Amazing aerial view of Hotel Cristal Ballena
Amazing aerial view of Hotel Cristal Ballena

One of my favorite ways to spend my weekends is to just go with the flow and explore Costa Rica. Often times, I don’t even have a plan, I just hop along with whatever comes up. If I can get a cheap bus or plane ticket, I’ll just head wherever. There are so many things to do in Costa Rica, that you can take off on a last minute trip and still have the time of your life. With two major airports in Costa Rica, one in Alajuela close to San José and one in Liberia, Guanacaste, it’s so easy to fly in and connect to whichever province you want. Or you can stay local, close to the airport, and still get a taste of the amazing people and nature that make Costa Rica a tourist hot spot.

You might think that it won’t be that easy to plan a las-t­minute adventure to Costa Rica if you are traveling in from the United States. You probably think that it would cost thousands of dollars, and that you wouldn’t have your pick of hotels or adventure tours. The reality is that none of that is true! I’m officially myth-­busting that way of thinking!

Costa Rica is very welcoming and accommodating of visitors, and there is always room for everyone! Even if you are booking last minute, you will be able to find a hotel to stay at for your stay. There are also so many adventure tour companies, that you shouldn't have a hard time finding something to do while you’re here.

Whether you got a bigger tax return than you expected, want to sneak away with your partner, or just flat out need a break, a last-­minute long weekend trip to Costa Rica is definitely affordable. Here are a few examples of amazing trips that can be planned from Los Angeles, CA with airfare starting at about $400 for one, or $800 for two.

San Jose (Juan Santamaria) International Airport
San Jose (Juan Santamaria) International Airport

Option #1: Los Angeles, CA to San Jose, Costa Rica

You can find a cheap, and better yet – direct, flight from Los Angeles, CA to San José, Costa Rica for two, for less that it would cost for you to buy a new Apple iPhone. The San José airport is in Alajuela, and the area is a gateway for many other amazing places in Costa Rica. It is also an amazing place itself! Here are a few things you can do in the Alajuela area, if you plan to head to Costa Rica for a long weekend that wouldn’t allow you to travel all around the country.

Head to the Bajos del Toro rainforest.

This spot is, somehow, not really on the tourist radar, which means it is quiet and peaceful. There are a few accommodation options here, so you can stay right on location amid all the amazing rainforest perks like waterfalls, streams, and pools. Of course, this great ecosystem also brings a ton of the wildlife that Costa Rica is known for.

Visit The Butterfly Farm

The Butterfly Farm in La Guácima is not only an exceptional visual experience, it is also a learning experience. Here, you’ll learn about the way that Tico’s incorporate butterflies into their spirituality, and you’ll also hear about how these insects were depicted by the ancient Greeks.

Poas Volcano Costa Rica
Poas Volcano Costa Rica
Take a Coffee Tour

If you’re a caffeine lover, this is the tour for you. Visitors can go to Doka Estate to learn all about coffee – from how it’s planted to how it’s produced. Of course, at the end of the tour you can taste and buy the amazing coffee that is produced at the plantation.

Visit Poás Volcano

While the Arenal Volcano is more popular, Poás Volcano is still worth a visit. This magnificent volcano is active, and the area is home to many different creatures, as well as life zones including a cloud forest.

Hang out in "City of Mangos", Alajuela

The center of Alajuela is a great place to get a taste of the local life in Costa Rica. It’s a wonderful way to spend a relaxing day. You can walk around, people watch, eat some fantastic local food, shop for souvenirs, and visit its Central Park.

You can book now for the low cost of $400 for one, or $800 for two, and in just a few days find yourself spending a long weekend in paradise exploring some of the greatest landscapes and wildlife on this planet.

Baby & Mom Squirrel Monkeys spotted at Rincon de la Vieja
Baby & Mom Squirrel Monkeys spotted at Rincon de la Vieja

Option #2: Los Angeles, CA to Guanacaste, Costa Rica

You can also book your cheap, direct LAX to Costa Rica flight so that you arrive in Liberia, on Guanacaste province. Liberia is a great place to stay, and there is plenty to do here for a long weekend. Without leaving the immediate area, here are a few ways to fill your last minute trip.

Visit Rincón de la Vieja National Park

If you’ve always wanted to see a volcano, there is no better place than Rincón de la Vieja National Park. You can explore waterfalls and hike during the day, then spend your nights relaxing in the hot springs and mud pots.

Tamarindo beach chairs waiting for you
Tamarindo beach chairs waiting for you
Hit the Beach(es)

You can stay in Liberia, and plan a few day trips to the close-by Pacific Ocean resorts and beaches. You can sport fish and scuba dive at some of the most popular Costa Rica beaches, including Playas del Coco, Tamarindo, Papagayo Gulf, and more.

See Local Artwork

You can head to the Guanacaste Museum to see work from celebrated artists – including local ones as well as national ones. The works here tell of the history of Costa Rica, including how the country abolished its military and how that impacted the people.

Think about it, you can book today, pack tomorrow, and leave the day after that. In the blink of an eye you could be in Costa Rica, unplugged from your devices, enjoying the natural beauty of this planet during some quiet alone time, or with your kid, best friend, or partner. All for airfare well under $1,000. What you save on airfare can be applied toward your great Costa Rica adventure tours.