When you’re travelling and you have no job but you do have a strict budget, saving money becomes top of mind. At least it does when you’re in places like Costa Rica.
Because Costa Rica enjoys a relatively high standard of living, quite comparable to that in the US, things are more expensive here. Especially compared to Nicaragua, which is the second poorest country in Central America (Haiti being the poorest).
Even knowing this, we’re still always a little nervous when we get our restaurant bill. Even at Sodas (notoriously cheap eateries), casados (typical Costa Rican meal consisting of rice, beans, salad, meat, sometimes a drink) go for 3,000-3,5000 colones (about $5.60-6.60usd). Double that for two people and it adds up!
You can easily save money on food by staying in places that have shared kitchens and cooking your own meals!
One day Matt set out to cook a coconut lentil curry. It was A-MAZING! And the groceries cost 4,760 colonies (about $9.00USD), which is amazing considering our meals the pervious night were 5,000 colonies (for a veg curry with rice and beans, and 6,000 colonies for shrimp with rice and beans). Don’t get me wrong, both of those meals were SO good…they were just a little expensive for our budget.
Shared kitchens are really popular in Costa Rica and so far almost every place we’ve stayed has had a shared kitchen. Sure, some are better stocked than others, but hey –anything is better than nothing!
Stretch your budget (and precious time) even further by cooking meals that can be eaten twice. And remember to pick up some ziplock bags for your leftovers!
Where we stayed to cook this tasty coconut curry: Cabinas Manzanillo – very clean, large room and bathroom, a little too solid of a bed yet quiet at night and not many mosquitos.
We also stayed at a lovely little airbnb.com place for two nights prior: Tambia Point (cabin room)