Traveling to Costa Rica or planning a trip soon? We have everything you need to know to plan for your vacation! The cost of travel in Costa Rica can vary greatly depending on which area of the country you decide to travel to, different hotel accommodations, tours and activities, and dining / restaurants. The cost of travel in Costa Rica is significantly cheaper than in the U.S. or Europe and higher than other countries in Central America.

The Costa Rican unit of currency is the colón. The colón, originally named after Christopher Columbus who was the first European to visit Costa Rica, has a value that fluctuates between 500-550 colónes per 1 US dollar. US dollars are pretty universally accepted in Costa Rica, especially at hotels and restaurants and are essential to bring here to Drake Bay where there aren't any ATMs or banks.. We always recommend to be prepared to pay colónes when dining at local sodas, taking public transportation and tours not offered directly from the hotel. Below are our top Costa Rica money tips & travel costs : 

Costa Rica Travel CostsTours and Activities : Various tours and activities can range tremendously in price. Anywhere from $30 on up. Here at Tranquilo Lodge in Drake Bay, Costa Rica, we offer many different tours to choose from when on your vacation. Our list of our tours include:




Food :
 Just like everything in Costa Rica, dining and restaurants can vary in price, whether you're on a budget, looking to splurge or looking for an all-inclusive dining + lodging option, there's a little something for everyone here.

Budget travelers or "doing as the locals do" travelers, tend to gravitate towards local sodas for their Costa Rican fare and meals. Cost : $3-$4 US per person per meal.

Mid-range travelers usually stick with a variety of restaurants that offer many different types of delicious fare that tend to cater to those from many areas of the world (seafood, american, italian, spanish, with a Costa Rican influence). Cost : $5-$10 US per person per meal.

Depending on which area of the country you are visiting, there are some high-end restaurants experiences available, costing around $20 on up per person per meal.

All inclusive dining tends to be travelers' favorite option when visiting Costa Rica. Here at Tranquilo Lodge, we offer all-inclusive dining with a variety of homemade, gourmet and specially cooked meals by our own resident Chef Raffa. We use all fresh and local ingredients, including our own fresh caught fish, local vegetables, and fruit from our own trees, all to meet any dietary restrictions or specifications.  A typical breakfast could be : homemade Costa Rican breakfast, Gallo Pinto or Vegetable Omlette, A typical lunch or dinner could be : our own fresh caught Oahu fish beer battered or grilled and served family style with homemade tortillas, local roasted vegetables, beans, homemade salsa, and a gourmet dessert to top it off.

Lodging : Budget hotels/hostels ($15 on up), midrange hotels ($50 on up), high-end hotels & impressive ecolodges ($100 on up) exist all over the country to suit your travel needs. Tranquilo Lodge is an all-inclusive luxury hotel and eco-lodge located in Drake Bay, Costa Rica. Nestled on the Southern Pacific coast of the Osa Peninsula, our hotel offers luxury hotel accommodations, all-inclusive gourmet dining, an infinity pool with 180 degree panoramic ocean and sunset views and is perfectly situated near the Corcovado National Rainforest, one of the most biologically diverse places in the world.  

Visit www.thetranquilolodge.com to book your reservation today!

Seasons : All around, traveling to Costa Rica tends to be more expensive during the "dry season" (December to April) and holidays, including Christmas, New Years, and Semana Santa. Whereas "green season" tends to be the least expensive time to travel (May-November).

Costa Rica Money Tips


Banks, ATMs and Money

Colónes come in 500, 1000, 5000, and 10,000 bills. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25, 50 and 100. Older coins are silver and slightly larger, while newer coins are gold-colored and smaller.

All banks will exchange US dollars and many will exchange British pounds or euros. Travelers checks can be cashed at banks or exchange bureaus for a commission of 1% to 3%. Some hotels accept travelers checks for payment, but many do not.

ATMs (known as cajeros automáticos) are widely available in Costa Rica. Some banks charge a fee for using an ATM abroad, so check with your bank before traveling to Costa Rica. Credit cards are widely accepted at midrange and upscale hotels and restaurants. Most credit cards include a transaction fee for international purchases.

Taxes and Tipping

There is a 13% tax on all purchases in Costa Rica, including souvenirs, food, and hotels. Hotels add an additional 3% tourist surcharge and most restaurants include a 10% gratuity fee. You are not obligated to tip on top of this, but it’s good practice to do so, because the 10% fee is split among many people. If you want to tip your waiter directly, leave more money on the table.

Should you choose to do so, you may want to tip other people while in Costa Rica, including maids, bellhops, or drivers. Tips for these services usually range from US$1 to US$10 a day. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip.

Getting and Exchanging Money

Before you get here: There is no advantage to trying to change dollars to colones before you get to Costa Rica, but when traveling to Tranquilo Lodge in Drake Bay, we suggest exchanging money at the airport or stopping at an ATM before arrival, as there are no ATMs in Drake Bay, and only cash is accepted in this area.

At the airport: You can change money at the airport banks from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are two ATMs there as well, which we recommend using. Ask for the cajera automática if you are unable to locate one. You will see money-exchange booths in the baggage claim area at the airport, but keep in mind that they charge hefty commissions.

ATMs: ATMs that work with debit cards are located all over Costa Rica. If you don't have a debit card, order one several weeks before you leave, so that your bank has time to mail it to you.. Be sure you know your PIN, and find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart.

To protect themselves from theft, credit card companies sometimes limit the amount that can be withdrawn abroad, so let them know you will be traveling. You can get the official exchange rate using an ATM, but some banks impose a fee every time a card is used at an ATM, and the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee.

Some US banks charge an additional currency conversion fee. Still, the time you save by using an ATM rather than travelers checks (which also have fees attached) might be worth it.

We hope this article has helped with your vacation planning and that you and your loved ones get to experience all of the incredible adventures here in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

We are Tranquilo Lodge, an oceanfront Drake Bay hotel with luxury accommodations, ocean view deluxe cabinas, infinity pool and all-inclusive dining all located in the jungle of Drake Bay, Costa Rica. Ready for pure adventure? Visit www.thetranquilolodge.com to book your reservation today! Still have questions? Contact us, we are here to help!



 
 
Drake Bay, Costa Rica is unlike many places in the world. Dubbed as being one of the most biologically diverse and remote places on the planet, there is nothing short of adventure, nature and thrill here on the Osa Peninsula ( Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica ). Known for it’s abundance of wildlife, adventurous trips into the Corcovado National Rainforest, incredible whale watching, world renowned sport fishing, the best scuba diving Costa Rica has to offer at nearby Cano Island and the amazing, untouched, pristine places to explore, there are only a few ways of getting to such a place. Below are our top 5 travel tips and the most frequently asked about topics when traveling to Drake Bay, Costa Rica :

TRAVEL TIP # 1 : The best time to visit Drake Bay is during the dry season (December-April) which has reliable sunny weather with little or no rainfall. Which means, clear skies, crystal clear waters for scuba diving and snorkeling, Rio Claro floating tours, kayaking, boating, whale and dolphin watching, and sport fishing! The beginning of “green season” (April-May) is a great alternative to traveling than during “high season” as it is generally cheaper and still has beautiful weather with little rainfall in the afternoons and evenings and sometimes an evening storm. “Green Season” (April-October) is still some of Tranquilo guests’ favorite times to travel to the Osa, they love the tropical climate!

TRAVEL TIP # 2 : The best way to get to Drake Bay is by plane. Fly into San Jose’s Juan Santa Maria International Airport in Costa Rica, then take a Sansa or Nature Air flight to Drake Bay / Bahia Drake Airport. A quick and beautiful scenic flight of only 45 minutes until you arrive at adventure and untouched beauty! If you’re coming from another part of the country, or choose to take a flight to Palmar Sur, head to Sierpe (drive or taxi) and take a boat taxi for the more adventurous route to Drake Bay. There are only two pick up times per day (11 AM and 3:30PM) so arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure, let the captain know where you are going, grab a cold coconut (pipas frias) and plan accordingly. The 25 mile or 50 minute boat ride from Sierpe to Drake Bay (roughly $15-$20 pp) is adventurous! Wind through the mangrove canals, maybe catch a glimpse or two of some crocs, and make the fun and sometimes very treacherous ride into the mouth, or Boca, where the river meets the breaking waves of Drake Bay. Warning : This can be very treacherous and a white knuckle kind of ride, but also consider that the captains and locals make this ride daily to and from work and it’s just the crazy, adventurous, Costa Rican way of life! Do as the locals do, right!? The boat will most likely stop a few different times to drop passengers off at their destinations, the bay of Drake Bay usually being the last stop, which is where we, Tranquilo Lodge, pick up our guests! Listen to the destination announcement or ask the crew if it is your stop. They are great at remembering who is getting off the boat when and where!

TRAVEL TIP # 3 : There are no ATMs in Drake Bay. The last place to exchange currency is at San Jose International Airport, unless you are coming from another part of the country, then stopping at a national bank’s ATM is advised. US Dollars and Costa Rican Colones are accepted everywhere.

TRAVEL TIP # 4 : Pack light with things that dry quickly as you will likely be doing outdoor activities and keep in mind, this is a humid, tropical climate here in Drake bay! Beachwear, swimwear, hiking wear, hiking boots and / or light tennis shoes and water sandals are among our guests’ key packed vacation items. Look over our eco adventure tours and activities and plan your wardrobe and packing list accordingly.

TRAVEL TIP # 5 : Don’t forget your bug spray and sunscreen! Although there is a small convenience store in town in case you forgot something, or need to refill your supply, toiletries tend to be cheaper in the US.

We are Tranquilo Lodge, an oceanfront Drake Bay hotel with luxury accommodations, ocean view deluxe cabinas, infinity pool and all-inclusive dining all located in the jungle of Drake Bay, Costa Rica. Ready for pure adventure? Visit www.thetranquilolodge.com to book your reservation today! Still have questions? Contact us, we are here to help!