Travel Budget for Santa Elena Visit Santa Elena on a Budget or Travel in Style

Santa Elena, Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica

How much does it cost to travel to Santa Elena?

You should plan to spend around $91 (₡46,757) per day on your vacation in Santa Elena. This is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.

Past travelers have spent, on average for one day:

  • $23 (₡12,003) on meals
  • $11 (₡5,644) on local transportation
  • $108 (₡55,583) on hotels

A one week trip to Santa Elena for two people costs, on average, $1,268 (₡654,595). 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 Santa Elena cost?

A one week trip to Santa Elena usually costs around $634 (₡327,297) for one person and $1,268 (₡654,595) for two people. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

A two week trip to Santa Elena on average costs around $1,268 (₡654,595) for one person and $2,536 (₡1,309,189) 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 Santa Elena will often have a lower daily budget per person than one person traveling alone for one week.

A one month trip to Santa Elena on average costs around $2,717 (₡1,402,703) for one person and $5,434 (₡2,805,406) 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 Santa Elena 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 Santa Elena expensive to visit?

Prices in Santa Elena are reasonable and comparable to your average travel destination. Hotels, food, and sightseeing are generally within normal price ranges.

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

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

How much money do I need for a trip to Santa Elena?

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

Category Cost
Accommodation 1 (Double Occupancy) 55,583 ($108)
Local Transportation 1 5,644 ($11)
Food 2 12,003 ($23)
Entertainment 1 15,230 ($30)
Alcohol 2 1,578 - 4,733 ($3 - 9)
Accommodation Budget in Santa Elena
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

The average price paid for one person for accommodation in Santa Elena is $54 (₡27,792). For two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room, the average price paid for a hotel room in Santa Elena is $108 (₡55,583). 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 Santa Elena

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

Find the best hotel for your travel style.

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

Recommended Properties

Transportation Budget in Santa Elena
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The cost of a taxi ride in Santa Elena is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $11 (₡5,644) per person, per day, on local transportation in Santa Elena.

  • Transportation1 Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.

Recommended Services

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

Rental Cars in Santa Elena
The price of renting a car in Santa Elena 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.

Food Budget in Santa Elena
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • While meal prices in Santa Elena can vary, the average cost of food in Santa Elena is $23 (₡12,003) per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Santa Elena should cost around $9.30 (₡4,801) per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Santa Elena is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

  • Food2 Meals for one day


Entertainment Budget in Santa Elena
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • Entertainment and activities in Santa Elena typically cost an average of $30 (₡15,230) 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

Alcohol Budget in Santa Elena
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average person spends about $6.11 (₡3,155) on alcoholic beverages in Santa Elena per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

  • Alcohol2 Drinks for one day

Santa Elena On a Budget
Santa Elena Tree Frog, Costa Rica
Santa Elena is a cute town, and the closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. It's one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica, and is a great place to experience the cloud forest and see some of country's unique wildlife.

In the Monteverde Cloud Forest you have a good chance of seeing rare quetzals which are the national bird of Costa Rica. Other common animals include white-faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, orange-kneed tarantulas, any of 8-9 species of hummingbirds, and sloth.

Santa Elena is about 1,400 meters above sea level and has a humid and damp environment. The average yearly temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the average rainfall is 3,000 millimetres. Humidity can be anywhere between 74% and 97%.
Allow yourself at least a couple of days in the Monteverde area. You'll want time to explore and hike around the cloud forest, and if you're interested in doing a canopy or zip line tour, you'll need time to book that as well. These are generally regarded as some of the best things to do in the Guanacaste area. There are a few sights in the area including the Orchid Garden, the Butterfly and Insect Garden, and Ranario (which is a frog pond).

There are many natural areas, including the Monteverde Cloud Forest, that you can explore near Santa Elena. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is where you'll find the majority of the cloud forest. There is also Bosque Eterno de los Ninos conservation area, which is to the west. To the north is the Reserva Santa Elena, which is less popular than the Monteverde Reserve but has a rustic station and good views of Arenal Volcano.
Santa Elena is a very small town. The main area is at the intersection of three roads that form a triangular block. The block is the town center and where you'll find some of the restaurants and entertainment in the town.

Both Monteverde Cloud Forest and Santa Elena Cloud forest are located outside of town and require transportation or an organized tour to reach.

Santa Elena and the surrounding area has no shortage of activities. The area is well known for its zip line tours, with the most famous being the Cloud Forest Canopy. Other activities in the area include horseback riding and special exhibits about the area's flora and fauna. Activities in Santa Elena are all centered around the area's natural beauty. The area has a strong focus on sustainability and eco-tourism.

Tours to Monteverde cloud forest are easy to organize. Most people recommend a guided tour, as the guides are usually quite good and do know their information. As always, it is best to ask for recommendations. Santa Elena cloud forest is cheaper and smaller, but still worth a visit.
Food and Dining
Although Santa Elena is small, there are a few decent restaurants in town. There are also a handful of entertainment options in Santa Elena including a discotheque in the middle of town.

For pizza, Kako's pizza is a good option. They have pizza, Italian food, and casados. The restaurant is found behind the bank and up a driveway. Service can be very slow, but friendly. M&F burgers has the usual Costa Rican food, and a special burger that's served on a tortilla with a few unique toppings such as ham. Chimera has latin based dishes for a good price. They are located across from the El Establo Hotel.

Many people make Monteverde their first stop after arriving in Costa Rica. You can catch a bus that runs from San Jose to Santa Elena in about five or six hours for a few dollars. Alternatively, you can find faster options that will cost you closer to $30. If you choose to drive yourself, then a 4x4 is recommended.

Once you've visited Monteverde and Santa Elena, you can then head on to Arenal with the "jeep boat jeep" option. This is one of the the cheapest and easiest options to connect the two areas.

The town of Santa Elena is quite small, but it is a pleasant place to walk around. It's easy to reach any destination in town on foot, but you will need to catch a bus or taxi to head into Monteverde. There is usually a line of buses and taxis along the main street that will take you to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve.
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.