If you’re trying to figure out how much you’ll spend for your one week Costa Rica vacation, this post will help. I will outline how much my 1 week Costa Rica budget was for a trip I took with two friends. We visited Jaco and Playas del Coco, rented a car, stayed in mid-range and budget hotels and did a few tours. We were not on a strict budget but we weren’t looking for luxury either.
If your itinerary sounds a bit like ours or are simply wondering the travel expenses for one week in Costa Rica, you’ll get a great idea from this post. Costa Rica is known for being an expensive country to travel so this will help greatly for getting a travel budget estimate.
All of these prices are in USD, the standard currency in tourism.
Our 1 Week Itinerary Costa Rica Budget
They were visiting for one week so we spent the first 3 days in Jaco, then Playas del Coco for 3 days and the 7th day they flew out of San Jose. We chose these destinations as they are places I’m very familiar with and it was their first time so I could easily take them around.
Even though it’s about a 4 hour drive from Jaco to Coco, I wanted to show them two different coastal areas of Costa Rica. Jaco has a great mix of rain forest and beach whereas Coco has more of the pretty beaches so they were able to experience wildlife, rain forest and beach.
Airfare from Seattle to SJO Airport
My friends flew from Seattle to San Jose (SJO Airport) for around $500 USD per person round trip with Delta. They visited in September which is low tourism season and cheaper than in the summer. Flights can be go around $700-800 USD in the busy months like January – April and July. During Christmas, prices can go up to around $900 USD!
Costa Rica Car Rental Cost
We decided to rent a car for our trip. Since we were going to Jaco and Coco, we rented an automatic sedan (Hyundai Accent), we didn’t need a 4×4. It cost us $350 total ($116 per person) with full insurance. We rented with Adobe Rent a Car who we now have a partnership with.
I highly recommend renting a car for this itinerary so you will have more freedom and flexibility, especially since for a one week trip as you don’t have a ton of time. It was so much fun roadtripping around with my friends!
And now with our partnership with Adobe, we have a discount and extra freebies for our readers so you can explore Costa Rica like we did. Get our car rental discount in Costa Rica here!
Hotel Cost in Jaco
We rented an apartment in a condo complex called Costa Linda for about $100 USD a night on Airbnb (get $40 credit here) for 3 people. It was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with security, a pool, washer/dryer in the apartment and walking distance to town. We stayed for 3 nights and the total with taxes came out to be $336 USD for 3 people.
We also booked this place the night before my friends flew out so that was an extra $112 USD so the grand total came out to be $448 USD ($149 USD per person).
Cost of Tours in Jaco
We did 2 tours in Jaco – the Park at Ocean Ranch combo adventure tour and the Rio Tarcoles boat ride. The Ranch Park Pase Especial tour was $120 USD per person but they had a promo going on so it was $100 USD per person. This tour was a full day of ziplining, horseback riding and canyoning.
The river boat tour was $35 USD per person without transportation ($55 USD per person with transportation) and this is a 2 hour boat ride down Rio Tarcoles to see the crocodiles and other birds.
We also spent one day at Manuel Antonio National Park. It’s an hour drive from Jaco and a $16 USD per adult entrance fee. We spent all day at the park and ate lunch at a restaurant outside the national park for about $10 USD a plate.
Cost of Food in Jaco
We ate mostly local in Jaco and since we had a kitchen in the apartment, we cooked a couple times. You can find cheap local places in Jaco ($6 USD a lunch with drink) or more expensive places ($20 USD and up) so there is a good variety. I took my friends out to the local restaurants and meals were no more than $8 each. We also cooked a bit.
You can find good drink specials in Jaco since it’s more of a party town. You can get happy hour beer for $2 USD, cocktails for $4 USD and cheap shots.
Playas del Coco
Hotel Cost in Coco
We stayed 3 nights in Toro Blanco, a mid range hotel near the beach in Playas del Coco. A room for 3 people cost $90 USD a night without breakfast, the total was $270 USD ($90 USD per person). This hotel has a nice pool but unfortunately they didn’t include breakfast which is actually fairly standard for most hotels in Costa Rica.
Cost of Activities in Playas del Coco
Since we only had 1 full day in Coco, we decided to take a private boat ride around the Gulf of Papagayo with my friend Marcy who owns a boating company. He took us all around the Gulf, we snorkeled and visited different beaches. For a half day for 3 people, it was $270 USD total.
This is the best way to experience the Gulf of Papagayo since on a private boat tour, you get to go to a lot of different beaches and snorkel spots versus an open catamaran sailing tour.
My friends absolutely love to snorkel so I knew I had to take them on a private tour to have the boat all to ourselves.
The day we drove back to Jaco from Coco, we decided to visit some of my favorite unknown beaches which are all free.
Cost of Food in Coco
We splurged a little bit with food in Coco, mostly because we were so tired from boating. We didn’t feel like looking up places to eat so we went to the Hard Rock Cafe (no longer there). Burgers were around $16 USD which is not too bad, but definitely more expensive than going to a local restaurant.
Total 1 Week Costa Rica Budget
Per person, the total cost of this 1 week Costa Rica trip came out to be around $750 USD including food, gas and souvenirs and this is without airfare. The car rental and tours took up a good chunk of the budget but we did relatively well with our budget. We didn’t stay at any super high end luxury hotels so we didn’t spend more than $40 USD a person a night for lodging and they were all very comfortable and clean places.
The car rental was great for my friends since we also stopped to check out different beaches and beach towns up in the Gulf of Papagayo and different viewpoints from Jaco to Manuel Antonio. It was definitely worth the extra money!
Tips for Saving Money
As you can see, our 1 week Costa Rica budget was not too bad and you could cut it down by not renting a car and taking the bus instead. But in low season (September), the car rental price was not bad.
You can also take out all the tours to save even more money. However, I recommend to book at least one or two tours to add some fun and adventure to your itinerary, especially if you are outdoorsy and active like us.
You can also be more conscious of your food. We didn’t care to stick to the cheapest food, we wanted to eat at some nice places so we did. But if you had to be cheaper, eat at bakeries or the little cafeterias inside supermarkets as those are way cheaper.
As for lodging, we did not want to stay at a hostel. We were super happy paying more for a nice condo with 2 bedrooms and bathrooms. But to save on costs, you can stay in a hostel.
Want to read more Costa Rica travel tips? Check out these posts!
Money saving tips: Tips for saving money traveling in Costa Rica
10 mistakes to avoid traveling in Costa Rica
There are affiliate links in this post
Ke-Ke Lewis says
Hello! I am traveling to Costa Rica at the end of June 1st week of July in 2021. I wanted to get a head and do some research prior to leaving. I started with your article 17 Important things to know before you and found with all the links found boat load of helpful information. I am traveling with a large group of about 18-20 people and will be staying in a Airbnb. We are flying into San Jose Airport and where told that we would have to rent a car to get around. While talking to another friend that is traveling we were concerned but, with the information that you provided I think we will feel a little more comfortable especially with all the extra fees, ect. Is there information you can give on activities that would accommodate us all at the same time or even 1/2 of us? I also see Jaco is the hot spot to visit about how long do you think it would take to get there from San Jose?
Again I’m thankful that I found your site and will be forwarding this information on to the crew of us that are coming to visit
Hello there, here are some articles that will be helpful. Having a car to get around is the best way to travel on your own but it’s not the only way to get around (depending on where your Airbnb is though).
getting around Costa Rica
Costa Rica car rental tips
Day trips from San Jose
For your group of 18-20, you can ask for a private tour and get a group rate. We work with a tour company based in San Jose that runs the San Jose day tours that we have discounts on and we can give group rates and as Mytanfeet readers, see if they can give it to your group for private.
Glenda Romero says
Hi there!, I am planning on taking my family on our first out of state trip to Costa Rica. We will be going in June. We are a family of 5 with 2 adults and 3 kids from teenagers to a young boy. we will be renting a car and also getting a place through Airbnb. What areas would you recommend we go to that are low in cost? We will be staying around Tamarindo. TIA for your feedback. 🙂
Hi Glenda, Tamarindo is generally more expensive because it’s the main town and tourism hub. Since you have a car and getting an Airbnb, look for places outside Tamarindo like in Villarreal, Huacas or Santa Cruz. You’ll still be central to all the beaches but outside the town.
Just returned from two weeks in Costa Rica. Before we went, we found your articles very informative and helpful. Especially the one that navigated us through the car rental process. We found that going in August was a great time because we had good weather with only two short rain showers. We also found it is a good time for hotel deals. We stayed in Rincon de la Vieja at Hacienda Guachipelin for two night for $125 a night in a Superior Suite including deluxe breakfast. We then stayed at Tamarindo Diria in a Sunset oceanfront room with balcony, again, including deluxe breakfast for $155 a night. We were so full from breakfast we didn’t need lunch and saved money that way. Our most expensive meal for two including drinks was a deluxe seafood platter for two at Pangas on the beach for $88 and our cheapest was Taco Tuesday at Longboards for under $8 each for two including two huge tacos and hand-cut fries plus two beers. You could score cheap happy hour prices anywhere and their happy hours are sometimes all night. We also saved by making our own tours and driving ourselves to various beaches for snorkeling/exploring each day with our own gear that we brought with us. The spectacular sunsets each night are an experience all on their own, shared with a friend or lover and a bottle of wine from the grocery store for around $10 for a decent bottle of cabernet sauvignon or just the local Imperial beer.
Harry Navel says
My wife ate tomato soup out of my bellybutton on Jaco beach…..good times!
Every time a new posting comes out from my 10 feet I learned something different and hear about great deals. I’m taking notes!
Nitin Khanna says
Thanks for wonderful information about Costa Rica 1 week trip. This is just an amazing place to spent your time with friends.