Solo Travel in Costa Rica

If traveling in itself is considered rewarding, solo travel in Costa Rica is one big level-up. Many people consider solo travel to be one of the most self-affirming experiences possible, where one is able to learn things about themselves they never could while traveling as part of a group. That said, it’s good to be prepared and know in advance what to expect. 

Solo Travel in Costa Rica

First step as a solo traveler in Costa Rica – learn some Spanish. This is crucial to maintain independence and empower yourself to ask for what you need. You can be ready to interact with locals, which will make your life so, so much easier if you ever need help. 

Keep in mind that part of being alone can include loneliness, and that “travel blues” can sneak up on even the most seasoned travelers. Luckily, there’s an excellent solution for all of us – meeting people! Introducing oneself to new people is especially easier as an individual, and if you’re staying in a hostel, such accommodations are typically filled with other solo travelers just looking to connect. Do yourself a favor and reach out to those around you, because new friends will turn your trip from good to amazing. In addition, this can be a big factor in safety, as moving around at night or in unfamiliar places is always safer in numbers. Being isolated can be dangerous, so avoid the risk in the company of good people. 

Is Costa Rica Safe for Solo Female Travelers? 

Undoubtedly and unfortunately, women who are traveling alone face a different set of challenges. The aforementioned information is still completely relevant, but here are a few more tips to remember: 

  • Do not walk alone at night. This one is pretty universal. Walking alone after dark is risky, and never worth it. The best way to evade danger is to walk as part of a large group (we’d avoid not taking taxis alone after dark either). 
  • Confidence: Fake it till you make it – Those who might approach you looking to scam you (or worse) are searching for people who look lost, or unsure, as these people are immediately more vulnerable. So, if you’re lost or need help, shoulders back and chin out as you walk to a shop or other establishment to seek out the assistance you need. 
  • Be a copycat – Mimicking local fashion choices is a great way to blend in and avoid unwanted attention (which can be plentiful). Are they covering their shoulders? How do they wear their hair? Pay attention to how women in Costa Rica are dressing, and do the same. 
  • Make friends. Get to know as many people as possible so that you can always practice safety in numbers (also, friends are great, just saying). 
  • Write down the emergency numbers. Always good to have on hand, as you never know when you might need them in a pinch. 

And that’s it! Vigilance is key – stay close to friends, use common sense, and your solo trip will be one of the best experiences of your life. 

Looking for more information? 

Check out the following articles below for other tips about safety in Costa Rica: 

Safety in Costa Rica

Food and Water Safety in Costa Rica

Scams in Costa Rica

Getting around: Buses and Taxis in Costa Rica

Getting around: Buses and Taxis in Costa Rica

It’s all about getting from A to B. If you’re nervous about using public transportation in Costa Rica, look no further! Here are a few tips for using the bus and taking taxis, and a nice alternative if your response is “neither!” 

Buses: Inner-city and Inter-city

Keep these in mind when taking the inner-city bus: 

  • Tickets, passes, and tokens are not a thing – expect the whole system to be cash-only. The price of the fare is typically posted on the bus windshield. 
  • You’ll have to step between some vertical bars when entering the bus, but do not keep standing between them. These count passengers, and standing there without passing through will ruin the count. Expect some angry Spanish thrown your way by the driver. 
  • Though there are some designated stops, you can essentially be picked up anywhere along the bus route. If your bus is about to pass, just wave your arms so it’s clear to the driver you want to board – they’ll stop for you. 

For buses between cities in Costa Rica, it’s also a straightforward system which allows you to sit back and relax while enjoying the country-side. Tips to remember: 

  1. Pay in local currency – If you break out USD, you automatically mark yourself as a target for thieves. 
  2. For regional buses, there are generally two types: Directivo and Colectivo. Directivo is as it sounds – that bus is going directly to its terminal station without stopping along the way. Colectivo, on the other hand, will be making stops for passengers which generally takes…a while. It’s not your best option if you plan to go to the end of the line. 
  3. If you plan to be making a stop before the terminal station, be sure to tell your driver in advance. Otherwise, you risk your stop being skipped. 
  4. Don’t use the overhead compartments – If you do, you won’t have eyes on your bag, giving opportunistic thieves an open market. Go instead for the under-bus storage where other travelers will not have access. 

As with anywhere else, stay alert on the bus to avoid pickpockets, and do not trust others with your possessions. 

Are the taxis in Costa Rica safe? 

Yes, it is safe to travel by taxi. However, be mindful to only use authorized taxis – these cars will always be red or sometimes orange. 

If you are not careful to take an official taxi, you might end up in an unauthorized or “pirate” taxi. These drivers are not insured and are at liberty to charge you any amount for your trip. How to spot them? The cars they use are much older, and they might run over to you asking if you need a ride. Real taxis will always wait for you to come to them. 

You’ll want to remember a few more safety tips when it comes to taxi use: 

  • Check to make sure the meter is running. Sometimes, the driver will tell you the meter is broken – this is a scam. They will use it to charge you whatever they want. 
  • Do not hail a taxi at night. In the event you need to travel at night, ask your accommodation to call a taxi for you, so you will know that a trustworthy company is on the way. 
  • Carry small denominations of currency. Most drivers will refuse to give change if you try to hand them a large bill. 

Remember: stay vigilant, make sure your taxi is authorized, and make sure they’re using the meter. Your taxi ride in Costa Rica will be a breeze. 

Alternatives: Private Car Transfer in Costa Rica

But maybe you don’t get excited about braving public transportation, or just don’t feel like taking your chances with a taxi. Afterall, ease and relaxation are one of the goals for anyone’s holiday. 

One way to avoid that stress and unknown is by booking a private car transfer with a professional local driver to take you from point A to point B, so you can enjoy the views of the country while a local driver navigates the terrain. Such transfers are booked in advance and operate door-to-door from your accommodation, so you wouldn’t need to even worry about getting yourself to the right pick-up point. 

Daytrip is a fantastic option for within the field of private car transfers, and they operate all over Costa Rica!  With experienced drivers always ready to provide you with safe, stellar service, everything is done for you. You can visit daytrip.com to start planning your next journey! 

Looking for more information? 

Check out the following articles below for other tips on safety in Costa Rica: 

Safety in Costa Rica

Food and Water Safety in Costa Rica

Scams in Costa Rica

Solo Travel in Costa Rica