How to budget when traveling to Costa Rica?

When booking a trip, it’s always smart to keep in mind what you want your budget to be. In my opinion, Costa Rica is a very feasible trip in terms of cost. What I found to be the most cost effective when planning this trip was searching for a low cost flight, booking our stays through Airbnb, and renting a car.

Like any place, Costa Rica can be expensive depending on what type of trip you’re wanting to take and how much you are wanting to spend. In the case that you’re looking to save some cost when planning a trip to Costa Rica, here is my advice.

Booking a flight:

I flew from Pittsburgh International Airport to Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose. My departure flight was with Delta Airlines and my return flight was with JetBlue Airways.

I would suggest looking for flights on both travel search engines and on the airlines website you are looking to fly with. Once you search through several search engines and airline websites, I would then begin a process of elimination. Make sure you are also looking at the layover times and not solely the price. You might find a great price but notice there is a 20 hour lay over! I don’t know about you, but I am not willing to wait 20 hours. Keep in mind depending on where you are flying from the cost will vary several hundred dollars.

Travel Search Engines for a cheap flight to Costa Rica:



Cheap Airlines:

Spirit Airlines

Jet Blue Airways

Total Cost of my Flight:


Booking with Airbnb:


(Manuel Antonio Airbnb)


(Monteverde Airbnb)

Over the years I have become very keen on booking with Airbnb. Airbnb is a marketplace where people can list and discover accommodations. Accommodations range anywhere from houses to apartments, to condos and private rooms. I personally filter out the private rooms and only go with “the entire home” listings. I do this because I feel more comfortable being in a home alone rather than in a room where the owner is present. 7 out of the 10 days we were in Costa Rica we stayed at Airbnb locations. We also stayed at a hotel and hostel however I found the Airbnbs to be nicer.

The Airbnb locations in Costa Rica were cheaper than booking a hotel and all of the locations we stayed at were extremely nice.

Average cost of an AirBnb per night in Costa Rica:


(Cost can be lower or higher depending on what your standards are for where you want to stay)

Total Cost Spent on AirBnbs:


If you are looking to book with AirBnb follow my personal link to save $40!


Renting a car in Costa Rica:


Renting a car won’t necessarily work for everyone but if you can rent I would. You do need to be 25 years old in order to rent a car in Costa Rica or have someone you are traveling with be at least 25. Depending on which car rental service you work with you may be able to negotiate this age. The reason we decided to go with a car rental was because we were covering a lot of ground and would constantly be on the road. Having a car abroad gives you more of a personal feel for the land than constantly having to get on a bus or find a driver.

You can easily rent a car upon your arrival in the airport or you can book ahead of time online. If you do rent a car at the airport you will be subject to an additional tax which usually is 13% so that is something to keep in mind.

Rental Car Websites:

Total cost of our car rental:



Rent a car with 4WD. Most of the driving terrain in Costa Rica is difficult

Download an App on your phone for maps before you leave

Get full car insurance

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