How to Get to Costa Rica on a Budget

If you’re in college, you probably know how I’m feeling right about now–STRESSED AS HELL. One way I’m managing my stress is by daydreaming constantly about what my life would be like if I just got on a plane to some random island and never looked back. I always imagine myself as a waitress at some random restaurant and I’m happy and worry-free ’til the end of my days (’cause we all know that being a waitress on a remote island is the pinnacle of existence). For some reason I imagine that life would be easier than facing finals yet again. Of course that’s not the case, and in reality I’d probably end up a homeless beach lady cooing madly at sea gulls as I slowly starve to death. Which is the only reason I haven’t actually gone and done this (yet).

But it’s really fun to daydream and to think about what it’ll be like when I finally DO get to visit a beautiful island or rainforest. I’ve wanted to do a post like this for a while, and I think now it’s finally time. I’ve looked into how to get to rainforests at a reasonable price and now I’m going to show you how to get to a rainforest while spending as little money as possible, but still getting a great deal.

Costa Rica has been a place I’ve considered for a couple years now (because even though I don’t have money, I act like I do and plan out vacations that I can’t go on). So I’ve done some research on Costa Rica and the best rainforest to visit, and I’ve come up with: Monteverde. This rainforest is a cloud forest, which is the type of rainforest I’m most fascinated with. I want to visit a cloud forest the second I have the opportunity to do so.

A cloud forest is a rainforest that is always (or seasonally) covered in low level clouds that create a permanent fog in the forest canopy. They’re mystical-looking and full of life. The moisture makes sure that all the plants have more than enough water to thrive, which is why there are a ton of bromeliads, orchids, and lichens (at least in Costa Rica). These habitats are not found anywhere else on Earth, but global warming is threatening to change them fast. With temperatures rising, these forests could dry up and the ecosystem could drastically change, which is why you should visit a cloud forest as soon as you have the ability to. They may not be around for much longer.

Now let’s talk about how to get there!

My first piece of advice is this: check Travelzoo.com. Travelzoo has amazing deals and many of them include flights as well as hotel stays and meals. Right now they have a deal for 6-8 nights in hotels for prices starting as low as $1077 a person, but depending on where you’re starting out, it can get up to a little over $1,400 (still a great deal though). The offer  also includes flights and breakfasts at most hotels. They’ll take you around to see the Arenal Volcano, Monteverde, and the Guanacaste Beaches. You’ll get to see Monteverde and a whole lot more! Click here if you’d like to check this deal out.

If there’s no deal when you check Travelzoo, don’t worry! You can still find ways to save money on this vacation!

My favorite site to use for checking flight tickets is Cheapflights. They let you compare a ton of different ticket prices with little effort, and they actually find some of the best deals. Expedia is also good; they can bundle deals with hotels for you.

Some ways to make sure you’re getting good deals on flights is to make your flight leaves between Tuesday and Thursday. It’s also good to try to visit Costa Rica during the rainy season, because less people want to visit during this time. The rainy season for Costa Rica is June through September, and sometimes October. Also, when giving your travel dates for the flight, check that your dates are flexible. Sometimes you can get great deals just by doing that (up to half off!) (this doesn’t always work quite that well, but it does sometimes!). Also, be sure to clear the cookies on your browser when you’re looking for flights. Websites will record that you’ve been looking at flights or have bought tickets in the past and they’ll jack up the prices because they know you’re going to buy a ticket anyway. If you clear your cookies, they can’t do this.

You can stay at hostels for about $13 a night. For nicer ones, you might have to pay up to $40. I’d also suggest that you take public transportation wherever you can because it’s much cheaper than cabs. Check out this neat travel guide to Monteverde to learn more about the amount of money you should expect to pay (if you’re pinching your pennies). He says to expect to pay about $40-45 a day.

Travel guides are kind of expensive, but it’s recommended you have one, just so you’re more likely to spot more animals. Just be sure to go on group tours because private tours are like 300X more expensive, no joke. Most hotels have a tour desk in their lobby, and if they don’t, it’s still super easy to find a tour guide because the tour guiding industry is the biggest industry in Costa Rica.

Annnnd that’s all I’ve got about getting to Costa Rica on a budget. I really hope this helps you get to a rainforest. Let me know if there are any useful tips that I missed. And if you use this to help you plan your trip, let me know how it goes!

 Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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