What is the Cost of Travel in Costa Rica?
The cost of travel in Costa Rica can be considerably less than most places in the U.S. While this is true, the cost of taking vacations here may not be.
If you are used to paying in USD then you will a common rate of 550 colones is equal to 1 dollar. This value can change from anywhere between 500 and 600 to 1. Also dollars are accepted in most touristy areas. However it is best to convert your funds to colones. If you are spending dollars you will not always get accurate change. The stores you visit also may use their own conversion rate that could be worse than the bank.
ATMs should not be an issue. Most will give options in English and accept most credit cards. Be sure to let your bank know before traveling that you will be in Costa Rica. This is necessary to keep the fraud prevention services from locking your card. The fees here in Costa Rica range from 1 USD to around 6 USD for different ATMs.
Renting rooms also will have a large range in prices. You can find small places just to sleep for around 15-30 a night. While that may be true nicer hotels and especially those closer to San Jose can cost over $250 a night.
Food costs are generally much lower than that of the U.S. Typical Costa Rican restaurants will have very affordable prices. While Restaurants that are popular in the U.S. will have considerably higher costs. It is best to find local places to eat while on your stay. Also tipping is not customary in Costa Rica and generally there is already a 10% tax for this. If you wish to be polite a 5-10% tip is recommended.
Transportation costs can range from very cheap to very expensive. Buses here are the cheapest option, generally costing around 50 cents or less, 250 colones. Taxi is a relatively cheap option if you are not traveling far. However Uber has recently been near half the cost of a taxi. Rental cars are not extremely expensive and if you are planning to do a lot of traveling outside the cities, it will be far cheaper than calling an Uber for every trip. Having your own vehicle will here will also give you much more comfort and freedom.
Whatever you budget is, Costa Rica has many options for you. If you avoid the touristy areas, you will have a very inexpensive trip. However if you want a more luxury experience the options are available as well.