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Costa Rica travel budget

Budget for Travel to Costa Rica

We are going to Costa Rica!  We are so very excited. This trip was planned before we embarked on the journey of moving abroad. In fact, it was planned as a simple vacation but we will now take the opportunity to consider it as a possible retirements/relocation destination. And why not?

So, in the case of Costa Rica, our reviews and process of evaluation may seem a bit out of order but the end result will be the same – a thorough and thoughtful consideration of Costa Rica as a possible new home country.

So, let’s start with the budget for travel to Costa Rica. 

Why would someone dreaming of moving abroad care about this, you might ask?  After all, once you are living there how much will you need to travel there again?

For us the answer is simple: friends and family.  We will want to visit them and they will want to visit us.  We will be living in warm paradise after all (OK, at least in our opinion) and we may actually have a difficult time keeping people from visiting too much – dreaming here, I know.

So, we will compare our projected budget and when we get back we will report on the actual cost of our Costa Rica trip.

Here it is in a nut shell:

Category Expenses for 2 persons Comments
Airfare $1,308   (actual) We bought a package that included air and 7 night hotel stay.
Hotel(s) $122  (actual) This is an additional night inSan Jose on the way home.
Travel within country $200   (estimated)$75  (estimated) Car rental for 3 daysBus fares. Etc.
Food and drink $1,000  (estimated $125/day) We hear that Costa Rica is expensive, so we added a little extra in   here.
Entertainment $150  (estimated) Trips to bar, entrance fees to parks, etc.
Tours $200  (estimated) Guided tours of rainforest and such
Other $58   (actual) Departure tax
Grand Total: $3113   (estimated) Thus far total of actual and   estimated

In a graphical view, here it how it breaks down:

Graph of travel costs

As you can see, just over half (or 57%) of the costs are hotel, air, fees, and transportation.  Most of those costs are actual (i.e. we’ve already paid them, or have estimates from the company.)  The car rental is an estimate only because we do not know how the car insurance is going to shake out.  We are planning to cover it under American Express travel insurance, but if we’re not allowed to do that, the price will be higher.  The food is roughly 1/3 – we normally would allocate only about $100/day but we’ve heard that Costa Rica is more expensive.  So, we went high on our estimate for food.  And of course, this is our vacation, so we will be sight-seeing and touring so that too drives the price up.  All in all, we are planning on about $3,200 for this trip.  We will report back with actual costs when we return in middle of March.

But for right now: WOOT!  We are going to Costa Rica!



About Joanna

is a Polish American living in Arizona with her husband Tim. She is a founding partner of JTR Tech and she is proud to be a professional geek. She had dreamt of living abroad for many years. So, she and Tim created AbroadDreams.com to document the process of making their dream of moving abroad come true. They spent 2 years in Puerto Rico and several months in Spain and Poland. Now they are exploring the American Southwest.

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  1. Looks like you are well-prepared financially for your upcoming trip. A great way to save money on food while you’re there is to skip the over-priced tourist restaurants and hit up a local “soda,” which is kind of like the Costa Rican version of the diner. The casado, a simple dish of rice, beans, plantains, avocado, and a choice of beef, chicken, or fish, will set you back $5. Ceviche, a fish dish, is also cheap and plentiful, especially on the coast.