instant...no e-mail or credit card required It only takes a minute to estimate how much you'll spend and what you will get for your money. Enter your info and your travel budget reads out instantly at the bottom. other Costa Rica budget information save a million | kids | food | tour … [Read more...]
Practical Information & Logistics
Once you know when and where you want to go and what you want to see and do it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty, make sure your budget can handle the trip, get your documents in order, find out if your phone will work (if you want it to), pack your bags, buy travel insurance and stash away the $29 bucks you may or may not need for the departure tax. This section includes all the logistical information we've accumulated over the decades.
Save a Million
A million Colones is about $1,700 and it's possible for two people to save that much on a week long vacation in Costa Rica using the money saving ideas below... How to Save a Million Colones Traveling in Costa Rica...sensational title for some sensible advice Credit card car insurance … [Read more...]
It's not common, but it does happen. In thousands of kilometers of driving I've been pulled over twice... three... four times — once "legitimately" and three times fraudulently. I haven't paid mordida (a bribe) or received a ticket in any of the stops. $1,800 parking ticket | corruption | the bite … [Read more...]
Rent-a-Car Cost Comparisons
As you can see from the rate quote comparisons below the cost for a full size SUV rental can vary from $55.59 per day from Alamo using Credit Card coverage, to $95.90 from the local company Vamos, and up to $207.92 per day with full insurance coverage. 50% off | compare prices | damages | … [Read more...]
Save Money Renting a Car in Costa Rica
Renting a vehicle in Costa Rica is surprisingly expensive for visitors used to north American or European rates. The roads are rough and hard on vehicles. The import duties, taxes and circulation fees all add to the cost of maintaining fleets. local | shop twice | don't rent | skip days | … [Read more...]
Useful Costa Rica Websites
A directory of sources for Costa Rica information - actually useful* not paid promotions birds | docs | embassy | gov | health | hike | maps | news | public works | transport | trivia | weather Finding anything useful in the tsunami of advertising and search engine optimization garbage returned by … [Read more...]
How Much Does Food Cost?
Obviously at popular vacation destinations you expect restaurants to have high prices just as they do at tourist beaches, ski areas and amusement parks all over the world, but food prices have gotten crazy in Costa Rica even in supermarkets in backwater ranching towns. One question that we … [Read more...]
Biggest Mistakes Travelers Make
Mistakes seem to take on a life of their own pile up, snowball and propagate while traveling. Reading through this list can help you avoid the most common mistakes... Day Trip Delusions. Travelers frequently ask us to help them book day trips to Arenal volcano, Monteverde cloud forest, … [Read more...]
Departure Tax (Exit Tax)
For decades the Costa Rica departure or exit tax (aka "departure tax" $29 per person) was paid at a counter in the airport before check-in. The "new" system including the departure tax in tickets has been phasing in since November of 2014. See Examples & Is It Included in My Ticket? NOTE: … [Read more...]
Will My Phone Work?
Five years ago the answer to the question - will my phone work in Costa Rica? - was just a simple no. A couple of years ago the addition of new networks in Costa Rica and changes to phones in the U.S. meant the answer changed "yes it will probably work." Now the big question is "how much will … [Read more...]
Isn’t That Free?
There are a number of things that travelers incorrectly assume are going to be free. An unexpected $50 - $100 expense or two can mess with your plans so read on and budget accordingly. Trails It's easy to understand where people from the U.S. get the notion that hiking, mountain biking and … [Read more...]
What Should I Do With My Stuff When I Go Swimming at the Beach?
Everyone will tell you "NEVER leave your stuff unattended on the beach" and the same warning applies when swimming under a waterfall or rope swinging into a river etc. What no one tells you is how to accomplish that. Bad Ideas (Skip down to Good Ideas) "Oh, there are people around, no one will … [Read more...]
Exorbitant Exchange Fee Rip-Off
Can you spot what's wrong with this receipt? It's not obvious but if you look at the two totals at the bottom of the itemized receipt you'll see ¢11,153 in Costa Rican Colones and $22.31 in U.S. dollars. That works out to an applied exchange rate of five hundred colones per dollar which is … [Read more...]
Arrival, Entry or Tourism Tax
There are a total of $58.19 Costa Rica taxes and fees typically charged to international air tickets. Most people don't notice these because they are included in the advertised price of airfares. In July of 2019 Costa Rica's new value added tax (Impuesto al Valor Agregado – IVA) applies to … [Read more...]
DEET Alternatives – The Buzzz on Mosquito Repellents
Finally! There are natural alternatives to DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) that actually work. "supernatural" | lemon eucalyptus | picaridin | field test | useless | clothing Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Lemon Eucalyptus Oil (para-menthane-3,8-diol) is an excellent option if you can stand the … [Read more...]
Currency Exchange Credit Card Rip-Off Scheme
It’s called convenience exchange, dynamic currency conversion or many other names and defended by businesses as a “practice instituted for the convenience of our valued customers.” We call it a rip-off. The concept is that travelers are most comfortable paying for purchases in their home … [Read more...]
Costa Rica Questions People Also Ask
In recent years Google has been attempting to shortcut the world wide web by posting "People also ask" lists of frequently asked questions with their "machine learning omniscient artificial intelligence selected best answers" directly on search results pages so you don't have to waste time visiting … [Read more...]
First Things First – as soon as you get off the plane
There are a few things we always do upon arrival. We're usually traveling for a couple of months so some of these may not apply to you. Everyone's first stop is immigration for the required document inspection and passport stamp. Next Stop Duty Free You are allowed to purchase duty free … [Read more...]
Camera Tips & Packing List
You'll never see tougher lighting or composition challenges than those you'll face in Costa Rica. skip down to the photography packing list The interior of the rain forest is about as bright as a big room with one forty watt bulb hanging from a high ceiling. In the age of digital cameras the … [Read more...]
Finding (Usable) Public Restrooms
It used to be very difficult indeed to find a public restroom in Costa Rica. 25 years ago your best bet was a bar where you'd likely find only a gent's and it was often nothing more than an outside wall with a drain hole at one end. The advent of fast food restaurants, modern supermarkets and … [Read more...]