Costa Rica Vacation On A Budget: Pura Vida!
Costa Rica is a terrific travel destination and hundreds of thousands of visitors from the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries come for its great beaches, mountains, weather, and things to do.
You do not have to spend a arm and leg to enjoy a Costa Rica vacation so long as you bring a little knowledge. There are some travel secrets which are not commonly known to tourists.
Explorers, adventurers, pirates, and brave souls have marveled about this country for centuries. Christopher Columbus discovered it in 1503. His ship dropped anchor south of what is now Limon on the country’sCaribbean coast. He was so enthralled he gave it the name, Costa Rica–the rich coast. Nearly 80 years later, English captain and explorer Sir Francis Drake landed at what is now called Drake Bay off the southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. If the name sounds familiar, it is because you paid attention during history class: he is famous for destroying the Spanish Armada and saving England in 1588.
However, unlike these guys, you won’t need a boatload of people to help you get around as you travel Costa Rica yourself and it won’t cost you the Crown treasure, either.
One way to experience Costa Rica on a budget is by taking a ferry boat ride. For about $1.50 (this is not a misprint), you can have a fun hour and a half cruise along the tropical waters off the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica between the port city of Puntarenas and the southern tip of the beautiful Nicoya Peninsula. Where else can you take an ocean cruise for the price of a bottle of water? Most vacationers never take this ride because they’ve never heard about it. But now you have.
Trains are fun, too. From downtown San Jose, take a four hour ride on the Tico Train to Puntarenas. You’ll see spectacular mountains and cross deep chasms on tall bridges. The train will be packed and filled with happy Costa Rican families. Be sure to bring your bathing suit because you are going to end on the beach! How much? About $16 each way. Like the ferry, most tourists don’t know about the train. For reservations (you need them) call American Travel at telephone number 22-33-33-00.
With nearly 800 miles of sunny beaches to be explored, you can surf, hike, swim (but be careful about rip tides at some places), and even fish in the ocean for free. Every Costa Rica beach is public and open to everybody. And you can get anywhere really cheaply. Simply take a bus. They are everywhere in Costa Rica. You can, for example, see the lovely Pacific town of Jaco by hopping a bus in San Jose for $5.00. Or, go almost anywhere else in the country for that matter. For the price of a Happy Meal, you can travel Costa Rica!
Finally, I have one more budgetary secret to share. There are very nice Costa Rica hostels throughout the country. Sure, most folks associate hostels with college kids crammed into a dorm but the truth is that many of the hostels in Costa Rica offer private rooms for just a little more per person than a dorm. You don’t need to spend $50-70+ per person to have a nice room. I know because I’ve stayed in private, quiet rooms at hostels for way less than the cost of hotels.