Pura Vida! San José is Costa Rica’s capitol city and the hub in which most travelers fly into when arriving to the country. The city is filled central squares and parks, with local cafes, breweries and coffee shops. It is not surrounded by beach but rather blueish hills, mountains and volcanoes. San José is a wonderful city to explore in itself, but there is much of Costa Rica to still be explored leaving from this city! Costa Rica is filled with beaches, waterfalls, rainforests, volcanoes and plant and animal life. There are endless places to explore!
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“As long as we don’t die, this is going to be one hell of a story.”
Accommodations -San José is full of hotels, hostels, b&bs an villas to rent. You’ll definitely have your pick! If you’re a backpacker and you are looking to save money as you travel or even if you just want to stay somewhere centralized while scoring a few new friends, I would recommend one of the many great hostels in the area such as Hostel del Paseo or the NATIVUS Art-Hostel. If you’re looking for more of a traditional highly-rated hotel in the area, Hotel Columbus or Apartotel & Suites Villas del Rio are also great places to crash at night!
Food & Drink – Just imagine everything both delicious and natural under the sun and that about sums up Costa Rica’s foods! Think fresh fruits, juices and produce in particular! For breakfast, make sure you indulge in some gallo pinto (rice and beans). It comes with just about any traditional breakfast meal and it’s hard to miss. Don’t forget to top it off with some “Lizano Salsa” (one of those sauces found everywhere that you can put on EVERYTHING. For lunch or dinner, make sure you some good old fashioned Casado (literally meaning “a married man”), which is one of the most common staples you will find! This comes in many forms depending on where you get it. It is a dish which includes a little bit of everything from your choice to meat or fish, a corn tortilla, fried plantains, sometimes a fried egg, salsa and…you guessed it…a nice helping of rice and beans! Another common dish is known as Chifrijo, which was recommended by a local I stayed with in Uvita. It is a popular dish traditionally consists of pork meat, rice and beans, broth, salsa and tortilla chips. Mmmmm.
Transportation –Renting a car is probably the option which will allow you the most flexibility of travel. It’s also a great way to get yourself outside the city limits of San José and get out to see the natural wonders of Costa Rica. But if you want, you can take advantage of many of the shared shuttles, extensive buses, Uber or taxis. You can also sign up for private transfers or shared transfers to help you get to and from your destinations. Because there are so many options, I couldn’t include one link. If you need help with transportation, contact me and I will help you get set up!
Suggested daily budget – Depending on your personal choices and spending limits, mid range travelers have reported that they spend around ₡41,561 (Costa Rican colóns), which is approximately $73 USD. If you’re a budget traveler or backpacker, you can knock the daily cost down to around $30-50 USD per day, however. In Costa Rica, it is acceptable to use both local current as well as American dollars, but using USD may result in over payment of certain things, so beware!
If you want a further breakdown of costs, average mid range hotels cost around $50-$75 USD per night while backpacker accommodations may cost anywhere from $9 per night for hostels to $40 per night for more expensive guest houses. In terms of food, here is some good news: You can get massive plates of delicious local cuisine for only around $5-$8 USD at local family restaurants. If you want something a little fancier, you can expect a meal to cost around $20 USD. As for transportation, you may pay around $3 USD for shuttles which take you from town to town. If you choose to take a shuttle across the whole country, this will cost you around $20. Renting a car may cost around $300-$700 USD for a whole week.
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