Miles of unspoiled rain forests, white sand beaches, and eco-conscious hotels makes Costa Rica a dream destination. But, before you start booking excursions and flights, it pays to estimate how much a trip to Costa Rica will cost.
How much you’ll spend to see the country is a highly individual question. Those with their heart set on luxury accommodations and exotic activities will obviously pay more than a budget-conscious backpacker.
This is why our travel experts have done the research to show you how to estimate costs. We’ll discuss the best ways to travel, ways to limit your accommodation costs, and give you some ideas for budget dining on your trip.
Dive into our research to help you determine a budget for your upcoming Costa Rica trip!
Average Trip to Costa Rica Cost in 2023
A week in Costa Rica costs between $1,700 and $3,000 for two people.
- Average Accommodation Cost: $115 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $350 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $25 per day per person
- Transportation: $30 per day
- Total Cost: $1,900
Obviously, your costs will vary widely based on the type of accommodations you choose, the time of year you visit, and factors like which city you fly into when you arrive.
Costa Rica has inexpensive and comprehensive public transportation, but you will spend more time traveling as a trade off. Most city buses are not air conditioned, so keep this in mind if you do not like the heat.
Many people find that the buses are a great way to get around when they don’t want to drive on Costa Rica’s steep and narrow roads. Activity costs will also depend greatly on how you like to spend your time and how comfortable you are with self-guided tours and activities.
Admission to one of the many national parks can cost less than $20, but you’ll spend a lot more if you want a private tour guide or to engage in an adventure like a river boat tour.
Food, particularly casual midday meals, can be inexpensive. Look at where the locals eat to find the best meals and the best deals. We’ll break down the costs and how we arrived at our average numbers.
Costa Rica Trip Cost: Average by Item
When examining the average costs for your trip, bear in mind that individual choices will affect what you actually pay. The good news is that you can prioritize which places you want to spend your money.
Do you just think of bed as the place to crash at the end of the night? You can cut costs substantially staying in a dorm geared toward backpackers.
Want to experience exclusive eco-tourism adventures? Cut your budget elsewhere to save money and put the savings toward the parts of your Costa Rican vacation you would enjoy most.
Costa Rica has accommodations at many price points and levels of luxury. The posh Nayana Gardens in La Fortuna typically costs $375 a night.
This hotel is just a 15 minute drive from the La Fortuna Waterfall and Arenal Volcano National Park. The hotel is in a lush jungle setting with great views of the volcano. Another well-reviewed option is Borinquen Thermal Resort in Canas Dulces, with rooms averaging $115 a night.
This hotel has a hot pool on site and puts you around 20 miles from both Liberia Parque Central and Santa Rosa National Park.
At the budget end are options like Selina Jacó & Surf School, located on the Pacific side of the country. The brightly colored but basic rooms there can be booked for $30 a night and is the only beachfront hotel in Playa Hermosa.
Flight costs vary wildly depending on where in the country you decide to land. Flights to coastal destinations like Tamarindo or Limon can run as high as $800 per person.
If you want to fly into the southern port town of Golfito, you can expect to pay close to $1,200 for a ticket. However, Costa Rica is a small country, so it doesn’t matter as much where you land.
A flight from the US to San Juan, Costa Rica’s capital city, averages $350.
From there, you can drive to Tamarindo in about four hours or to Golfito in just over five. According to Skyscanner, August is one of the cheaper months to travel, with some tickets available under $100 per person.
This is likely due to higher temperatures making the country a less inviting option this time of year. You’ll pay more as temperatures fall in the US and people dream of tropical getaways.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Experienced travelers say food and drink are a little more expensive in Costa Rica than in neighboring countries. But, there are still many deals to be had.
Breakfast is often included in the price at hotels. If your hotel does not serve breakfast, expect to pay between $5 and $8 for this meal. There are quick and casual options available at reasonable prices.
Expect to pay around $8 for a burger and $3 for an accompanying fresh fruit drink. If you are looking for a fine dining experience, expect to pay around $30 to $40 for an entrée at restaurants like Restaurante Silvestre.
Costa Rica, like many Caribbean countries, has a “basic basket” of food types that are price-limited by law. The foods on the list include items like rice, beans, chicken, milk, and cheese.
Buying these foods (and maybe trying your hand at some popular Costa Rican recipes) can keep your meal costs down.
Travel & Leisure recently observed that Costa Rica has over 30 national parks showcasing environments that range from coral reefs to cloud forests. Admission to most is under $15 a person, making this a cheap way to spend a day in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica offers both Pacific and Caribbean beaches. All beaches outside the national parks are free to visit. If you want to rent beach chairs, surfboards, or coolers, you will typically pay $10 to $25 a day.
Wile away a day on the sand or invest a few dollars in surfing lessons. A group of four can get a 90-minute class for $120 total. Tours of many descriptions are available, all at different price points.
A tour like the Coffee and Adventure tour from Britt Coffee Tour lasts six hours and costs $140 per person, including transportation and lunch. A river tour runs around $60 a person.
Visitors say that getting a rental car with AWD is a must for traversing the mountainous regions of Costa Rica. Prices vary by season, but many posters on Reddit report finding cars for around $40 a day.
Make sure you have liability coverage through either your regular car insurance or through your credit card. Insurance is required by law in Costa Rica, and buying it through the rental company can increase your cost by around $15 per day.
Costa Rica has one of the best public transit systems in Central America. Travel within a city is frequently as little as $1 a ride. Travel between cities by bus will typically cost around $20.
Things to Consider
These are a few things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Costa Rica:
- Plan your days well so you do not drive at night. Roads in Costa Rica are not narrow and usually unlit, so driving on them at night can be dangerous.
- The dry season runs from January through April. But, even then, you should still be prepared for overnight rain.
- Many hotels do not have air conditioning. If you need the AC, be prepared to pay a significant upcharge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Costa Rica expensive for vacations?
How expensive Costa Rica is depends on how you want to travel. The country is popular with budget travelers like backpackers and has many inexpensive attractions. You can also find luxury all-inclusive accommodations that come with a luxury price tag.
How much money do you need for seven days in Costa Rica?
Expect to spend anywhere from $850 to $1,700 per person for a week in Costa Rica.
How much cash should I take to Costa Rica for a week?
Bring about $200 US with you when you go. You can exchange dollars for Costa Rican colones at the bank or the supermarket.
What is the best time of year to go to Costa Rica?
What time of year is best depends on your personal preferences. The months between December and April are the driest and the least likely to have rainy days.
But, many people prefer the “green season” which runs from around May to November. The extra rain makes plant life even more lush. As a bonus, there are fewer travelers this time of year, which can mean lower prices.
Is 10 days in Costa Rica enough?
Costa Rica’s a small country, which means you won’t spend a lot of time on the road between destinations. A ten-day trip can be enough to see the major highlights and linger in the spots you like most.
So, What Is the Average Trip Cost for Costa Rica?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$115 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$350 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$25 per day per person|
|🚕 Transportation||$30 per day|
|💲 Total Cost||$1,900|
A couple spending a week in Costa Rica should expect to pay between $1,700 and $3,000. There are unforgettable experiences to be had at all price points, so how much you spend in this natural paradise is up to you.
Decide what you want to splurge on and where you are happy to economize to plan a Costa Rican adventure you’ll never forget. Pura Vida!