As many will know, Costa Rica’s political and economic unity has brought an influx of visitors to the country over the past decades. While positive on so many levels, Costa Rica rightfully so has seen its worth and increased prices for tourists. Activities, hotels and restaurant’s match European and American prices, making visiting exceedingly expensive for those on a budget. Here are a few quick tips to enjoying this Central American paradise while not spending a fortune.
You are not visiting Costa Rica to indulge on hamburgers and fries that you can easily buy in your own country, go forth and find the smaller restaurants and markets, that are frequented by the locals. ‘Sodas’ as they are known are ubiquitous local diners or stands that offer large portions ‘Casado’, a typical meal of the day which includes chicken, fish, rice, vegetables and other delicacies of Costa Rica. Many include drinks, and for under 5 dollars, your bellies will be full for hours.
The hardened travellers will understand the importance of breakfast and filling yourself at the beginning of the day, allowing you to avoid expensive lunches. Choose fresh pineapple, the legendary export of the country, and the best fruit you will ever experience.
Before you depart learn the language. Even a poor mans Spanish will enable you to immerse yourself in the intricate fish markets on the Pacific and Caribbean coast, you never know, you may befriend a fisherman who will give you a deal on a fresh catch.
Of course, travel is dependent on time restrictions, but let’s imagine time is not a factor. An array of tourists decides to travel from one coast to the other by chartered plane or mini-bus, both of which can be extortionate compared to the local buses.
The public buses of Costa Rica are surprisingly inexpensive, and 5 or 10-hour journeys can cost as little as 10-20 dollars. The buses have air conditioning, ample leg room and stop frequently for rest stops and food.
Costa Rica is pretty much a giant National Park, so always look up at the branches of trees and out to sea, maybe you will see a sloth in the tree or a manta ray leaping from the water. Many national parks in the country allow visitors to wander by themselves but consider contacting a guide and even hiking through the rainforest with one at night. While it may be more expensive than at day, you will beat the crowds and will be richer in experience when you hear and observe the jungle coming to life with only a torch to find creatures that lurk in the darkness.
AIR B&B! What a fantastic website of which Costa Rican’s and expats are beginning to target the market. Choose to stay with a superhost, validating the safety and cleanliness of the accommodation. AIR B&B often offers families, couples and single travellers the opportunity to stay in a home that is lovingly tended to and a host brimming with knowledge and enthusiasm. Many hotels and resorts are busy, expensive and loud, therefore it’s time to find a different solution.
When scuba diving in Costa Rica, you should highly consider diving with Rocket Frog Divers in Playa Flamingo. Apart from being a PADI IDC center, they are also reasonably priced, have a fantastic safety record and plenty of great reviews on trip advisor!
Thanks for reading!
Article Written by Chris Vyvyan-Robinson