Top Tips for Costa Rica Vacations on a Budget
Costa Rica continues to be the destination of choice for anyone looking for unique adventures in pristine nature. Read on to discover our top tips for Costa Rica vacations on a budget
A Costa Rica vacation has always been renowned for offering an exceptional value for money, with a two-week stint filled to the brim with fun and exhilarating activities costing about as much as a long weekend in Vegas. Yes…including return flights! Having said that, Costa Rica isn’t nearly as inexpensive as it used to be, back when the country enjoyed some kind of anonymity. Nowadays, the country rated as one of the world’s top holiday destinations (certainly the top adventure destination capital) has made giant leap forwards and although the value-for-money aspect of a Costa Rica vacation has remained consistently high, prices have risen overall with an improvement of infrastructure and consequential heightened exposure. All of this, of course, doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy an excellent Costa Rica vacation, for less!
Looking for excellent ways to save some hard-earned funds on your next adventure tour of Costa Rica?
Here’s how you do it!
Skip the busiest periods
When many people think of ‘high tourist season’ they usually tend to consider international school holiday times, say, during the winter months between December and April. Yet Latin Americans in general, and Ticos in particular, are big travelers and you’ll find a very distinct tourist peak even during the usual low season months, between May and November if there happens to be a religious holiday. Major Catholic holidays (including Christmas, Holy Week, Easter and the Virgin of the Angels Day) attract a huge number of visitors to Costa Rica and even in the odd long-weekend – set to coincide with a public holiday – you’ll find many flights and hotels increase their prices. Steering well clear of peak times will go a long way in keeping your Costa Rica vacation costs as low as can be. Aside from saving some serious holiday funds, traveling to Costa Rica during Green Season has many benefits. Read more about them here.
Skip all-inclusive resorts and choose smaller eco-lodges instead
All-inclusive resort holidays in Costa Rica are a very popular, however, they are only great value for money if you take advantage of everything the deal offers. That’s something most guests never actually achieve. Want to save money on a Costa Rica vacation? Then skip the large resorts offering everything under the sun and choose to stay in smaller and cheaper lodges where you only pay for what you need. Besides, the best Costa Rica lodges are immersed in wilderness and offer guests a stunning array of activities and delights, making them an all-encompassing Costa Rican experience in their own right. Gems like the Pacuare Lodge offer the unrivaled chance to completely disconnect from the modern world and indulge in a nature-filled adventure, complete with romance, privacy and authenticity, things that much larger and modern resorts lack. Enjoy all of this AND spend less…what more could you desire?
Bring all your essential toiletries from home
It may seem trivial to some but those who have been to tropical countries know that buying imported sunscreen and insect repellent can cost a small fortune. Bring yours from home and save a small bundle.
Choose a lodge with in-house hot springs
Many budget travelers know that the best way to save some money is to forego expensive visits to some of the country’s most famous attractions. In Costa Rica, this would mean skipping day visits to some of the most luxurious hot spring establishments. Yet there are many hidden and cheaper treasures here, even in the famous area of Arenal Volcano. Choosing a lodge with its own hot springs means you need not miss out on the country’s most famous – and blissful – indulgence. The Volcano Lodge & Springs, for example, is an affordable 3* hotel in La Fortuna, set in luscious surroundings right at the base of Arenal. It boasts sensational views, excellent service and amenities and the added bonus of private hot springs. Granted, The Volcano Lodge may not be as luxurious as the coveted Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort but at less than half the daily rate, it’s an excellent choice if traveling on a budget.
Costa Rica’s largest tourist spots boast an array of international eateries and, nowadays, you can find almost everything your taste buds desire. However, foreign meals using imported ingredients are inevitably more expensive, especially when compared with local fare made from locally-grown ingredients. The country boasts rich regional cuisines and we’ve previously blogged about the Slow Food Movement that is emerging in every corner of this great nation. Eating local won’t just save you a few dollars; it will open up a whole culinary world most tourists simply aren’t privy to.
Spend your money on experiences rather than souvenirs
Take all the money you’d normally set aside for souvenir shopping and use it on experiences and activities instead. Will this save you money? Probably not…but it will certainly ensure you have an unforgettable journey and it will offer you a much greater (intangible) value for your money. Costa Rica rates as one of the world’s best for immersive travel experiences and this is one country where experiential travel beats shopping. And that’s priceless.
Opt for adventure tours that bring you the best, for less
Organized, adventure-filled tours are extremely popular in Costa Rica and it’s easy to see why that is. Pooling resources and joining a great group of like-minded explorers makes the whole experience cheaper for everyone whilst offering exceptional logistical benefits. If you were to try booking a journey comparable to our 8-day adventure package for example, complete with airport transfers, accommodation, all meals, private transport between spots as well as days filled with kayaking, whitewater rafting, snorkeling, surfing, canyoning ,mountain biking and canopy tour, not to mention private guides for the whole trip, you’ll soon realize how prohibitively expensive it would be to pay for each one individually. An amazing 7-day hot springs and wildlife adventure honeymoon for less than $1,700? Pretty hard to beat!
Organized adventure Costa Rica vacations offer you all the benefits of an all-inclusive vacation whilst focusing on the exhilarating stuff you love most. Forget the 5* bling you could find anywhere and save money by enjoying a thoroughly rewarding active vacation in the country that inspired it all.
For more info on unique group and private tours, family adventure vacations and honeymoons in Costa Rica, contact us here. We’ll help you stretch your holiday funds further and show you how priceless a Costa Rica vacation can be.