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Costa Rica Budget Vacations – Going Green Means Saving Green

Does being short on the green stuff mean your Costa Rica vacation has to be short on fun? Not if you can arrange to spend what green you have during Costa Rica’s Green Season. It would be more accurate, but not nearly as attractive from tourism standpoint, to call them the dry and rainy season, because that’s what they are. If, however, you don’t mind risking a daily downpour during your Costa Rican vacation, heading there between May and the end of November, during the “green” season, you can enjoy all of Costa Rica’s attractions at considerable savings, while expecting at least five hours of sunshine a day.

Your willingness to brave a daily rainstorm will have more than mere financial rewards. The green season is when even the brownest and most barren of Costa Rica’s provinces become abundantly lush, and the crowds which swarm to its warmth and sunshine to escape harsh Northern winters have long since departed. If you’re lucky, the rain in your Costa Rica vacations spot will limit itself to predictable afternoon downpours and you can schedule your (greatly discounted) outings accordingly.

The first savings you’ll experience by choosing to travel to Costa Rica in the green season will be in the cost of your airline tickets. You can expect to save as much as $150 on your round-trip airfare, and if you’re traveling from the US, you can book flight on a number of airlines including Continental, Delta, US Airways, and Spirit Air. Mexicana Airlines also offers service to Costa Rica from many major US cities, with connecting flights in Mexico City.

One of the best ways to save money on your accommodations while in Costa Rica is to book an ecotourism vacation. You’ll find yourself lodged among some of the most spectacular mountain or jungle surroundings in all of Central America, at prices which can be as low as $30 per night for a double occupancy room or bungalow.

If you book an ecotour through Global Exchange, your cost will include not only accommodations for your entire stay, but breakfast and dinner each per day, all transportation within Costa Rica ( and this can be a blessing during the rainy season) excursion fees, and a bilingual guide (another blessing if your Spanish skills aren’t the best).

Global Exchange’s 10-day Costa Rican tour covers three national parks, visits to Indian villages both a banana plantation and a banana growing co-operative, plenty of beach time and lodgings in the jungle, all for $1575 plus air fare per person double occupancy. You can skip lunch if you want to save even more money, but you’ll bring enough money for tips.

If you’d prefer lodgings in Costa Rica’s major cities, your best way to save money is to book with Bed and Breakfasts. In Monteverde, for example, you can stay at the La Colina mountain lodge surrounded not only by brilliantly colored tropical birds of the Clod Forest, but by an authentic Quaker community. While your breakfast is included in the cost of your roam, La Colina also has an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy delicious lunches and dinners.

Rooms with private baths are a very reasonable $38 per night for singles and $30 per double occupancy during the green season, not including Costa Rica’s 16% hotel tax. The staff at La Colina will be happy to arrange excursions including horseback riding and jungle canopy tours for you.

An even less expensive B&B for your budget Costa Rican vacation is the Kalexma B&B in the La Uruca section of San Jose. What it lacks in style it more than makes up for in affordability, with a single room and shared bath going for $15.00 per night during the green season. A private bath and warm water shower will cost $3 more.

While you lodgings in Costa Rica may include breakfast, you’ll still need to eat at least one more meal during the day. The cheapest way to do that is to patronize the Cost Rican supermarkets, where you can not only find the meal fixings if your lodgings come with kitchen privileges, but ready-to-eat meals as well. You’ll find the small family-run restaurants are also much more affordable than the large hotel dining establishments.

Finally, if your schedule doesn’t allow you to hunt down the most budget friendly Costa Rica vacation options on your own, use the Internet to track down a budget Costa Rica travel broker who has connections to the resorts in the area of the country you’d like to visit. Many of these brokers work with resorts who which would other wise have blocks of empty rooms during the green season and will offer them at significant discounts through the brokers, who collect commissions on the deals.

Most of these deals are all-inclusive, meaning you’ll book your airfare at the same time that you book your resort. Your smartest tactic will be to get a quote from one broker before booking it, spend a few minutes seeing what price you can get for the same trip if you book your own airfare and hotel accommodations.