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The Cost of Travel in Costa Rica: A Detailed Budget Breakdown

The Cost of Travel in Costa Rica: A Detailed Budget Breakdown

Video The Cost of Travel in Costa Rica: A Detailed Budget Breakdown

Costa Rica is an excellent nation.

With the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, you’ve bought tropical seashores, nationwide parks, wildlife and adventures ready to be explored. Our first cease was San José, the capital.

Arriving to solar, pelting rain adopted shortly afterwards, earlier than clearing once more. Changeable climate will be par for the course relying on the time of 12 months you go to, though you shouldn’t let that put you off.

We solely had a short while in San José, however made essentially the most of the cultural metropolis earlier than heading eastwards to the coast.

Being huge animal lovers, thrill-seekers, and followers of picturesque seashores, we beloved what Costa Rica supplied us. From pristine coastlines and zip-lining excessive up in the cover to watching sloths hanging out up in the tress, we totally made essentially the most of our keep.

We ended up utilizing a mix of overland transport, from cheap native public buses for brief (ish) journeys and dearer shared shuttles to a coach for onward journey into Nicaragua.

Now, let’s bounce into the nitty-gritty element of our fortnight in Costa Rica.

We selected a mix of lodging from resorts to lodges, costing round $40-$100 a room per night time for 2 individuals.

Similar to different posts akin to my Chile funds information, I’ll reference prices in US {dollars} (or the native foreign money). Why? Because the bulk of readers are from the States. The Costa Rican Colón (CRC) is the official foreign money – on the time of scripting this, $1 equates to round 0.0016 CRC. Yep, you learn that proper. So, $10 is about 6210 CRC.

As all the time, I paid for all the things myself – this a comp- and press-free funds information.

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My husband and I reached Costa Rica six weeks right into a year-long world tour. After hopping on and off the Amtrak throughout the USA from San Francisco to Chicago after which right down to Texas, we left for Central America. There, we spent a pair of months travelling upwards, ending in the Belizean paradise of Caye Caulker earlier than catching a ship to Mexico.

Costa Rica felt like our first correct style of journey. Not that we didn’t do tons of cool stuff in the USA, however we’d each holidayed there a handful of occasions earlier than. Costa Rica was model new. Here’s a rundown of the place we went and for a way lengthy:

  • San José: 2 nights
  • Tortuguero: 3 nights
  • La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano National Park): 3 nights
  • Santa Elena (Cloud Forest): 3 nights
  • Tamarindo: 4 nights
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What’s Included in This Post

Read more: Costa Rica Travel Budget: How Much Does 10 Days in Costa Rica Cost?

The funds breakdown you’re about to learn covers lodging, transportation, actions, meals, and miscellaneous prices. The two weeks we spent in Costa Rica flew by, and we wished we’d had extra time to discover. Nonetheless, what we did match in was superior, from nighttime forest walks and animal recognizing to taking in the breathtaking surroundings of the Cloud Forest.

Read on for the place we laid our heads every night time.

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The Cost of Accommodation in Costa Rica

One phrase: analysis. It might sound apparent and it’s undoubtedly time-consuming, however we discovered some gems by trawling resort web sites, different individuals’s blogs and basic Googling. As a lot as we might, we opted for lodging with breakfast included in the value (normally tremendous tasty and plentiful) to save lots of a number of {dollars} that approach, or else tried to select someplace with a kitchen for us to organize our personal meals on a funds.

Right, listed here are the locations we stayed in Costa Rica:

San José: Situated only a stone’s throw from sprawling Parque Metropolitano La Sabana in the centre of town, this cozy and spotless apartotel with conventional decor supplied us loads, from ‘do anything for you’ employees and an outside pool for dipping to an included brekkie. At $69 an evening, we each agreed this was worth for cash, contemplating the room had aircon and a flat-screen TV. Oh, and for simply $7 an evening extra, we might have had a considerably greater studio room with a kitchen and eating space – price conserving in thoughts in the event you choose to cook dinner.

Tortuguero: Surrounded by lush inexperienced vegetation lower than 50 metres from Tortuguero seashore and beneath half a kilometre from the National Park, this fashionable hostel with splendidly pleasant employees value us $40 an evening for a double room. Our spacious digs had a snug mattress and the all-important mosquito internet, plus a backyard view and terrace. And the communal areas featured a kitchen for whipping up a easy breakfast (it value $6 an individual in any other case) and sheltered outside areas with hammocks for lazing.

La Fortuna: With superb volcano views from the array of home windows, this capacious standalone picket lodge with air-con was a steal for $50 an evening with an included breakfast. Located simply 2.5 kilometres from Tabacon Hot Springs and eight from La Fortuna waterfall, the scenic spot was additionally tremendous near Arenal Volcano National Park.

Santa Elena: We beloved this family-run treetop lodge on the outskirts of Santa Elena with oodles of character and a balcony for gazing out to the ever-changing views – mystical clouds one minute, blue skies the subsequent. A vibrant bedspread, eyecatching art work and picket furnishings created a country but charming vibe. Surrounded by greenery, be careful for the monkeys and tropical birds, and take advantage of of the top-notch included breakfast with loads of choices. We fortunately paid $73 an evening for this property that centered on sustainability and was near Monteverde, too.

Tamarindo: Green is my favorite color, so I beloved this fashionable sage-hued family-owned resort only a five-minute amble from the seashore, with an on-site pool if we fancied a dip earlier than wandering right down to the ocean. Each room was individually embellished in pastel shades – ours (Tree House I Studio) got here in at $86 an evening, which we felt was extremely well-priced. Breakfast was included in the speed, and our shiny and ethereal room featured air-con, a kitchenette, a balcony with seating, and a big walk-in rain bathe to take pleasure in – bliss. Oh, and the beautiful employees supplied complimentary use of bikes and surfboards.


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The Cost of Transportation in Costa Rica

There was a mix of transport choices in Costa Rica, from flying to native buses. Roads had been usually bumpy, which means not significantly cozy journeys, so when you’ve got additional money, hopping on a aircraft could also be an excellent possibility. For instance, from San José to Tortuguero you’ll pay round $100 every approach with SANSA Airlines and also you’re in the air for a mere half-hour.

However, we didn’t actually fancy forking out that a lot, so for that journey we took the longer however less expensive possibility of a number of native buses after which a ship (there aren’t any roads in the Tortuguero space, solely waterways).

Small shared shuttles had been another choice – pricier but additionally extra direct than native buses. We selected these on a number of events once we weighed up the size of time it could have taken by native bus and the quantity of modifications.

Read more: How Much Does It Cost To Go To Costa Rica? Costs Of Activities, Hotels, Food, Transportation Services, And More!

So, right here’s our journey breakdown:

  • Local bus from San José airport: $0.75 per individual
  • Local bus from San José to La Pavona (by way of Guapiles/Cariari): $6 per individual
  • Return boat from La Pavona to Tortuguero: $5 every approach per individual (you’ll have to pay a bit additional for baggage relying on how a lot you’ve got)
  • Shuttle from La Pavona to La Fortuna: $50 per individual
  • Jeep – Boat – Jeep from La Fortuna to Santa Elena: $25 per individual
  • Shuttle from Santa Elena to Tamarindo: $55 per individual


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Turtle recognizing, jungle surroundings, hurtling alongside a zipline Superman-style, lazy seashore days… What a mix we skilled in Costa Rica. Keen to seek out out particulars? Carry on studying for the lowdown.

Tortuguero National Park entry price: $15 per individual. The protected space coated 19,000 hectares/46,949 acres and was a lush mass of wildlife. The highest level was Cerro Tortuguero, towering over the rainforest. Known as ‘Land of Turtles’, spot nesting Green turtles from mid-July by means of mid-October.

Full day tour, Tortuguero National Park: $80 per individual. We beloved our canoe tour, day stroll and nighttime turtle recognizing (all guided) and would extremely advocate if you wish to do a bit of all the things. If you’re a fan of turtles however don’t fancy the opposite facets, there have been devoted night excursions for round $30 per individual.

Arenal Volcano National Park entry price: $15 per individual. Once we had been in, it was time to hike. Although we couldn’t scale the volcano or peer into its crater, there have been tons of walks to take pleasure in, from introductory Los Heliconias to average Las Coladas which ended on the base of the volcano. Arenal hasn’t been lively since 2010, however there have been nonetheless alternatives to see some wonderful sights, from lava strewn viewpoints to an array of birds. Post-visit, we heard about one other extra strenuous stroll we wished we’d carried out to lesser-known dormant Cerro Chato, full with a crater and an emerald inexperienced lake. Another time…

La Fortuna Waterfall, La Fortuna: $18 per individual. Administered by an area non-profit, this greater than 200-foot waterfall was a spot for swimming (though fairly bracing), chilling, and taking in the surroundings. Note: take correct footwear.

Tabacon Thermal Hot Springs (with dinner), Arenal: On the outskirts of Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal sat this luxe (and sustainable) landscaped jungle resort full with really pure sizzling springs. Our funds wouldn’t stretch to staying there, however we did deal with ourselves to a day go. Other springs in the realm had been cheaper, however after some analysis, we splurged at this romantic spot. We spent a lazy day exploring the 5 springs and thermal river heated by the volcano – temperatures ranged from 77 °F (25 °C) to 122 °F (50 °C). Relaxing isn’t the phrase…

Selvatura Park Cloud Forest ziplining, Monteverde: $55 per individual. What a fab albeit barely scary tour! High up in the cover we went, ziplining by means of the forest, at fairly a velocity. When I say scary, that doesn’t imply we didn’t really feel secure, as a result of we completely did. We went throughout one line collectively and horizontally (like Superman) throughout one other. One cable was a kilometre lengthy, and in complete throughout the 13 cables, we ziplined about 3.5 kilometres. A actual thrill, and a should for adventurers. Oh, take a journey on the Tarzan swing…in the event you dare. And undoubtedly wander alongside the treetop walkways – there, we noticed a coati searching a tarantula.

Nighttime Cloud Forest guided stroll, Santa Elena Reserve: $100 per individual. This was one other splurge, however we needed a non-public tour simply the 2 of us reasonably than a bunch one, so we went for it. Group excursions had been about half the value. Our information Henry was ace. He took us by means of the Cloud Forest and noticed animals and reptiles we by no means would have seen with out him: a gray two-toed sloth hanging from a tree excessive above, a raccoon poking its head out of a nook, a salamander with huge eyes relative to its physique, diligent tree cutter ants, a sleeping toucan, kinkajous, scorpions, and a vivid inexperienced viper curling down a department. The forest felt alive and full of noise, and regardless of the pitch darkness, it wasn’t in any respect eerie. Perhaps we’d have felt in another way had Henry not been with us!

We additionally loved these free actions:

The freebie sights of San José, together with colonial-style Casa Amarilla and Parque Metropolitano La Sabana.

Lazing on the tropical paradise seashores of Tamarindo (together with the one named after itself and Playa Langosta), swimming, and wandering alongside the shores. Oh, and we used the complimentary surfboards from our first-rate resort.


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Read more: Is Costa Rica Expensive? Average Travel Costs in 2022

After having fun with an included and filling breakfast at most locations we stayed, we solely paid for lunch, dinner and drinks. We’re huge followers of sampling native meals, and being on a funds we did that primarily at road meals stalls and ‘sodas’ – dinky family-run gems serving tasty and conventional meals at low costs.

Welcoming and comforting, we feasted on genuine plates for $2-3 per individual for lunch (normally one thing like empanadas full of white Costa Rican cheese). And for dinner, we spent round $7 every (generally much less). Do attempt the every day specials, in addition to staple dishes akin to Gallo pinto (rice, beans, egg and plantain – normally for breakfast however we had it for lunch a number of occasions), casado (rice, beans, salad and meat/fish), arroz con pollo (hen and rice), sopa negra (black bean soup), and sopa mariscos (seafood soup – greatest eaten in coastal Pacific cities). Everything was hearty, filling, and yummy.

Average every day meals value: $19.00 per day, or $9.50 every


Our drinks of selection had been primarily water and beer: easy. The cerveza of Costa Rica? A brew referred to as Imperial. One and a half litre bottles of water from a store had been round $1.50 and half-litre home beers had been $2-3 a pop in a restaurant (cheaper if we purchased them from a grocery store).

Average every day drink value: $5.50 per day, or $2.75 every



Travel insurance coverage: If you’ve learn another posts on Never Ending Footsteps, you’ll know that I’m an important believer in travelling with journey insurance coverage. I’ve seen far too many GoFundMe campaigns from destitute backpackers which can be unexpectedly stranded in a overseas nation after a scooter accident/being attacked/breaking a leg with no approach of getting dwelling or paying for his or her healthcare. In quick, in the event you can’t afford journey insurance coverage, you’ll be able to’t afford to journey.

Travel insurance coverage will cowl you in case your flight is cancelled and you could e-book a brand new one, in case your baggage will get misplaced and you could substitute your belongings, in the event you all of the sudden get struck down by appendicitis and must be hospitalised, have your digicam stolen and wish to purchase a alternative, or uncover a member of the family has died when you’re abroad and now you could get dwelling instantly. If you fall significantly sick, your insurance coverage will cowl the prices to fly you dwelling to obtain medical remedy.

I’ve used World Nomads as my journey insurance coverage supplier since 2012 and don’t have anything however fantastic issues to say about them.

I’ve made two claims with World Nomads (as soon as when my accomplice broke his model new telephone in Thailand, and World Nomads paid for the restore value, and as soon as when crashing a rental automotive in New Zealand, when World Nomads paid out the total $1,500 to restore the entrance bumper with no extra or charges to pay from my finish) so really feel comfy recommending them to you.

For our two weeks in Costa Rica, we spent $2.46 a day on insurance coverage travelling as a pair – $1.23 every.


Our every day spends per individual:

  • Accommodation: $32.37 per day
  • Transport: $9.78 per day
  • Activities: $18.87 per day
  • Food and drink: $12.25 per day
  • Miscellaneous: $1.23 per day
  • Grand complete spent in Costa Rica: $74.50 per individual per day.

We left the scenic shores of Tamarindo relaxed and revitalised after 4 nights chilling and catching rays. But Costa Rica is a lot greater than that, as you’ve little question realised by now…


Read more How much to travel to costa rica – Indochina Airlines

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