๐Ÿ’ฐย Costa Rica 2-Week Trip Cost: 2023 Travel Expense Breakdown

The blog author leaning in a quiet pool with a bridge and lush trees in the background.

A country known for its happy locals, volcanos and rainforests, Costa Rica is an expensive Central American country that can be visited with a budget of $70 to $200 a day.

My 2-week trip to Costa Rica cost a total of $3,470. Here, I share my Costa Rica travel expenses, budgeting tips and outline where and how much cash is needed.

I also compare the costs of four popular Costa Rica areas that I visited: La Fortuna, Nosara, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Is Costa Rica Expensive To Travel To?

๐Ÿ’ฐ Costa Rica is the most expensive country to visit in Central America. Their #1 industry is tourism, which drives the prices higher. An interesting fact about Costa Rica is that they abolished their army after their 1948 civil war and the government redirected military funds into social programs related to education and health, which has led to better standards of living and higher prices. The second most expensive country to visit in Central America is Belize.

๐ŸŽ’ A budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $70 per day or $490 for one week of travel in Costa Rica, not including flights. To travel on a budget in Costa Rica, you can:

  • Stay at a hostel for $30 a night
  • Eat $10 meals at sodas, which is what Costa Ricans call their local, small restaurants
  • Fill up your water bottle with tap water, which is very safe and clean in developed districts, and avoid having to pay for bottled water
  • Explore nature for free and go to the free beaches. Many of Costa Rica’s natural attractions have an entrance fee, but there are some that won’t have one.

๐Ÿ’ณ A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $200 per day or $1,400 for one week of travel in Costa Rica, not including flights.

About My Costa Rica Trip

To give context to the expenses below, hereโ€™s what you need to know about my Costa Rica trip:

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ 2 weeks. I spent two weeks in Costa Rica in March, which is considered one of the more popular times to visit the country as itโ€™s the dry season.

๐Ÿ“ 4 areas. I went to four popular locations in Costa Rica: La Fortuna (7 days), Monteverde (2 days), Nosara (3 days) and Manuel Antonio (2 days).

For details on the cost breakdowns of each specific location, visit each locationโ€™s travel guide: La Fortuna, Monteverde and Nosara.

โœŒ๏ธ 2 travelers. I traveled with one other person at all times in Costa Rica, so I was able to split accommodation, transportation and food costs.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-range budget. I donโ€™t aim to travel on a budget, but Iโ€™m thoughtful about how and where I spend. Overall, I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler and these expenses reflect that.

Costa Rica Trip’s Total Cost: $3,470

I spent $3,470 in Costa Rica during my 2-week trip with an itinerary similar to this one.

All costs listed here are per person and in USD, converted from Costa Rican Colรณn ($1 USD equaled 631โ‚ก at the time of writing).

Cost by Costa Rica Location

Here are my Costa Rica travel expenses by location:

LocationTotal CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ„๐Ÿป Nosara (3 days)$1,262$421
๐ŸŒ‹ La Fortuna (7 days)$1,185$169
๐Ÿฆฅ Monteverde (2 days)$507$254
๐Ÿ–๏ธ Manuel Antonio (2 days)$311$155
Total (not including flights)$3,265$233
My Costa Rica trip’s cost breakdown by location
  • The differences in cost per day by location are significantly impacted by the type and cost of accommodation. For example I stayed at a much nicer hotel in Nosara, which accounts the high cost per day. I stayed at an Airbnb in La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio, which brought the cost per day down.
  • Nosara is an expensive beach town so cost there in general is higher. Across Costa Rica, you can generally find cheap, local meals and budget $20 for food per day if you want to, but I would find that difficult to do in Nosara.

Cost Breakdown for Costa Rica

Here are my Costa Rica travel expenses by category:

Cost% of Total CostCost per Day
โœˆ๏ธ Flights$2056%
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$1,24436%$89
๐Ÿ› Food$33910%$24
๐Ÿš— Transportation$41812%$30
โญ Activities$1,26436%$90
My Costa Rica trip’s cost breakdown by category

Flight Cost to Costa Rica: $205

My round-trip flights from the US east coast to Costa Rica were $205.

Most flights from the US to Costa Rica will be in the $200-$400 range, with $700-$800 being in the higher range. The most expensive months to fly to Costa Rica from the US are November and December and the cheapest month to fly is May, according to Kayak.

Accommodation Cost in Costa Rica: $1,244

My average cost of accommodation in Costa Rica was $89 per night.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ„๐Ÿป Nosara hotel$682$227
๐ŸŒ‹ La Fortuna hotel & airbnb$300$43
๐Ÿฆฅ Monteverde hotel$115$115
๐Ÿ–๏ธ Manuel Antonio airbnb$147$147
My Costa Rica trip’s accommodation cost breakdown by location

A basic accommodation in Costa Rica can be $60+, so be ready to pay $100+ for mid-range accommodations. I found that staying at Airbnbs helps reduce accommodation costs.

A giant rainbow against a sky over a valley.
A rainbow view from the Monteverde hotel I stayed at.

Food Cost in Costa Rica: $339

My average cost of food in Costa Rica was $24 per day.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ„๐Ÿป Nosara$123$41
๐ŸŒ‹ La Fortuna$110$16
๐Ÿฆฅ Monteverde$60$30
๐Ÿ–๏ธ Manuel Antonio$46$23
My Costa Rica trip’s food cost breakdown by location

Food in Costa Rica is affordable. You can get a full meal with a juice drink for $10 or less if you visit authentic, local restaurants.

Casados are one of the most affordable meals you can get in Costa Rica and I got them frequently. A casado is a typical Costa Rican meal with rice, black beans, plantains, salad and a protein (chicken, beef, pork, fish). My food average is higher since I also visited a few pricier restaurants.

Two people with a plate of rice, beans, yuca and chicken in front of them.
Eating casados in La Fortuna.

Transportation Cost in Costa Rica: $418

My average cost of transportation in Costa Rica was $30 per day.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ„๐Ÿป Nosara$137$46
๐ŸŒ‹ La Fortuna$52$7
๐Ÿฆฅ Monteverde$129$65
๐Ÿ–๏ธ Manuel Antonio$100$5
My Costa Rica trip’s transportation cost breakdown by location

There are several ways to get around Costa Rica. Traveling by bus is the most affordable, but inconvenient way. The most common way to get around is by taxi or shared shuttles and the most expensive and convenient ways are by private shuttles and local airlines, which generally cost $100+ per trip.

Activities and Tours Cost in Costa Rica: $1,264

My average cost for activities and tours in Costa Rica was $90 per day.

Total CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ„๐Ÿป Nosara$320$106
๐ŸŒ‹ La Fortuna$723$103
๐Ÿฆฅ Monteverde$203$102
๐Ÿ–๏ธ Manuel Antonio$18$9
My Costa Rica trip’s activities cost breakdown by location

Given that tourism is Costa Ricaโ€™s biggest industry, almost all activities are provided in a tour package. Most tour packages include the attractionโ€™s entrance fee (if there is one) and transportation to and from your accommodation. When assessing the price of a tour, you can account for these costs to determine if it’s worth it for you.

Two people riding horses with a covered volcano in the background.
On the horseback riding tour with Don Tobias in La Fortuna.

Do You Need Cash in Costa Rica?

Yes, bring some cash to Costa Rica. Most tourist areas accept credit cards, but youโ€™ll want to bring cash for smaller, local businesses.

Here are some tips on using and handling cash in Costa Rica:

  • Tip #1: USD is widely accepted in Costa Rica. If you use USD, expect to receive change in Costa Rican Colรณn and remember that you may not get a favorable exchange rate.
  • Tip #2: Tipping is customary and expected in Costa Rica. A 10% tip is customary for tourists. Areas like La Fortuna, where more American tourists visit, tipping is even more expected.
  • Tip #3: Many smaller, local businesses are cash-only, so carry at least ~$40 worth of cash in Costa Rica. The places where I needed cash were:
    • To tip tour guides and drivers
    • Small, local restaurants, especially those in La Fortuna and Monteverde
    • Most fruit and juice stands, especially ones by the side of the road
    • Small grocery shops
    • Small souvenir shops, which are popular stopping location during a long tour or shuttle ride

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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