Pura Vida on a Budget: How to Make it Worthwhile in Paradise.

By Silvanna Pacheco, April 17th, 2024

Costa Rica is the postcard-perfect paradise of rainforests, volcanoes and beautiful beaches attracting many travelers with its “pura vida” vibe. Visitors do bring essential revenue to the country, but they can also inflate prices, especially in popular areas. For budget travelers and even locals some areas turn out to be very expensive to visit.

Here are some tips to make the most out of your Pura Vida experience:

Travel during Green Season: Because the green season is the shoulder season for tourism in Costa Rica, you can find significant savings on flights and accommodations. The Green Season goes from May to November. With fewer tourists around, you’ll also have a more relaxed and enjoyable experience. Popular attractions won’t be as crowded, and you’ll have more opportunities to interact with the locals.

Green season is also the rainy season which brings lush and greener landscapes. The rainforests are at their most vibrant, and the waterfalls are cascading at full force. The increased rainfall also means that the wildlife is more active, so you’re more likely to see animals like monkeys, sloths, and toucans.

Escape the Tourist Trail: Popular destinations are great, but don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path. Smaller towns and villages boast a laid-back atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and a chance to immerse yourself in the authentic Costa Rican way of life. You’ll be rewarded with more affordable lodging, delicious local restaurants and more unique activities.

Embrace Local Eats: Visit small local restaurants. These are casual and welcoming. Don’t be surprised to see locals catching up over coffee or families enjoying a hearty lunch. These restaurants serve authentic Costa Rican cuisine at a fraction of the price. Think gallo pinto (rice and beans), fresh seafood dishes, and tropical fruits. The star of the show is usually the “casado,” a traditional Costa Rican plate featuring rice and beans, a protein like grilled chicken or fish, a fresh salad, and fried plantains (platanos maduros). Check out this list of some of the best foods and sodas you can find in Costa Rica.

Focus on Experiences: By investing in experiences, you’ll take home memories that will last a lifetime. Costa Rica is a place where you can truly connect with nature, challenge yourself, and learn about a different way of life.

Pura Vida isn’t just about luxury resorts. It’s about slowing down, appreciating nature’s beauty, and connecting with the warm Costa Rican culture. By planning strategically and embracing a more local experience, you can create an unforgettable Costa Rican adventure without emptying your wallet.