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solo female travel to costa rica
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With lush jungles with canopies for ziplining, tall mountains in the clouds, and sandy tropical beaches on both the Pacific and the Caribbean, Costa Rica is really all it’s cracked up to be.

Because Costa Rica has been without a military since the 1940s, the country also enjoys some of the highest quality of living in Central America because of increased investment in healthcare and education. Costa Rica is also incredibly safe, making solo female travel to Costa Rica perfect!

From my time spending two full months traveling every corner of the country, I put together this ultimate guide to solo female travel to Costa Rica. With this guide, you can find out about solo female travel to Costa Rica with all of the top sights and things to do in Costa Rica, as well as how to get around, staying safe, and average costs of travel in the country.

So whether you’re a nature-lover and adventurer, prefer just to bum on the beach, or all of the above, Costa Rica definitely will not disappoint. This country of paradise belongs on every solo female traveler’s bucket list! So what are you waiting for? Keep reading to discover the amazing country of Costa Rica!

Related: I find that Skyscanner consistently returns the best rates for flights around the world. Find the cheapest flight to Costa Rica below with Skyscanner!

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solo female travel guide costa rica

What to Expect in Costa Rica

solo female travel to costa rica
Climate: There are two distinct seasons in Costa Rica: the dry season and wet season. The dry season runs from December-April and has daily average temperatures from 70-95°F. There’s generally lots of sun and very little rain. The wet season runs from May-November and has daily average temperatures ranging from 75-90°F with an average of 20 rainy days/month, depending on which coast you’re on.
Generally, it’s very humid in Costa Rica, with humidity levels frequently ranging from 80-90%. Learn from my mistakes and protect your laptop from the humidity with a waterproof laptop sleeve if you’re going between air conditioning and outdoors.
Best time to visit: Generally, January-April is your best bet. You’ll have many long, sunny, hot days. However, expect a lot more crowds than the rainy season. If you want to avoid more crowds while sacrificing some (but not all) good weather, then April/May and November are good times to visit.
Language: Spanish is spoken in all of Costa Rica. Generally, the Costa Rican dialect can be difficult to understand unless you’re used to it. Don’t be afraid to ask locals to slow down.
Currency: Costa Rica uses the Costa Rican Colon (CRC). 1 USD = 588 CRC.
Credit cards/cash: In many larger and more developed restaurants, credit cards are accepted. However, most hostels don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash for your stays. You’ll also need cash for a lot of local food and grocery stores. I always carried around a change purse to organize all of my cash.
Plugs: Costa Rica uses the same Type A/B 120 V plugs as North America. You don’t need a plug adapter unless you come from outside of North America.

Staying Safe

Overall, solo female travel to Costa Rica is really safe. Costa Rica has the highest standard of living in Central America and generally, crime rates are low. Gang-related activity has somewhat increased in San José over the past few years, so if you stay in San José, make sure to stay in a good area and avoid walking alone at night. Additionally, like many places in the United States and abroad, catcalling does happen in Costa Rica. Just ignore it and keep walking. It’s never a real threat to your safety – just an annoyance.

Here are some more tips for staying safe during solo female travel to Costa Rica:

  • Avoid walking around alone at night – make friends at your hostel and go out with them to stay in a group when it’s dark.
  • Keep an eye on your drink at all times.
  • Go to the bathroom at a bar or club with a buddy.
  • Don’t carry around large amounts of cash – split your stash and keep some of it back at your hostel or hotel.
  • Keep your passport locked up in your accommodation, not on you where it can much more easily be stolen! Instead, bring around a photocopy of your passport if you absolutely need to have your passport photo page with you.
  • Keep a flashlight with you at night in rural areas to make sure you don’t step on anything that you shouldn’t (like a snake!)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a local, or anyone, for help. Be confident and assertive.
  • Ask your accommodation staff if there are any special things to note regarding safety in the area that you’re staying in to make sure you’re properly informed.

Many solo female travelers make Costa Rica their first solo trip! I met so many first-time solo travelers and most of them were women. So don’t be afraid to have Costa Rica on your itinerary when you take the plunge and travel alone for the first time! Overall, if you simply practice the same precautions that you do back home, you will stay safe in Costa Rica.

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How to Get Around

Is public transportation safe in Costa Rica? Public transportation in Costa Rica is very safe. I was often the only “gringo” on the bus and even as a solo female traveler, I never felt unsafe. However, make sure to always keep your valuables on you and never put any of your bags in the overhead compartment above the seats. Additionally, if your backpack is on board with you instead of under the bus, make sure to keep it within eyeshot. Stay vigilant, as always, and you’ll be absolutely fine.
How easy is it to find public transportation? Public transportation is widely available across Costa Rica. There are both smaller, intracity buses and larger, intercity buses that frequently run throughout the country.
How expensive is public transportation? With most bus rides costing less than $2, and long-distance rides to or from San José for less than $10, traveling with public transportation is the best way to save money in Costa Rica.
How do I find the bus schedules? There are some websites that list some schedules. My favorite secondary resource is The Bus Schedule. However, your best option is always to ask the reception at your accommodation for the current schedules and how to get to your next destination. Local staff are usually the best source of information.
Do I need to speak Spanish to use public transportation? Speaking Spanish is definitely helpful, but it’s certainly not necessary. Learn a few basic phrases in Spanish before you go. Worst comes to worst, never underestimate the power of charades and just saying the name of the place you want to go to.
I don’t want to take the bus. Are there other options besides public transportation for getting around? For a (much) higher price, private shared tourist shuttles are also available around the country. Transport in one of these shuttles typically costs $30-60 for a one-way trip. If you’re short on time and/or have the money, these shuttles are the best option for getting around. However, in my opinion, they’re an easy way to waste a lot of money that could otherwise be saved by using public transportation. More money for food!
What about Uber? Is it a good option in Costa Rica? If you’re in a larger city like San José or Jacó, Uber unofficially operates. It’s cheaper and more reliable than local taxis. However, in most other cities, Uber doesn’t run.
What’s the best way to get to San José from the airport, or vice versa? Taking an Uber between the airport and the city is your best option. It will cost only about $15, as opposed to twice as much or more with a local taxi. Additionally, local taxis are known for taking inefficient routes in order to charge unaware tourists more.
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solo female travel to costa rica
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AVERAGE COSTS
  • Accommodation

    Budget hostel: $7-25/night
  • Mid-range hotel: $50-100/night
  • Transportation

    Local buses & ferries: $0.50-$7/ride
  • Uber in a major city: ~$0.80/km
  • Private shared shuttle: $30-70/ride
  • Food

    Budget meal at a local soda: $3-7 for dinner plate
  • Meal at a restaurant: $15-45
  • Activities & Tours

    Guided hike: $20-50
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  • Overall Average Spend

    $42.53/day
  • Suggested daily budget: $50-65/day

Top Places to Visit in Costa Rica

Osa Peninsula

Located on the southwest coast of the country, the Osa Peninsula is the least explored part of Costa Rica. It’s home to Corcovado National Park and is filled with beautiful nature and untouched coastline. Both Puerto Jiménez and Bahía Drake serve as jumping-off points for the national park. Visit for just a day or even do a multi-day overnight trek!

Santa Teresa / Montezuma

Located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on the northwest coast of Costa Rica, Santa Teresa and Montezuma are a surfer’s paradise. These chill little beach towns are a great place to learn to surf, or just to take a load off and relax for a few days on the beach. I recommend staying at Dos Monos South in Santa Teresa for an amazing small-hostel vibe.

Monteverde

Monteverde is home to two spectacular, unique national parks that contain cloud forests due to their special location at an elevation within the tropics. Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve and observe this unique ecosystem. You’ll feel like you walked into a fantasy book while hiking through the mystical fog that surrounds the moss-covered trees.

Tortuguero

Tortuguero, known as “the Amazon of Costa Rica,” serves as the most important nesting location in the western hemisphere for green turtles. Whether or not you visit during nesting or hatching season, there’s plenty to do in Tortuguero. Hike the national park filled with diverse wildlife or go on a canoe tour with a local guide!

Top Things to Do in Costa Rica

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Zipline
Home to the world’s zipline (or so they claim), there are plenty of places to zipline over the canopy in Costa Rica! I recommend The Original Canopy Tour in Monteverde for the best prices.
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Learn to Surf
Surfing is practically a national pastime of Costa Rica. Take a lesson (or two!) with an instructor first to learn the basics. There are lots of great breaks especially on the Pacific coast.
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Go on a coffee or chocolate tour
Coffee and chocolate – what more do you need? Well, Costa Rica grows plenty of both, definitely making this country heaven on earth! Go on a tour of a plantation to learn how the plants are grown and processed.
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Hike
Over 50% of Costa Rica’s land area is designated national parks. Take advantage of the country’s natural beauty and go for a hike! It’s great exercise and the views will always be spectacular.

Tours & Activities I Recommend

Booking Resources

Accommodation

Overall, I find that Booking.com returns the best rates for all types of accommodation. I recommend using Hostelworld along with Booking.com for hostel price comparisons. If they have the cheapest price, I book hostels with Hostelworld because of their $1 flexible booking option. Often my plans change, and this is a super cheap way to make sure I can book a different hostel without losing any money!

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Transportation

Flights: Almost always, Skyscanner has the best rates for flights and this is who I book with. I typically compare flight prices between Skyscanner and Kiwi.com because every now and then, Kiwi.com shows a flight that Skyscanner doesn’t list. Find the cheapest flight now to Costa Rica with Skyscanner below!

Car rentals: Avis and Budget are the most common car rentals in Costa Rica. Click here to get up to 30% off base rates by pre-paying online for your Avis rental! You can also get $15 off a rental of $125 or more through this exclusive link.

Shuttles: If you’d like to book a shuttle, there are few options available. Interbus, Grayline, and Costa Rica Shuttle are the most popular shuttle services. I used Grayline once and had a great experience with them and their drivers. However, I do NOT recommend Caribe Shuttle. I used them to cross the border from Costa Rica to Panama and their driver on the Panamanian side ended up abandoning me while I was still at customs!

Activities & Tours

Tours: If you prefer to travel with a tour group, I always like to recommend Intrepid Travel. They still give you an authentic, local experience while you travel with experienced guides. Contiki offers a more mainstream, lively experience for 18-29 year-olds in Costa Rica as well.

Guides: Costa Rica has a wonderful network of certified local guides. Wherever you get a guide if you choose to get one, make sure that they’re licensed. If you want to book guided activities online, GetYourGuide is a great resource with lots of options available!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, I only recommend products that I use and trust. When you purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission. These commissions allow me to keep producing awesome content for you!