If you are familiar with our blog you are probably tired of listening to us say that Costa Rica is the most expensive country in Central America. I know, I know, you get it! We just want you to be prepared! That being said, it is possible to find budget accommodations in Costa Rica. You just have to know where to look. Which is why we are here to reveal all our deepest darkest budget accommodations in Costa Rica secrets.
- 1 Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Hotels
- 2 Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Airbnb
- 3 Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Couchsurfing
- 4 Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Hostels
- 5 Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Camping
- 6 Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Trusted Housesitters
- 7 Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – More money saving tips
Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Hotels
With a little research, it is possible to find affordable hotels in Costa Rica. We love Booking.com for finding the best hotel deals. Booking is great is because most of the places in Costa Rica on their site allow free cancellation up to a certain date before your stay. This means that you can book something and continue to look for a cheaper/ better option and can cancel your first hotel later. Just don’t forget to cancel by the designated date!
When searching for a hotel I also always check if there is a kitchenette in the room, a shared kitchen for guests, and free breakfast. A lot of budget hotels here have some kind of kitchen facilities that guests can use. This is a great way to bring your costs down and not eat at restaurants every night.
Many hotels also have breakfast included. Usually, this will be eggs, rice and beans, fruit, and coffee or fruit juice. I find breakfast here to be filling and can usually get through the day just eating a snack at lunch before dinner.
Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Airbnb
I’m a total Airbnb fangirl. Mostly because I’m obsessed with getting a good deal on amazing products and with Airbnb that is totally possible.
If you are unfamiliar with Airbnb, it is a site that allows people to rent out their home or apartment to travelers. Sometimes it is possible to find amazing accommodations at a really good rate.
Using Airbnb we’ve stayed on a houseboat in downtown Amsterdam, stayed in a beachfront apartment in Miami over New Year’s Eve, and stayed at an amazing place in La Fortuna for $22 a night. Every experience we have had has been amazing.
Please make sure you read reviews before you book a place. If a place has great reviews, go for it! If the reviews aren’t so great I would think twice.
Also, although you can get great deals with Airbnb make sure you check the total price before you book anything. Sometimes people have crazy add-ons that make the price a lot higher than you expect.
↑ Ok, so what was $39 a night is now $61??? Granted the cleaning fee says it is a one time fee, so if you are staying for multiple nights you won’t be charged more for the cleaning fee, but still. $61 is a big difference from $39.
↑ Alright, $4 service fee. I can handle that.
We’re not going to go into Airbnb too much here because we have so much to say about it that we created a full post on what you need to know before using Airbnb for the first time in Costa Rica. Ch-ch-check it out for all the good-ness!
Hey guess what?!? We love Airbnb so much that we have $35 in Airbnb credit to give you if you are a first time user. Woot! ↓
Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Couchsurfing
If you are unfamiliar with Couchsurfing, it is a free site that allows you to stay with people for free. Sometimes you might get lucky and have a bed but other times you may be sleeping on a couch or may need to bring your own sleeping bag. Couchsurfing is kind of a hit or miss, in our opinion. Sometimes you will get a great host that will show you around and give you more of an insider’s view of the location.
Unfortunately, I’m part of many groups for travelers on Facebook and a lot of people have been reporting recently about sexual assaults that have taken place while using Couchsurfing. Please, please, please always read reviews before you stay with anyone. Also, trust your gut. If you meet your Couchsurfing host and you feel uncomfortable, just leave. You may have to pay for a hotel for a few nights but your safety is way more important than saving money.
Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Hostels
There are plenty of hostels in Costa Rica and a lot of them are fairly nice with really cool vibes. We usually like to have a private room, but many hostels in Costa Rica have that option.
One thing we really like about hostels is that most of them have a kitchen which guests are welcome to use. This is another great way to save money!
If you are traveling solo in Costa Rica, hostels are great for meeting some other awesome solo travelers that you can hang with.
We tend to book most of our hostel stays through HostelWorld. They seem to have the most extensive list of places to stay. I also like that you can search “Costa Rica” as your destination to see all available places instead of specifying one specific part of the country.
Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Camping
From what we have heard from other travelers, it used to be possible to camp almost anywhere in Costa Rica. Now, not so much. If you are planning on doing some off the beaten path traveling or want to explore the national parks, camping may be possible. However, not all of the national parks have campgrounds. From what we know Santa Rosa and Rincon de la Vieja definitely have campgrounds.
For popular destinations, it just doesn’t really make sense. Most campgrounds cost about $15 per person (you could get a place in a hostel for cheaper) and you would have to bring all your gear with you.
However, we hve heard of travelers just camping on the beaches or in the woods and having no problems. It seems as though the police have bigger things to deal with instead of people camping in places they reall are not supposed to. Try this out at your own risk.
If you do go camping on the beach without a permit in Costa Rica, report back to us on how it went! We are curious.
Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – Trusted Housesitters
If you are interested in staying in Costa Rica on a longer-term basis, you could get a housesitting gig. We suggest signing up for Trusted Housesitters. There is a yearly membership fee of $119 or you can pay monthly at a rate of $9.92. I know it sounds like a lot, but we think it is completely worth it.
After signing up you will be able to search through house sitting/ pet sitting gigs throughout the world. You can then apply for the options you are interested in. If you are selected you will get to stay at a house for free in return for pet care/ light maintenance.
↑Here is an example of some opportunities in Costa Rica.
We haven’t used Trusted Housesitters in a few years because we currently have more permanent living situations, but I must admit that I still have a Trusted Housesitters membership. It’s still fun to just check out all the unique opportunities.
Budget Accommodations in Costa Rica – More money saving tips
Travel during low season
During the rainy season, accommodations in Costa Rica tend to go down in price. Yes, you may have to deal with afternoon rain storms, but everything is so green and pretty. Plus the weather on the beaches is a little cooler than usual (which is a good thing). If you want to know more about Costa Rica by season, we have a complete post about it here.
Avoid Costa Rican holidays
It is difficult to find cheap places to stay when the entire country is traveling. We suggest avoiding Costa Rica during the week leading up to Easter, and around Christmas time into the end of January.
Visit less touristy areas
We hope these tips help you find great accommodations in Costa Rica. if you need any help or have any other tips, leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!
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