Costa Rica is a terrific travel destination and hundreds of thousands of visitors from the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries come for its great beaches, mountains, weather, and activities.
It does not have to cost you a arm and leg to experience Costa Rica, just a little creativity, coupled with knowledge..
Adventurers and explorers have marveled about this country for centuries.
Christopher Columbus was the first to discover it, doing so in 1503. He was so enthralled he gave it its name, Costa Rica--the rich coast.
About seven decades later, an English captain and seafarer named Sir Francis Drake rounded the southernmost point of South America and traveled north until he landed at what is now called Drake Bay off the southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. You may have heard of this fellow: he is famous for destroying the Spanish Armada and saving England in 1588.
But, unlike these guys, you do not need a boatload of people to help you get around and it will not cost you the Queen's treasure, either.
Want a boat ride? Think about a nice cruise along the tropical waters off the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
For about the price of a bottle of water or can of soda---and less than a beer---you can travel between the Pacific port of Puntarenas and the southern tip of the beautiful Nicoya Peninsula on a fun ferry.
How much? Less than $1.50 for an hour and half long cruise. A penny a minute. Is this value or what?
Trains are fun, too, particularly when they go to great places at unimaginably low prices.
From downtown San Jose, take a four hour ride on the Tico Train to Puntarenas. You'll see spectacular mountains and cross deep chasms over tall bridges. The train will be packed and filled with happy Costa Rican families. And be sure to bring your bathing suit because the train stops at a tropical beach!
How much? About $16.
Like the Puntarenas ferry, most tourists don't know about the Tico Train. For reservations (you need them) call American Travel at telephone number 22-33-33-00 once you are in Costa Rica.
With two coasts to choose from, nearly 800 miles of tropical beaches can be explored, hiked, surfed, swum (but be careful about rip tides at some places), and even fished for almost nothing. All you have to do is get there.
All the beaches in this country are public, open to everybody, and getting there is very cheap because public and private buses are ubiquitous and cheap in Costa Rica.
For example, lots of vacationers visit the lovely Pacific town of Jaco to surf, enjoy dozens of activities and party at night (think about a cold beer for about a buck and a half.
From San Jose, a large, comfortable, air-conditioned bus ride will take you there in about two hours and cost less than a Happy Meal! That's less than $5!
Finally, I have one more budgetary secret to share.
There are very nice Costa Rica hostels throughout the country.
Sure, most folks associate hostels with college kids crammed into a dorm but the truth is that many of the hostels in Costa Rica offer private rooms for just a little more per person than a dorm. You don't need to spend $50-70+ per person to have a nice room. Try a dorm for $12 or a private room for about twice that per person.
So, think about it. Can you afford $1.50 for a ferry cruise? $16 for a train ride through the tropical forests to a magnificent beach? $5.00 to travel halfway across Costa Rica to a great Pacific town where you can stay for $12?
And the Pura Vida that comes from all this? Free, of course.