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Costa Rica Travel Cost: Prices + Daily Budget

Costa Rica is an amazing choice for your travels! When planning a trip there, keep in mind that this country tends to be a bit more expensive compared to other Central American destinations. However, that shouldn't deter you as Costa Rica is undoubtedly worth it! It's often described as one of the most beautiful countries in Central America and even in the world. There's so much to explore, from volcanoes and rainforests to poison dart frogs and sloths. In this article, we'll provide insights into the costs so that you have an idea of what to expect.

Currency in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the currency used is the Costa Rican Colón. These are beautiful bills adorned with various animals. Almost a shame to spend! The American dollar is also accepted in Costa Rica. Both currencies can be withdrawn from ATMs. In the tourist sector, most prices are displayed in US Dollars, but the local population prefers colones. It's best to pay with colones as the exchange rate for the US dollar tends to be less favorable.

Costs for flight tickets to Costa Rica

The cost of flight tickets depends on various factors. From Europe, flying to San José often involves a layover. You'll pay approximately $700 to $1000 USD for a round-trip ticket. From North America, direct flights are available ranging from $600 to $1000 USD. Flights with a layover can range from $200 to $600 USD.

Costs before traveling to Costa Rica

For departure, there are various costs to consider. The advantage of Costa Rica is that citizens from 113 countries can travel visa-free. However, it's essential to check the allowed length of stay in Costa Rica. Check your government's information to understand the rules that apply to you.

There are no mandatory vaccinations for entry into Costa Rica, but we recommend considering some vaccinations for Costa Rica. It's best to contact healthcare organizations in your country for guidance. The vaccinations recommended for Costa Rica are also advisable for many other destinations.

Costs for food and drinks in Costa Rica

In terms of food and drinks, Costa Rica is a pricey country. The cheapest option is to cook your meals. If you're traveling on a budget, it's wise to check if your accommodation offers cooking facilities. Supermarket prices are roughly similar to those in The United States. Additionally, markets provide plenty of opportunities to buy snacks and fruits at a reasonable cost. Another inexpensive choice is dining at sodas, local restaurants, where a meal costs around $8 USD. However, if you opt for a popular restaurant, main courses range between $15 to $20 USD.

Accommodation costs in Costa Rica

The costs for accommodations in Costa Rica vary widely, depending on your budget and preferences. The cheapest option is booking a bed in a dormitory at a hostel, which can range between $10 to $20 USD per night, with some including breakfast. Opting for a private room in a hostel can cost more than double. Hotel prices often start around $40 USD per night for basic accommodations and go up to $70 USD or more for mid-range options. If you're looking for unique accommodations like a treehouse, expect prices around $100 USD per night. Resorts tend to fall in the $100 USD per night range as well.

Costs for tours and attractions in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers a wide range of tours and attractions, and the prices vary depending on what you'd like to do. Entrance tickets for a national park typically cost around $20 USD. Some national parks are free but request a donation. A donation of more than $5 USD is customary. Surfing lessons can cost about $50 USD per session. Opting for a full-day tour can often exceed $100 USD.

Thankfully, there are also free options. For instance, in La Fortuna, you can choose to visit free hot springs instead of the paid ones at resorts. Most beaches are free to access except those within national parks. Additionally, check for nearby hiking trails that offer stunning views from the mountaintop, often at no cost.

When traveling on a tight budget, consider how you want to explore the surroundings and how much you're willing to spend. In Costa Rica, you'll encounter numerous national parks. For example, in one park, you might opt for a guided tour, while in another, you might choose to zipline. This way, you get to experience both parks differently.

Finding enjoyable tours in Costa Rica is easy with GetYourGuide, offering a wide range of activities and tours. You can review all the details in your preferred language before making a booking, and most tours provide hotel or hostel pickup, making it convenient!

Transportation costs in Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, there are several options for budget travel. You can take a touring bus or a local bus. Touring buses are often pricier but come with air conditioning. Local buses cover more areas but usually lack air conditioning, and you might need to transfer frequently. A bus ticket in Costa Rica costs between $5 and $10 USD. Another option is booking shuttles to move from place to place. These are minivans shared with a few other travelers, equipped with air conditioning, and run directly to the destination. However, shuttles can be costly, ranging from $30 to $100 USD, depending on the distance. Combining buses with shuttles can reduce transfers and keep costs somewhat lower.

The best way to book shuttles is through Bookaway. They offer a comprehensive range of shuttles, allowing you to check availability and prices for your destination.

Taxis and Ubers also operate in Costa Rica. Taxis tend to be pricey, while Uber is often cheaper, offering upfront pricing.

Renting a car is a pricier yet enjoyable option. With a rental car, you have flexibility and aren't reliant on bus schedules or pick-up locations. Plus, you can reach your destination faster. Most areas in Costa Rica have well-maintained, paved roads. Renting a car with insurance typically costs around $60 USD per day, not including fuel expenses.

Average daily budget for Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an expensive country, but the cost of your trip largely depends on your choices. If you opt for budget travel, consider staying in dormitory beds, cooking your meals, and using buses for transportation. This might amount to around $50 USD per day. Choosing private rooms in hostels or hotels, dining occasionally at local restaurants, and using a mix of transportation might range between $70 to $100 USD per day. However, if you prefer unique accommodations like resorts or high-end hotels, dine multiple times at restaurants, and engage in numerous activities, the costs can quickly escalate to around $150 USD per day

Excited to start planning your trip to Costa Rica? Check out our ultimate travel itinerary for Costa Rica.

Do you want to read more about Costa Rica?

See all our articles with the best tips to discover all beautiful places in Costa Rica.

Do you want to read more about Costa Rica?

See all our articles with the best tips to discover all beautiful places in Costa Rica.

About the authors

How nice that you are on our website and that you have read this article! We are Mirte and Matthew, two Dutch adventurers with a passion for traveling, discovering cultures, and gaining new experiences. We've translated our love for the world into this website. We hope our articles inspire you to go on adventures! You can learn more about us through the button below.
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