If you’re interested in going on a solo trip to Costa Rica, you’ve got quite a few different places that you could choose to go to. From rainforest hikes in the clouds to days spent surfing on the beach, Costa Rica has options for every type of solo adventurer. If you’re trying to figure out where to start, here are a few ideas to kickstart your planning process for a Costa Rica solo trip.
1. San José
San José is the capital of Costa Rica, and it’s also most likely the city that you will fly in and out of during your trip. Since you’re already going to be in the city, it’s a great place to start or end your solo trip! There are many museums in the city, including the National Museum, the Jade Museum, the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum, and more. Visiting a museum or two the day that you arrive in the country can help if you have any jet lag or just to have something fun and easy going before you head to another part of the country for hiking, surfing, or exploring.
There’s also some great shopping in the city of San José. Whether you realized that you forgot to bring a swimsuit or just want to buy some souvenirs, there are great shopping options for you. Starting or ending your trip in San José can be a great way to start getting a feel for the Pura Vida lifestyle that Costa Rica is known for!
2. Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano is one of the more popular destinations in Costa Rica. This volcano is located inside of a gorgeous state park with many hiking trails, hot springs, rafting opportunities, and guided tours. If part of the reason you travel alone is because you love meeting new people, going on a guided hiking or rafting tour can be a great way to meet others!
Many tours are available through the park’s official site. You can go for a zipline adventure, raft through the rapids in the park, or more. This is a versatile location because it is a large tourist attraction, so you won’t run out of ways to stay entertained if you’re here for more than a few days! If you need a break from being on your feet, there are even tours in sky trams to let you enjoy the views without having to hike to all of them.
3. Puerto Viejo
If you’re looking for a beach town with tons of activity options as well as some night life, Puerto Viejo is a great place to add to your Costa Rica itinerary. You can make an entire day out of beach hopping or try to catch some waves in this coastal surfing town. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, Puerto Viejo has options for you. There are also hiking trails that you can explore in the nearby Cahuita National Park if you want to get a feel for the rainforest in the area.
One of the main forms of transportation in this area is biking, so you can rent a bike and explore the town like the locals. You can bike to the restaurants and shops around town as well as down to the beach. If you’re looking for a fun tour in Puerto Viejo, you can check out the local chocolate tours that look into the chocolate production in the area.
At night, there are quite a few good spots to let loose and stay up late. Make sure that if you’re heading out to have a good time alone that you’re being as safe as possible. Going out to bars alone can be dangerous even in your own town or city, so you need to make sure you’re taking precautions if you’re in a strange place alone.
Monteverde is one of the more popular spots in Costa Rica because it’s home to the “cloud forest.” This area is gorgeous and hiking on the suspended bridges above and in the cloud line will make you feel like you’re in another world. Even from the forest floor the entire park feels unreal and like a part of a dream. You can zipline through the forest as well if you’re interested in trying out a different form of transportation through the clouds.
This area is also known for having great food and a few interesting nature museums. So if you feel like you’re done with hiking for the day, you can try out some of the fun local attractions and activities.
Safe Solo Travel in Costa Rica
If you’re traveling solo in Costa Rica, it’s important that you’re being smart about your travels. Since Costa Rica is a big tourist destination, it’s also a big destination for people who want to scam tourists. People will pose as fake tour guides outside of the national parks, for example, so you want to make sure that you’re not getting tricked by a “tour guide” that will never actually give you a tour.
If you’re worried about a certain area or spot you want to visit, ask the staff at your hotel. They will be able to help you find areas where you can be comfortable and may even know of some hidden gems. Make sure you’re also leaving all valuables, including your passport, in your hotel and preferably in your room’s safe. It can be a good idea to carry copies of your passport or ID with you so that you have it with you without having to carry the original. As long as you’re using common sense and avoiding looking like a tourist, you’ll be in a better position to not get scammed.
Costa Rica is a great place to visit whether you’re going solo or not, and these are a few ideas that can help you start planning your trip. Make sure to research the different locations you want to go and be as safe as you possibly can — doing research and using your common sense can go a long way. The country of Costa Rica is a welcoming and wonderful place to visit, and that won’t change because you’re going on your own.