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Frugal Travel: 15 Ways to Save On Your Costa Rica Trip

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In the first half of 2019, 1.73 million visitors went to Costa Rica, which is up 3.9% from 2018. Are you looking to travel to Costa Rica but afraid you can’t afford it?

Think again, there’re many ways to save on your travels to Costa Rica. Read on for frugal travel tips for this beautiful country.

1. Visit During the Rainy Season

Many people visit Costa Rica during the dry months (December-April) but if you don’t mind getting a bit wet you can save big on your vacation. The rainy season runs from May through November, but usually, it’s not too rainy until August or September.

While not every type of excursion can be done in the rain, most others may have better rates. You also won’t have to deal with big crowds either.

2. Say ‘No’ to the Holidays

When you’re traveling, you’ll want to avoid going during the holidays. Christmas, New Years, and Easter are big in Costa Rica and the busiest time for travel. Car rentals and hotels will charge their peak rates during this time. Be sure to book with a travel service that also provides transportation to not only save money but also headaches.

3. Eat at Sodas

When you’re in Costa Rica, try to eat at what’s called Sodas. They’re locally-owned restaurants that serve traditional and inexpensive Costa Rican food. Don’t let the look of the restaurants fool you, you can have some of the best meals at Sodas. Also, be sure to check out our favorite breakfast place in Jacó!

If you decide to go more formal and check out regular restaurants in the area, most include the tip in the price so you won’t have to tip more.

4. Drink the Tap

In most parts of the country, tap water is safe to drink. Almost everywhere the water is treated. Save your money by not spending it on bottled water, and opt for free tap.

5. Ask Locals for Tours

If you’re looking to go fishing, you can ask locals if they know anyone with a boat who can take you out on the water. You could wind up spending much less than a traditional excursion. But, if you want to play it safe, pre-arrange your excursions with a travel service like Paradise in Jacó.

6. Take the Bus

You’ll want to think twice about renting a 4×4 or other SUV. There’re places in Costa Rica you’ll prefer 4×4’s, but it’s not necessary everywhere.

When you’re traveling, try to take public transportation as much as possible. Taking the bus is the least expensive way to get around and you can get to almost any destination by doing so.

Many locals ride the bus as well, so it’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture.

If this seems too daunting, don’t worry, we can pick you up at the airport and take you anywhere you need to go in one of our brand new vans.

7. Vacation Rentals

Instead of expensive hotels, look for deals with vacation rentals. You can save even more by going with all-inclusive Costa Rican vacation rentals.

8. Free Activities

While you’ll, of course, want different activities that cost more such as zip-lining or horseback riding, you can still find free and inexpensive tours in addition to those. Check out the local national parks and reserves, walk around the local farmers’ markets, or walk around the town.

More than 25% of the Costa Rican land is dedicated to parks, reserves, and wildlife refuges. There are more than 100 protected areas to visit.

Some great places to check out are:

  • Tortuguero National Park- You can see some beautiful endangered sea turtles while here
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest- There’re coffee tours, zip-lining, hiking, and wildlife spotting
  • Arenal Volcano- You can see this active volcano and go hiking
  • Playa Tamarindo- Surfing and water sports beach with a great nightlife

Guides can add knowledge and expertise to tours, but you can still experience the beauty of the parks solo. We are happy to help point you in the right direction or pre-arrange these excursions for you. A vacation should stress-free. Let us handle things so that you can simply enjoy paradise.

9. Avoid Tourist Traps

You’ll want to avoid big tourist traps like the beaches of Guanacaste. Since they’re very popular, the prices tend to be higher. Staying and traveling just outside these cities can save on your travels. Or, better yet, stay in Paradise in Jacó.

10. Do Your Own Cooking

If you stay in a vacation rental, they often come with stoves, a fridge, and other kitchen appliances. If you’re looking to save money, cooking is a great option. And yes, our condo is fully equipped with a full kitchen!

11. Buy Inexpensive Souvenirs

Some souvenirs can be quite expensive, but a less expensive gift you can find at the supermarkets there is coffee. The same coffee sold in an expensive shop is the same kind sold in the markets.

12. Book Incognito

When you’re booking your trip, a great way to not have the prices rise and keep cookies at bay is to book incognito. You can also use what’s called a virtual private network(VPN) to hide your geographical location.

Some travel sites can get around these tricks but not all, so these are good ideas to keep handy. This is completely unnecessary with us, we work hard to get you the very best prices possible.

13. Check out Beaches

Do you enjoy the beach? All the beaches are free to check out, so take advantage of their beauty as much as you’d like. Jacó Beach is gorgeous.

14. Take Advantage of the Exchange Rate

While U.S. currency in Costa Rica is accepted, it’s best to save on overpaying by exchanging your money when you arrive. Their currency is called the Colon. Most everyone will accept credit cards and US Dollars (USD). You really don’t need to worry about getting Colons.

15. Cell & Internet

If you have an unlocked phone, you can always buy a sim card while visiting. You can also purchase a prepaid data package with 4G coverage and internet as well. Perhaps you’re wanting to disconnect for a bit. Back at the condo, we offer free Wifi so you can always check Twitter and Facebook there!

Costa Rican Frugal Travel

While you might have felt overwhelmed and nervous you couldn’t afford Costa Rica, frugal travel is a possibility. Not only will you have a great time, but you can save big by following this guide.

Before you know it you’ll be zip-lining, enjoying the numerous parks and reserves, or relaxing on the beach. Are you ready to book your Costa Rican adventure? Contact us today for some of the best all-inclusive deals. We are here to help!

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We will send you periodic emails about things to do and enjoy as well as special discounts and vacation packages in Jaco Costa Rica.