Costa Rica: The Definitive Travel Guide

Cost-effective travel in Costa Rica is certainly doable. My Costa Rica travel guide has everything you need to know to make the most of your trip, including where to stay, what to see, and how much it will cost.

Costa Rica (Spanish: Costa Rica) was dubbed “The Rich Coast” by Spanish conquistadors and is one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth.

Costa Rica is a nature lover’s heaven, with magnificent beaches, incredible rain forests, and small towns hidden between volcanoes.

I’ll tell you about my favorite Costa Rican surf spots, wildlife sightings, waterfall hikes, and, of course, the greatest local cuisine to sample.

Travel Restrictions to Costa Rica Until 2022

Most tourists, including those from the United States, can now enter Costa Rica. Before you can enter, you must, however, show documentation of your COVID-19 vaccinations or a negative test result.

There are new health and safety measures in place at many of the hotels, attractions, and private tours that are now open, but you still have to obey certain rules.

Guide to Cheap Vacations in Costa Rica

I kept hearing the same story wherever I went in Central America. Instead, they advised people to avoid going to Costa Rica. There are two things wrong with this place: it’s costly and full of tourists. However, one thing I’ve learnt through my travels is that you should never take anything someone says at face value.

In a positive sense, Costa Rica surprised me. It’s true that several travellers had warned me about the pricey tourist-friendly activities. Promoting example, I’ve never seen so many ads for ziplining!

There are many ways to see the best of the nation, even on a backpacker’s budget, as I quickly discovered.

You only have to delve a little further.

Is Costa Rica on your travel itinerary?

A working understanding of Spanish would be an advantage, but it is not a need to visit Costa Rica. I was a little apprehensive about my lack of Spanish when I first arrived, but it wasn’t tough to converse.

Small Spanish phrasebook that addressed the fundamentals worked well for my needs.” To go around and communicate in everyday situations, I only require rudimentary knowledge of Spanish at this point.

The Costa Ricans I’ve encountered so far have all been really welcoming, hard-working, patient, and generous.

I was constantly approached by complete strangers who volunteered to help me with directions, interpret bus announcements, or take me out for drinks and show me around the city.

Budget for a vacation in Costa Rica

The total number of days is 34.

One thousand and one hundred dollars.


Do not rely on these figures for anything other than guidance. Keep in mind that everyone’s travel style is unique. Costa Rica’s cost of living varies based on your own particular preferences.

Although the cost of living in Costa Rica is higher than in some of Central America’s other countries, you can still enjoy the country on a backpacker’s budget if you look into choices like camping, hostels, and small, family-run guest homes.

Those on a tight budget can get by on a daily budget of between $30 and $50.

The Colon is Costa Rica’s currency (520–550 colones per $1 USD).

In spite of the fact that American dollars are generally accepted, it is recommended that you use colones to avoid overpaying for goods and services.

Accommodations in Costa Rica

There is a vast variety of lodging available in Costa Rica, so there is something for everyone. Accommodation costs can vary widely depending on location and time of year. The most expensive places to stay include San Jose, Manuel Antonio, Arenal, and Tamarindo.

In order to help you arrange your finances, below are some examples.

  • Hostels for Backpackers: $9 to $18 a night
  • Prices range from $24 to $40 per night for guest houses.
  • Cost of a night at a mid-range hotel: $50 to $75
  • A night in a resort or a nice hotel costs between $100 and $200

What to Eat in Costa Rica!

Most Costa Rican dishes are based on rice and beans. This will save you money on food because you won’t get tired of eating it over and over.

At modest neighborhood restaurants, you can get a full meal of meat, pinto, and fried plantains for under $3. Yuca (also known as cassava), a starchy root vegetable, is a common dish in many Latin American countries.

Local family-run eateries that provide authentic Costa Rican cuisine for as little as $5 – $8 for a huge dish of food are an excellent money-saving choice that can give you a taste of the local culture.

If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to follow the crowds of locals to the busiest areas because the prices are much lower than at tourist-oriented restaurants.

The most expensive lunches in the city’s finest restaurants start at around $20 USD. There’s no need to leave additional gratuity because most restaurants already include a 10% gratuity cost.

Costa Rican Public Transportation

Juan Santamaria Airport, which is located just outside of San Jose, is the primary gateway to Costa Rica for most visitors. is the go-to resource for finding bargain airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica. To get to your hotel from the airport, you can either arrange for a private shuttle service or use a public bus or cab.

Renting a Vehicle

Discover Cars is the best place to book a car. To find you the greatest deal, they look for both domestic and foreign vehicle rental agencies. A car rental in Costa Rica couldn’t be easier than this.

To get the most out of your vacation, renting a car is the easiest way to get around. It’s my preferred mode of transportation!

Taking the Bus

Taxis, shuttle minivans, public buses, rented cars, and light planes are the most common modes of transportation in Costa Rica. Public transportation is the cheapest choice, but it can be inconvenient at times.

Even though the buses aren’t the most comfortable, the journey is still manageable. To get from one town to the next, you should anticipate to pay anything between $3 to $20 USD.

For a round-trip fare of $40 to $80 USD, passengers can travel between towns via shuttle bus.

Within Costa Rica, by Plane

NatureAir and Sansa, two local airlines that operate small domestic flights, may be an option if you’re pressed for time or money. By planning ahead, you might score a flight for as little as $30.

You can also take one of the many day or multi-day excursions in Costa Rica that will take you to some of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

Requirements for obtaining a visa

Except for stays longer than 90 days, visitors from the United States and the majority of Europe do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica. When departing Costa Rica, visitors are required to pay a $29 tax.

In Costa Rica, what to do

It’s possible to find a wide range of adrenaline-inducing or wilderness-oriented activities in Costa Rica’s less-known cities and national parks, and they won’t break the budget.

One of the world’s greatest percentages of land is protected under the country’s national park and reserve system. Here are just a few of the amazing things you can do while visiting Costa Rica:

Tortuguero National Park

Have you ever wished you could see marine turtles? Tortugero National Park is the place to go since endangered green turtles are breeding on the beach here. If you’re a fan of the rainforest, you’ll appreciate Tortugero, which is also home to many birds, crocodiles, monkeys, sloths, and manatees. The cost of a rainforest excursion by boat or kayak ranges from $40 to $60.

Cloud forest at Monteverde

With a variety of activities such as canopy walks ($50–$90), zip line ($50–$90), coffee plantation excursions, and wildlife viewing, Monteverde is one of Costa Rica’s most popular national parks. It’s a beautiful park, and you don’t want to miss it. To save money, you can walk Monteverde by yourself.

Costa Rican city of Puerto Viejo

There are magnificent beaches, thick vegetation, and plenty of fantastic restaurants and nightlife in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a laid-back Caribbean seaside town. It’s also a good place to go surfing. It’s the perfect place to relax on one of the many beautiful beaches, before heading to Cahuita National Park for some trekking and wildlife gazing.

The Arenal Volcano (La Fortuna)

Arenal, the country’s most popular active volcano, is one of many in Costa Rica. Volcano hike is a necessity, however lava erupting from the volcano is no longer visible. Whitewater rafting, hot springs, and treetop suspension bridges are also available for a fee of $60 to $80.

The Tamarindo Beach

Tamarindo, a popular surfing and water-sports location, with a lively nightlife and a raucous atmosphere. Surfing and learning Spanish are two of the most popular attractions. The beach is stunning and won’t let you down.

The National Park of Corcovado

Visitors to Corcovado can trek into the rainforest in search of rare Costa Rican species, including tapirs, toucans and pumas. Over one-third of the Osa Pensinsula, this is Costa Rica’s largest park. A local guide can take you around if you can’t hike the park on your own any longer.

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