From the moment you land or cross the border from Nicaragua, you’re senses are ambushed by a 5 star feast of tropical ecstasy. The landscape is so lush with emerald flora and so vibrant with it’s bio-diverse fauna that it’s almost hard to take it all in. The humid air, laced with papaya and passion fruit, is so sweet you might think you’ve entered heaven’s bakery. Costa Rica is pure paradise, and a must visit for any traveler.
Unfortunately, with prices on par with the US, it’s not an ideal destination for budget backpackers. Food, though delicious, is pretty expensive, and accomodation really adds up. Fortunately, there are plenty of cheap and even free things to do in Costa Rica that’ll allow you to experience the best of the country on a budget.
1) Swim In A Volcanic River
Right outside La Fortuna, at the foothills of Arenal volcano, lies a river. It winds through dense jungle and gently flows over smooth stones. It’s caressed by cool moist air and intermittent rains. It’s also super heated to the perfect temperature of 102 F or 38 C.
You can literally spend your entire day bathing in this glorious natural hot tub. There’s nothing more relaxing in all of Costa Rica, and the best part is it’s totally free.
To get here you can catch a cab from La Fortuna and simply ask the driver to drop you at the “free hot springs” or agua caliente gratis. If you’re looking for more infer about La Fortuna and where to stay, check out A Backpacker’s Resort In La Fortuna.
2) Go Rafting
Racing down a river with new friends, the rhythm of the current and unadulterated nature simply epitomizes Pura Vida or the pure life. It’s terrifying and heaps of fun all at once, and it’s a must do for any Costa Rica trip.
Although rafting isn’t the cheapest adventure in Costa Rica but it’s definitely not out of reach. Most day trips include everything and cost between 75-100$ depending on the company.
3) Go Bungee Jumping
At 143 meters, Costa Rica is home to one of the highest bungee jumps in the world, the Monteverde Jump. You might crap yourself on the platform, you may see your life flash before your eyes as the earth approaches at 100 MPH, and you’ll definitely scream in joy or terror as you’re sucked back from imminent death. If you’ve ever contemplated bungee jumping or even if you haven’t, this is one adventure you should definitely consider. Price: 60$.
4) Search Out The Street Art In San Jose
Of Central America’s diverse cities, San Jose is arguably the cultural capitol. It’s full of live music, sculptures, murals, and graffiti. And there’s no better way to spend a day in this vibrant city than by discovering it’s street art. Although there are tours on offer, there’s so much cool art around you won’t have any trouble finding it yourself.
5) Surf The World’s Second Longest Left Break
Pavones located on Costa Rica’s south west coast. This town offers one of the best surf breaks in the world. It’s so long you can easily surf for 10-15 seconds. It’s not just the surf but the tranquil and local atmosphere of this off the beaten path town that makes it an adventure for surfers and non-surfers alike. It’s one of my favorite places in Costa Rica and I’ll definitely be back.