San Jose is a quaint capitol nestled within the lush mountains of Costa Rica. At a height of 3,800 ft it has comfortable high temperature of about 27C or 80F. The people are friendly and are eager to help you get where you want to go. It is one of the most well manicured, relatively safe and pleasant cities in Central America.
However, San Jose is also one of the most expensive capitols in Central America. In some ways it resembles that of an overpriced medium sized US city. An unfortunate reality that can easily result in damaging blows to your backpacking budget.
To help you maintain your budget and keep you traveling longer, below you will find a few budget saving tips and recommendations for staying cheap in San Jose.
How To Sleep Cheap In San Jose
Although San Jose is littered with fast food chains from Wendy’s to Taco Bell, none of them are open 24/7 and don’t look like they would even make for a decent daydream. While there are plenty of parks, a lack of foliage and potential for night creatures make this a dismal option as well. Check out this guide for info on Urban Camping.
Therefore your next best option is a cheap hostel. One of the cheapest hostels that also happens to be remarkably classy and ideally located is Casa Del Parque.
As the name suggests, this hostel is located on the National Park, just a few minutes walk from the bustling Central Avenue. It is quiet and serene but steps away from the action.
The dorms are clean and comfortable, and best of all, they are only 10$ a night. However, if you’re interested in an exceptionally large private room, you can get one for just 34$/night.
One of the coolest aspects of this Hostel is that if your willing to work 30 hours a week you can sleep for free. There is a 2 week minimum and they only allow two volunteers at a time. So if you’re interested, your best bet is to e-mail the manager in advance. For volunteering, rooms, rates, and reservations, see Casa Del Parque Hostel.
Overall, I totally recommend this hostel for any backpacker looking to transit or stay a few weeks in San Jose. Here you feel less like a customer and more like a guest in lovely and comfortable home. It’s no wonder HostelWorld.com rated them the #1 hostel in Costa Rica.
How To Save Money On Food & Drinks
Like most places, the best way to save money on food and drinks is to steal (Just kidding). Seriously though, stealing, unless it’s swiping leftovers or picking a bit of fruit, is terrible karma and I don’t recommend it unless scurvy is imminent.
Shopping at local supermarkets is the cheapest means by which to sustain your life energy and maintain a happy buzz. Just four blocks from Casa Del Parque is a super market called Masxmenos. Here you can buy a single portion of pasta and tomato sauce for just 2$ and follow it down with a 2$ bottle of two buck chuck. Or you can buy a package of ramen and throw in a few eggs for just around 1.50$.
You can then use the communal hostel kitchen, which is equipped with everything you need, and cook up a cheap but classy meal.
Although San Jose is expensive, if you stay at a hostel such as Casa Del Parque, shop at supermarkets, and make good use of their kitchen, you will save money. Plus if your willing to work at the hostel you can even live in San Jose for just the price of food and drinks. For more info you can check them out here, Casa Del Parque Hostel San Jose.