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Actual Costs of Trip to Costa Rica

Ocean RocksAs I said in my Trip Report, we were really surprised just how expensive Costa Rica was.  I previously posted our estimated trip costs and now I can fill in the actuals.

Let me just say that we are normally budget travelers, and have been to other countries for literately 1/2 of the below costs.  So yes: OUCH!


Here are the details:

Category Estimated Expenses Actual Expenses Comments
Airfare $1,308 $1,608 We bought a package   that included air and 7 night hotel stay.    However, our package included air with Spirit Airlines.  They charge extra for each checked and carryon bag (for each leg of the trip) and for booking your plane seats in advance.  This added additional $320 to our expenses.
Hotel(s) $122 $122 This was an   additional night in San Jose on the way home.
Travel within   country $200
We ended up not   renting a car but instead hired private driver to and from airport.  The smaller amount was for daily use of local bus.
Food and drink $1,000 (estimated   $125/day) $950 We hear that Costa   Rica is expensive, so we added a little extra in here.
Entertainment $150 $100 Trips to bar,   entrance fees to parks, etc.
Tours $200 $95 Guided tours of   rainforest and such
Other $58 $66 Departure tax – we paid   at the hotel to save time.  They added   an $8 charge.
Grand Total: $3113 $3,290 Actual is more than estimated!

So, the moral of this story is: Costa Rica is really expensive, at least in the beach tourist areas.  For now, that is all we have experience with.  While we were there, we talked to some of the locals and were told that this did not used to be so.  And that Costa Rica’s prices only just skyrocketed over the last decade.  We hope to get a chance to visit the less visited central valley that everyone says is so much cheaper.

I have to admit that I’m a bit skeptical, however, because I’ve been reading expat forums and folks are saying that in general Costa Rica is not really much cheaper to live in than US, except for real-estate taxes and insurance (both health and real-estate).  Those of course, can be huge money savers.  So, as we explore more, we will see.

You may also be interested in our Costa Rica Trip Report and Costa Rica Facts.

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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