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It’s also the priciest, which is a bummer.

Prices in Costa Rica have been steadily growing for several years because of the country’s increasing popularity among expatriates who are drawn there by the country’s stunning scenery, plenty of exciting outdoor activities, relative safety, warm welcome from locals, and stable economy. That’s why many backpackers forgo Costa Rica in favour of cheaper Central American countries like Nicaragua and Guatemala. Crc Liquor List

Even after doing some research, I wasn’t convinced that a trip to Costa Rica could be done on a shoestring.

Thankfully, I learned that a trip to this amazing nation need not break the bank. It won’t be as inexpensive as some of its neighbours, but neither will it be prohibitively pricey. All the information you need to know to travel to Costa Rica without breaking the bank is included in this essay.

How Much Money Did I Commit?

How Much Money Did I Commit?

A gloomy shot of a stunning Costa Rican waterfall.
Twenty days in Costa Rica cost me a total of 424,660 colones, or around $849.32. (Approximately one U.S. dollar equaled five hundred CRC.) That comes out to about $42.46 USD every day on average.

Although that is more than I had budgeted, it is still much cheaper than travelling to Europe, for example. And in the intervening years, costs have grown even further. Unfortunately, unless you’re willing to really cut back on your vacation, it’s not possible to travel for such a low price right now, even with a strong US currency.

A brief overview of my trip’s expenses (and the applicable currency conversion) follows: Crc Liquor List

  • 150 755 CRC ($301.51 USD) for food costs.
  • The cost of a bottle of alcohol in the Dominican Republic is 16,740 CRC ($33.48 USD).
  • Costing 9,150 CRC ($18.30 USD) is a case of bottled water.
  • A night’s lodging will set you back 89,530 CRC, or around $179.06 in American currency.
  • Cost of participation in activities is 17,500 CRC (about $35 USD).
  • Fares for local buses cost 9,105 CRC, or approximately $18.21 USD.
  • Price of a taxi ride is 98,000 CRC ($196 USD).
  • Extras cost 33,880 CRC ($67.76)

Laundry, sunscreen, a rain poncho, and the departure tax all made up my miscellaneous costs. My initial spending plan didn’t include money for these unexpected expenses.

Further, I relied heavily on cabs, which were often the quickest and most hassle-free (though not cheap) method to get where I needed to go. Due to enjoying many exquisite seafood dinners along the coast and a few Western-style lunches, I went a little overboard on my food budget. Moreover, in many popular tourist destinations, even a budget supper might set you back 4,000 CRC.

Is There a Way You Could Charge Less?

Can You Do It Cheaper?

Latin American country known for its natural beauty; Costa Rica
Actually, you can, but you won’t enjoy it. Since the COVID pandemic, prices have skyrocketed, making it nearly impossible to travel on a budget lower than mine.

My recommended daily budget for a backpacking trip through Costa Rica is between 30,000 and 35,000 CRC. You can stay in a hostel, prepare the majority of your meals, eat cheap street food, travel around using public transit, and do things like hiking and going to the beach that don’t cost a lot, all while staying within your budget. While you won’t be able to go on any major adventures, you’ll have plenty of time to relax in the wild.

Approximately 65,000 CRC per day is what you should budget if you want to stay in nicer hotels, eat and drink out more often, and participate in paid activities like ziplining and surfing classes.

Three Budget Plan Options for Costa Rica

Three Budget Plan Options for Costa Rica

An isolated volcano towers over a verdant jungle.
Here are some daily budget estimates based on several travel options to help you plan your vacation to Costa Rica:

  • Rooms: 9000-11000 C
  • 12-15,000 degrees Celsius, RC Food
  • Six Thousand C for RC Transportation
  • 5 000 C for RC Events
  • Roughly 32,000–37,000 C per day, in RC
Mid Range
  • Travel Expenses – 30,000 C
  • Relatively Hot Food for RC – Between 15 and 20 Degrees
  • 10,000 C for RC Transportation
  • Radio Controlled Actions – 10,000 degrees
  • Daily RC Total: Approximately 65,000–70,000
  • Cost of living allowance: 60,000 CRC
  • 40,000 CRC for food
  • For Transportation, 15,000 CRC
  • Cost per Activity: 30,000 CRC
  • Sum of 145,000 CRC per day

How to Save Money Like a Monkey in Costa Rica: 6 Easy Steps

Monkey in Costa Rica

Saving money in Costa Rica is easy to do. In order to assist you in getting started, here are some suggestions:

don’t drink.
  1. As a first rule, don’t drink. The cost of a few drinks at a bar in Costa Rica can add up quickly. Beer in the area usually costs 1,500 CRC. Even while that’s not a lot of money, it may quickly mount up. If money is tight, don’t drink as much. (Crc Liquor List)
You should eat at the sodas

2. You should eat at the sodas. Cheap and delicious meals can be had at the local “sodas” in Costa Rica. Casado, a popular local meal, can be found for about 3,000 CRC at most restaurants. A rice and bean supper at a soda (cheap local restaurants serving traditional food) will set you back between 3,000 to 5,000 CRC. Full dinners such as casado (rice, beans, vegetables, and meat) or gallo pinto cost around 5,000 CRC, while snacks like tacos and empanadas cost less than 2,000 CRC.

3. Third, live in a dorm. The cost of lodging is guaranteed to be a major burden. Don’t leave the hostel’s shared rooms if you care about your own space. The going rate for a quality location to stay is around 10,000 CRC per night. The country also has an abundance of hostels.

To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of the best hostels in San Jose below.

4. Couchsurfing is the fourth option. Have a problem with living in a communal setting? Get in touch with residents who are willing to host you at their home for free by using the website Couchsurfing. In addition to saving money, you get to know the people better. There aren’t many hosts available, but if you look around early, you should be able to find some locals or expats who are willing to put you up for the night.

5. Travel to the Caribbean side of the country instead of the Pacific side to save money and yet experience the magnificent sights.

6. Don’t use the tourist buses; local buses are far slower but cost only a fraction as much. The local bus system is convenient if you don’t have to get anywhere quickly.

7. Use a water bottle with a purifier to avoid buying expensive bottled water and save hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic water bottles. LifeStraw is the best water bottle in my opinion. Crc Liquor List

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