I traveled solo from Los Angeles to San Jose, Costa Rica for a week and am here to give you my recommendations. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with so much to offer: beaches, jungles, volcanoes, and more! I chose to stick to the Pacific side of the country, rather than try to do Pacific and Atlantic in 1 week.
San Jose > La Fortuna: public bus transfer (4 hours)
-Check into hostel: (I recommend La Choza Inn Hostel)
-Explore La Fortuna city
-Hot springs (Free shuttle from the hostel)
-White Water Rafting day trip (book through hostel, around $50 USD) - This was my FAVORITE part of Costa Rica, the views are incredible and it is so much fun. Included in the tour: transfers, lunch, and rafting!
-Canyoneering (book through hostel, around $40 USD) - propelling down the sides of waterfalls and climbing on Mt. Arenal, the famous volcano in La Fortuna
-Choose between a zip lining tour to see jungle/waterfall views (Around $15 USD) and many sloths or hike up the volcano on your own and admire the views in that way!
La Fortuna > Manuel Antonio (private transfer through hostel)
-Check into hostel (I highly recommend Hostel Plinio: it's a legitimate treehouse with great vibes, staff, and you can easily catch the public bus across the street to go into town or to the beach)
-Manuel Antonio National Park (catch the public bus from across the hostel and stay on until the end, it will be very clear when to get off for the national park, most people will be getting off with you!): This is a beautiful park that you can walk through to see tropical plants and animals, like howler monkeys and sloths.
There are also multiple beaches in this park that you can explore, relax on, or just admire the views.
Cost: $16 USD (Cash is preferred, there is an extra fee for using a debit/credit card)
-Beach hopping/surfing - there are plenty of beaches along the coast that you can take the public bus and hop on/hop off. You can rent a surfboard or boogie board by the hour on most beaches. If you want to learn how to surf book a surfing lesson with Dante's Water Sports (the hostel can do this for you, around $20 USD), they provide surfing lessons, free fruit, and unlimited boogie board use after your lesson so you can just ask them to drop you off your hostel after!
Manuel Antonio > San Jose (private transfer through hostel, around $40 USD and 3 hours)
-Walk around and explore the city - there is not much to see in this city, but you can just people watch and enjoy some local food before hopping back on your plan back home
> There is no need to exchange money, USD is accepted everywhere
> You will have to bargain for prices, so start very low & work your way up to what you actually wanted to pay
> The public transportation is very outdated and does not follow the time table, that's why after my transfer from San Jose to La Fortuna by public bus (and it being 3 hours late) I opted for private transfers the rest of the way
Traveling solo as a woman
> Be careful at night! I know this is a common rule of thumb, but I had multiple cars roll up next to me and cat call when I was walking to and from dinner. So then I would run to the hostel. No one actually tried to attack me, but I definitely did feel uncomfortable sometimes at night by myself
> Get an international phone plan! I am the cheapest person ever so decided not to get a phone plan, but I really regretted it. When you're by yourself (especially as a female) you just want to be able to have constant communication with others and GOOGLE maps. Sometimes I'd feel sketched out just me and my private transfer driver because I had no idea where we were going
> Dress appropriately! Sounds archaic, I should be able to dress however I want...but the sad reality is that when you wear short shorts and a skimpy tank top, the creepy foreign men are attracted to you like moths to a flame. It's better to be safe and not draw attention to yourself.
For more tips about female solo travel, click here.
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