Travel Budget for San Jose Visit San Jose on a Budget or Travel in Style

San Jose, Provincia de San Jose, Costa Rica

How much does it cost to travel to San Jose?

You should plan to spend around $89 (₡47,054) per day on your vacation in San Jose. This is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.

Past travelers have spent, on average for one day:

  • $16 (₡8,568) on meals
  • $25 (₡13,032) on local transportation
  • $94 (₡49,839) on hotels

A one week trip to San Jose for two people costs, on average, $1,246 (₡658,750). This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
  • One Week Per person
  • 2 Weeks Per person
  • One Month Per person
  • One Week For a couple
  • 2 Weeks For a couple
  • One Month For a couple
This data comes from the travel budgets of real travelers - How it works. Put these numbers on your website.

How much does a one week, two week, or one month trip to San Jose cost?

A one week trip to San Jose usually costs around $623 (₡329,375) for one person and $1,246 (₡658,750) for two people. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

A two week trip to San Jose on average costs around $1,246 (₡658,750) for one person and $2,491 (₡1,317,500) for two people. This cost includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

Please note, prices can vary based on your travel style, speed, and other variables. If you're traveling as a family of three or four people, the price per person often goes down because kid's tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared. If you travel slower over a longer period of time then your daily budget will also go down. Two people traveling together for one month in San Jose will often have a lower daily budget per person than one person traveling alone for one week.

A one month trip to San Jose on average costs around $2,669 (₡1,411,607) for one person and $5,339 (₡2,823,214) for two people. The more places you visit, the higher the daily price will become due to increased transportation costs.

Independent Travel

Traveling Independently to San Jose has many benefits including affordabilty, freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to control your own experiences.

All of the travel costs below are based on the experiences of other independent travelers.

Is San Jose expensive to visit?

San Jose is a reasonably affordable place to visit. Located in Costa Rica, which is a moderately priced country, visitors will appreciate the relatively low cost of this destination. It is in the top 10% of cities in the country for its affordability. If you're traveling on a budget, then this is a good destination with affordable accommodation, food, and transportation.

Within Central America, San Jose is a moderately priced destination compared to other places. The overall cost of travel here is fair for the region and comparable to Santa Elena or Jaco.

For more details, and to find out if it's within your travel budget, see Is San Jose Expensive?

How much money do I need for a trip to San Jose?

The average San Jose trip cost is broken down by category here for independent travelers. All of these San Jose travel prices are calculated from the budgets of real travelers.

Category Cost
Accommodation 1 (Double Occupancy) 49,839 ($94)
Local Transportation 1 13,032 ($25)
Food 2 8,568 ($16)
Entertainment 1 10,587 ($20)
Tips and Handouts 1 10,024 - 30,073 ($19 - 57)
Alcohol 2 4,187 - 12,560 ($8 - 24)
Accommodation Budget in San Jose
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

The average price paid for one person for accommodation in San Jose is $47 (₡24,919). For two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room, the average price paid for a hotel room in San Jose is $94 (₡49,839). This cost is from the reported spending of actual travelers.

  • Accommodation1 Hotel or hostel for one person
  • Accommodation1 Typical double-occupancy room

Hotel Prices in San Jose

Looking for a hotel in San Jose? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options.

Find the best hotel for your travel style.


Actual Hotel Prices
The average hotel room price in San Jose based on data provided by Kayak for actual hotel rooms is $57. (Prices in U.S. Dollars, before taxes & fees.)

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world.

Recommended Properties

Transportation Budget in San Jose
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The cost of a taxi ride in San Jose is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $25 (₡13,032) per person, per day, on local transportation in San Jose.

  • Transportation1 Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.

Recommended Services

Flights to San Jose
How much does it cost to go to San Jose? Naturally, it depends on the dates. We recommend Kayak because they can find the best deals across all airlines.

Rental Cars in San Jose
The price of renting a car in San Jose will depends on dates, the type of car, the location, and your age. We recommend Kayak because they can find the best deals across all car rental companies.

What did other people spend on Transportation in San Jose?

Typical prices for Transportation in San Jose are listed below. These actual costs are from real travelers and can give you an idea of the prices in San Jose, but your costs will vary based on your travel style.

  • Taxi from SJO
  • Local Bus

Food Budget in San Jose
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • While meal prices in San Jose can vary, the average cost of food in San Jose is $16 (₡8,568) per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in San Jose should cost around $6.48 (₡3,427) per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in San Jose is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

  • Food2 Meals for one day


Entertainment Budget in San Jose
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • Entertainment and activities in San Jose typically cost an average of $20 (₡10,587) per person, per day based on the spending of previous travelers. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

  • Entertainment1 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.

Recommended Activities

Tips and Handouts Budget in San Jose
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average cost for Tips and Handouts in San Jose is $38 (₡20,048) per day. The usual amount for a tip in San Jose is 5% - 15%.

  • Tips and Handouts1 For guides or service providers

Alcohol Budget in San Jose
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average person spends about $16 (₡8,374) on alcoholic beverages in San Jose per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

  • Alcohol2 Drinks for one day


Water Budget in San Jose
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • On average, people spend $2.19 (₡1,159) on bottled water in San Jose per day. The public water in San Jose is considered safe to drink.

  • Water2 Bottled water for one day

Last Updated: Dec 3, 2023
San Jose On a Budget
San Jose National Theatre of Costa Rica, San Jose
San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica and is likely to be your first and last stop in a visit to the country. The city is situated in the Central Valley and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys, making for a beautiful flight in. The city has an elevation of 1200 meters and sits on a plateau with a beautiful backdrop of lush green forest. Half of the people in Costa Rica reside in the country's capital city. You are likely to stay only a day or two, but there are a handful of things to do and see including museums and markets. You will also find many embassies, as well as the University of Costa Rica in San Jose.

San Jose is located in the Tropics within a tropical rainforest, but it's higher elevation gives it a mild climate. Technically, the climate is considered tropical wet and dry. The average highs are in the high 70s to low 80s Fahrenheit year around. The lows are typically in the mid 60s Fahrenheit. The rainy season is between May and mid-November, but the weather can be overcast even during the dry season.
There are a handful of museums throughout San Jose that are worth visiting if you have the time. These include the National Museum, the Gold Museum, the Jade Museum, the Children's Museum, and the Insect Museum at the Universidad de Costa Rica. Other nearby places to visit include the butterfly farm, the coffee farm, and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

It is also possible to book a tour within San Jose, or organize a tour throughout all of Costa Rica.
San Jose is divided into 11 districts. These are Catedral, Carmen, Hatillo, Hospital, Uruca, Mata Redonda, Merced, Pavas, San Francisco de Dos Rios, San Sebastian, and Zapote. These districts can further be divided into specific neighborhoods, or barrios. The downtown area includes the districts of Catedral, Carmen, Hospital, and Merced. The Hospital and Merced districts are where you'll find the main commerical activity of the city. Catedral is named for the Cathedral and the Catholic Archdiocese of San Jose, which is located there.

If you have enough time, a great day trip from San Jose is a visit to Poas Volcano. The volcano is stunningly beautiful with an emerald green crater lake. Do make sure the weather is clear on the day you head to the volcano as a cloud cover will completely block your view. It's possible to catch a bus from San Jose to Poas at Parque La Merced. It leaves every day around 8:30 in the morning and it is easy to make a return trip the same day.

Other activities that you can enjoy around town include yoga classes, sporting events, and visits to hotel casinos where you can try your hand at gambling. If you happen to be in town on a Thursday, then head to the Parque Morazon where you can watch dozens of jugglers perform to percussion music. It's a fun local event and you may even be asked to join in.
Food and Dining
Like most places in Costa Rica, the most popular food around town is the national dish of gallo pinto. This is a mixture of fried rice and black beans and usually served with tortillas and sour cream. Casados is commonly available for lunch and dinner. This dish includes rice, beans, and meat, and is served with a cabbage and tomato salad, fried plantains, and tortillas.

If you're looking for a great place to grab a cheap and quick bite to eat, head over to Mercado Central. It's an old food market but you'll also find a handful of smaller restaurants. You can also pick up some fresh fish or other meats. There's a wide variety of local specialties including ceviche, corn based dishes, and cinnamon flavored ice cream.

San Jose is served by an international airport which offers connections to major airports in the U.S. and other convenient locations. This means that you can get in and out quickly. Therefore, San Jose makes a great hub for planning any of your Central America itineraries for the entire region.

The best way to travel around San Jose is by taxi. They are generally quite cheap and every taxi should have a meter. It is best to confirm that the driver is using their meter before you begin the trip.

Walking in San Jose may be hazardous as pedestrians don't typically have the right of way. Make sure you watch for fast moving cars and motorcycles when you cross busy streets.

There is a bus network that is run by several private bus companies. The network connects much of the city with the suburbs, and there is a bus service between Juan Santamaria International Airport and downtown as well.
Looking for a party hostel in Costa Rica or Cancun? Looking for a budget hostel in Mexico or Costa Rica?

We've been gathering travel costs from tens of thousands of actual travelers since 2010, and we use the data to calculate average daily travel costs for destinations around the world. We also systematically analyze the prices of hotels, hostels, and tours from travel providers such as Kayak, HostelWorld, TourRadar, Viator, and others. This combination of expenses from actual travelers, combined with pricing data from major travel companies, gives us a uniqe insight into the overall cost of travel for thousands of cities in countries around the world. You can see more here: How it Works.

1 Categories averaged on a per-item basis.
2 Categories averaged on a per-day basis.
For example, the Food2 daily average is for all meals for an entire day, while Entertainment1 is for each individual purchase. Thus, the overall daily average cost is not a summation of the individual categories.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.

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