Traveling can be very expensive, especially for people on a budget or trips as a family. If you plan in advance and do some research you can always find things to do that won’t cost a lot of money. Here are six things that you can do in Costa Rica for under 20 USD each.
1. Spend the day at a beach
All the beaches in Costa Rica are free to go to and spend the day. The beaches are very different from one another, so you can visit three or more beaches and have three different experiences. Playa Conchal is made up of thousands of shells covering part of the light tan colored sand; Playa Hermosa is one of several black sand beaches; Playa Grande - where the sea turtles lay their eggs – has white sand. For under 20 USD you could rent beach chairs and an umbrella if you want them or buy lunch from a local who is cooking on the beach.
2. Play a game of mini golf at Bolas Locas
In the town of Tamarindo, you will find the only 18-hole mini golf course, Bolas Locas. Volcanoes, waterfalls, and bridges are only part of obstacles you will face while golfing. Open from 9 am to 11 pm, 365 days a year, there is no reason to miss out on some fun here. Drinks and snacks are also available. The cost of golf is 3500 CRC (7 USD) for an adult and 2500 CRC (5 USD) for kids.
3. Visit the national parks
To date, Costa Rica has 27 national parks, 32 protected zones, 11 forest reserves and 8 biological reserves, 58 wildlife refuges, 15 wetland areas/mangroves, as well as 12 other conservation regions that protect the distinctive and diverse natural habitats found throughout the country. The Barra Honda National Park, is known for its more than 40 limestone caves. Las Baulas National Marine Park is one of Costa Rica’s most important Leatherback turtles nesting sites. The Chirripo National Park is home to Costa Rica’s tallest mountain. The La Amistad International Park contains a biosphere project and the Corovado National Park is considered to be the greatest biologically concentrated place on earth. Entry fee to each national park is 5345 CRC (10 USD).
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4. Discover breathtaking waterfalls
There are too many waterfalls in Costa Rica to count them all. Some tall, some are tiered, some wide and some narrow, and others the most beautiful color you have ever seen. Here are three amazing waterfalls you will not be disappointed with. The Rio Celeste Waterfalls are the most amazing blue color you will ever see (admission 6414 CRC (12 USD)). To get to the La Fortuna Waterfalls, you have to walk down 500 stairs, so it is important to remember you will have to walk back up them to leave! Admission to see the La Fortuna Waterfalls costs 5345 CRC (10 USD). The Llanos de Cortez makes an easy day trip from the Tamarindo area and admission is a donation to the local school and 1070 CRC (2 USD) for parking.
5. Hike up a volcano
Costa Rica has 61 dormant volcanoes plus another 6 that are active. The most recent active volcanoes have been Turrialba in 2015, Poás in 2013, Rincón de la Vieja in 2012 and Arenal in 2010. Turrialba Volcano is currently closed due to recent activity. Poás is unique as there are two crater lakes near the summit. In January 2009, it was the epicenter of a magnitude 6.1 earthquake. Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park is home to both Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and Santa Maria Volcanoes. It is composed of nine separate but connecting craters. Arenal was once Costa Rica’s most active volcano, but has been dormant since 2010. There are a number of hiking trails and wildlife to see throughout all the national parks containing volcanoes. Entry fee to each national parks is 5345 CRC (10 USD).
6. Visit San Jose Central Market
The San Jose Central Market is an indoor/outdoor market that was established in 1880 and occupies an entire city block. You will find all kinds of things from fruits and vegetables, meats, herbal remedies, to souvenirs and handcrafted items. With over 200 stalls and shops, you are bound to find everything and anything. It is free to go in and look around. Be aware, it is a crowded place with thousands of visitors daily.
Enjoy an inexpensive vacation
With so much to see and do in Costa Rica it can become a very expensive. You won’t be able to see every volcano, national park, beach or waterfall; there just isn’t enough time unless you are moving to Costa Rica. Plan to do some, or at least one of each of the activities listed above and you will have an unforgettable and inexpensive vacation!
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