Embarking on a road trip through Costa Rica is an exhilarating way to explore the country’s stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and diverse wildlife. As a Budget Adventurer, you can embark on any and all road trip adventures that showcase the best of Costa Rica’s natural beauty. In this our Budget Adventurer’s guide, we’ll unveil unmissable road trip itineraries, complete with recommendations, highlights, and insider tips to make your journey memorable and wallet-friendly.

Be sure to check out our car rental guide, so you have the correct key to unlock the treasures of this breathtaking country: from its majestic volcanoes to its secluded beaches and everything in between, the freedom to chart your own course, discover hidden gems off the beaten path, and create unforgettable memories along the way in Costa Rica. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping activities, tranquil nature escapes, or cultural immersion, Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes offer something for every traveler. So, pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready for an epic road trip through Costa Rica’s top affordable destinations.

1. Pacific Coast Adventure: From Guanacaste to Manuel Antonio

Route: Start your journey in Liberia, Guanacaste, and make your way down the Pacific Coast to Manuel Antonio.


  • Explore the pristine beaches of Playa Conchal and Playa Tamarindo.
  • Discover the vibrant surf town of Jaco and its nearby waterfalls.
  • Hike the trails of Manuel Antonio National Park and relax on its beautiful beaches.

Budget-Friendly Tips:

  • Pack a picnic for beach days to avoid restaurant expenses.
  • Look for budget accommodations in smaller towns along the route.

2. Central Highlands Exploration: San José to Monteverde

Route: Begin your journey in San José and head northwest towards Monteverde in the Central Highlands.


  • Discover the bustling markets and historic sites of San José.
  • Experience the mystical cloud forests of Monteverde and embark on a canopy tour.
  • Visit the Monteverde Butterfly Garden and Hummingbird Gallery.

Budget-Friendly Tips:

  • Take advantage of free walking tours in San José to learn about the city’s history.
  • Choose accommodations in Monteverde that offer complimentary breakfast to save on dining expenses.

3. Caribbean Coast Road Trip: Limón to Puerto Viejo

Route: Start your journey in Limón and follow the Caribbean coastline south to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.


  • Explore the vibrant port city of Limón and its bustling markets.
  • Relax on the pristine beaches of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo.
  • Experience the Afro-Caribbean culture and cuisine of Puerto Viejo.

Budget-Friendly Tips:

  • Sample local street food and seafood in Limón and Puerto Viejo for affordable dining options.
  • Look for budget accommodations in nearby towns like Cahuita for lower rates.

4. Northern Lowlands Discovery: Arenal to Tortuguero

Route: Begin your journey in La Fortuna, near the Arenal Volcano, and head northeast to Tortuguero.


  • Explore the lush landscapes and volcanic hot springs of La Fortuna.
  • Embark on a boat tour through the canals of Tortuguero National Park.
  • Visit the charming town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí and its nearby eco-reserves.

Budget-Friendly Tips:

  • Opt for self-guided hikes in La Fortuna’s national parks to save on guided tour expenses.
  • Consider staying in eco-lodges or guesthouses in Tortuguero for affordable accommodations.

5. Southern Coastal Cruise: Dominical to Uvita

Route: Start your journey in Dominical and follow the southern coastline to Uvita.


  • Surf the world-class waves of Dominical and nearby Playa Hermosa.
  • Discover the natural wonders of Marino Ballena National Park, including the iconic Whale Tail beach.
  • Relax on the pristine beaches of Uvita and explore the nearby Nauyaca Waterfalls.

Budget-Friendly Tips:

  • Bring your own snorkeling gear to explore the coral reefs of Marino Ballena National Park without rental fees.
  • Visit local markets in Dominical and Uvita for affordable souvenirs and snacks.

We don’t mean to brag but road trips are 100% our thing, especially budget-friendly road trips through Costa Rica (wink, wink). Our convenient locations and affordable rates ensure that you can hit the road with confidence, knowing that you’re getting the best value for your money. So, load up the car, set your GPS, and embark on an unforgettable journey through Costa Rica’s breathtaking landscapes. 

Did we mention we have a current on-going sale on all prepays?

Remember to check our guide for the best rental option according to your plans and needs here. 

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