Costa Rica Budget Breakdown
Flight (Spirit Air) Phoenix to San Juan, Costa Rica $227.03 (454.06 per couple)
Car Rental (Solid Car Rental)4WD 5 Seats Automatic $331.44 (41.43 daily)
Scuba Dive Cano Island $175 ($350 per couple)
Airbnb 3 days: La Fortuna $136
Airbnb 4 days: Uvita $77
Bed and Breakfast 1 night: San Jose $33.62
Food cost $30 x 8days $240
Gas 8 days $100
Bottom line: $1,320.99 ($1,722.12)
Affordability 4.5 out of 5
Top Destination in Costa Rica
Manual Antonio National Park - known for white sand beaches, coral reefs, diveristy of plants and wildlife.
San Jose - capital of Costa Rica, known for Spanish colonial style buildings
La Fortuna/Arenal, San Carlos - small town outside of Arenal Volcano National Park, known for view of Arenal Volcano, hot springs in the Tabacon River and La Fortuna Waterfall
Monteverde - known for its biodiverse forest in the clouds and is full of suspended bridges in the tree tops
Tortuguero National Park - known for the Sea Turtle Conservancy, wetlands, forests and freshwater canals
Tamarindo - known for its beaches, surfing, and nesting leatherback turtles.
Jaco - known for beaches and night-life and outside of town the crocodiles at Tarcoles River
Uvita - small town known for the Marino Ballena National Park, the Whale Tail shaped beach, and humpback whales visiting every winter and spring. Also a location to take diving trips to Cano Island.
Corcovado National Park -103,290 acres large and one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. Full of different species and hiking trails
8 Day Itinerary
Day 1 San Jose to La Fortuna
Drive the 3 to 3.5 hours to La Fortuna. Try to avoid driving at night due to the winding roads and one lane bridges. Relax and settle in the airbnb after the long day of travel. If you make it into town then Lava Lounge is a good restaurant to checkout. Its ran by an ex-pat who runs a local dog rescue so I recommend for dog lovers!
Day 2 Visit La Fortuna Waterfall
Pay $15 dollars per person to swim at the approx 200 foot waterfall! It is a sight to see and worth the money! After enjoying the view and refreshingly cold water make the drive to the Tabacon Water for the hot springs. You can pay 50-100 dollar for spa packages at the resort or park on the street for free and take the brief hike down to the river. (In front of Tabacon Hot Springs, La Fortuna, 21007, Costa Rica)
Day 3 Hike El Chato
If you are in great shape and well conditioned then take the 10-13km hike up the dormant Chato volcano. Bring lots of water and snacks, it is a long day and up a steep volcano so start early! At the top is a crater that has filled with water to form a
lake you can swim in. Don't forget you have a long hike down!
Day 4 Travel from La Fortuna to Uvita
Drive 5-6hrs to Uvita but be sure to enjoy the small towns along the way. You can stop in Jaco for lunch and some exploring as a break from the long drive! Jaco is a popular spot for tourists and is full of tourist shops. Arrive at your airbnb to relax and go to the grocergy store to stock up.
Day 5 Relax on the beach and enjoy local rum
Uvita is a small town which allows you to truly relax, avoid the swarms of tourists and take in what Costa Rica has to offer. Don't plan to do any tourist shopping here, there is only 1 or 2 shops. The best recipe to relax is buy some local rum and a pineapple from the street vendor. Whip up a few drinks and head to the quiet beach. Bring a few dollars to buy coconut from the locals walking around.
Day 6 Explore Uvita National Beach (Whale Tail)
Explore the Whale Tail beach formation for another day at the beach. During the Spring and Winter you often can view the humpback whales going through. You need to go during low tide if you want to walk out to the Whale Tail formation.
Day 7 Scuba diving and go slide down Uvita Waterfall!
If you are into scuba diving then make sure to plan a trip to Cano Island. It is 1-2 hour boat ride to an island biological reserve where you’ll drop down for 2 dives. There was numerous schools of fish and we saw a massive Manta Ray. On the journey out there we saw a sea turtle, dolphins, and fly fishing. It was worth the journey and extra money!
Day 8 Drive from Uvita, stop in Jaco, spend last night in San Juan
Enjoy your last bit in Uvita before making the 3-3.5 hour drive to San Jose. I recommend stopping in Jaco again to explore the town a bit and make sure to stop at the Tarcoles River to see the highest concentration of crocodiles in one place.You stand high above on a bridge looking down at the sheer numbers of crocodiles. Check in at your airbnb or bed and breakfast in San Jose and walk around the city square on your last night. Enjoy one last local meal.
Day 9 Fly from Costa Rica to Phoenix, AZ
Return your car, get to the airport early and fly back to the States!
Check back for detailed reviews on the places we stopped during our trip!