One of the best ways to save money while traveling around Costa Rica is to camp out. Believe it or not, there aren’t a lot of hostels that allow camping. A number of hostels that’s it on the beach may allow you to camp, but might not give you all the security you would receive if you were staying in a dorm or room. Whatever you do, do not camp out on the beach alone. While it is legal in Costa Rica to camp on the beach for free, it is also extremely dangerous and stupid. Do you your self a favor and find a hostel that allows camping. below are some of our favorites.
Sarapiqui Outdoor Center
Featuring both hostel accommodations overlooking the Rio Sarapiqui and camping sites on its shores the Sarapiqui Outdoor Center offers a family friendly nature experience. The light and airy hostel is dorm style with a large community kitchen. Campsites are scattered along the riverbank and guests have access to showers, bathrooms and a kitchen area. Both the hostel and the camping sites include continental breakfast, parking, and complimentary internet. River rafting tours, kayak lessons and bike rentals are offered onsite. Location: 75 miles (115 kilometers) north from the Catholic Church, La Virgen de Sarapiqui, Heridia, Costa Rica
Phone: 506 276 11123
Rocking J’s Hostel offers travelers everything from sheltered camping lots to the rental of your own tree house in a jungle setting. One giant room known as the hammock hotel offers dorm style accommodations. Those looking for a bit more privacy can opt for smaller shared rooms or even individual cabanas with shared or private bathrooms. Surrounded by lush greenery and with the ocean steps away, this popular hideaway offers a true back to nature experience at reasonable prices. The hostel offers a fully stocked community kitchen, personal lockers, 24 hour security, DVD rentals, and an ocean view TV lounge. Ice cream and drinks are available around the clock. Parties, some of the themed variety, happen frequently. Location: 600 meters south of the bus station, Puerto Viejo de Limon, Talamanca, Costa Rica, Phone: 506 2750 0657
Casa Zen takes backpacking and camping in general to a whole new level. Located in the Mai Pais and Santa Teresa area and only 100 meters from the beach, this hostel offers both a Zen inspired guesthouse and a private camping area with showers, bathrooms and kitchen access. A restaurant, popular with guests and locals alike is onsite. Yoga lessons and massages at Casa Zen’s spa are offered, all reasonably priced. Location: Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Phone: 506 2640 0523
Belen Trailer Park
Belen Trailer Park offers not only accommodation for those in RV’s but camping spots for backpackers as well. Reasonably priced, with plenty of trees and shaded areas, the park affords a peaceful quiet stay, yet is an easy bus ride from the local township. Belen Trailer Park is pet friendly, offers wireless internet access and has English speaking hosts. Location: 1 mile (2 kilometers) west of the Cariari Bridge on the main highway entering into San Antonio de Belen, Phone: 506 2239 0421 >>More Information
Chauita National Park
One of the few national parks in Costa Rica that allows camping, this one is set along an enviable stretch of white sand beach. Choose from hiking in the tropical forest or snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the rich marine environment. Established in 1978, the park is also known for an abundance of birds and wildlife, especially toucans and white faced monkeys. Location: the camping area is 4 miles past the town of Chauita, south of San Jose.
Marino Ballena National Park
Named after the migratory humpback whales that visit each year from December to April, this is one of the few places where it is still legal to camp on the beach. There are no services except for fresh water available at the ranger station. This is definitely roughing it, but the payoff is being close to one of the richest marine environments in the country. In addition to watching the humpbacks breach offshore, observe green marine iguanas as they alternately bask on rocks and dive to dine on algae growing beneath the surface. Bird watching is especially rewarding. Snorkeling and beach combing are excellent. Location: 120 miles (190 kilometers) southwest of San Jose on the Pacific Coast.