I don’t know about you, but Costa Rica has always been one of my ‘one-day’ destinations. There was never a plan or a goal, so I’m so glad that I decided to finally visit this amazing country on a whim. Crazy hair-brained ideas are literally my fave thing.
Recently, a friend of mine and I decided to take her week vacation and see as much of Costa Rica as possible. This is how we did a seven day road trip in Costa Rica for a total of $1850 between the two of us.
We even splurged on some really fun things like Zip Lining through the cloud forest and renting jet skis on the ocean at sunset…
Our Costa Rica road trip began when I received an email from Southwest Airlines about their Cyber Monday sale fares. I was looking at using my frequent flyer miles to visit my parents in Austin for Christmas when I noticed that the sale fares also had international flights listed.
“where does Southwest fly that I would want to visit?” I thought to myself.
Immediately, I noticed that Costa Rica was on the list. So, I looked to see how cheap the flights were and if they would let me use my rewards points.
Wow, the flights were cheap.
The crazy hair-brained idea center was chugging along gleefully. I was checking out the cheapest dates to fly, the rules, how many miles I would need and then I thought “who would want to go with me on this kind of an adventure??”
How I picked a 7-day road trip around Costa Rica
So, naturally I texted her while she was at work….
And so our six day trip to Costa Rica was launched. Her birthday is in February, so I ended up using a credit card sign up bonus for both of our flights on Southwest.
I’m a really good friend. The best, really.
My Southwest Airlines 50,000 mile sign up bonus covered us both and all we had to do was pay the taxes.
Check out these related articles on getting cheap flights:
- Get started with credit card rewards points
- The best Travel Hacking Resource list
- Other resources for credit card comparisons
- Airline credit card perks
- How to earn extra miles and points without flying
She was an asshole and slept on the flight:
Our 7-day Costa Rica Road Trip Itinerary:
Since Kristina did so much work planning our little Costa Rican adventure, I thought I’d save you the trouble. We went back and forth on the Pacific or Carribian side of Costa Rica and which one was best for us.
She found so much information online and we concluded that the Pacific side would be way more fun for what we wanted to see and do in Costa Rica.
All I cared about was doing a coffee plantation tour and seeing a volcano.
She knows me really well and was nervous to plan it all, but I was for reals when I told her to just do it. I trusted her judgement completely.
It was a blast and I LOVED driving in Costa Rica. It was the adventure I was seeking when I went to Africa the year prior.
Here’s what we did and what we spent:
- 6 nights / 7 days
- 500+ miles of driving
- drove through two streams
- crossed five sketchy bridges
- 5 cities visited + stops
- 1 zip line tour: $50 ea.
- 1 jet ski rental ea: $110 (included a margarita and an umbrella on the beach)
- 1 cat entering a window to wake us up
- 1 yoga class in Spanish: free!
- 1 2GB data SIM card: $20
- 50,000 frequent flier miles used + $160 in taxes/fees
- Lodging $ total: $398.75
- Rental car: $302.60
- 3 gallons of Kombucha ingested by Kristina
- 4 AirBnB rentals
- 2 volcanoes
- One Chocolate/Coffee/Sugar tour: $35 ea.
- 25 Hot Springs & cocktails: $35 + $17.50
Our fun 7-day road trip in Costa Rica:
After doing extensive research on driving in Costa Rica, thanks to the My Tan Feet blog, I decided to rent an SUV instead of riding the bus. With such a short trip, we did not want to waste every day that way and at least with our own car we could stop whenever we wanted to.
like for ice cream and coconuts:
and to feed horses our apples:
and to get lost on super local backroads through a rain forest and avocado plantation:
and stop for Kristina’s weird food allergies and requests (Kombucha!):
Here are the cities & towns we visited in Costa Rica on our whirl wind road trip:
Kristina and I absolutely loved Monteverde. We could have spent the entire time there just relaxing. It’s mountainous and completely off the beaten path, whereas the other locations were very touristy.
She just stood outside staring at the sky after dusk because there were SO MANY FREAKING STARS in the sky.
We had this peaceful moment on the Ocean:
On the beach day near Manuel Antonio, we rented a chair under an umbrella and just vegged out under the sun. At the end of the day, we rented a jet ski and after a very short tutorial on how to use one, we went off into the sunset searching for dolphins.
I ended up just doing donuts on the water around Kristina instead.
Have you been to Costa Rica yet?
What did we miss? Where should we go next??
Kristina and I returned to the US reluctantly and have a new 5 year plan to move there to open an AirBnB that has Kombucha and other fermented foods on site. How cool would that be?? It is all we dream of….
Share your comments and meet us on our next adventure!