfast, and a fairly reasonable dinner menu was offered at the hotel’s restaurant.
Basic- $30 per night for two people
Moderate- $73 per night for two people.
Luxurious- $200 to $400 per night for two persons.
Monteverde: The Santa Elena downtown area was roughly a 3-minute walk from where we stayed. Our accommodation was roomy, and it included a sizable patio where we could relax in the midday sun or at night watch the sunset over the Nicoya Peninsula. Breakfast and dinner were both provided at the hotel. Friendly and accommodating staff helped us arrange a private car to take us to Manuel Antonio’s next stop.
Basic- $16 per night for two people
Moderate- $70 per night for two people.
Luxurious- $200 to $250 per night for two persons.
Manuel Antonio: Sea vistas and jungle moods are the norms in Manuel Antonio, and with so many breathtaking alternatives to pick from, it’s difficult to resist getting carried away. The Hotel Manuel Antonio Park was where we stayed; it was spotless, cozy, and only a 5-minute walk from both the town’s public beach and the national park. The restaurant was open all day for snacks and meals, and breakfast was also provided.
Basic- $50-$80 per night for two people
Moderate- $152 per night for two people.
Luxurious- $150 to $396 per night for two persons.
Volcan Poaz: We stayed at an amazing hotel, which I believed to be close to Volcan Poaz, after renting a car to travel back to the San Jose region. We only spent one night there, although we would have liked to spend longer. You need a car to get there, but the view is worth it! The views from the hotel, which is perched on a hill above the plantations, were breathtaking. There were toucans in the trees, and the setting was tranquil. The following day, though, the drive to the volcano took about an hour.
Basic- $34 per night for two people
Moderate- $80 per night for two people.
Luxurious- $170 to $250 per night for two persons.
Note: From beachfront homes in Tamarindo to rustic treehouses in Monteverde, there are some extremely gorgeous Airbnbs strewn all around Costa Rica. It can be a terrific alternative to rent a home or flat through websites like Airbnb, with rates starting at $30 per night for a modest rental and running up to $300 or more for opulent residences.
Total accommodation cost: $400/one week for 2 person
Costa Rica offers reasonably priced food and drinks. For incredibly low costs, savor delectable food such as superb coffee, delectable gallo pinto, casado, or sopa negra.
There are different pricing ranges to pick from, with more affordable selections accessible at grocery stores, discount stores, and eateries that cater to working people distant from popular tourist destinations. Olla de carne, a hearty beef stew that is ideal for the morning after a night of drinking Costa Rican beer, and sopa de mariscos, a seafood soup that is frequently served with a creamy coconut base and is piled high and fresh on the seafront marisqueras, are two delectable dishes that you are likely to find in more local restaurants.
Going outside to uncover authentic, regional flavors at a fraction of the price is always worthwhile because you can find that portions are less and prices are higher while eating in tourist regions. In no way is this a criticism of tourist restaurants. But if you’re ready to spend extra, you’ll be treated to a flavor explosion and scrumptious cocktails. Also, you can eat food from other countries. The previously mentioned import tariffs make them more expensive if you feel that you miss the flavors of home. To give you a better sense, let’s now look at some of the base rates.
- Water (33 cl bottle) $1.52
- Pepsi and Coca-Cola (33 cl bottle) $1.80
- Cappuccino $2.93
- International Beer (33 cl bottle) 4.03
- Local beers (0.5 liters) $2.75
- A McDonald’s or Burger King menu is $8.25
- Two people dining out on a three-course meal for $49.86
- A budget restaurant’s daily menu is $9.17
Tip: In the majority of accommodations, breakfast is included. You can prepare sandwiches and pack snacks for lunches before going out to dinner. Also, one great approach to saving money is to prepare your meals. Depending on your interests and dietary requirements, 2 weeks’ worth of supplies will cost between $100 and $200 for 2-3 people.
Total food cost in Costa Rica: $30-$60 per day for a couple.
Costa Rica is very simple to navigate, while some places are more challenging. Public transit is first-rate in our nation. The simplest kind of transportation, buses can take passengers to most places. The buses are the best option for traveling to most sites unless you’re wanting to venture off the main route and need a rental car. It’s simple to get tickets, and they are typically dependable and comfy. For both experienced and novice travelers, it is the ideal choice.
In Costa Rica, as in many other places, public buses are the least expensive means of transportation. Yet Central American public transportation is generally backed up and moves quite slowly.
Buses are an option for travel, both local and long-distance. A local bus from San Jose to La Fortuna only costs $5 to $6 for the entire 3.5-hour journey. Use the public buses when you can if you’re seeking to save money in Costa Rica. Spanish practice is also a benefit of doing this.
Van or Minibus
A shared van or minibus is likely the most popular and next most affordable mode of transportation. Given the relative compactness of Costa Rica, a shared van can take you quite a distance. On a long voyage, the costs are more in the range of 20–30 USD, which isn’t too bad. You will be picked up and dropped off in more convenient locations by the van, which may also have air conditioning.
Although they are more expensive and the cost of the rides will add up, you can use taxis in Costa Rica. Use taxis for short trips or for going out to parties.
Taxis cost about US$1.28 for every kilometer (0.62 miles), therefore it is very likely that you may move quickly and conveniently inside the city or even go on day trips to national parks.
Nonetheless, we suggest a shared vehicle for longer trips throughout the nation. Finding other tourists to split the cost of travel in Costa Rica with is also fairly simple if you’re staying in a hostel.
Note: Several strategies exist for fusing Costa Rica travel costs with sightseeing. For instance, Costa Rica offers a lot of boats that can be used to travel downriver or even just too remote beaches (beware of crocodiles!). A local boat from the river port of Sierpe down to Drake Bay will cost between US$15 and US$20 and take around an hour, as an example of the Costa Rica cost of travel for this kind of travel. The price varies depending on the time of day.
Total transportation cost: $1000
The majority of the best activities in Costa Rica are free, which is one of the main factors making it simple to vacation there on a tight budget.
All you need to do to have a great day is explore nature in this country because it is so abundant in natural beauty. The top activities in Costa Rica are listed below, many of which may be completed on a tight budget.
Many national parks may be found in Costa Rica, each of which provides a different experience, including lush rainforests, immaculate beaches, and active volcanoes. Travelers can fully immerse themselves in the nation’s abundant biodiversity by exploring these varied regions.
Hiking: In Costa Rica, hiking is one of the most favored pastimes. One of the best national parks in Costa Rica for hiking is Corcovado National Park, followed by Arenal Volcano National Park and Santa Rosa National Park. While some parks and hiking trails are free, others have a $10 to $15 entrance fee. Yet, this is fairly inexpensive for such a beautiful setting. Due to the area’s abundance of walking routes and lush jungle, you can walk and explore for a relatively low cost.
Hanging Bridge: The Swamp Trail and the Cloud Forest Trail are two well-known trails that can be taken to experience the Hanging Bridges.
Depending on the length and kind of the tour, guided tours might cost anywhere between $30 to $150.
San Jose is an excellent starting point for many excursions, but there are also significant sights to see in the city. A 3-museum pass that includes the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, the National Museum of Costa Rica, and the Jade Museum, for instance, costs US$30. If you enjoy the cuisine, don’t miss the US$76.50 per person guided food and culture walk that includes dinner. It also counts as a free tour to visit the city’s numerous galleries or municipal crafts market. This is a fun method to discover more about the locals’ way of life and culture.
You may explore Costa Rica’s breathtaking scenery from fresh angles and make priceless memories by participating in sports like ziplining, white-water rafting, and surfing courses. There are numerous fun underwater activities, including snorkeling, sailing, fishing, and scuba experiences, for people who are more interested in the undersea world.
Snorkeling: A trip to Costa Rica cost with a sea kayaking and snorkeling adventure in Manuel Antonio costs US$70 per person, while a catamaran cruise with snorkeling costs US$81 per person. As there are overhead costs for the equipment and safety guards, these kinds of activities typically cost more.
Surfing: Surfing is a popular activity along the Pacific Coast at magnificent beaches like Playa Avellanas, Playa Negra, Playa Tamarindo, Playa Hermosa, and Playa Langosta.
Swimming: Swimming and surfing are free, but you might need to rent equipment if you’re traveling without a board. Fortunately, that is not too expensive in Costa Rica.
Ziplining: The cost of entering the reserve is $25, which is reasonable for a full day of thorough exploration. For between $50 and USD 80, you can also go ziplining. This costs extra, but it’s an incredible experience.
Normally, each individual must pay between $50 and $100 for these heart-pounding excursions. Price ranges may exist, but the thrill of riding big waves or soaring beyond the treetops is well worth the money.
Tours of Wildlife
From birding to turtle nesting, Costa Rica’s wildlife is a top attraction, drawing nature lovers from all over the world to see the astonishing variety of creatures in their natural surroundings.
Visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve as well to observe some of the rare and exotic wildlife. The most well-liked destination in Costa Rica for travelers on a tight budget is the Monteverde Cloud Forest. For guided tours, there is an additional charge of $10 to $20 per person. A knowledgeable guide who is familiar with the area’s flora and animals can greatly improve your experience, so keep that in mind.
Even the least expensive tours offer the chance to be amazed by Costa Rica’s remarkable biodiversity, however more expensive alternatives frequently include specialized equipment or access to distant sites.
There are numerous waterfalls to visit in Costa Rica, which is a very lush country. Visits to waterfalls are typically free; all you need to pay for is transportation.
In Costa Rica, sharing transportation for day visits to waterfalls is a given if you’re living at a hostel or participating in a work exchange.
A few of Costa Rica’s top waterfalls include Llanos de Cortez in Tamarindo, Río Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park, La Fortuna Waterfall close to Arenal Volcano, La Paz Waterfall close to San Jose, and Nauyaca Waterfall close to Dominical. When traveling on a tight budget to Costa Rica, you must see the breathtaking waterfalls there!
Total activities/entertainment cost: $800
Travel Insurance: In case of injury, misplaced luggage, and other situations, having this is a smart idea. It costs roughly $75 per person for a week in Costa Rica when we travel with World Nomads. Depending on your situation, this does change.
Tipping: For services like tours, restaurants, and hotels, tipping is always a good idea. 15-20% is customary at restaurants since it is similar to the US tipping custom. 10% service fees are frequently already included in restaurant bills; nonetheless, leaving a little more is pleasant. This may build up to about $100–150 for a pair over a week.
Extras: Remember to account for items like sunscreen, bug repellent, mementos, food, and beach chair rentals.
Souvenirs: Depending on what you wish to buy, save up to $100 if you enjoy collecting trip souvenirs.
Tax: Every person, regardless of age, is required to pay an exit tax before leaving Costa Rica.
Some Money-Saving Strategies To Visit Costa-Rica
In Costa Rica, there are numerous possibilities to cut costs. The following advice will help you get started:
1. Avoid drinking. In Costa Rica, drinking at bars can be very pricey. Although it’s not a lot of money, it may mount up quickly. If you’re on a tight budget, avoid (or reduce) your drinking.
2. Consume food at sodas. The inexpensive “sodas” are the neighborhood Tico eateries. Typically, casado, a common local dish, costs roughly $5.56. A rice and bean lunch will often cost between $5-$7 at sodas (cheap neighborhood eateries that serve traditional food). Tacos and empanadas can typically be found for around $3.71, while more filling dishes like casado (rice, beans, vegetables, and meat) and gallo pinto cost around $9.27.
3. Continue to reside in residence halls. One of your largest outgoings will always be lodging. Stay in hostel dorms to keep it under control. A nice location to stay can be found for $16–$20 per night, occasionally even less. Hostels abound all around the nation as well.
4. Couchsurfing. Not a fan of dorms? Use the website Couchsurfing to meet people who will let you stay at their homes for free. It’s a terrific way to make new friends and save money on lodging. Although there aren’t many hosts available, you can probably locate locals or ex-pats who will host you if you begin your search early.
5. Visit the Caribbean side. You may see this lovely country without paying the hefty prices of the well-liked Pacific resorts by traveling to the less expensive Caribbean side.
6. Avoid tourist buses. Local buses are considerably cheaper and much slower than tourist buses. Use the local buses if you aren’t in a rush.
7. Bring a water bottle. By filtering tap water for you, a water bottle with a purifier can help you save money (and thousands of plastic bottles).
8. Activate your inner chef. Go shopping at your neighborhood markets and prepare your meals to save money on food. You’ll also have a chance to experiment with regional flavors and ingredients. You might even come across your new favorite meal!
9. Discover free entertainment. Costa Rica is rife with free things to do like walking through quaint villages, exploring local markets, and hiking off-the-beaten-path paths. If you do some study, there are many methods to amuse yourself without spending any money.
10. Get local with your smartphone: Instead of paying exorbitant international roaming fees, get a local prepaid SIM card. The money you save on calls, texts, and data when you have an unlocked phone will be greatly appreciated.
11. Describe your experience: Seek out group excursions that offer discounts for larger groups. When compared to hiring a private tour or guide, you’ll save a tonne of money, and who knows—you might even meet some new people along the way!
12. Be a budgeting pro: To prevent unintentional overspending, establish a daily budget. Set aside particular sums for meals, travel, hotel, and activities, and keep a record of your costs. We assure you that your future self will value your thrifty habits.
Note: You won’t overspend by using these clever and cost-effective suggestions to have a wonderful Costa Rican holiday. Just keep in mind to prepare, be adaptable, and take in as much of the local culture as you can for an unforgettable trip.
What month is the least expensive to travel to Costa Rica?
August and July, followed by November, are the most affordable months to book a ticket to Costa Rica. When compared to the typical yearly flight price, booking a flight in August can result in average savings of 2%.
What amount of cash do you require in Costa Rica for a month?
The majority of single foreigners in Costa Rica can comfortably subsist on $1,500 to $2,000 per month. With US$3,000 to $3500, a family of four might be able to live comfortably. Everything you need to know about the cost of living in Costa Rica, from housing costs to healthcare costs.
What’s it like to live abroad in Costa Rica?
There is little crime. Although a usual amount of caution is always advised, Costa Rica is particularly safe for single female ex-pats. One of the top locations for retirement abroad is Costa Rica. This is made possible by the country’s numerous visas, which let foreigners stay there even in the absence of reliable work.
The most comprehensive travel guide for Costa Rica on a budget! Your attention will be drawn to this Central American nation, which is lush and beautiful. We ultimately spent 7 days in Costa Rica, stayed in better places, and took a few excursions, including a coffee tour, a volcano tour, and a day trip to La Fortuna.
According to the statistics above, a good weekly travel Costa Rica budget for a single person is around $2,185, and for a couple, it is around $3,385. This covers a rental car, return airfare to Costa Rica, as well as other things like activities and meals.
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