Posted by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica on 06/11/2018

Camping in Costa Rica

Camping in Costa Rica

Like most people who move to Costa Rica, I love the beach. The problem is I am also super cheap. I hate coming back from the beach with an empty wallet or worse yet, not going to the beach 'cause I'm a little short on cash that week. One way I have found to enjoy my beach time and not kill my wallet is by camping instead of more expensive forms of accommodation. Camping, while not as common in Canada or the States, is available at many beaches in specified campsites, or just pitching your tent on the beach.

Advantages for Camping 

Price.
Camping in Costa Rica will vary in price from FREE (pitching your tent on the beach) to $12/person. Usual price is around $8/person. I have friends that swear by just pitching on the beach for free, however I prefer the security and peace of mind of camping in a designated site. Plus, I'm helping out the locals, and the $8 isn't going to kill me.

Avoid the crowds.

Ticos aren't big campers, and most tourists aren't going to bring their camping stuff down to Costa Rica. That means you can really enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica nature without being surrounded by loud annoying tourists. Soooooo much nicer to go to sleep with the sounds of nature rather than the sounds of tourists getting drunk.

No mosquitoes in your room.

Many times in my past I've spent the night listening to and being eaten alive by mosquitoes who throughout the day/night have found a way into my hotel room. Tents don't have gaps in the windows or doors. There is no way for those pests to get in. Be quick with your zipper getting in and out of your tent, and you don't have to worry about waking up itching,

No hot rooms.
In most cheaper option hostels you wont have A/C. This means yo are at the mercy of some cheap ceiling fan to relieve you from the beach heat at night. This can be unpleasant at best. Tents are cool, in fact I often use a thin blanket when Im sleeping in a tent. Something those poor souls sweating buckets in their sauna hostel rooms cant fathom.

The experience.
Camping is fun, period, and so much more interesting/ memorable than checking in to a hotel/ hostel. Whenever I hear tent zippers, friends around the crackle of a camp fire and the sounds of nature, I know I'm having a good time.


Equipment you will need

Camping usually includes some kind of initial investment to get equipment, however, camping equipment in Costa Rica is not expensive and you will make all your investment back from the money you save on hotels/hostels in one trip.

Tent ($20)  You don't need an amazing expensive tent for Camping in Costa Rica. The temperature is not an issue at the beach, so you don't need to shop at a campers' specialty store and shell out $300 on a tent. A cheap, $20 tent from Walmart will be fine. Rain is the only climate factor so make sure your tent is rain proof. Most campsites have shelter to pitch your tent under, but not all and you might want to camp right on the beach some times so be sure your tent will keep out the rain.

Air Mattress ($15) & Air pump ($3) For those, like me, that like a nice comfortable sleep, I pack an air mattress. Super comfy cheap and stays cool at night. True campers prefer a sleeping mat, but that is personal choice. A mat is easier to pack for sure.

BBQ grill ($20) For me, part of the camping experience is cooking outdoors. The little grills Ticos use, fold up easily and are quite portable. The food you cook on an outdoor grill tastes and smells amazing, is WAY cheaper than eating in beach restaurants and adds to the whole experience. Win, win, win!


Where to camp

I love camping but Im not much of an explorer. I tend to hit my familiar camp spots rather than check out new beaches, something Id like to change in the future. But until I explore more, here are some websites and camping options that I have visited or researched.

Jaco Ropes  $12/night. Sleep in the jungle SURROUNDED by toucans. So many toucans it gets boring after a while. Close to town if you want action at night plus close to the least populated part of Jaco beach (the south end)

Camping playa Esterillos $6/night right on the beach. Friendly hosts. great beach town close to Jaco but far away from tourists.

Camping Uvita  Pretty far from the valley, but if you have some time off work, this beach is a great option.

Here is a great website for checking out camping options in Costa Rica. Some of the info is not up to date, so be sure to contact the campsites before you show up. Pura Vida!

Ready to start your adventures in Costa Rica?  Contact us to save a seat in one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL courses!


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