One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in San Jose five days ago was how much prices have risen since 2008, when I last came here. I paid 28 dollars for a hotel room that would have cost 15-20 dollars then. A veggie burger at a restaurant next to Mall San Pedro ran 8 dollars.
According to an article in the Tico Times published in February 2011, Costa Rica has had the highest inflation rate in Central America the past few years.
An article written during the summer of last year, however, says that despite San Jose being the most expensive city in Latin-America, Costa Rica's inflation had fallen below that of it's Central American neighbors.
For travelers on a budget looking to enjoy tropical beaches at a lower price, try Nicaragua and El Salvador.