How to Navigate Costa Rica - Costa Rica Travel Guide

Updated: Jun 6

Costa Rica is such a beautiful country but what should you expect when you visit? Today, I'm going to give you THREE areas you need to consider and research before taking your upcoming trip to Costa Rica. Those areas are...

  1. Important Lessons Learned

  2. Cost to Travel

  3. Suggestions for Your Trip

Keep reading to learn more!

Important Lessons Learned

While traveling around Costa Rica, there are a few things I learned about the country in which I want to share with you all. This will help you learn how to care for things in the country, help you plan, and level set your expectations!

  1. Blue Macaws are native to Brazil but have appeared in Costa Rica due to “bird trafficking”. This practice is not safe for the birds as they usually break one of their wings to prevent them from flying away. People usually buy them for $1,000+ as they are cute at a young age. But when they get older, they are extremely loud, annoying and can eat your fingers off! So of course people no longer want them at that point. Due to this poor treatment, they aren’t able to return to their original home. Please DO NOT PARTICIPATE in this activity!

  2. As of May 2020, gasoline (petroleum) for vehicles was close to double the national average in United States. The current average for Costa Rica is approximately $0.98 per liter. One gallon equals 3.785 liters. Therefore, one gallon of gas in Costa Rica is about $3.71!! CRAZY! Therefore, if you are planning to rent a car, budget more money for gasoline!

  3. Ecotourism is major in Costa Rica as it was even mentioned in The World Pursuit's recent blog post! So of course I visited a conservation to help hurt animals which prevented them from thriving in their natural habitat. One of the animals I saw in the conservation was a toucan in which a human poured acid on its beak! INSANITY! Without a fully functioning beak, it makes it hard for the toucan to get its food. There were plenty of animals in the conservation they are working to rehabilitate to return to their homes or provide luxury services to those who cannot be rehabilitated. Some animals in the conservation includes spider monkeys, javelinas, blue macaws, parrots, raccoons, etc. The lesson here is let nature do its thing and do not interfere!

  4. Costa Rica’s currency is the Colon. As of June 2020, 1 USD = 576.23 CRC. And currently inflation isn't too bad so the USD will go a long way with proper planning. You can check out the current rate and details here!

  5. Most people live outside the city of San Jose and drive in for work causing for very bad traffic!!

  6. Remember the country of Costa Rica is a rainforest! The driest times of the year is from November to April.

  7. Country exit fees should be included in the price of your plane ticket.

  8. The language there is Spanish but English is widely spoken.

Cost to Travel

The average cost per day a person will spend in Costa Rica is as follows (prices are listed in USD):

  • Hotel / Stay Accommodations: $41 (hotel or hostel for one person)

  • Meals: $17

  • Bottled Water: $2

  • Local Transportation: $10

  • Alcoholic Drinks: $8

  • Entertainment: $19

The cost of your flight can vary based on where you are coming from and what time of the year you are visiting. According to Costa Rica Guide, the average flight cost for cheap cities (i.e. Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Newark, and Los Angeles) are as follows:

  • Average during high season: $550

  • Average during low season: $500

But for me personally, I spent a total of $612 for my trip prior to buying a flight to get out of Costa Rica due to a hurricane (hurricane hitting the southern US not Costa Rica). Always be prepared for the unexpected during travel!

The $612 included the following:

  • Travel (flights, taxis, Ubers, etc.): $236

  • Tours & Entry Fees: $202

  • Hotels: $50

  • Food: $40

  • Souvenirs: $86

How to spend under the average budget for a trip to Costa Rica:

  • Use travel points

  • Go with others, so you aren’t always paying for meals

  • Buy groceries so you don't always have to eat out which costs more

  • Look at tours that includes lunch

  • Use ride sharing services

  • Use time shares, Airbnbs, or hostels

Obviously the activities you might want to indulge in while in Costa Rica could change your costs for the worse or for the better. But here is a guide from Pacific Trade Winds on Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Costa Rica Vacation to keep you on track!

Suggestions for Your Trip

Below are some recommendations of places to eat, things to do, etc. based on my personal experience! I wouldn’t recommend them if they didn’t provide me the best of service, unless otherwise noted.

Things to Do

  • Museo Nacional de Costa Rica (National Museum of Costa Rica): Learn the in depth history of the country and see amazing butterflies in the garden here!

  • Mercado Nacional de Artesanias (National Craft Market): Spend some time picking up souvenirs here. It is located right outside of the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica.

  • Proyecto Asis: Help and volunteer at a conservation near La Fortuna. Check out the different tour and volunteer options on their website!

  • 6 in 1 Rainforest Tour: This was an amazing adventure filled tour of the rainforest! From a canopy tram ride to a typical Costa Rican lunch to zip lining through the rainforest, it was well worth the visit! Book the tour here! **Please Note: I am an affiliate partner with Viator. If you book this tour through the link above I may receive a commission with no additional cost to you. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

Where to Stay

  • Villas Palmas Condos: The shabby chic condos I stayed in during my visit. Not five star but definitely livable and convenient.

Where to Eat

  • Restaurante Nuestra Tierra: Typical Costa Rican food and maybe some live entertainment while you eat!

  • La Bodeguita del Medio: Get a touch of Cuba and the infamous original mojito at this restaurant. Sometimes there is live music while you eat.


  • Eco Drivers: If you need a driver to help you get around Costa Rica for a reasonable price, check them out!

  • Uber

Well that is all for today Explorers! Thank you so much for reading this guide and I hope this helps you plan your next Costa Rican adventure! Click play on the video below to see a bit of my experience while in the country!

And don't forget to leave any questions or comments you have down below!

#costarica #kitatheexplorer #howtonavigatecostarica #costaricatravelguide #travelguide

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