Costa Rica is among the most beautiful and naturally-diverse countries in Central America.
Unfortunately, it’s also the priciest.
Because of its natural beautiful, amazing outdoor activities, safety, friendly locals, and well-established expat community, prices in Costa Rica have already been rising higher every year. Because of this, it’s not unusual for budget travelers to really skip visiting Costa Rica, going to cheaper destinations like Nicaragua or Guatemala.
In all honesty, I was skeptical that I possibly could visit Costa Rica on a budget.
Fortunately, as i came across, it really is definitely possible to go to this phenomenal country without breaking the lender. It won’t be cheap, but it addittionally won’t be that expensive either. In this article, I’ll show you all you need to learn to go to Costa Rica on a budget.
JUST HOW MUCH Did I Spend?
Altogether, I was in Costa Rica for 20 days and I spent 424,660 colones or $849.32 USD. (The exchange rate was about $1 USD = 500 CRC). That computes to be typically $42.46 USD each day. So, like in Panama, I went over my budget. However, I often set my budgets low simply as motivation never to spend big money. There are many explanations why I went over my budget, but i want to breakdown my expenses first:
Food — 150,755 CRC ($301.51 USD) Alcohol — 16,740 CRC ($33.48 USD) Water in bottles — 9,150 CRC ($18.30 USD) Accommodation — 89,530 CRC ($179.06 USD) Activities — 17,500 CRC ($35 USD) Local buses — 9,105 CRC ($18.21 USD) Cabs — 98,000 CRC ($196 USD) Miscellaneous — 33,880 CRC ($67.76 USD)
My miscellaneous expenses were things such as laundry, sunscreen, a poncho, and the departure tax. I didn’t factor these costs into my original budget plans.
Moreover, I took a whole lot of taxis, because sometimes these were the fastest & most convenient strategy to use — however they were certainly not the least expensive. I overspent on food due to the fact I did eat a whole lot of nice seafood dinners on the coast and involve some Western meals. Also, in lots of touristy areas, an inexpensive meal can still cost 4,000 CRC ($6 USD).
IS IT POSSIBLE TO Do It Cheaper?
Yes, nonetheless it won’t be fun. In the event that you simply take into account food, room, and buses, you often will manage on a bare-bones $30 USD each day. But you won’t appreciate it. That budget does not have any activities included, and the fun adventure pursuits like zip lining, surfing, diving, and jungle trekking are what get this to country as amazing since it is. It’s not really a budget I would suggest.
On my budget of $43 USD a day, you are able cheap rooms, mostly local food plus some Western meals, venturing out, and several activities. (In the event that you avoid the taxis, you could have a lot more money for fun adventure activities.)
I didn’t execute a large amount of adventure tours this time around since I did so them the very first time I was in Costa Rica. I never felt I was passing up on anything with my budget, and even though it’s more than you may spend in Nicaragua or El Salvador, $43 USD shouldn’t be high enough to scare you from the united states.
3 Suggested Budgets for Costa Rica
To assist you plan for your visit to Costa Rica, here are a few suggested daily budgets predicated on a few various kinds of travel:
- Accommodation — 6,000-9,000 CRC ($10-15 USD)
- Food — 6,000 CRC ($10 USD)
- Transportation — 6,000 CRC ($10 USD)
- Activities — 6,000 CRC ($10 USD)
- Daily Total — 24,000-27,000 CRC ($40-45 USD)
- Accommodation — 15,000-18,000 CRC ($25-30 USD)
- Food — 9,000-15,000 CRC ($15-25 USD)
- Transportation — 9,000-12,000 CRC ($15-20 USD)
- Activities — 33,000-54,000 CRC ($55-90 USD)
- Daily Total — 66,000-99,000 CRC ($110-165 USD)
- Accommodation — 24,000-30,000 CRC ($40-50 USD)
- Food — 21,000-27,000 CRC ($35-45 USD)
- Transportation — 12,000 CRC ($20 USD)
- Activities — 54,000 CRC ($90 USD)
- Daily Total — 110,000-123,000 CRC ($185-205 USD)
6 Methods to CUT COSTS in Costa Rica
There are many ways to cut costs in Costa Rica. And in the event that you don’t at least make an effort to do some inexpensive things while here, your budget will feel the roof.
1. Don’t drink. Drinking in bars in Costa Rica could be very expensive. Local beer is normally 1,200 CRC ($2.50 USD). Sometimes you could find it for about 900 CRC, but that’s very rare and usually throughout a happy hour. I avoided drinking here due to the fact it was very costly.
2. Eat at the sodas. The “sodas” will be the local Tico restaurants and an excellent bargain. You can usually find casado, an average local dish, for about 2,000 CRC (about 1/2 the cost of tourist restaurants). In lots of of the towns on the Caribbean coast, you will discover meals at under 1,000 CRC. I came across the empanadas the very best affordability; for 500 CRC, I possibly could get yourself a filling snack/light meal.
3. Eat at Musmanni . Musmanni is a bakery chain found from coast to coast. It offers an excellent lunch special. For 1,000 CRC, you may get a sandwich and a soda; the majority of their pastries are just 300 CRC. I ate as of this place whenever I came across one since it helped keep my food costs down.
4. Stay static in dorms. Accommodation in Costa Rica isn’t cheap. I stayed at a few budget hotels, plus they were around 15,000 CRC ($30 USD) per night. Dorm rooms provide best value, because they cost only 5,000 CRC ($10 USD) per night; on the Caribbean coast, you will find them for about $8 USD.
Here’s a listing of the best hostels in San Jose to obtain started!
5. Couchsurf. Don’t like dorms? Utilize the site Couchsurfing, that may connect you with locals who’ll enable you to stay at their residence for free. It’s a terrific way to meet locals and decrease your accommodation costs.
6. Drink the water. Though I spent 9,150 CRC on water in bottles, the water in Costa Rica is safe to drink. I’d always lose my water bottle and also have to displace it, but when you can be sure you keep yours, refill it from the tap and steer clear of investing in water.
Budget Travel in Costa Rica: FAQS
Do they accept US dollars in Costa Rica? In most cases, US dollars are widely accepted. For smaller purchases, you will most likely pay in USD and get CRC back. It’s good to have both US dollars (in denominations no bigger than $20) and colones.
Just how many colones are in a dollar in Costa Rica? By 2019, there are 600 colones to dollars. $1 USD = 600 CRC.
MAY I use my credit card in Costa Rica? Yes, you need to use bank cards are most hotels and larger restaurants in the cities. That said, constantly be sure you have cash readily available aswell.
Do you tip drivers in Costa Rica? For short rides, it’s generally common to just across the ride up to the nex dollar. For longer rides (or rides that encounter heavy traffic) it’s always good to tip a number of extra dollars.
Do you tip at restaurants in Costa Rica? Restaurants often put in a service fee on your bill, making tipping unnecessary. However, tips are always appreciated if someone goes far beyond and excellent service.
Costa Rica is among my favorite countries on the planet. Whether you’re a budget backpacker, flashpacker, or someone seeking to have a far more luxurious stay, you’ll have the ability to have an incredible trip here.
As the country is in no way the least expensive destination in Central America, you will surely still click here on a budget. Through the use of the tips and suggestions above, you’ll manage to keep your budget intact when you explore this phenomenal, diverse, and beautiful country.
Book Your Visit to Costa Rica: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world which means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation For the best budget accommodation, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the most comprehensive inventory. A few of my favorite places in which to stay Costa Rica:
- Arenal Backpackers Resort — That is a lavish, laid-back hsotel with a pool that’s ideal for going out and meeting people.
- Rocking J’s (Puerto Viejo) — The coolest hostel in every the united states. This hostel on the beach may be the prime spot to meet up other backpackers.
- Hostel Vista Serena (Manuel Antonio) — With great ammenities, staff, and a pime location, it’s where in the region.
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots of money when I travel — and I believe can help you too!
Want MORE INFO on Costa Rica? Make sure to visit our robust destination guide on Costa Rica for a lot more planning tips!