Costa Rica

Discover Costa Rica on a Budget

Looking to discover Costa Rica on a budget? It is possible, but it will take a bit of work on your part in order to make it happen. Costa Rica is a very popular tourist destination, and it therefore can be quite expensive. Learning as much as you can about Costa Rica before you leave, making flexible travel arrangements through a budget-aware company, trying not to eat out at restaurants every day and even (yikes!) camping are just a few of the tips that can help to ease the strain on your wallet on your Costa Rica vacation.

Get to Know Costa Rica Before You Go to Costa Rica


The most expensive mistakes when traveling are made by tourists who have done little or no research about their destination. In your excitement to discover Costa Rica, try not to forget that once you arrive, you'll have to navigate the Costa Rican way of life every time you step outside the comfort of your Costa Rica hotel or villa. It's worth it to know a bit about how things work down there.

Costa Rican taxi drivers, for example, do not need to be tipped, but restaurant wait staff, hotel staff and porters very much appreciate receiving a gratuity. Most restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill, so you don't have to go crazy when tipping your waiter. Hotels add a 3% tourist tax and a 10% service tax to your bill, so leaving a wad of cash at the front desk when you check out won't be necessary.

Be aware of the fact that Costa Rica has a “thanks for coming, hope you had fun” departure tax. This tax, around $26 USD per person, will be collected at the airport when you leave, so sticking to your budget during your stay will be a wise move.

Discover Costa Rica Through a Budget Travel Broker

There are a few companies that specialize in brokering deals that allow for reduced-cost travel to, in and around Costa Rica; it's not that tough to find the best all inclusive Costa Rica resort vacations. These companies specialize in flexible travel arrangements, which often allow for more freedom than you would get by booking directly with a resort or a hotel. While the deals differ from company to company, many of the packages include travel to and from the airport, and vouchers that allow for stays at one or more of the hotels with which these companies do business. Being flexible is the key if this type of travel is to work for you, since you often make the decision as to where you will be staying at the last minute.

There are many budget Costa Rica travel brokers to choose from, and as the level of service increases, so does the pricing. The best thing to do is to get a quote or a rough estimate from one of these companies and then call or surf around to find out what the same itinerary would cost you if you were to make the arrangements yourself.

Find the Costa Rica Supermarkets and Use Them!

Eating out regularly in any country can take a significant chunk out of your pocketbook, and Costa Rica is no exception to that rule. The longer you stay in Costa Rica, the more you will find that it will be worth your while to save money by purchasing food at supermarkets and preparing it yourself. Even if you don't have kitchen facilities with which to cook, there is a wide assortment of ready-to-eat options that can be found at a supermarket.

Discover Costa Rica While Camping

Now, if you really want to save some money while at the same time seeing, hearing and feeling what Costa Rica has to offer, camping might just be the ideal thing for you. The thing that you have to take into consideration before deciding is that Costa Rica is pretty much a rain forest, so you'll have nature under, above and all around you.

Searching online for “Costa Rica camping” will bring up a number of sites and blog entries that mention the names and locations of various places to camp in Costa Rica. Many are inexpensive, some are free and some are even within the boundaries of the beautiful Costa Rican national parks. If you do decide to camp your way around Costa Rica, make sure you take the provisions with you that you can't be without. Camping also means that you'll often be on your own when it comes to food, so make sure that you think twice before passing up a supermarket.

These are just a few tips for discovering Costa Rica on a budget, and there are certainly many more out there, like making use of the Costa Rica beaches for your entertainment. Dig in and start looking well before you leave, and you're sure to not only enjoy your stay in Costa Rica, but also avoid going into debt while doing it.

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