This trip was only a week long but it made a huge impact back in 2012! We started off in Tamarindo and stayed at a great hotel which at the time was $60 per night. It was within walking distance of the beach and town. Plus their was a grocery shop on the corner if we needed anything!
The first 3 nights were great - howler monkeys & iguanas on the premises, lazy days at the beach -- lazy shopping and eating! Awesome! (look at my tripadvisor reviews to see which hotels we stayed at)
Next 2 nights we hopped on a bus to Granada Nicaragua -- some people do this as a 12-14 hour full day tour -- we decided to stay overnight & it was great! We stayed at a little cozy place which looking back was ok - nice & clean and cheap ($35 per night) But I would have paid more ($50-70 per night) and would have gotten a hotel with a pool...but I digress!
While in Granada - we visited a bat cave, saw volcanoes and visited the Doña Elba cigar store!
Then we bused it back to CR and stayed at Hacienda Guachipelin which is a working ranch were you could zipline, milk cows, swim in waterfalls, white water raft and spend time in the mud in their hot springs! The hacienda was pretty remote so I don't suggest it if you want to be out and about in Costa Rica or by the beach but it was a lot of fun! Great for couples and/or families! I do believe centrally located hotels do take people here for day trips.
Our flights were really low -- about $300r/t from EWR to Liberia!
Total cost of the trip: $1500