Cost of Travel Costa Rica

Cost of Travel Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a land of extreme natural beauty, with two beautiful coasts, volcanoes, rain forests, and other natural gems. It’s the land of “pura vida” (pure life), where time seems to be just a little more relaxed and though perhaps not as cheap as the rest of Central America, budget travel in Costa Rica is possible.

Cost of Travel in Costa Rica

The first thing to know about Costa Rica cost of travel is that it can vary significantly based on the time of year and region of the country. Dry season is from Christmas to Easter and, naturally, this is when prices are the highest. Traveling during the low or “green” season, between May to November, is the best way to save money in Costa Rica.

And, by the way, traveling during low season is not a bad thing. Yes, it’s rainy season but that doesn’t necessarily mean it rains all day every day. In many areas, it may be perfectly clear all morning with a rain shower in the afternoon. This is especially true in the Playas del Coco area of Guanacaste which receives the least amount of rain in the country. Mountains and, obviously, rain forests do see more rain and the months of October and November see the highest amount of rainfall.

Things that may become cheaper during low season include accommodation and transportation – including transportation to Costa Rica from other countries, like the United States. Restaurants and stores tend to keep their food prices the same, though restaurants may offer extended happy hour specials, and tour operators will also often discounts.

The other important factor in figuring out the Costa Rica cost of travel is location. Certain areas of the country are significantly more expensive than others. A general rule of thumb is that the areas popular with tourists will be the most expensive and getting off the beaten path will be cheaper. Exceptions to this are areas like the Osa Peninsula that are definitely off-the-beaten path but difficult to get to and therefore more expensive than other areas of the country.

Cost of Accommodation in Costa Rica

Accommodation is typically the most expensive part of Costa Rica travel. Accommodation in Costa Rica varies from $8 hostel dorm beds to multi-thousand dollar a night resorts. Long-term rentals and Airbnb are also popular Costa Rica accommodation options.

Hostels vary depending on location but average around $12-15 per night for a shared mixed dorm. Generally, the bigger the dorm room, the cheaper the bed. Some hostels allow you to sleep in hammocks or camp as well. I love hostels for their social atmosphere but if you prefer privacy, most hostel dorms also offer private rooms. These start around $25 per night.

Hotels in Costa Rica vary widely, from just above the price of a private dorm room to Kardashian-only prices. Generally speaking, however, you can often find a decent hotel room for $70 or less in most areas and $100 a night can sometimes get you a 3 or 4 star hotel, though expect to pay $150-300 a night for the fancier chain hotels.

Airbnb prices in Costa Rica tend to fall between private hostel rooms and hotels though, again, this varies significantly by location.

Renting a house or apartment is a good option if you plan to stay in one location for a long period of time. The longer you stay, the cheaper the rent will be. For the cheapest rent, look for local Tico-style houses. While condos and complexes are available in most big cities, these can often run at the same prices as rent in the United States. In the popular Playas del Coco region, a one bedroom Tico-style house can often be found for $350 or less while a studio condo starts at $500. [add other examples…check Jaco, Central Valley, etc]

Accommodation prices do fluctuate with low season. It’s not unusual for hotels to offer 50% off deals during low season or for rent to drop $100 or more a month.

Costa Rica Food Prices

Restaurant prices in Costa Rica are similar to prices in small US cities. Expect to spend $15-20 on a meal in most areas. The cheapest options will be found at sodas – small restaurants serving Tico food, like fried chicken and plantains or casados. In larger cities there may also be street carts serving chicken or pork on a stick, which is usually a tasty and affordable option.

Buying food and cooking at home is the much cheaper option – as long as you eat like the locals do. Avoid the brands that you would buy at home as they are usually the most expensive. Ask a local where they do their grocery shopping and go there. Also look for produce and fruit stands to get the best Costa Rica food prices.

Cost of Transportation in Costa Rica

Bus transportation is always the cheapest option. You can get from San Jose to nearly any city for around $10 and many local buses running shorter routes are $3-5.

Taxis are also readily available in the cities. In some areas, there’s a flat rate no matter where you’re going but in most areas they use a meter. Always make sure to ask that they use the meter (la maria) and check that it’s set at 0 before the trip starts. When in doubt, negotiate a price BEFORE getting in the taxi.

Shuttles are available between most major destinations in Costa Rica. These can range from $25 to $80.

Local flights are the most expensive form of transportation, though considerably cheaper during green season. Flights from San Jose to Drake Bay, for example, are over $100 during high season but around $80 during green season. Sansa and Nature Air are the two popular airlines.

Budget Costa Rica Tours + Adventure Activities

While relaxing on the beach or laying in a hammock are perfectly acceptable ways to pass the afternoon, Costa Rica is full of adventure. And that adventure doesn’t have to break the bank because budget Costa Rica tours do exist!

Popular adventure activities include ziplining and white water rafting, both of which cost around $60-80, as well as horseback riding ($50-85), and kayaking ($50-75). Anything requiring a boat – such as deep sea fishing and sunset sails – varies greatly, from $50 per person to hundreds for a private charter. Many of these activities are offered cheaper during green season and do vary based on location as well. If you plan on doing several things, look for combo tours offered by adventure companies as these are one of the best ways to experience Costa Rica on a budget.

Yoga classes run between $8 and $15 per class. Surf lessons start at $45 per hour.

Costa Rica Daily Budget

So, how much should you plan to spend each day for Costa Rica travel expenses? Well….it depends on your lifestyle but assuming you’re here to connect with nature and not indulge in consumerism and every comfort from home possible, it is definitely possible to travel in Costa Rica under $50 per day. If you want to indulge a bit or plan on doing tours frequently, $75-100 may be a safer bet. But for those being frugal and focusing on nature and living local, even $40 per day is possible. With a bit of effort, budget travel in Costa Rica is completely doable.

Costa Rica Money Saving Tips

From personal experience, a few tips for saving money in Costa Rica:

Do as the locals do. The cheapest way will always be the local way, whether that’s food or transportation.

Eat rice and beans. Seriously. It’s cheap, it’s filling, and the nutrient content is actually decent.

Pay in colones. In most cases, you will receive the best rate by paying in colones, even if dollars are accepted. Also, some accommodation will give you a discount for paying in cash.

Slow travel. There’s a ton to do in Costa Rica – it can be overwhelming – but to save money, focus on one or two areas as opposed to seeing every inch of the country in a short time.

Top Places to Find Yourself in Costa Rica

Top Places to Find Yourself in Costa Rica

The process of finding yourself is also a process of expanding yourself, which means: getting outside your comfort zone. The types of discomfort may vary—you may process uncomfortable thoughts & feelings or you might be challenging your body physically. Whatever it may be, if you are dedicated to expanding your self it will be helpful to do it in place and with people that help guide you through the process. These are the top communities and retreat centers I recommend to find yourself.

1. Pachamama 

Pachamama is a sanctuary for the soul. From its yoga, vegetarian food, and daily meditations, this place makes it easy for your inward self to feel right where it needs to be. Pachamama host various workshops and retreats that help you dive deep: silence retreats, ayahuasca, body cleanses, breathwork, and vipassana. If you are looking for a place to totally detach from civilization, get out of your comfort zone, and do some deep healing than this is the place for you. 

2.  Cashew Hill 

Cashew Hill will welcome you like a long-lost family. A place to relax and remember the good life, Cashew Hill’s location in the Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo allows you to join a yoga retreat or teacher’s training, as well as, go out on the town, snorkel, surf, and hike in the national forest. This is a good option if you would like to have the relaxation of yoga retreat but also want the opportunity to be in town and not too far from other activities. 

3. Soma Divine Healing 

Soma is a healer, reiki master, and teacher who is exceptional at his craft. You can visit Soma to do therapy sessions or join in on his 7-day Master Healer Training where you will learn how to do Reiki healing, as well as relax and heal yourself in paradise. If you are looking to learn about energetic healing and want to have a more one-on-one healing journey than this is the place to go. 

4. Yoga Farm 

Yoga Farm is a yoga center, community, and sustainable living project opened from January to June every year. Located in the southern Pacific near Osa Peninsula, it is one of the most biologically diverse places in the world. Its less touristy location, allows you to really settle into the alternative living lifestyle, do yoga every day, go to remote beaches, and connect with yourself and the surrounding habitat.

5. Punta Mona

Punta Mona is an off the grid community dedicated to botanical regeneration and permaculture. Curated by the Co-founders of Envision Festival (kinda like the burning man of the jungle), you are sure to find some spunk in the way of coming to yourself. Punta Mona is situated on the Caribbean and sits between two ecosystems—the coast and the rainforest lending itself to a diverse habitat and a variety of activities. At Punta Mona, you can participate permaculture workshops, yoga training, and medicinal plant workshops. This is the place for you if you have a calling for plants!

6. Orpheus B Retreat

This retreat, designed to create a deeper connection with the self, happens twice and year, in January and in April. Daily activities include meditation, tai chi, 3 raw food meals, and an evening ceremony, as well as treatments in acupuncture, reiki, and energy channel message. This option is for you if you are interested in experiencing a wide variety of healing modalities but only have a week for your adventure. 

 

Solo Travel for Women: Why Discover Yourself in Costa Rica?

Solo Travel for Women: Why Discover Yourself in Costa Rica?

Unlike the outward self, the inward self is very sensitive to the world and bringing her out of her shell can sometimes require a complete change in place. I believe Costa Rica is the best place to do this— it’s healthy vibes, lack of rules, abundant nature, safety, and endless adventure makes it an oasis for the inward self to thrive. Here are my top five reasons why you should ditch whatever you are doing and come find yourself in Costa Rica. 

Lack of Rules & Enforcement

My inner jungle likes to be free and wild so rules really aren’t her thang. And this makes life in Costa Rica a forever spontaneous interlude that is full of possibilities. Do you want to take the 9 dogs that are following you to the beach? Done. The popo isn’t  going to make you put them on leashes. Eww…leashes. You want to get a 6-pack of beer and watch the sunset on the beach? Done. The popo will drink one with you! Want to make bread and sell it at the farmers market? Health & Safety isn’t going to stop you. Your inner voice relishes in a world where innate ideas aren’t hampered by regulatory garbage, allowing you to expand whatever comes to mind.

Healthy Vibes

Believe it not, your inner jungle likes to be one healthy girl. Yeah, the occasional drink or two gives her the liquid courage to bust moves on the dance floor and feel alive for the first time in months since taking that boring office job. However, continual loud music and lights, hangovers, late-night pizzas, and sleep deprivation are more than enough to make her retreat into a deep dark place, unretrievable to the world without the help of a therapist. Costa Rica is rupturing this habit because everyone there is serious about their surf…stay with me for a moment.  When you surf, you have to be in tune with rising sun, the tide, and the energetic force of the universe. You can’t be staying out late, getting drunk, and then waking at 5:00 a.m. to align your board with a Tsunami—it just doesn’t work. The culture in Costa Rica is to be in sync with the natural rhythms of the earth and this extends into to every aspect of life there—your food, water, sleep, nature, and relationships. Everyone and their crab is on the same page, and this is a synergy that invites you to become the most healthy version of yourself. 

Nature Lives with You 

Once I was dining at a restaurant in on the Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo, where the restaurant had a giant tree in the center of it. The waiter ran over to our table and told us to look into the tree. Through the tree’s corridor, incoming into the restaurant, was a momma sloth and her baby sloth, curiously and courageously becoming the lives of the party. Unlike most western nations, these spontaneous interactions with wildlife in Costa Rica are far from rare. With 25% of Costa Rica’s landmass being protected areas, it is home to some of the most diverse populations of plants and species on the planet. And integrating ourselves into their home is what Costa Rican culture is all about. The love of nature in Costa Rica transcends every aspect of your experience from the clean and fresh rivers that flow through Arenal to the protected beaches of Tortuguero where turtles come to lay their eggs at sunset. Every day in Costa Rica is an opportunity to celebrate with the diverse and spontaneous characters that surround you. Just don’t be let them fool you into thinking you’ve been transported to another planet. 

Safety

Doing things on your own, (nature walks, hiking, etc) is an important part of removing yourself from the outside world to let the inner voice come out and you want to feel safe as you do this. As a woman who’s traveled to many countries, I’ve never felt quite as safe as I do in Costa Rica. In my eight months of traveling through the country, I’ve stayed in the homes of people I met on the bus, partied in hostels, walked around towns at night, etc., and not once have I been robbed or harassed. Of course, there were men that would catcall and blow kisses, and while this was embarrassing, most people in Costa Rica see this as flattery and rarely is it an indication of a threat. Like anywhere you go traveling, you want to be mindful of your surroundings and keep your personal belongings (iPhone, passport, money) near you, especially in areas that are more touristic. Every town will be different in terms of the level of safety and you will want to ask an expat or local of the “do’s and don’t” in the town. I wouldn’t do anything they wouldn’t do, which in some towns will be to not walk on the beach at night. I would try doing things they believe are safe to do, for example in the town of Santa Teresa it is very safe and common to hitchhike. Not only will you get a free ride, but you’ll meet some amazing people as well. Known as the Switzerland of the Americas, there is a strong mix of expats and locals and you’ll find that they are genuinely kind and honest people willing to help. Being a very safe country, Costa Rica is a beautiful introduction to the Americas, allowing you to go beyond in jungle with the confidence that the culture and people really do have your best interest at heart. 

Adventure

There’s nothing that makes your inner crazy say Hallelujah more than an adventure! Do I even have to explain this one? Your inner jungle is a thirsty girl for the thrill. It’s like that feeling when you’re riding your bike, and you see the green light turning to yellow and you are like hell no! So you clench your handlebars and thrust yourself full speed into a red light, causing all traffic to seize, momentarily, as a sweaty flower child warps through, screaming “Hallelujah, I’m alive!” Yeah, Costa Rica is this feeling all time but with much cooler stuff like jumping off waterfalls, snorkeling amongst the stinging coral, flipping your raft on white waters, and catching a two-foot tuna. The cool thing about Costa Rica is that its varying geography, but small country, and cheap bus tickets, allow you to easily climb a volcano at Arenal one day and then white water raft yourself to the Caribbean for snorkel the next day. Costa Rica has all the adventure you need to engage the wild in you.