Costa Rica might not quite be the most “fit” vacation for an all inclusive and expensive holiday. There’s a great tourist infrastructure all around the country with several nice restaurants and hotels virtually everywhere you go. Most visitors, however, opt for their time in a tropical mountain/forest location like Arenal and time in a beach location. It’s really all about choice and budget.
As with any country, you can expect to encounter some tacky “all inclusive” deals when visiting Costa Rica. These are usually offered by tour operators that hope you’ll pay more if you have to pay for it separately. Be aware of websites offering supposedly all inclusive deals that turn out to be additional costs on top of what you’re already paying. Don’t be taken in by these scams. Know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line.
The government has done a lot to improve the tourism infrastructure in Costa Rica, especially over the past seven years. Tourism hasn’t fallen off a cliff, but there are a few things you should be aware of if you plan to use the all inclusive option. Costa Rica has some all inclusive options that are a bit too pricey-here are seven ways to tell if you’ve been scammed:
– A vacation package from a popular travel agency is advertised as “all inclusive,” but you have to add other costs on to the price to make it meaningful. If you have to pay for “housekeeping services,” for example, you might not get the all inclusive feeling at all. If this is a common feature among the offers you see, that’s a red flag: look for a separate all inclusive package from a reliable travel agency.
– A resort with questionable accommodations can also be deceptive. Many vacationers book their vacations through a travel agency or a resort broker, not realizing that these accommodations may include hidden fees. For example, a nightly breakfast can cost you an extra dollar or two. The resort manager may say that breakfast is included in your rate, but there might be a service charge for it. Look for all inclusive brochures and online reviews to learn about the reputation of the resort where you’re planning to spend your next vacation.
– You’ll also need to watch out for “bonus” perks. If you think you’ll be staying at a resort for a week, check out what sort of special access you’ll have. Most hotels will provide shuttle service to and from your resort, but if you’re staying at a more expensive hotel, you may be waiting an entire day to get to the front of the line. Consider all inclusive deals as a way to keep your costs down, but don’t sign up unless you know you’ll be staying at an all inclusive resort.
– Another trick travelers often try is to pay in advance. Unfortunately, Costa Rica’s cash exchange doesn’t work very well abroad. Instead, you’ll want to use major credit cards or local banks to make purchases. Even if you do pay in advance, be sure to bring enough cash so you have some available when you hit the beach. Costa Rica’s currency is the US dollar, so remember to exchange any money you bring back into your country before you leave.
– Finally, many Costa Rica vacationers choose not to go on central vacation tours. Costa Rica is a vast region, and there are all sorts of wonderful places to see on a more remote route. Instead, Costa Rica tours often involve visiting small towns that aren’t open to tourists. These sites can provide stunning sights and even some educational experiences without the hassle of an all inclusive trip.