Costa Rica - How Affordable is it?

It's hard to believe that in just a few days Randy and I will be in sunny Costa Rica. And equally difficult to think we'll be away from home for two whole months without our “other home" - our Roadtrek RV. A non-RV trip will certainly be a big change for us.

Home - our back yard view

We are trading this view of our back yard...

Costa Rica - our back yard view

…for this one.

Before you conclude that we're giving up RVing, let me assure you, we most certainly are not! This trip will, in effect, be an experiment. We hope it will be an amazing experience and, while we’re going to attempt to make it affordable, we know it won’t compare with the affordability of RVing and boondocking. I will, however, be tracking our trip costs and attempt to compare it to RV travel. It should be fun to see what we can do within a budget. Many of my readers (RVers) have expressed an interest so I'll be posting some blog updates here. So, please check in once in a while if you'd like to follow along.

Where will we be?

You probably already guessed we won't be staying at a resort and we don't plan to take in the usual tourist fare.

We've rented a house in San Luis – a tiny village on the west edge of Lake Arenal between Tronadora and Tilaran. It's a central location, with views of the lake and a recently-active volcano. (The regular lava-spewing fireworks display of Arenal Volcano ended in 2010.)

Our 2-story, 2-bedroom rental

Our 2-story, 2-bedroom casita

What made us Choose this Location?

  • Reportedly the best climate in Costa Rica! We're not real "beach bunnies” and, although glorious, Costa Rica’s coast can be very hot and humid.
  • Walking distance from groceries and basic supplies. Important since we don't plan to rent a vehicle except occasionally.
  • An ex-pat community. We hope to get by on (and perhaps improve) our limited Spanish language skills.
  • Central location for day trips to three national parks, rainforest hiking trails, beaches, and both Caribbean and Pacific coasts.
  • The price is right! The fully-furnished house rents for US $600.00 per month, including utilities and wi-fi.
  • We happen to know fellow Canadians who have moved here. They had done research all over Costa Rica before choosing this area. They recommended a local rental agent who has been extremely helpful and will continue to be our liaison while we’re there. Our friends also were able to see and approve the house - that's priceless!

What will we do in Costa Rica?

  • We hope to spend relaxing days in the sun, hike as much as possible, explore the new and interesting terrain, meet and interact with local ex-pats and Ticos (the affectionate nick name for the Spanish residents), immerse ourselves in the culture, and be open to whatever adventures present themselves.
  • We will not rent a car, or only seldom if we do. Rental costs appear to be significantly higher than in North America. Insurance, normally covered by our credit card in Canada and USA, is not covered there and will double the cost. Other than main highways, apparently Costa Rica's roads are among the worst in the world! Many residents don't own a car; they rely on cheap local buses and taxis which are plentiful. We hope to do the same. My sister plus a few friends from home plan to visit us down there and have offered to rent cars during their stay so we'll plan our farther away expeditions for their visits.
  • Most tourist-oriented activities and tours are quite expensive. We'll avoid them or look for other options (we hope to get some guidance from the locals).
  • We'll probably eat at restaurants and go out for a beer in a pub more often than we do on our RV trips. How else would we have the opportunity to take in the culture and cuisine and to meet and mingle as much as possible?

We Haven't Left Home but we've Already Made a Few Mistakes

In fact, we just returned from a week-long family vacation in Orlando. That gave us a head start on our tans but now we're a bit rushed to put all the final details in place for this trip.

In my next post, I'll list our expenses to date (airfare, etc.) and tell you about the mistakes we've made (er....I mean the lessons we've learned) already. Plus, I'll tell you how I plan to compare the cost of this trip to the costs of RV travel. Yes, I CAN indeed compare apples to oranges!

Next week: Costa Rica! Hope you'll tag along.

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Good for you. 
I have been to Costa Rica many years ago and did some tours but what your doing sounds great. I'd be interested in the Agent you used to find such a …

Wow and thank you 
So looking forward to this informative trip of yours. All of us still stuck in the snow will be watching and learning , once again , from your adventures. …

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