Costa Rica is Over

A swimming hole at the top of Montezuma's waterfall. Photo: Alex Washburn

A swimming hole at the top of Montezuma’s waterfall. Photo: Alex Washburn

Before going on this trip, Nathaniel went to Costa Rica with a group of friends in July. This, unbeknownst to him, was the perfect time to go, it was low season.

Costa Rica is on most lists for Best Places to Retire Abroad, but these lists need to be updated as the time of cheap living has passed. Alex and I knew that it would be high-season, but were not prepared for how expensive everything would be.

We got a taste for it in San Jose, when every meal came with a 10% gratuity for staff and 13% tax, so every meal tag was instantly increased by 26%. Hamburgers at a local chain (much like a Mel’s) cost twenty dollars, which for our budgets was breaking the bank.

Getting into the tourist towns didn’t help at all. There are deals to be had at hostels, and we were able to find deals most places we went, but the food killed us at every turn. There is no real street food scene, so no relief there, and every meal ended up being as much, if not more, then it would cost in the US.

Crocodiles in Costa Rica. Photo: Alex Washburn

Crocodiles in Costa Rica. Photo: Alex Washburn

After having been traveling in Central America for almost three months, it was a rude awakening to be jarred with this exorbitant price change. For anyone thinking of going to Costa Rica during the high season, DON’T!!! There are other countries that are just as safe, where the dollar will go so much farther. Costa Rica has gone beyond the means of the regular traveler as even a small bottle of Gatorade was $2.00 at local markets.

I may not seem that steep to others, but for people who are on a budget for six months, these differences in prices are not affordable. Be adventurous and pick a better spot, or go in the low-season to avoided being overcharged at every turn.

Once we crossed the border to Panama, the prices have eased, though we are looking forward to Columbia. After the boarder crossing (not the worst yet) we high-tailed it to Santiago. The middle between Panama Border and Panama City. Santiago is the Las Vegas of Panama, with several big Casinos and a lot of Love Hotels, the best being the “Beverly Hills Gardens”…Classic.

The next day it was back on the bikes, and off to Panama City. Had enough time to explore the Panama Canal and old town. For me, the Panama Canal is one of the places I remember learning about in history class in high school, and never thinking I would ever visit it. It is still impressive, even after 100 years.

We are staying in a hostel with all of the bikers getting on the boat tomorrow and enjoying our time recounting stories on the road. Tomorrow we head for the Caribbean coast and our ship for Columbia. A new year and a new continent is ours to explore, here is to more adventures to come!

Tourists wave to a ship as it passes through the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal. Photo: Alex Washburn

Tourists wave to a ship as it passes through the Miraflores Locks in the Panama Canal. Photo: Alex Washburn

6 Comments on “Costa Rica is Over

  1. I’m with you on the prices…..Costa Rica is not cheap! Maybe Ecuador is still on my list, after all.

  2. Shell Art is over. Chin beards are over. Carry on my pista friends!

  3. Don’t forget costa rica is a leading tourist destination in Central America. I agree Ecuador is much cheaper. Maybe that high prices during peak season are only an effect of the great intensity of tourism businesses in Costa Rica. Greetings and good luck.

  4. Inspiring, fantastic adventure! I’m reading this today in -10 degrees. Very jealous

  5. Roll on my brother, roll on! Happy New Year to you both, seize the day, or continue doing so in your case.

Drop us a digital postcard

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: