Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica for Vacation? Which is Better to Visit?

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Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica for Vacation?🏖 If you’re struggling to decide between Puerto Rico and Costa Rica for your next vacation, this is the article for you. Both of these destinations are fantastic places to visit for a vacation. Whereas Puerto Rico is known as the Caribbean’s unspoiled beach paradise, Costa Rica is known as the perfect natural paradise for nature lovers.

We’ve compared Puerto Rico and Costa Rica in this article based on a range of important factors to assist you in deciding which one to visit for your next vacation. So, let’s find out which is a better vacation destination between Puerto Rico and Costa Rica?

If you want beautiful beaches, Caribbean vibes, luxury accommodations, and a diverse range of activities, Puerto Rico is a better vacation destination than Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a better vacation option if you are a nature lover seeking an authentic tropical experience and wish to discover the country’s incredible rainforests, remarkable wildlife, and endless outdoor activities.

ParametersPuerto RicoCosta Rica
Cost of a
7-day Trip💵
$2779 (For a couple)$2337 (For a couple)
Known for👍Pristine beaches, Spanish culture, Tropical rainforest, Waterfalls, and Numerous outdoor activitiesUnspoiled beaches lined by jungles, Rich biodiversity, Active volcanos, Dense rainforests, National parks, Waterfalls
Beaches🏖White sandy beaches with turquoise blue waterUnspoiled, Natural, undeveloped
Activities🏄🏼‍♂️Hiking, Kayaking, Ziplining, Mountain biking, Surfing, ATV riding, SnorkelingHiking, Surfing, Ziplining, Volcano trekking, Canopy tours, Kayaking, Atv tour
Popular Tourist Attractions🏛Old San Juan, El Yunque rainforest, Culebra Island, Bioluminescent Bay, Flamenco beachArenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio National Park, Tamarindo, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Monteverde and the Cloud Forests
Best Place to Stay🏨Old San JuanTamarindo town

Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica: Which is Better for vacation?

Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica: Beaches

Both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica offer numerous world-class beaches and both are excellent choices for beach lovers. Still, both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica offer quite different beach experiences.

Puerto Rico features over 270 miles of coastline and over 300 beaches. Puerto Rico features some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and it is known for its breathtaking white sandy beaches and turquoise-blue waters.

On the other side, Costa Rica features nearly 800 miles of coastline and over 300 beaches. Costa Rica has a more diverse range of beaches than Puerto Rico ranging from white sand beaches to volcanic black sand beaches. But, still, you won’t find that Caribbean-style super white sand beaches and that sublime Caribbean beach experience in Costa Rica that you will find in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico

Playa de Puerto Rico, Mogan
Playa de Puerto Rico, Mogan

When it comes to Puerto Rico, there is absolutely no doubt that it is an underrated paradise in the Caribbean ocean. Puerto Rico features some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Also, Puerto Rico offers a diverse range of beaches that cater to every kind of visitor.

It doesn’t matter if you want lively beaches, secluded beaches, hidden beaches, romantic beaches, or family-friendly beaches, Puerto Rico has all of them. Another thing that I like about Puerto Rico is that most of its beaches are easily accessible due to its small size.

If you rent the car you can easily get around Puerto Rico and explore its diverse range of beaches. Generally, the northern side of Puerto Rico has the best urban beaches, while the southern side, which is also called the Caribbean side of Puerto Rico, has calm beaches.

Isla Verde is an excellent choice for people who want a lively beach experience along with a plethora of water activities. Also, if you are going to Puerto Rico, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Culebra island which is a beautiful hidden beach paradise near Puerto Rico.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica beaches

When it comes to Costa Rica, it offers quite a different beach experience as compared to Puerto Rico. Unlike Puerto Rico, Costa Rica is known for its undeveloped but natural, relaxing, and less crowded beaches. More than 90% of coastal land in Costa Rica is protected so its beaches are still undeveloped and in their true natural form.

Costa Rica is a magical land where many beaches are lined with lush green forests filled with great flora and fauna. So, if you are both beach and nature lovers then Costa Rica is the perfect vacation for you.

But on the other hand, unlike Puerto Rico, due to its huge size, Costa Rica’s beaches are relatively far away from each other in remote areas. So, usually, it takes hours to travel from one beach to another beach in Costa Rica.

Also, there are very few beachfront resorts in Costa Rica. So, if you want a resort vacation or lively beaches with modern amenities then Puerto Rico is a better option than Costa Rica.

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Conclusion

Generally, the Caribbean side beaches are known for their calm, warm water, and tranquil setting whereas pacific side beaches are livelier and more popular for water activities like surfing, Kayaking, and Paddleboarding.

Both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica offer quite a different beach experience that appeals to different tastes buds. Eventually, it boils down to what kind of beach experience you want.

If you want Caribbean-style white sandy beaches with world-class resorts and modern amenities then definitely Puerto Rico is a better option than Costa Rica. Whereas if you want unspoiled, natural, undeveloped but relaxing, uncrowded beaches lined with lush green tropical rainforests then definitely Costa Rica is a better option than Puerto Rico.

Winner: Draw

Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica: Nature and Biodiversity

Costa Rica

Costa Rica nature and biodiversity

When it comes to nature and biodiversity then there is absolutely no doubt that Costa Rica is a clear winner. Costa Rica is a haven for nature lovers. More than 50% of the area in Costa Rica is covered with lush green tropical rainforests.

You will find some of the densest rainforests in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a land of dense tropical rainforests, volcanos, and great biodiversity. There are humongous 5,00,000 species of plants and animals in Costa Rica, which makes Costa Rica, a country with the highest density of biodiversity anywhere in the world. There are over 250 animal species in Costa Rica that include sloths, Jaguars, Monkeys, Tapir, Anteaters, and many more.

Costa Rica National Parks

That’s why every year millions of nature lovers come to world-famous natural parks of Costa Rica like Arenal Volcano National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park to experience the beauty of mother nature.

Puerto Rico

El Yunque, Puerto Rico vs US Virgin Islands
El Yunque, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico may not be as endowed with biodiversity as Costa Rica, but that does not mean it lacks attractions. Indeed, lush green forests cover more than 55% of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has nearly 36 nature reserves and 19 state forests.

Especially, El Yunque, which is the only tropical rainforest in the USA, is a great place for nature lovers. With its lush green landscape, mountainous terrain, waterfalls, and beautiful views, Puerto Rico is also a good choice for nature and adventure lovers. However, when it comes to animals and biodiversity, Puerto Rico is nowhere close to Costa Rica.

In other words, Puerto Rico is also an excellent destination for nature and adventure lovers but as compared to Costa Rica, Puerto Rico lags far behind. Costa Rica is a perfect paradise for nature lovers.

Winner: Costa Rica

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Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica: Accommodation

Let’s first compare Puerto Rico and Costa Rica on the basis of the cost of accommodation. The following table summarises the average cost of lodging in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica.

PlacesPuerto RicoCosta Rica
Budget$47$34
Mid-range hotel$111$74
Villas/Luxury rooms$237$188

As you can see clearly in the above table, accommodation is quite affordable in Costa Rica than in Puerto Rico. And, it is not surprising that Puerto Rico is more expensive than Costa Rica.

Because as a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico is expected to be more expensive than a country like Costa Rica which is still in its developing stage. So, if you are a budget traveler, definitely, Costa Rica is a better option than Puerto Rico.

Now, let’s compare Puerto Rico and Costa Rica on the basis of the quality and quantity of accommodation options. In Costa Rica, you will find more boutique-style hotels which often provide a calm and natural setting.

In fact, many times you will find breathtaking natural views or monkeys roaming outside your hotel. But at the same time, these small boutique-style hotels offer far fewer amenities as compared to the modern resorts and hotels in Puerto Rico. So, if you want a beachfront resort vacation or love big hotels with modern amenities then Puerto Rico is better than Costa Rica.

When it comes to Puerto Rico, you will find all kinds of accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury. You will find famous hotel brands, various beachfront resorts, and well-equipped beaches lined with high-rise hotels and bars. So, definitely, in terms of quality and quantity of accommodation, Puerto Rico is far better than Costa Rica.

Winner: Puerto Rico

🏖 Suggested Read: Puerto Rico vs US Virgin Islands for Vacation? Which is Better to Visit?

Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica: Activities

When it comes to activities, there is no clear winner. It comes down to what kind of activities do you want to explore. If you are a nature and adventure lover then Costa Rica is a better option whereas Puerto Rico is a better option if you want to explore a diverse range of activities ranging from history, beach activities to outdoor activities.

Puerto Rico

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico offers a more diverse range of activities than Costa Rica. Puerto Rico not only has breathtaking pristine beaches but also has lush green tropical rainforest, mountainous terrains, and rich history and culture.

Apart from a diverse range of water activities, Puerto Rico offers numerous outdoor activities like zip-lining, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and much more for adventurous souls. It is also a great place for shopaholics.

For history buffs, Old San Juan is a must-visit place. This 500-year-old city, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to hundreds of sixteenth-century Spanish colonial buildings along with many forts and castles. Also, due to its small size, it is quite easy to drive around Puerto Rico to explore the various activities it has to offer.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica activities

When it comes to Costa Rica, it is undoubtedly a perfect haven for nature lovers. There are endless things to do and explore for nature and adventure lovers in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is home to the dense tropical rainforests, great flora, and fauna, active volcanoes, and waterfalls which makes it an ideal destination for nature and adventure lovers.

Hiking, volcano trekking, canopy tours, kayaking, ATV tour, ziplining, are only some of the best activities to do in Costa Rica. Apart from the outdoor activities, Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is famous for water activities like surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing.

But at the same time, unlike Puerto Rico, Costa Rica doesn’t have a good transportation infrastructure. So, it may take hours to drive from one place to another in Costa Rica.

Winner: Draw

Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica: Food

Many culinary traditions, including Spanish, African, and Taino Arawak, have influenced Puerto Rican cuisine. If you visit Puerto Rico, don’t miss out on the delicious Puerto Rican dishes such as Tostones, Alcapurrias, and Pernil.

Whereas, Costa Rican cuisine is influenced by Spanish, African, and local culinary traditions and depends highly on fruits and vegetables. Gallo Pinto, Casado, and Tamal are some of the must-try dishes in Costa Rica. Now, let’s compare both Costa Rica and Puerto Rico on the basis of the average cost of food.

Comparison of average Cost of food

PlacesPuerto RicoCosta Rica
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant$12$7
Meal for Two
(Mid-range Restaurant)
$52$32
Beer$2$2
Cappuccino☕️$2.79$2.35

As you can see in the above table, it is clear that food is more expensive in Puerto Rico than in Costa Rica. So, if you are a foodie then Costa Rica is a better choice than Puerto Rico.

Winner: Costa Rica

Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica: Safety

When it comes to safety, Puerto Rico, in particular, is regarded as one of the safest Caribbean islands. It has a low crime rate than many other major cities in the US. But it is also true that petty crimes like theft and pickpocketing are not rare in Puerto Rico. So take basic safety precautions while traveling in Puerto Rico.

When it comes to Costa Rica, it is considered one of the safest countries for tourists in Central America. In fact, Costa Rica has been gaining popularity as one of the top destinations for backpackers.

But, it is also true that you must take basic safety precautions while traveling in Costa Rica. There are some places in Costa Rica that are not safe for tourists. Petty crimes like theft, taxi scam, and pickpocketing are quite common in famous tourist destinations in Costa Rica.

So, take basic safety precautions to avoid such scams and don’t leave your items unattended while traveling in Costa Rica.

Winner: Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica for a family vacation?

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a better family vacation destination than Costa Rica. Puerto Rico has many world-class resorts and beaches that are ideal for families. In addition, there are more activities for children in Puerto Rico than in Costa Rica. You can also easily explore different attractions in Puerto Rico due to its small size and better road infrastructure.

Costa Rica

When it comes to Costa Rica, it is a haven for adventure lovers and better suited for backpackers, couples, and adventure lovers. Many beaches and national parks of Costa Rica are in remote areas and are usually connected with poor road infrastructure.

So, in Costa Rica, it may take hours to travel from one location to another which is not an ideal condition for families with little ones. Also, Costa Rica is known for adventure activities that are not suitable for kids. But, it doesn’t mean Costa Rica is not suitable for a family vacation.

Every year many families flock to Costa Rica for a family vacation and completely love the experience. So, if you are a family who loves nature and want to explore Costa Rica’s challenging adventure activities then Costa Rica is a better option than Puerto Rico.

Winner: Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico Vs Costa Rica for Honeymoon?

Both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica are great honeymoon destinations. It eventually boils down to what kind of destination you want for your honeymoon vacation. If you want the perfect beach experience, Caribbean vibes, luxury hotels with modern amenities along endless activities to do then Puerto Rico is a better choice for your honeymoon than Costa Rica.

Whereas, if you want a perfect natural paradise with a tranquil, romantic setting and endless adventure activities then definitely Costa Rica is a better option for your honeymoon than Puerto Rico. With its natural romantic vibes, spectacular natural views, and diverse biodiversity, Costa Rica makes a perfect honeymoon destination for couples who love nature and adventure.

Winner: Draw

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Puerto Rico vs Costa Rica for vacation?

Puerto Rico and Costa Rica provide significantly different travel experiences. They are both excellent vacation destinations, but they appeal to different types of people. Puerto Rico, with its white sandy beaches and turquoise blue water, is best suited for beachgoers. Costa Rica, on the other hand, is better suited for nature and adventure lovers due to its incredible rainforests, active volcanoes, lush green landscapes, and rich biodiversity.

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About the author
Chetan Patil
Hello there, wanderlust. I've been traveling around the world with my friend Aditya for the last three years since finally quitting my job, and life has been a thrilling roller coaster ride so far. Traveling is a spiritual experience for me, not just something I do for fun. Traveling has taught me that "the only certain thing about life is uncertainty." So, embrace uncertainty and make the most out of every moment.

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