10 days in costa rica budget

Plan Your 10 Days in Costa Rica Budget: A Friendly Guide

Costa Rica is a popular travel destination in Central America known for its safety, friendly people, and breathtaking landscapes. However, it has also become more expensive compared to its neighboring countries. In this guide, we will provide you with a budget-friendly itinerary for 10 days in Costa Rica, ensuring that you can explore the beauty of the country without breaking the bank.

  • Experience the beauty of Costa Rica without overspending.
  • Plan your budget wisely for a 10-day trip.
  • Consider the costs of activities, transportation, accommodation, and food.
  • Opt for budget-friendly options such as hostels, local eateries, and public transportation.
  • Enjoy affordable activities like hiking, exploring waterfalls, and immersing yourself in the local culture.

How to Plan Your Budget for a 10-Day Trip to Costa Rica

When embarking on a 10-day trip to Costa Rica, it is essential to plan your budget carefully to ensure you can make the most of your experience without overspending. By considering the main costs of activities, transportation, accommodation, and food, you can create a realistic budget that allows for a memorable and cost-effective trip. Here are some money-saving tips to help you plan your budget for a 10-day adventure in Costa Rica.


Costa Rica offers a wide range of activities to suit every budget. While some attractions may have high entrance fees, there are plenty of affordable and even free activities to enjoy. Explore the country’s stunning national parks and hike through lush rainforests, take refreshing dips in local waterfalls, or simply relax on the beautiful beaches. Engaging in local cultural experiences, such as visiting local markets or attending festivals, can also be a cost-effective way to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Costa Rica.


Transportation can be a significant expense during your trip, but there are cost-effective options available. Consider using public transportation such as buses, which are not only economical but also provide an opportunity to interact with locals and experience the authentic charm of Costa Rica. Alternatively, consider carpooling or sharing shuttles with other travelers to reduce transportation costs. Avoiding unnecessary taxi rides and opting for walking or cycling whenever possible can also help save money while exploring your destination.

Accommodation and Dining

Staying in budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels can significantly reduce expenses. Research and compare prices to find the best deals, and consider booking in advance to secure lower rates. Additionally, eating at local restaurants, known as “sodas,” can provide authentic Costa Rican cuisine at affordable prices. These family-owned eateries offer delicious, traditional dishes that won’t break the bank. Taking advantage of hostel kitchens or local markets to prepare some of your meals can further cut down on food expenses.

By incorporating these money-saving tips into your budget planning, you can enjoy a memorable 10-day trip to Costa Rica without stretching your wallet. With careful consideration of activities, transportation, accommodation, and dining options, you can create a budget-friendly itinerary that allows you to experience the beauty and adventure of Costa Rica while keeping your expenses in check.

Costa Rica travel on a budget

Currency and Exchange Rates in Costa Rica

When planning your budget for a 10-day trip to Costa Rica, it’s important to consider the currency and exchange rates. The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colón (CRC), but US dollars are widely accepted, especially in tourist areas. However, using US dollars may result in higher prices, as some vendors may give you a less favorable exchange rate.

To avoid being overcharged when using US dollars, it’s recommended to convert your money into colones. You can do this at banks, currency exchange offices, or withdraw colones from an ATM. It’s best to check the current exchange rates before making any currency conversions.

Costa Rica currency exchange

Exchange Rate: USD to CRC

1 630

This means that 1 US Dollar is equivalent to approximately 630 Costa Rican colones. Keep in mind that exchange rates may vary slightly depending on where you exchange your currency.

It’s also worth noting that credit cards are widely accepted in Costa Rica, especially in larger establishments like hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets. However, it’s advisable to carry some cash with you for smaller purchases or when visiting more remote areas where credit card facilities may be limited.

Budget-Friendly Transportation Options for Your 10-Day Costa Rica Trip

Getting around Costa Rica on a budget is easier than you might think. By choosing affordable transportation options, you can save money while exploring the beautiful destinations of this vibrant country. Here are some budget-friendly transportation options to consider for your 10-day Costa Rica trip:

Public Buses

Public buses are a reliable and cost-effective way to travel between cities and towns in Costa Rica. The bus network is extensive, covering most popular tourist destinations. Fares are affordable, usually ranging from $1 to $10 depending on the distance. Buses are comfortable and offer a chance to interact with locals during your journey.

Shared Shuttles

Shared shuttles are a convenient option for traveling to more remote areas or destinations not well-served by public transportation. These shuttles often operate on fixed schedules and can be booked in advance through tour operators or transportation companies. While slightly more expensive than buses, shared shuttles provide a comfortable and efficient way to reach your destination.

Taxis and Tuk Tuks

Taxis and tuk tuks, the small three-wheeled vehicles, are also popular modes of transportation in Costa Rica. While not as budget-friendly as buses or shared shuttles, they can be a convenient option for shorter distances or when traveling with luggage. It’s important to negotiate the fare before getting in a taxi or tuk tuk to avoid overpaying.

With these affordable transportation options, you can easily explore the budget-friendly destinations in Costa Rica without breaking the bank. Plan your itinerary accordingly and make the most of your 10-day trip to this stunning country.

budget-friendly transportation options in Costa Rica

Budget-Friendly Activities in Costa Rica

When exploring Costa Rica on a budget, there are plenty of cost-effective activities that allow you to experience the country’s beauty without breaking the bank. Here are some budget-friendly activities that you can enjoy during your trip:

1. Hiking in National Parks

Costa Rica is renowned for its stunning national parks, and many of them offer hiking trails that are accessible and free for visitors. Explore the lush rainforests, spot wildlife, and immerse yourself in the diverse ecosystems of parks like Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

2. Exploring Waterfalls

Costa Rica is home to numerous breathtaking waterfalls, and visiting them can be an inexpensive and rewarding experience. Some popular waterfalls include La Fortuna Waterfall, Rio Celeste Waterfall, and Nauyaca Waterfalls. Enjoy swimming in crystal-clear pools, marvel at the cascading water, and embrace the natural beauty that Costa Rica has to offer.

3. Enjoying the Beach

Costa Rica boasts beautiful beaches along its coasts, and spending a day at the beach is a great way to relax and unwind without spending much money. Whether you’re looking for a bustling beach town with vibrant nightlife like Tamarindo or a secluded and tranquil beach like Playa Conchal, there are options for every budget.

4. Immersing Yourself in Local Culture

One of the best ways to experience Costa Rica on a budget is by immersing yourself in the local culture. Explore vibrant local markets where you can sample fresh tropical fruits, buy handmade crafts, and interact with locals. Attend cultural festivals and events to learn about Costa Rican traditions, music, and dances. Engaging with the local community is not only enriching but also a cost-effective way to experience the authentic essence of Costa Rica.

By incorporating these budget-friendly activities into your itinerary, you can make the most of your 10-day trip to Costa Rica without overspending.

Affordable Accommodation Options in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets. Whether you prefer the social atmosphere of a hostel or the comfort of a mid-range hotel, there are plenty of affordable choices available.


Hostels are a popular choice for budget travelers, offering dormitory beds at affordable prices. Prices can range from $10 to $20 per night, depending on the location and amenities. Many hostels also offer private rooms for those who prefer more privacy while still keeping costs low. Hostels provide a great opportunity to meet fellow travelers and share experiences, making them a favorite among backpackers.


Another budget-friendly option is Airbnb. This online platform allows you to rent accommodations directly from local hosts, often at a lower cost than traditional hotels. In Costa Rica, you can find a wide range of affordable Airbnb rentals, including private rooms and entire apartments or houses. Staying in an Airbnb gives you the chance to experience the local culture and have a more authentic travel experience.

Mid-Range Hotels

If you prefer more comfort without breaking the bank, mid-range hotels are a great option. These hotels typically offer private rooms with en-suite bathrooms and additional amenities such as swimming pools, restaurants, and 24-hour reception. Prices for mid-range hotels in Costa Rica can vary depending on the location and season, but you can find options within the $50 to $100 per night range. It’s always a good idea to book in advance to secure the best deals.

Accommodation Option Price Range Features
Hostels $10 – $20 per night Dormitory beds, social atmosphere
Airbnb Varies Private rooms, local experience
Mid-Range Hotels $50 – $100 per night Private rooms, additional amenities

With the variety of affordable accommodation options in Costa Rica, you can find a place to stay that fits your budget and preferences. Whether you choose a hostel, Airbnb rental, or mid-range hotel, you can enjoy your trip without overspending on accommodation.

Dining on a Budget in Costa Rica

When it comes to dining on a budget in Costa Rica, there are plenty of delicious and affordable options to choose from. One of the best ways to save money on food is to opt for local eateries known as “sodas.” These family-owned restaurants offer traditional Costa Rican dishes at reasonable prices. From hearty casados (rice, beans, and meat) to flavorful gallo pinto (rice and beans), you can indulge in authentic cuisine without breaking the bank.

For budget-friendly dining, it’s also recommended to explore the local markets and street food stalls. Here, you can find a variety of affordable snacks and meals, such as empanadas, ceviche, and fresh tropical fruits. These options not only provide a taste of Costa Rican culture but also offer great value for your money.

If you prefer to cook your own meals, many hostels and accommodations in Costa Rica offer kitchen facilities for guests. This allows you to buy groceries and prepare your own meals, saving even more money on dining expenses. Additionally, take advantage of the abundant fresh produce available in Costa Rica, from colorful vegetables to tropical fruits, to create healthy and budget-friendly meals.

Overall, dining on a budget in Costa Rica is easily achievable with a little planning and exploration. By opting for local eateries, trying street food, and using kitchen facilities at accommodations, you can enjoy delicious meals while keeping your expenses in check.

budget-friendly dining in Costa Rica

Table: Average Prices of Costa Rican Dishes in Local Eateries

Dish Average Price
Casado (rice, beans, and meat) $5 – $8
Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) $3 – $5
Empanadas $1 – $2
Ceviche $4 – $6
Tropical Fruit Platter $2 – $4

Itinerary for a Budget-Friendly 10-Day Trip to Costa Rica

Are you ready to embark on a budget-friendly adventure in Costa Rica? With careful planning and strategic choices, you can have an incredible 10-day trip without breaking the bank. Here’s a suggested itinerary that will allow you to explore the wonders of Costa Rica while staying within your budget.

Tamarindo or Nosara (Days 1-3):

Start your trip in the beautiful coastal town of Tamarindo or Nosara. These destinations offer stunning beaches and a vibrant surf culture. Enjoy the sun, sand, and surf without spending a fortune. Stay in budget-friendly hostels or consider renting an Airbnb for a more affordable option. Don’t forget to indulge in delicious local cuisine at the numerous sodas scattered around town.

Monteverde (Days 4-6):

Next, head inland to the cloud forest of Monteverde. This lush destination is known for its breathtaking nature reserves and thrilling eco-adventures. Explore the treetop walkways, go ziplining, or take a guided hike through the stunning Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Accommodation options range from affordable hostels to mid-range hotels with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Puerto Viejo (Days 7-10):

Wrap up your budget-friendly trip in the vibrant town of Puerto Viejo, located on the Caribbean coast. This laid-back destination is known for its stunning beaches, lively reggae music, and delicious Afro-Caribbean cuisine. Relax on the pristine beaches, rent a bike to explore the nearby Cahuita National Park, or take a chocolate tour to learn about the fascinating history of cacao. Accommodation options include budget-friendly hostels and cozy guesthouses.

With this budget-friendly itinerary, you can experience the best of Costa Rica without breaking the bank. From the beautiful beaches of Tamarindo or Nosara to the lush cloud forest of Monteverde and the vibrant town of Puerto Viejo, there’s something for everyone. Remember to take advantage of money-saving tips throughout your trip, such as using public transportation and eating at local restaurants. Enjoy your cheap Costa Rica tour and create unforgettable memories on a budget!

Tips for Saving Money on Your Costa Rica Trip

When planning a budget-friendly trip to Costa Rica, it’s important to find ways to save money without compromising on the experiences you want to have. Here are some money-saving tips to help you make the most of your Costa Rica trip while staying within your budget:

1. Travel during the shoulder season

Consider traveling to Costa Rica during the shoulder season, which falls between the peak and off-peak seasons. During this time, you can find better deals on flights, accommodations, and activities, allowing you to save money. Additionally, you’ll avoid the crowds and have a more authentic experience as you explore the country.

2. Opt for public transportation

Utilize Costa Rica’s public transportation system, which is not only cost-effective but also a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Buses are a popular and affordable option for getting around the country, with routes connecting major cities and tourist destinations. You can also consider renting a bicycle or using rideshare services for shorter distances.

3. Cook your own meals

While experiencing local cuisine is a must when traveling, dining out for every meal can quickly add up. Save money by cooking some of your meals in your accommodation’s kitchen or having picnics with locally sourced ingredients. Visit local markets to get fresh produce and ingredients at a fraction of the cost compared to eating at restaurants.

By following these money-saving tips for your Costa Rica trip, you can have an unforgettable experience without breaking the bank. Remember to plan ahead, prioritize your expenses, and make conscious choices that align with your budget.

Packing Essentials for a Budget-Friendly Trip to Costa Rica

When planning a budget-friendly trip to Costa Rica, it’s essential to pack strategically to save money and ensure a comfortable journey. Here are some packing essentials that will help you make the most of your affordable Costa Rica vacation:

Reusable Water Bottle

Avoid unnecessary expenses on bottled water by bringing a reusable water bottle. Costa Rica has excellent tap water quality, and you can refill your bottle from natural springs or your accommodation without having to buy multiple plastic bottles.

A Good Pair of Walking Shoes

Costa Rica is known for its stunning landscapes and adventurous activities. To fully immerse yourself in the country’s beauty, pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Whether you’re exploring national parks, hiking to waterfalls, or strolling along the beach, sturdy shoes will ensure your feet stay comfortable and avoid unnecessary expenses on rentals or replacements.


With its beautiful beaches and natural hot springs, Costa Rica offers plenty of opportunities for swimming and relaxing in the water. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit, so you can make the most of these natural attractions without having to rent one or miss out on the experience.

Insect Repellent and Sunscreen

To protect yourself from pesky mosquitoes and harmful sun rays, pack insect repellent and sunscreen. By bringing these essentials from home, you can avoid inflated prices at tourist destinations and ensure you’re prepared for outdoor activities throughout your trip.

By packing these essentials for your budget-friendly trip to Costa Rica, you’ll not only save money but also ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Remember to plan ahead and pack smart to make the most of your affordable Costa Rica vacation.


Planning a budget-friendly 10-day trip to Costa Rica is both achievable and rewarding. By following the money-saving tips provided in this guide, you can experience the beauty of Costa Rica without exceeding your budget.

Start by carefully planning your itinerary, taking advantage of low-cost transportation options such as buses and shared shuttles. Consider exploring budget-friendly destinations like Tamarindo or Nosara, Monteverde, and Puerto Viejo.

When it comes to accommodation, look for affordable options such as hostels, Airbnb rentals, or mid-range hotels. And don’t forget to dine at local eateries known as “sodas” to savor delicious traditional dishes at reasonable prices.

Remember to pack essentials like a reusable water bottle, walking shoes, insect repellent, and sunscreen to avoid unnecessary expenses. By implementing these tips and making smart choices throughout your trip, you can have an amazing 10-day vacation in Costa Rica while staying within your budget.


How much should I budget for a 10-day trip to Costa Rica?

It is possible to visit Costa Rica and spend about $40-$50 per day by budgeting wisely.

Can I use US dollars in Costa Rica?

Yes, US dollars are widely accepted, but it is recommended to convert your money into colones or withdraw colones from an ATM to avoid being overcharged when using US dollars.

How can I find affordable flights to Costa Rica?

Use search tools like Google Flights or sign up for email newsletters like Scott’s Cheap Flights to find affordable flights.

What are the cheapest transportation options in Costa Rica?

Public transportation, such as buses, tuk tuks, and shared shuttles, is the cheapest way to get around in Costa Rica.

Are there budget-friendly activities in Costa Rica?

Yes, there are plenty of free and low-cost options available, including hiking in national parks, exploring waterfalls, enjoying the beach, and immersing yourself in the local culture.

What are some budget-friendly accommodation options in Costa Rica?

Budget travelers can consider staying in hostels with dormitory beds available for as low as $10-$20 per night. Other options include private rooms in hostels, Airbnb rentals, and mid-range hotels.

How can I save money on food expenses in Costa Rica?

By opting for local eateries known as “sodas”, cooking in hostel kitchens, or buying groceries, you can save money on food expenses in Costa Rica.

Can you provide a sample itinerary for a budget-friendly 10-day trip to Costa Rica?

We will provide a sample itinerary with recommended destinations, activities, and budget-friendly accommodation options in Costa Rica.

What are some money-saving tips for traveling in Costa Rica?

Money-saving tips include using local transportation, eating at local eateries, booking flights and activities in advance, taking advantage of student discounts, and more.

What should I pack for a budget-friendly trip to Costa Rica?

Essentials to pack include reusable water bottles, a good pair of walking shoes, a swimsuit, insect repellent, and sunscreen.

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