Is Costa Rica Expensive?

Depends.

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer when asking the question, is Costa Rica expensive? The reason is some things are expensive, and some things are not costly. We will stick strictly to travel expenses and save living in Costa Rica for a separate topic. This makes the answer a bit easier. The answer is yes! You might be wondering why things are expensive in a country where the minimum wage is just over $3’s. Well, those Costa Rican’s making $3’s an hour don’t have to worry about housing nor healthcare expenses. Now without getting into politics, we will look at whether Costa Rica is expensive when traveling?

Having already answered yes, I thought we could break this down into the different traveling expenses, which are: lodging, food, tours, transportation, and of course, sunscreen and bug spray.

Lodging

Lodging in Costa Rica is not cheap. It’s an easy concept. There is a demand for accommodation. When places are full, they have little reason to offer deals. If you come during the slow season, then you can expect better prices, but I would not go as far as to say you are getting it cheap.

You also have to consider that Costa Rica offers a wide selection of lodging for visitors looking for budget accommodations and those looking for more luxurious stays. Many guests like to spend on fancy hotels, which might not be a bad idea depending on the occasion. With Costa Rica, we always suggest spending first on the experiences. The reason is that a fancy hotel you can find anywhere. The uniqueness of some experience in Costa Rica is hard to come by. If you spend your money on the right things, you will not feel that Costa Rica is expensive.  

Food

It very much depends on where you eat. Stick to the local joints, and you will never be too surprised. Tips are included, which makes things easy. Most menus now have the 13% sales tax not included, so you can expect to add 13% to it. If you eat at a US chain restaurant, you can expect to pay 60% more than you would in the US. Because there are places to eat off the tourism radar, you can usually eat on a budget if you want.

Lodging

Tours are like lodging. It falls under the tourism radar, and there is a demand. We are strong advocates of not trying to shop cheaply on tour. There are many different options for adventure in Costa Rica, and let’s say you pay for what you get from service and, more importantly, safety.

Transportation

If you are talking about transportation and want to know if Costa Rica is expensive, yup! Overall, getting around should be more expensive. Gas is more expensive, and all vehicles have a 40% import tax, so you should pay more than most transportation companies. You will pay a similar price when renting a car or uber lifts. You will find it expensive but nothing too crazy. I have a lot of friends in the transportation industry, and their margin of profit is low.

Sunscreen & Bugspray  

For the love of Costa Rica tourism. Sunscreen and bug repellent are marked up 400%. If you are looking for some SPF, get ready to dig deep in the pockets because it will cost you. My only guess is that certain chemicals found in them require an astronomical import tax. If you know of any other reason why I would love to hear?

In closing, we will still say Costa Rica is cheaper than traveling to Europe based on what you get.  But if you want to know if it is expensive, we answer that it is certainly more expensive than some neighboring countries. The days of Central America being “cheap” are over, and you can blame Costa Rica for it. When you know you got a beautiful country with amazing people, it doesn’t make sense to sell yourself cheaply.

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POC Camp

The POC camp is an extension of the POC lodge and while the POC Lodge is located with vast views of the Pacuare River Canyon the POC Camp is down on the river’s edge. While it might not have the view of the POC Lodge it sits on one of the calmest sections of the river making the POC Camp home to one of the river Pacuare’s best spots for taking a swim and relaxing on the river’s edge.

POCsito is a favorite among so many of our guests. It is a glamping experience with some of the important comforts of home.

POC Lodge

Started in 2011 is the POC lodge. If you haven’t figured it out by now POC lodge is our own lodge and what we like to call the “baby” of the P.O.C. Adventure Company. We wanted a lodge on our favorite part of Costa Rica which is the Pacuare River and with the help of locally harvested supplies and labor, the POC Lodge was born.

 

This is a 180-acre property that runs over 1 mile of the Pacuare River. Our goal has always been to offer as much comfort as possible without steering too far away from our roots of just roughing it on the river’s edge. Our lodge has hot water, a splash of luxury in the rooms, and 5-Star service and attention to our guests.

Our favorite part about the lodge is that we built a short hike up from the river’s edge. We know we have the best views of the Pacuare River canyon and unfortunately pictures don’t even do it justice.

Arenal Paraiso, Arenal

Have you ever wanted to stay the night at the base of an active volcano? Well here is your chance. The Arenal Paraiso is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano with breath-taking views of the perfectly cone-shaped volcano.

Here at Arenal Paraiso’s, you will enjoy the beautiful property which offers much more than just a view. The property has numerous bungalows that offer a splash of luxury while surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. After a day of adventure, you will love making your way back to relax or hang out in the pool at Arenal Paraiso.

Shawandha, Caribbean 

Located at the edge of the white sandy beaches of Costa Rica sits the Shawandha lodge.  A perfect blend of eco-style luxury along with the sounds of the ocean and vibrant ambiance of the rainforest.

Shawandha lodge is set up with individual bungalows made out of local wood. You will be sure to wake up to the sound of the local residents such as the howler monkeys and green macaws. After your day of adventure, you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful swimming pool at the Shawandha Lodge.

Hotel Villa Florencia, Turrialba

Located in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by sugar-cane plantations and views of the smoking Turrialba Volcano sits an old plantation home that has been renovated into a beautiful small hotel named Villa Florencia.

This is a great hotel with a beautiful pool and plenty of space to take long morning or afternoon hikes. The Villa Florencia hotel is a chance to enjoy luxury while feeling like you stook back in time. While you are in the valley don’t forget to look up as the Turrialba Volcano can often be seen doing small eruptions from across the valley.

Casa Turire, Turrialba

Casa Turire has been one of our favorites since we started. The grounds are some of the lushest you will find anywhere in Costa Rica. Casa Turire sits in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by mountains and the beautiful Turrialba Volcano. The most amazing part about Casa Turire other than its great restaurant and home-made sugar cane ice cream is that it sits on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Angostura offering great morning hikes, birding, or SUPing around the lake.