Camping at Playa Negra
Camping at Playa Negra

No one understands the desire to be out under the stars more than I do!

Sure, Costa Rica offers many luxury hotels that are a nice way to treat yourself with comfy beds and spa services, but for me, I like to be outdoors as much as I can.

That is one of the reasons that I am able to connect so well to the visitors that choose to camp while they are visiting Costa Rica.

I always stop and visit with campers in Costa Rica, and each time I learn something new about the experience.

I like to visit campers on the beaches, in the cloud forests and on campsites, and I’m amazed that there is always so much more to learn about Costa Rica, even for someone like me that has been traveling around Costa Rica for 16 plus years!

Here are some of the tips I have for anyone planning to camp during their stay in Costa Rica.

Camping / Picnic area at Playa Junquillal
Camping / Picnic area at Playa Junquillal

When To Go

One of the many great things about Costa Rica is that you really can visit any time of year!

For campers, you may want to consider coming during the dry season, which is December through April. Keep in mind though, that this is also busy season so you’ll want to plan ahead and secure reservations as necessary.

I personally love camping during the rainy season, May through November, but you need to make sure you are prepaired for large amounts of rain!

Hikers walking near the rainforest
Hikers walking near the rainforest

Travel and Packing Tips

As with anywhere you travel, you should do some research and learn at least the basics of Spanish, the local language.

You want to pack light, since you’ll be traveling frequently and carrying your belongs with you. Speaking of your belongings, don’t bring unnecessary valuables like jewelry and electronics.

Here is a good read on some Safety Tips while traveling in Costa Rica.

Before you head to the location that you want to set up camp at, try to get a hold of waterproof maps of the area, and surrounding areas. Travel guides are also great to bring along!

Nowadays most phones are waterproof so make sure you get a data plan that lets you get maps without breaking your budget.

Some things you want to remember to pack or purchase on-site for camping in Costa Rica include:

  • Bug Spray
  • Quick-dry clothing
  • Towels
  • Lightweight gear
  • Flashlight
  • Sunscreen, SPF 40 or higher
Camping with a campfire at Witches Rock
Camping with a campfire at Witches Rock

Budgeting and Amenities

Camping is a great option for visitors that are looking to extend their budgets and get the most out of their stay in Costa Rica. By camping, you’ll be saving your budget for the fun stuff, like taking an adventure tour to watch dolphins, zip-line, surf or even play a round of golf!

Most camping sites at national parks, hostels, or even on private property, in Costa Rica will run you under $20 per night. Amenities like showers, restrooms, cooking pits, grills and potable water will vary by location, so you’ll want to look into that ahead of time so you can prepare.

If you really want to rough it you can find places that offer free camping but often these locations are remote so be prepaired!

Surfers walking out to the beach at Dominical
Surfers walking out to the beach at Dominical

Where To Camp in Costa Rica

The first step in deciding where you want to camp is decide what type of experience you want. It will be hard to choose, but some of your options include beachfront camps, reserved space at national parks, rainforests, and hostel properties with some facilities.

I find that the beachfront camping always ensures a great nights’ sleep with the waves as a lullaby, and camping in the national parks means you can get an early start on hiking the next day!

Here are a few places that you can look into for your camping grounds:


Waiting to take the bus with a surfboard after camping in front of Witches Rock surf spot in Santa Rosa National Park
Waiting to take the bus with a surfboard after camping in front of Witches Rock surf spot in Santa Rosa National Park

Santa Rosa National Park

This amazing area protects a large tropical dry forest and offers world-famous waves for surfers.

A great option for your camp grounds that is inexpensive and offers some amenities at ranger stations, this location will also give you plenty to do during the day.


Palm Trees aligned on a secluded beach in Corcovado National Park
Palm Trees aligned on a secluded beach in Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park

This location is a trade-off for campers – the experience will be unmatched as this area boosts a huge variety of wildlife, but the ranger stations are isolated.

Once you do arrive at your station, you’ll have access to showers, toilets and water. Don’t forget to make reservations!


Beautiful Beach at Entrance to Ballena National Marine Park near Uvita
Beautiful Beach at Entrance to Ballena National Marine Park near Uvita

Ballena National Marine Park

I have one word for this location: beachfront!

If you want to be sung to sleep by the waves, this is your camping spot. You’ll see plenty of marine life, including whales, turtles and dolphins.

You will have some amenities at the ranger stations, and should have access to grills also. Don’t even think about having a campfire though; they aren't permitted.

There are a lot more places that you can find that will offer camping options. Before you take your trip, do your research on this site and make sure you have a plan to follow. Stick around and explore my blog some more to find more places to stay in Costa Rica! See you around.