Traveling to Costa Rica on a "Dime"
If your concern is about saving money while vacationing in Costa Rica, there's no need to worry because it can be done...even without sacrificing comfort or a good time!
You should first know that their off season is referred to as the green season, which lasts from May through November. December would be the time that they come out of the green season, and since Christmas is a time when some families decide to go on vacation, this works out well as far as a good time to visit Costa Rica. The first consideration is trying to get a good deal with the airlines to get you into Costa Rica. There is an airport near the coast, the Liberia Airport, and then there is the San Jose International Airport, located inland outside of San Jose. If saving money is your main goal, you can save approximately $150 per person if you purchase your plane tickets for travel during their green season. You can save even more if you plan to fly standby, as well.
Delta and Continental are the two main commercial airlines flying into Costa Rica from the United States. Another possibility for saving money on airfare has recently come about, as they have officially given permission for three other airlines to land on their airstrips. One of them is American airlines, which is the economy company of Frontier.
Even though it is generally always warm in Costa Rica, if you are planning on traveling there during their green season, you should be someone who doesn't mind the rain! Otherwise, it might just be worth the extra money to go during the high season when the weather is typically drier and sunny.
The most affordable lodging we have found is in the Bed & Breakfast trade. One way of searching for this type of lodging is to go to Pamela Lanier's Bed & Breakfast website.
As an example, I clicked on a B&B in Monteverde. I found La Colina, which is located in the Cloud Forest and is surrounded by the local Quaker community. At the time this article was written, the rates run around $40 per night and they have quite a few amenities. This facility also offers showers and baths to campers, although I am not sure I would want to camp in the jungle. Give me four walls please!!
The most inexpensive lodging I found was the Kalexma. This B&B is owned by a woman that is an English teacher. She first started this rooming house to offer lodging to her students. She believes in immersion as a way of learning the language and offers low cost rooms as a bridge to that end. These rates are as low as $15 per night. This is a bare bones arrangement and you have a bed and a bathroom. The site can be found at www.Kelexma.com.
Villa Mango located in Nosara, Costa Rica, has the most moderate of prices. A room will cost you approximately $59.00 per night, and $385.00 for a week. This B&B is a 10-minute walk from the beach.
The Villa Decary has rates that run about $85 a night and it is located about 10 miles from the Arenal volcano. The hotel sits on the shore of Lake Arenal, with a view of the lake from your window.
If you are a woman traveling on your own I would check out Bed & Breakfast rooming, as it is easier to meet people in this type of environment. A good travel resource for women is journeywoman.com. This site gives great info for the single woman traveler.
My final piece of advice is about the food and water. First of all, you don't have to worry about the safety of the drinking water there...it is safe to drink and tastes fine. There is an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits to eat and are very cheap to buy. Also, there are many Mom & Pop restaurants that cost much less than the big fancy ones. My advice is to pick one meal a day to eat big, then keeping healthy snacks on hand for the rest of the day. After all, you don't want to go home heavier than you arrived do you?
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