Costa Rica is a beautiful country, and it’s no wonder it’s a popular tourist destination in Central America. The country offers excitement and tranquility with an array of picturesque landscapes, from its coastlines to rainforests.

So if you have already been there, you’d love traveling to places like Costa Rica but cheaper.

But this doesn’t mean you’ll find an exact match. Each destination has unique charms, so you’re sure to find the perfect place for your next vacation. 

11 Cheaper Alternatives to Costa Rica | Places Like Costa Rica

I’ve chosen these places similar to Costa Rica based on various factors. From lazy beach vacations to explore new horizons, I’ve got something for you.

Let’s dive in!

1/ Belize

Belize is a small Caribbean country in Central America, and it’s known for its stunningly beautiful beaches and rainforests. It’s also home to various animals, including jaguars, monkeys, and crocodiles.

Belize

Jungles and rainforests make up about 60% of the country, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for adventure.

These are the top places to visit in Belize:

  • Ambergris Caye – Paradise for Scuba divers
  • Belize City – The largest city in Belize
  • Placencia – known for its beaches
  • Cayo District – Home to the Belize Zoo and many Maya ruins
  • San Pedro – Destination for fishing and windsurfing

If you’re longing for an escapade, Belize is the perfect vacation destination for quenching your thirst for exploration. It’s also one of the top places like Nantucket but cheaper.

These are the best hotels to stay in Belize:

  • Victoria House – A luxurious and eco-friendly resort
  • Belizean Dreams – An intimate and secluded resort
  • Cayo Espanto – A private island resort 

While there are similarities between Costa Rica and Belize, the two countries offer very different experiences. Before making any hasty decisions, compare your options and find the perfect destination for you.

2/ Nicaragua

Nicaragua is located in Central America, just north of Costa Rica. The country is renowned for its incredible natural beauty, including volcanoes, rainforests, and beaches.

Nicaragua is also a great place to surf, with many world-class waves along its coastline. It’s a perfect destination for being outdoors and staying active.

These are some of the great places to visit in Nicaragua:

Nicaragua
  • Granada – A colonial city with a lively atmosphere
  • San Juan del Sur – A popular surf destination
  • Ometepe Island – An island with two volcanoes
  • León – The country’s colonial capital
  • Rincón de la Vieja – A national park with volcanic landscapes

Without a doubt, Nicaragua is a country with much to offer travelers. 

These are the best-rated hotels to stay in Nicaragua:

  • Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge – A luxury eco-lodge
  • Jicaro Island Ecolodge – A secluded and intimate resort
  • Pelican Eyes Resort – A beautiful resort with stunning views

While Costa Rica and Nicaragua are Central American countries, they offer similar and different experiences.

3/ Panama

Panama is located in Central America, just south of Costa Rica. It’s home to the world-famous Panama Canal that stretches across 48 miles and links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The country is a nature lover’s paradise. It offers numerous activities for travelers, from hiking and bird watching to snorkeling and surfing. It’s an excellent choice for a vacation for excitement and diversity.

Panama

These are the best places to visit in Panama: 

  • Panama City – The capital of Panama and home to the Panama Canal
  • Bocas del Toro – An archipelago with white-sand beaches
  • Isla Coiba – A national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Boquete – A mountainous town with a cool climate
  • El Valle de Antón – A picturesque valley with hiking trails

There’s no doubt that Panama is a country with something for everyone. You’ll find it here whether you’re interested in history, nature, or adventure.

These are the top hotels to stay in Panama:

  • The Westin Playa Bonita Panama – A luxury resort with a private beach
  • The Santa Maria – A Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort
  • La Casa de la Empanada – A quaint and cozy bed and breakfast

As you can see, there are many similarities between Costa Rica and Panama. However, Panama offers a more diverse range of activities and attractions. Panama will fit the bill if you’re hoping to find a more varied vacation.

4/ Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is yet another Caribbean island located east of the Dominican Republic. The island is famous for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and lush landscapes. It’s also a great place to eat, with diverse culinary influences.

Puerto Rico

If you need a sunny and serene vacation, look no further than Puerto Rico.

These are the best places to visit in Puerto Rico:

  • San Juan – The capital of Puerto Rico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • El Yunque National Forest – A lush rainforest with hiking trails
  • Isla Culebra – An island with stunning beaches
  • Ponce – A colonial city with a lively atmosphere

There’s no doubt that Puerto Rico is a beautiful and unique destination.

These are the best hotels to stay in Puerto Rico:

  • The St. Regis Bahía Beach Resort – A luxury resort with a private beach
  • Casa del Mar – A quaint and cozy bed and breakfast
  • Villa Parguera – A beautiful villa with stunning views

Puerto Rico offers a more laid-back and relaxing vacation than Costa Rica. 

5/ El Salvador 

El Salvador is a small country in Central America, just north of Nicaragua. It’s known for its sandy beaches, surfing, and lush landscapes. However, the country has much more to offer travelers than its natural beauty. 

El Salvador also has a rich culture and history. It’s a great destination to explore and immerse themselves in a new culture.

These are the best places to visit in El Salvador:

  • San Salvador – The capital of El Salvador.
  • La Libertad – A surfing hotspot with beautiful beaches.
  • Suchitoto – A colonial city with a lively atmosphere.
  • El Tunco – A beach town with a laid-back vibe.
  • San Miguel – A city with a rich colonial history.

The country offers a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.

These are some of the top-rated hotels to stay in El Salvador:

  • Hotel El Convento – Luxury hotel located in San Miguel
  • Casa Howard – A quaint and cozy bed and breakfast
  • Villa Florencia – Beautiful villa with stunning views

El Salvador is an excellent choice for travelers who want to experience something different. Compared to Costa Rica, El Salvador is less crowded and more affordable.

6/ Spain

Spain is a large country located in southern Europe. The country is renowned for its striking scenery, mild climate, and vibrant culture. It’s an ideal destination for travelers who enjoy outdoor activities, good food, and lively nightlife.

These are the best places to visit in Spain:

Ibiza, Spain
  • Madrid – UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Barcelona – Vibrant city with stunning architecture
  • Valencia – Beautiful city with a mild climate
  • Granada – A city with a rich Moorish history
  • Catalonia – A region with stunning scenery

Spain is a diverse and interesting country with something to offer everyone.

These are the best hotels to stay in Spain:

  • The Westin Palace, Madrid – Luxury hotel in the heart of Madrid
  • Barcelona Princess Hotel – A modern and stylish
  • Helios Mallorca Hotel & Apartments – Beautiful hotel with stunning views

Spain is one of the best alternatives to Costa Rica for travelers who want to experience European culture without leaving the Americas.

7/ Guatemala

Guatemala is a Central American country known for its beautiful scenery, rich culture, and friendly people. It’s the ideal destination if you want an authentic and culturally rich experience.

Guatemala is a great choice for travelers who want to experience something unique.

Guatemala

These are the best places to visit in Guatemala:

  • Antigua – A colonial city with a lively atmosphere
  • Lake Atitlan – A stunning lake surrounded by volcanoes
  • Chichicastenango – A market town with a vibrant atmosphere
  • Tikal – An ancient Mayan city hidden in the jungle
  • Antigua Guatemala – The capital of Guatemala

And while you’re in Guatemala, you’d love to stay in these hotels:

  • Tierra Maya – A luxury hotel located in Antigua
  • Hotel San Jorge – A comfortable and affordable hotel
  • Hotel Atitlan – A beautiful hotel overlooking Lake Atitlan

Guatemala is a great alternative to Costa Rica for travelers who want to explore ancient ruins and experience traditional culture.

8/ Honduras 

Honduras is one of the best countries to visit in Central America. Many travelers flock to the country for its beaches, friendly locals, and general atmosphere of relaxation.

These are the best places to visit in Honduras:

Roatan
  • Roatan – An island with stunning beaches
  • Utila – An island for its diving and snorkeling
  • Copan Ruinas – A Maya archaeological site
  • La Ceiba – A city with a lively nightlife
  • Guanaja – An island with a relaxed atmosphere

Honduras is one of the best places, like Costa Rica, but cheaper. It’s a great choice for travelers looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination.

These are the best hotels to stay in Honduras:

  • Maya Beach Hotel – A luxury hotel located on the island of Roatan
  • Casa Mariposa – A comfortable and affordable hotel located on the island of Utila
  • Hotel Macaw Bank – A beautiful hotel located on the island of Guanaja

9/ Mexico

Mexico is an excellent, underrated destination for travelers who want new experiences. When choosing a destination, Mexico offers more food and cultural experience than Costa Rica. And it’s a little cheaper as well. 

These are the best places to visit in Mexico:

Mexico
  • Mexico City – The capital of Mexico
  • Cancun – A resort town with beautiful beaches
  • Chichen Itza – An ancient Maya city
  • Cozumel – An island with excellent diving and snorkeling
  • Tulum – A beautiful beach town

Mexico is an excellent choice for travelers who want to experience a different culture without spending much money.

These are the best hotels to stay in Mexico:

  • Hotel Maria Cristina – A luxury hotel located in Mexico City
  • Paradisus Cancun – An all-inclusive resort located in Cancun
  • Hotel Zone Tulum – A beautiful hotel

Mexico is a great alternative to Costa Rica for travelers who want to experience the best of both worlds.

11/ Dominican Repulic

The Dominican Republic is located in the Caribbean, just east of Puerto Rico. Many travelers choose the city as their vacation destination because it is known to be inexpensive and full of activities.

These are the best places to visit in the Dominican Republic:

 Dominican Republic
  • Punta Cana – A resort town with beautiful beaches
  • Santo Domingo – The capital of the Dominican Republic
  • La Romana – A city with a lively nightlife
  • Puerto Plata – A beach town with a relaxed atmosphere
  • La Vega – A city with a vibrant atmosphere

These are the best hotels to stay in the Dominican Republic:

  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana – An all-inclusive resort located in Punta Cana
  • Dominican Republic Marriott Hotel – A comfortable and affordable hotel located in Santo Domingo
  • Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus – An all-inclusive resort located in La Romana

As you can see, there are many great alternatives and places like Costa Rica but cheaper that offer unique experiences. So what are you waiting for?

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