beach-costa-rica-travelCosta Rica may not be the best place for budget travelers, but if you know where to go and what to do you can have a great time without breaking the bank. 

What are the secrets to budget traveling in Costa Rica?

Here are 10 Things to Do in Costa Rica on a Budget

Arenal and La Fortuna Area 

This is one of the most popular areas of Costa Rica when it comes to adventure tours. The real secret here is that you can do a lot of them without having to spend a small fortune.

1. La Fortuna Waterfalls- A common misconception I hear about all the time is that you can’t get to the waterfalls unless you are with a guide. That’s NOT TRUE! You can enter the park for $10, follow the trails and have a great time on your own. If you go with a guide you will have to pay at least $40 per person and you won’t really have a different experience.

2. Hanging Bridges – This is another of those tours where you will have the same if not better experience if you go on your own. Plus, a guided tour is $57 per person while the entrance is $25 and you get to go at your own pace. 

3. Hot Springs – Naturally heated pools are a must visit if you come to Arenal. And again, you don’t need a guide to enjoy the visit. There is nothing to guide just enjoy the pools. If you do go on an organized tour you end up paying more than two times the entrance fee.


Monteverde Cloud Forest

4. Hiking the reserves – My advice here is: Do this on your own! You don’t really need a guide for this. The trails are well marked, you will have a great time and you will only have to pay a fraction of what a guide will cost you. The entrance is $15 compared to $50 per person that companies charge for a guide.

5. Frogs – In this area you will find tons of Frog ponds that charge you a ton just to enter. The secret is to go on a night tour, it truly is worth the whole $25 per person they charge and you get to see tons of frogs and some other animals.


ManuelAntonio National Park

This is one of the best parks of the country especially for nature lovers.

6. Guided tour of the Park – The difference is the amount of animals you will see. You will see more with a guide but you’ll still see tons if you go on your own. But the difference when it comes to price is: $10 entrance fee vs. $45 per person.

7. Taxis in Manuel Antonio – This area is known for having the best public bus system in Costa Rica and they only charge twenty five cents. So forget about taxis!

General Costa Rica Savings

8. Coffee – I bet you know that Costa Rica produces great coffee. But when it comes to buying it stay away from souvenir shops, you can get the same coffee for a fraction of the price at a local supermarket.

9. Eating Out – Try eating at a SODA. They are Costa Rican local eateries and can be found all over the country. The benefits are that you will be able to enjoy traditional food and have a humongous meal that includes drink, protein, starch, sometimes soup and desert for less than $8.

10. Street Vendors – the more you buy from street vendors the more you save, because they don’t have to pay rent. In some cases you spend 50% less.

Using any of these tips won’t make your trip less fun. They will make your vacation a lot easier while you save.

Marina K. Villatoro is an expat living with her family and traveling in Central America. Learn how to get some other great deals when traveling to Costa Rica.