I spent totally 44 days in Costa Rica, divided into 2 parts. First part was 27 days, then I flew to Cuba for 3 weeks and then came back for another 17 days. So, how much money did I spend over there? It wasn’t very cheap but it wasn’t super expensive either. Lets do some math.
During my first stay of 27 days I spent totally 621,14 € which is 23,01 € per day. Not bad at all.
As you can see from the graph above my biggest expenses are divided into 3 main categories:
This is where things started to be more expensive. First problem was the exit tax I had to pay when leaving for Cuba. Pure stupidity but it’s mandatory in all countries in central america. The shitty part is that it was $29 to leave Costa Rica by airplane. Just for the comparison, when leaving by bus it’s $8. The other thing to mention is that I visited couple of national parks and jumped the highest bungee jumping in Latin America. All this is included in special category called “Fun”.
So, for 17 days I spent 454,28 €, which is 26,72 € per day. Here are the graphs:
The main categories were:
By calculating both trips together, for 44 days I spent 1075 € which is 24,44 € per day. I think this is very acceptable result.
Hostels in Costa Rica were quite cheap, maybe because I was travelling at the beginning of rainy season and all prices usually drops. However, for me the most expensive part was food. As you can see I kept it quite low thanks to my amazing cooking skills (just kidding). The truth is that eating in restaurants is usually very expensive. As backpacker you have cook your own food and buy local fruits and vegetables from local guys (not in supermarkets). Fortunately, all hostels know this and kitchens are usually well equipped. The “cheaper” way of eating are also places called sodas. You can find there simple local meals much cheaper than in restaurants.
What is important to mention is that I didn’t do many tours and didn’t pay almost any entrance fees to national parks or similar places. I usually tried to find a “workaround”. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. Most national parks open at 8:00 in the morning and some of them don’t have any night guard. You can come at 7:00 and simply walk in. You not only won’t pay the entrance fees but coming sooner in the morning guarantee you to see many animals. But remember that this is not possible in all parks. The most famous are guarded 24×7.
Another tip how save some money on surfing is by buying your own surfboard. Of course, it all depends on how many days you want to surf and if you want to sacrifice your comfort. Travelling with board is definitely not very comfortable and makes you additional costs. I sometimes had to pay double bus ticket because of that. However, at the end it saved me a lot of money. Daily renting fees are usually $10, I payed $260 for my board. And I will even sell it at the end of my trip. I also decided not to count the price of surfboard into trip expenses. Instead I created a separate budget for airplane tickets and stuff I use in all countries.
For more highlights of my travels around Costa Rica read this post which summarise it all. Btw. if you’re interested how I track all my expenses so preciously, the trick lies in a small iOS app called Trail Wallet I use on daily basis.