Bargains Abound at the Best Budget Hotels in San Jose

Without sacrificing cleanliness or scrimping on hospitality, these 10 Best budget hotels in and around San Jose, Costa Rica offer rooms for two starting at or below $100 per night, and all include breakfast. Atop the list is the Adventure Inn, so named for its proximity to so many of Costa Rica's adventures, it's also a short shuttle ride to Juan Santamaría International Airport. In the heart of the city, an Italian couple have created La Gioconda House Hotel, complete with Da Vinci's, an excellent Italian restaurant on-site. At the modest yet cozy and modern Hotel Aranjuez ,in a quiet neighborhood of downtown San Jose, sparklingly clean rooms come equipped with flat screen tvs and air conditioning, and a bountiful buffet breakfast is served in a pretty sunken garden each morning.  Comfotable, if quaint, rooms await behind an unassuming facade at the Hotel Santo Tomas, where an on-site cafe overlooks the swimming pool and it's a quick walk to the Museo de Oro Pre-Colombino and the sights of downtown San Jose. At Grandpa's Hotel, the quaint name is matched with old-fashioned hospitality, and it's a comfortable place to call home while visiting Cartago, the Irazu Volcano and Las Ruinas de la Parroquia.


Best Western Plus San Jose
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica

The Best Western Irazu is a huge hotel- 325 rooms- designed to suit travelers on their way in or out of Costa Rica. Free airport shuttles in both directions, currency exchange, conference rooms, and free breakfast are just some of the amenities available. A super-size swimming pool and big Jacuzzi are bonuses, as are a tennis court and a more modest sized gym. Perhaps one of the hotel's finer points is the attached Denny's restaurant, that is open all day and night, and the La Cantina bar with its free daily happy hour. Also onsite is Casino Concorde, Costa Rica's largest 24-hour casino.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: An onsite casino with a bar and a Denny's next door helps strike a balance for those on a budget.

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Hotel Santo Tomas
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica

Like many a treasure in San Jose, Costa Rica, Hotel Santo Tomas lies behind an unassuming facade of steel gates, but once inside it opens into a spacious place, a French Victorian style mansion. Rooms are of varying sizes, solo travelers and small families will be right at home, and the upstairs balcony rooms enjoy a view of the heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi. There is wi-fi throughout the hotel, and a hot breakfast is included for guest. The restaurant, The Oasis, is open for happy hour and dinner, too, and it's a nice place to meet fellow travelers. Walk to the Jade Museum and many San Jose sttractions.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Affordable and comfortable, and within walking distance to many San Jose highlights.

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The Costa Rica Guesthouse is quite a bargain just outside the center of the city of San Jose, within walking distance to the Museo Nacional. A tour desk and a car rental desk come in handy for getting around and booking excursions. Kept immaculately clean, the rooms are basic but come with the necessary ammenities- just make sure to reserve a room with a private bath unless you don't mind sharing. The hotel is an old-fashioned Costa Rican residence that has been modernized but maintains a classic feel and the communal living spaces are convenient for relaxing and meeting fellow travelers.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Breakfast is included and kids stay free, rates for two below $75.

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Casa 69 is a nice, affordable hotel in the city of San Jose that boasts comfortable rooms, a dry cleaning service, luggage storage and a laundry service. This is a bed and breakfast style hotel, and it's well-located for sightseeing in San Jose- the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica and Museum of Contemporary Art and Design are within a 10 minute walk. The hotel's private garden offers peace and tranquillity to sit and relax within the grounds. If you've dared to rent a car, you'll appreciate the secured parking and a ticket service. Wi-fi and access to PC computers are also included.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Casa 69 is one of the best deals San Jose has to offer, with rooms starting at just $35 per night.

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Owned and operated by a friendly Italian couple, Vincezo and Antonella, La Gioconda House Hotel is a charming bed and breakfast in a remodeled house in the heart of the city of San Jose, Costa Rica. It is conveniently located within walking distance from the business district, government agencies, restaurants, museums, and shopping centers and will make all kinds of travelers feel at home. The on-site restaurant, Da Vinci's, whips up some wonderful Italian meals. The staff is brimming with hospitality and will gladly assist you in making arrangements to and from the airport or to visit any of the many sites nearby.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Save lots of money on cab fare by staying in this centrally located hotel.

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Grandpa's Hotel is a delightful and affordable find in Cartago, Costa Rica. It is close to the Irazu Volcano and makes an ideal base from which to explore downtown Cartago and its Plaza Mayor, the ruins of Santiago Apostle Church, and the farms- Cartago is home to many coffee plantations. Grandpa's Hotel has rooms for individuals and families, as well as stand alone rustic bungalows- all are cozily decorated, well-appointed, and sparklingly clean. Furnishings include basic amenities such as work desks and bedside lamps. A generous Costa Rican breakfast is served restaurant style, a great way to start the day.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: A great stay at Grandpa's Hotel is a worthwhile Costa Rican experience.

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Aranjuez Hotel
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica

The Hotel Aranjuez is a multi-level maze of indoor and outdoor spaces, designed and laid-out to capture the experience of a real traditional Costa Rican home. Interspersed with tropical gardens and casual seating areas, this bed and breakfast is decorated with an enviable collection of art by local artists. Each room is distinctly different, but all have the gleaming wood floors and are meticulously preserved and updated with fine furnishings, hot water, satellite TV and WiFi access. For breatkfast, guests are invited to dine in the sunken garden of an inner courtyard and feast on a buffest of tables piled high with tropical fruit, homemade bread and pastries, and gallo pinto; an omelette maker will custom craft your eggs however you like.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Easily the most affordable in its class, this hotel's buffet breakfast alone makes it a steal.

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As the name suggests, this bed and breakfast style hotel is located in a beautiful property dating back to 1915, updated with all the modern amenities that don't detract from the beautiful architecture of the time. Each of the rooms is tastefully decorated and comes with a private bathroom, cable TV and air conditioning or fan. The beautiful surroundings and internal gardens, lounges and reading areas will make you feel at home. Just 5 minutes from Juan Santamaria International Airport, Hotel 1915 is located in Alajuela city, a good base from which to navigate tourist attractions like the Poas Volcano, Arenal Volcano, waterfalls and the Butterfly Farm.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The low rates are almost as reminiscent of the name as the old-fashioned hospitality.

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Far from the maddening crowds of San Jose- and anywhere else, for that matter, Hotel Posada del Canal Grande is just that, a beautiful Victorian hacienda style hotel beside a large lake, up high on a lush green hill on the very outskirts of the city. The views of the Central Valley are breathtaking, and an onsite restaurant and bar/lounge serves an international menu. Breakfast is included for guests. Rooms are high-ceilinged and spacious, with just the right furnishings. There is a beautiful outdoor pool, an indoor sauna, and free wi-fi internet is available in the public areas and some rooms.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: A remote, luxury feeling for far less than would be expected.

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The name actually refers to the proximity of many of Costa Rica's adventures, but the grounds are quite peaceful and guests are also able to head into the city and visit a variety of cultural attractions, too, such as the National Theater, the National Museum, the Gold Museum, and the Jade Museum. Another bonus is that the airport is only a short taxi ride away. Each of the 34 large rooms at the Adventure Inn Hotel features air conditioning and most offer views of the nearby mountains, and access to the pool- a treat for kids of all ages. A buffet breakfast is included for all guests.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Booking through the website gets you free breakfast and an airport transferfor $99 for a double.

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Meet Sophia LaMonica

On Sophia's first trip to Costa Rica, she came face to face with white-faced monkeys, gasped at the sight of giant purple crabs, and rode horseback through plunging waterfalls. Costa Rica...  More About Sophia