Solo Travel in Costa Rica

Types of Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Adventure GatG, Beach GatG, Nature GatG, Ocean GatG, Wildlife GatG

Costa Rica is a wonderful eco destination to explore especially if you love nature and wildlife. I spent two weeks travelling solo in the country and share my guide for female solo travel Costa Rica below. 

If you are planning to travel to Costa Rica alone, I've included the best places to visit in Costa Rica, what to do in Costa Rica, how to travel around Costa Rica, and the best tours in Costa Rica for solos.

Discover where to go when traveling to Costa Rica alone, how to get around when you solo travel to Costa Rica, plus ideas for a Costa Rica itinerary. All recommendations are from both myself and our solo female community and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. 

N.b. For every booking made through this article, I donate money to projects helping vulnerable girls about the globe. Thank you for helping to make a difference to their lives. 

Tip – If this is the first of your solo trips to Costa Rica and you prefer the company of a group tour, I recommend one of these G Adventures Costa Rica toursThey are perfect for solo travellers of all ages.

Solo Travel in Costa Rica

Contents

Solo Travel in Costa Rica

The Frio River that passes through Nicaragua

Solo Travel in Costa Rica

Is Costa Rica Safe For Female Travellers?

If you're asking “Is Costa Rica safe for solo female travellers?” Costa Rica in Central America is a beautiful country but you do have to be careful here as there is some petty crime. Avoid walking anywhere at night and in certain areas such as Puntarenas, Liberia and San Jose, especially by the bus stations.

As the sun goes down you are more prone to thieves. Locals even advise not to walk around after the sun has set in the capital. There is prostitution in Playa Jaco so be careful walking around here by yourself and avoid any beaches alone at night.

Beware of travel scams in Costa Rica too. At San Jose bus station be wary of anyone who tells you that the bus has just left and that you need to hurry and get into a car which is waiting with a driver to take you to the bus. Don’t get into any cars.

Costa Rica solo travel may seem a little intimidating at first but if you can speak a little Spanish it will make you feel more comfortable as you can converse with the locals. La Fortuna de San Carlos is a safe area and people speak English so it is easy to arrange tours and accommodations here.

Is Costa Rica safe to travel alone? In my opinion, yes. I spent two weeks solo backpacking Costa Rica and recommend Costa Rica for solo travelers as there is so much to see. But if you feel uncomfortable about exploring Costa Rica on your own you may feel more comfortable on a group tour.

Adrenalin solo – If you are looking for adventurous things to do in Costa Rica, the country is a mecca for the adventure solo. You can go horseback riding, trekking or even zip-lining amongst its rainforests. Monteverde and Arenal are popular destinations for zip-lining adventures.

Backpacking soloIf you are backpacking Costa Rica alone, Santa Teresa attracts European travellers and you’ll meet lots of Americans in Playa Carmen to the south. During the day make sure you visit a soda (small traditional restaurant) to try typical cuisine with the locals.

Culture solo – Costa Rica is renowned for its high-quality coffee, and you can visit coffee plantations to learn about the production process and sample some delicious brews. The Central Valley region is known for its coffee tours.

Language solo – There are Spanish schools in Costa Rica where you can take an immersion course and learn about the culture as you improve your Spanish. These are a great way of traveling to Costa Rica alone if you're feeling intrepid about not speaking the language and will give you the confidence for the rest of your solo Costa Rica trip. Schools can be found in Manuel Antonio, Jaco Beach, San Jose and all around the country.

Nature solo – If you love nature, you can lace up your boots and explore diverse trails, from Chirripó's challenging summit to the scenic paths of Rincon de la Vieja National Park. Costa Rica has many beautiful landscapes and you can enjoy bird's-eye views with canopy tours and hanging bridges.

Ocean solo – If you prefer the water, there are plenty of water sports to get your blood pumping such as whitewater rafting, kayaking and surfing. Costa Rica's rivers offer thrilling water rafting experiences, from beginner-friendly to adrenaline-pumping rapids. The Pacuare and Sarapiqui Rivers are renowned for rafting. Dive or snorkel in Costa Rica's pristine coral reefs at Cahuita National Park, Manuel Antonio, and the Catalina Islands.

Experience world-class surfing along the Pacific coast at Tamarindo, Playa Hermosa, and Santa Teresa. The Pacific Coast is a must do in Costa Rica for scuba divers with the chance to get close to bull sharks. On your Costa Rica solo trip, go wreck diving at the Tortuga Islands, or snorkel or kayak at the bays of the Papagayo Peninsula. You’ll discover coves and beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula.

Spiritual and wellness solo – Costa Rica's natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere make it an ideal destination for yoga and wellness retreats. There are various retreat centers and resorts that offer yoga classes, meditation sessions, spa treatments, and holistic wellness programs. Read the Costa Rica Yoga Retreats section 

Wildlife solo – For wildlife solos, Costa Rica is an amazing country to visit with endemic birds and animals and migrations of whales and turtles passing through. You’ll find sloths, four different species of monkeys, pumas and jaguars within its jungle landscape. Keep your eyes peeled for the yellow beak of the toucan flying past too.

Consider volunteering when travelling alone in Costa Rica

Volunteering & Working in Costa Rica 

If you're thinking of working in Costa Rica, Global Work & Travel helps you to organise placements in Costa Rica and around the world. Choose from sea turtle conservation Costa Rica to being a sloth sanctuary Costa Rica volunteer or even teaching in Costa Rica.

They also have programs for working remotely in Costa Rica where you can experience life as a digital nomad for a month. Their placements are ideal for solos and include all the support you need for a life-changing adventure. * Discover all their Costa Rica volunteering and working placements 

solo travel in Costa Rica

One of the many waterfalls that Costa Rica has to offer

Things To Do in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the number one destination in Central America, and it's easy to see why. Home to 5% of the world's biodiversity, this country boasts tropical rainforests, coral reefs, and 185 miles of Caribbean sea coastline. The country has 28 National Parks and it even has its own Venice with the jungle canals of Tortuguero and river valleys.

Home to turtle nesting sites, three-toed sloths and the national bird: Quetzal, Costa Rica has some of the best wildlife in the neotropics. From the north to the south, I’ve covered all my favourite areas for solos in the country.

* Before you solo female travel in Costa Rica, check what paperwork or visas are required for Costa Rica. 

solo travel in Costa Rica

The view of Arenal volcano on a clear day but be prepared to not have this visibility

Arenal & La Fortuna

Active Girl about the Globe, Adrenalin GatG, Nature GatG

Start in the north of the country for the Arenal volcano. This area of Costa Rica is for the adventurous backpacker. Those who want to fling themselves along one of the world’s longest zip lines, abseil (or rappel) down waterfalls and rock faces or windsurf on Lake Arenal.

Base yourself in La Fortuna, one of the main tourist attractions in Costa Rica as it's the best city to stay in Costa Rica to see the Arenal Volcano National Park where you can hike the extinct Chato Volcano and see Arenal Volcano from the top. It's also one of the best places in Costa Rica for solo travelers as it's easy to meet others here. 

Arenal Volcano is a bit of a trek so be prepared for some serious hiking. You can also take rainforest hikes and go horse riding near here too. Don’t forget to check out the La Fortuna waterfall where you can hike to the base. Be prepared to not have good visibility when you get to the top and make sure to take a fleece or rain jacket with you too, just in case the weather changes.

If you prefer a waterfall that's less of a tourist attraction, the Rio Celeste Waterfall in Tenorio Volcano National Park is stunning. But the 4-mile trail to get there can be a bit muddy so pack those walking boots.

If you prefer something less strenuous, how about a rainforest chocolate tour instead? Visit a cocoa farm and learn all about the chocolate making process whilst admiring the views of the volcano without the trek. 

Solo tip – “I don't recommend hiking Cerro Chato alone as it isn't a straightforward hike and is easy to get lost. Join a tour if you can or if you're staying in a hostel, ask others if they want to do it with you.” – Lisa, solo female traveller

solo travel in Costa Rica

The sun sets on the Papagayo Peninsula

Papagayo Peninsula

Hiking GatG, Surfing GatG

In the northwest, the Papagayo Peninsula boasts Playa Hermosa, a stunning beach renowned for its surfing. Santa Rosa National Park offers hiking trails and abundant wildlife for nature solos, and Marina Papagayo with its luxurious yachts and vibrant waterfront is worth a visit. Adventure solos should head to Rincon de la Vieja National Park for some exhilarating zip-lining and then relaxing in the hot springs.

solo travel in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is great for ocean lovers as you can snorkel, surf or kayak

Tamarindo

Shopping GatG, Surfing GatG

Tamarindo offers more surfing opportunities and is an ideal place to try a surf lesson. Take a stroll along Tamarindo Beach, renowned for its golden sands and great surf breaks, or venture into the nearby Marino Las Baulas National Park, home to nesting leatherback turtles.

During your Tamarindo solo travel, head here for their Saturday market where you can buy figs in wine, and vegan produce as well as funky bikinis and jewellery hand-made by the local women. Plus, don’t miss the chance to witness breathtaking sunsets and indulge in delicious seafood at one of the local beachfront restaurants.

solo travel in Costa Rica

You have to experience a hanging bridge in Monteverde cloud forest. If you're scared of heights, hold on tight!

Monteverde

Active GatG, Bird-watching GatG, Nature GatG

Moving southwest, Monteverde is a lush paradise known for its famous cloud forests. This town, originally founded by Quakers, offers a cooler climate compared to the rest of the country.

As one of the best places to travel Costa Rica, the Biological Reserve is one of the most biodiverse areas in Costa Rica and one of the tourist attractions. Walk the hanging bridges spotting tropical birds along the 3km walkway. Take one of the hiking trails through the cloud forest passing waterfalls, giant plants and streams as you go. For adrenalin junkies, you can zip-line at the Sky Trek at Monteverde. This is an ideal area for hiking alone in Costa Rica. 

The reserve provides volunteering opportunities and a way of getting involved in the country’s conservation projects. One of the best things to do in Costa Rica at night is to take a Monteverde night tour to see native nocturnal animals such as sloths and snakes. * Read my experience off seeing sloths in Monteverde

Walking through a forest reserve at night gives an added element to animal spotting. Selvatura Park is more than 850 acres and you can spot hummingbirds and butterflies within its grounds.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is also the place to visit in Costa Rica if you enjoy spotting birds. It is home to 450 different birds, half of the 900 bird species in the country. Humming Birds are prevalent here too and look out for the quetzals, whose colourful feathers were once admired by the Mayans.

Cano Negro, also in the north is ideal for birdwatchers who can take boat and kayak tours along its mineral-rich rivers.

solo travel in Costa Rica

Tortuguero Beach is known for its turtle nesting sites

Tortuguero

Nature GatG, Wildlife GatG

From one National Park to another, in the east, Tortuguero stands out with its jungle canals and river valleys, earning it the nickname “Costa Rica's Venice.” This area is known for its turtle nesting sites and abundant wildlife, including three-toed sloths and the national bird, the Quetzal. It is also a great destination for culture.

Tortuguero village combines its indigenous roots with tourism infrastructure. The best way to see its waterways are on a canoe or kayak so you can explore this natural area at your own pace. Find out how chocolate is produced on a multi-day cacao tour or just squeeze it into a half-day tasting day instead.

Solo Travel in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is just an abundance of nature

Sarapiqui & Braulio Carrillo

Nature GatG, Wildlife GatG

Costa Rica is also home to colourful tree frogs. Frogs Heaven at Sarapiqui Costa Rica is one of the best places to go in Costa Rica to spot red-eyed frogs and tiny poisonous dart amphibians.  This area is also ideal for the adrenalin lovers who want to experience white-water rafting along a river. The rapids range from Class I to Class VI with the Sarapiqui river and Pacuare river being amongst the best.

Also located in the west are the ecoregions of Braulio Carrillo National Park with even more cloud forests and waterfalls. There’s an aerial tram that takes you on an 80-minute tour where you spot a sloth in its natural habitat. If you’re lucky you may even see a jaguar.

solo travel in Costa Rica

Only stay a few nights in San Jose and instead explore the area on day trips (photo by Eelco Bohtlingk)

San Jose

Arty & Museum GatG, City & Sightseeing GatG, Shopping GatG, Wildlife GatG

Continuing south, the country's capital, San Jose, is primarily known for its 19th-century architecture. While there aren't many solo activities in the city, it serves as a good base to visit attractions such as coffee plantations in the Central Valley and Poas Volcano National Park where you can gaze into a steaming crater and photograph a lagoon.

Surprisingly, you can see sloths and wildlife in the capital. The University of Costa Rica campus is home to a variety of birds, insects and sloths that you can see on a walking nature tour. It's a ideal opportunity to see wildlife.

If you need to buy some souvenirs to take home with you, then check out the Mercado Calle Nacional de Artesania y Pintura market in San Jose for almost anything Costa Rican. Plaza de la Cultura is the nicest area in the city, and the National Theatre and Museum are worth a visit too.

Just outside of San Jose is La Paz Waterfall Gardens where you can spot pumas, jaguars and toucans amongst the five waterfalls cascade. You can pay a visit to the Jaguar Rescue Centre near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, to see the wild cats that have been rescued. Carara National Park is also near San Jose (a 2-hour drive away), and is the area to see crocodiles, monkeys, sloths, ocelots and jaguars within its 5,000 hectares. 

There aren’t really any beaches near San Jose Costa Rica so you do have to travel for a couple of hours to reach the coast. From San Jose Costa Rica to beach towns it’s at least 2 hours drive.

Solo tip – “For Costa Rica solo female travel, there isn't really much to do in San Jose so I recommend taking day trips from here. You can take a day tip to Irazu Volcano or book a day tour to a coffee plantation. La Paz waterfall is cool too!” – Jo, solo female traveller. 

solo travel in Costa Rica

View from the boat from across the Nicoya Peninsula

Nicoya Peninsula

Beach GatG, Surfing GatG

Moving towards the west coast, a good place to visit in Costa Rica for the surfing GatG is the Nicoya Peninsula which offers stunning beaches and is easily reachable from the port town of Puntarenas.

If you're wondering where to base yourself in Costa Rica, Montezuma has a hippy, funky vibe and is one of the best places to travel solo in Costa Rica for those looking to chill by the beach. Take the ferry to Paquera then a public bus for 90 minutes to get there. If you’re in Montezuma on a Saturday make sure that you visit the colourful market. * Read: Montezuma Beach

Solo Travel in Costa Rica

Tortuga Island is great for a day trip! You can snorkel here and enjoy a beach barbecue too

Tortuga Island

Festival GatG, Ocean GatG

Although the islands are not as known as some of its Central American neighbours, Tortuga island (Spanish for ‘Turtle Island’) is easily reachable for a day trip from here. Snorkel around Rainbow Rock and spot turtles and reef sharks in the waters. Another island you can visit (that is further away) is Isla del Cano where you can spot dolphins and whales. * Read: My Experience of Isla Tortuga

Further along the coast is Santa Teresa, with supermarkets like delis and a superb beach with equally magnificent sunsets. This is where they hold bull riding festivals and it’s one of the good places to visit in Costa Rica to meet other solos.

Solo tip – “Santa Teresa is the best beach town to surf in. It may take you a while to get there but it's definitely worth it.” – Adalieth, solo female traveller. 

solo travel in Costa Rica

Take a boat trip along the calm waters in the country

Caribbean Coast

Beach GatG, Surfing GatG

Costa Rica has two coastlines: the Caribbean and the Pacific. If you like reggae and calypso music then head to the Caribbean Coast for a laid-back vibe, rainforests and palm-fringed beaches. Go surfing at Puerto Viejo, or visit Manzanillo – a tropical fishing village with turquoise water. Take a boat trip here and spot whales and dolphins or join a chartered fishing trip to catch some barracuda.

Limon is a bustling city but cruise ships dock at Limon so don’t expect to be the only one here during the cruising season. From here you can take a day trip to Limon to visit Cahuita National Park.

solo travel in Costa Rica

See a sloth at the Sloth Sanctuary near Cahuita

Cahuita

Wildlife GatG

The Sloth Sanctuary near Cahuita rescues sloths and they also offer a rainforest canoe trip during your visit. It's a Costa Rica must do if you want to see a sloth. If you want to escape the crowds, Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge offers wetlands and lagoons where you can spot crocodiles and bull sharks.

solo travel in Costa Rica

Seeing a toucan flying in the air for the first time is amazing!

Osa Peninsula

Beach GatG, Wildlife GatG

Heading to the southwest, The west coast is rich in marine life with idyllic beaches and the Osa Peninsula offers some of the best wildlife viewings without the crowds. Corcovado National Park is a hotspot for tourism, with diverse species such as armadillos, monkeys, sloths, ocelots, and jaguars, but it can be remote. It’s a good place for trekking. Drake Bay is perfect for relaxation, surrounded by lush vegetation and calm waves.

solo travel in Costa Rica

Make sure to enjoy one of the sunsets

Manuel Antonio National Park

Beach GatG, Ocean GatG, Wildlife GatG

Continuing along the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio National Park showcases stunning beaches and is a popular destination for tourists. Piedras Blancas National Park is a great spot for bat watching, while Uvita Beach offers the chance to spot humpback whales. The region is known for its marine life and idyllic beaches.

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the best beaches in Costa Rica and one of the most popular Costa Rica things to do. There’s a reason its stunning beaches make it the most popular in the country.

The canopy bridges are for those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the floor and admire the rainforest crossing high bridges as you go. If it’s some relaxation that you’re after, this region has several hot springs from budget options to the most luxurious spa resorts. Marino Ballena National Park on the Pacific Coast is a great place to spot humpback whales. 

Solo tip – “I spent a week in Manuel Antonio. This is a beautiful town on the beach and very safe. It has an amazing rainforest too.” – Jodi, solo female traveller. 

solo travel in Costa Rica

Jaco Beach is ideal for catching some sun rays

Jaco Beach

Active GatG, Beach GatG, Wildlife GatG

Jaco Beach on the Pacific coast is popular with sunbathers and is a good place to learn how to surf. Enjoy the beautiful sandy beach and take part in various water activities like surfing and paddleboarding. Explore nearby rainforests, go on wildlife tours, or visit the Carara National Park to spot exotic birds and crocodiles.

Legend even has it that pirates buried gold on Cocos Island off the Pacific coast. Its wilderness is home to armadillos and more than 100 different mammalian species. You can kayak, rent bikes and go on a tour with a fisherman.

solo travel in Costa Rica

For a cultural experience, visit one of the tribes in Talamanca

Talamanca

Adrenalin GatG, Cultural GatG, History GatG, Tribal GatG

If you are wanting cultural things to do in Costa Rica, Indigenous tribes live in Costa Rica and some welcome travellers. You can sit around a fire with the Bribri tribe in the Talamanca Mountains and gain insights into their traditions, or listen to the shaman from the Cabecar community as he tells you about their culture.

The Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure in the Talamanca Mountains offers even more zip-lining as well as a canopy gondola ride through the jungle. 

In the south of the country are remains of pre-Colombian settlements. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Diquis Delta has mysterious stone spheres and is worth a visit.

solo travel in Costa Rica

Liberia is the gateway to Nicaragua. Buses leave from here across the border.

Liberia

City GatG, Nature GatG

When you are visiting Costa Rica, it’s just as easy to combine this lush country with its neighbour too, and if you’re travelling to Nicaragua, Liberia is a good stopover.

Liberia is the capital of the Guanacaste province in the north. There isn’t really much here and most travellers use this city as a base to explore the mountains and rainforest of Rincon de la Vieja National Park which is only 2 hours from the city. 

You can explore the volcanic landscapes and hiking trails of this National Park, relax in the natural hot springs or take a canopy tour to observe diverse wildlife. Liberia also serves as a gateway to beautiful Pacific beaches such as Playa Hermosa, Ocotal and Tamarindo – known for its surfing and nightlife

You can do day trips from here or just choose to spend the night before taking a local bus to the border in the morning. The local buses to Nicaragua are cheap and easy if you're travelling across the border. 

Final thoughts…

I hope that this article has given you some ideas for the best places to solo travel in Costa Rica. With rainforests, volcanos and plenty of natural Costa Rica attractions, it’s easy to see why this country is the number one destination in Central America. The locals definitely know how to live life to the full. Solo female travel to Costa Rica and you'll experience an abundance of nature and wildlife and what the locals call the ‘pura vida.' For Costa Rica travel, solo is the best way to go.

solo travel in costa rica

Best Costa Rica Tour Companies 

If the thought of Costa Rica female solo travel sounds a bit daunting, you can always join a group tour for all or part of your trip. This way you have guaranteed company and an itinerary and activities already planned out for you so all you have to do is just turn up. Below I've listed recommended tour companies for all ages. 

Tours For Any Age

G Adventures Costa Rica

If you feel more comfortable in a group for your solo travel to Costa Rica, G Adventures is a responsible tour company offering group trips to Costa Rica, which mainly caters for budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 12 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any Costa Rica activities you want to do when you’re there.

Their tours in Costa Rica start from a 5 days Classic Tour to San Jose, Monteverde and La Fortuna, to a 14-day G Adventures Basic Costa Rica tour beginning and ending in San Jose, to a 28-day Volcano Adventure including Panama, Guatemala, and Honduras. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female-friendly company. * Click here for the full itineraries, prices, and start dates

Intrepid Travel Costa Rica

Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people using their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear more costly than G Adventures.

Their tours to Costa Rica include getting to know the country on a 15-day Classic Costa Rica tour, a 9-day Costa Rica Experience, and many more. Read our Intrepid Travel Reviews.

Both of these companies have some of the best Costa Rica tours and with both tour companies you share a room with someone of the same gender or you can pay extra for your own room Click here for full itineraries, prices and start dates

Green World Adventures

With a strong model of sustainable tourism, this boutique tour operator base in Costa Rica personalises your tour whether you are looking for nature, adventure, cultural interaction or even an educational experience in Costa Rica. As well as standard tours they also offer customised trips so you can combine beaches with adventure, or culture with hiking. However you want your trip to be. * Save 5% discount with your FREE Solo Travel Card (women only)

Tours For 18-39s

TruTravels

For the backpacker solo, TruTravels offers a classic 10-day trip to Costa Rica travelling from San Jose to Santa Teresa. Visit the capital as well as San Juan, La Fortuna, Monteverde and Santa Teresa whilst seeing jungles and volcanic hot spots as well as exotic wildlife with a group of like-minded others. This trip is a mix of culture, adventure, beaches and partying, staying in hostels, beach huts, boats and homestays.

International flights aren’t included but all your transport when you get there is. Trips have a maximum of 20 people with most travellers between the ages of 18 and mid 30’s. The price is from £1295 based on a twin share. * Check TruTravels Costa Rica full itinerary

* Save 10% discount with the code ‘Girlabouttheglobe10’ 

Tours For Over 40s (& Costa Rica Tours for Seniors)

Just You – Just You offers Costa Rica tours for solo travelers. In a group of both men and women (usually more women), you will have your own room, time for yourself (if you want it) and other solo travellers to sightsee and dine with. Their Costa Rica-escorted tours for solo travellers is a 12 day tour discovering the real Costa Rica including San Jose, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita National Park, Tortuguero, Arenal and more. The tour is from £4399. * Check prices and dates for all solo holidays Costa Rica

Explore Costa Rica 

Explore offers every kind of trip for solos for all ages, especially if you’re 40 plus. You can take a short break, a trip that specialises in food and drink and you also have the option of private or self-guided tours too. They have several trips to Costa Rica whether you prefer to see the highlights of Costa Rica in 9 days or combine it with the beach for 11 days.

You can cycle Costa Rica in 2 weeks or go coast to coast to see the country’s wildlife. If you have longer you can even combine Costa Rica with Nicaragua or Panama from 2 to 3 weeks. Group sizes are between 12 to 18 and you share a room with another member of the group or can upgrade to a single room. Prices exclude flights. * Check all Costa Rica tours and prices for Explore 

Costa Rica Day Tours

Get Your Guide – Day Tours 

Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities in Costa Rica and other worldwide destinations. Choose from a tour to Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall and the hot springs, a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park, or a canopy tour adventure.

Some of the tours require a minimum of 2 people but there are several excursions in Costa Rica to book as a solo including Costa Rica tours from San Jose and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability for one before booking tours in Costa Rica, then click ‘checkout.' * Check all Costa Rica day tours, prices & availability

solo travel in Costa Rica

Best Areas To Stay in Costa Rica

The best area to stay in Costa Rica depends on what type of experience you’re looking for. I’ve included some recommended areas for different types of solos below.

Beach solos – Puerto Viejo is a small town on the Caribbean coast that is known for its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful beaches. The town has a laid-back vibe, with plenty of restaurants and accommodations from hostels to boutique hotels.

Nature solos – Monteverde is a beautiful cloud forest region that is known for its nature. The area is known for its hiking trails, wildlife, and beautiful scenery. There are several accommodations in the area, from hostels to eco-lodges. I loved it here.

Ocean solos – Tamarindo is a laid-back beach town on the Pacific coast that is popular with travelers. The beach is great for surfing and the town has a relaxed vibe with hostels to luxury resorts. Or you could stay in Montezuma, a small beach town where I stayed on the Nicolya Peninsula near to the surf beach of Playa Grande.

Below are the best places to stay in Costa Rica for budget and comfort accommodation as recommended by myself and other solo female travellers.

solo travel in Costa Rica

Best Places To Stay in Costa Rica

When you're planning your solo trip Costa Rica, there is accommodation in Costa Rica for all types of solos. Whether you prefer luxury resorts, eco jungle lodges, boutique b&bs, hostels or Costa Rica hotels. Stay in an upmarket resort at the Golfo Dulce, a jungle eco-resort on the Caribbean coast or a luxury hotel beneath the Talamanca Mountains. There are so many best places to stay in Costa Rica for singles and solos. 

There is also Airbnb Costa Rica which connects you to staying with locals whether you choose to just book a room or a whole apartment. If you are planning to solo travel Costa Rica, I've included the best hostels for solos and the best hotels in Costa Rica for solo travelers below. For all other accommodations in Costa Rica, click on the link below and search for the solo reviews. * Check rates & availability for all Costa Rica accommodation

Budget Accommodation – $

Jaco – If you prefer to stay on the coast and are looking for the best beach near San Jose Costa Rica, then Jaco is the closest one and Selina Jaco is perfect for wellness solos. I love the Selina concept and this one offers yoga classes and has a surf club. It feels like a community and is located close to the bars and restaurants. Just take some ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper. Prices from $28 for a bed in a large dormitory. * Check prices and dates: Selina Jaco

La Fortuna – Arenal Poshpacker is in a great location, close to the volcano and waterfall. It’s really sociable, with a garden, cocktail bar and hammocks. They even have female-only dorms too! I met other solo travellers here. Prices from $21 for a bed in 4-bed female dorm room. * Check prices and dates: Arenal Poshpacker

Monteverde – Hotel & Hostel Sloth Backpackers is really sociable. It has both dorms and rooms and because it’s so small, you get to know the other guests (I met nearly everyone!) It’s a 5 minute walk to the bus station and close to supermarkets, an ATM, bars and restaurants. Prices from $24 for a mixed-dorm room. * Check prices and dates: Hotel & Hostel Sloth Backpackers

San Jose – The Chillout Escalante Hotel has a cosy vibe with helpful, friendly staff. It’s near a supermarket, cafes and bars and they offer free tea and coffee! There’s also a hitch so you can cook your own meals. Prices from $27 p/n for a 6-bed female-dorm. * Check prices and dates: Chillout Escalante Hotel

Comfort Accommodation – $$

Arenal – Arenal Xilopalo is located close enough to La Fortuna and you can see the Arenal volcano from this 3-star property. The restaurant is in the open air and the view from the terrace is great plus if you’re lucky you can spot the local wildlife. Prices from $50 for a standard double room. * Check prices and dates: Arenal Xilopalo

Jaco – Boutique Hotel IBIZA is a 3-star hotel in a beautiful location. The staff are wonderful and the property is safe with a 24 hour reception. The beach, supermarkets and restaurants are just a short walk away. Prices from $71 for a classic room. * Check prices and dates: Boutique Hotel IBIZA

Monteverde – Hotel Santa Fe B&B is a colourful 3-star B&B located close enough to the town but tucked away on the hill. The owners are really helpful and offer breakfast included and an airport shuttle. Prices from $55 for a double room. * Check prices and dates: Hotel Santa Fe B&B

San Jose – Casa Jardin del Mango is a homely choice in a quiet area. The staff are really helpful and there’s a garden and a nice garden to chill out in as well as a mini gym. They even have a dog if you’re a pet lover! Prices from $45 for a double room. * Check prices and dates: Casa Jardin del Mango

Santa Teresa – Casa Zen Guesthouse is perfect for yoga lovers and those who are looking for some zen. It’s close to the beach in Santa Teresa and arranges yoga classes, surf lessons, snorkelling and bike hire. You can even go zip-lining with other guests that you meet. Prices from $40 for a double room with a shared bathroom * Check prices and dates: Casa Zen Guesthouse 

Yoga Retreats

Costa Rica Yoga Retreats 

Costa Rica is also known for wellness so when you're travelling Costa Rica solo you may want to experience a retreat here. Not only are retreats a good way to relax but you can also meet like-minded others too and possibly even find a travel partner for the rest of your trip. 

For all yoga retreats in Costa Rica, I recommend Book Yoga Retreats. I love this platform. I booked my last yoga retreat through them and found it really easy to use. They list yoga and meditation retreats all around the world including Costa Rica so you can find the perfect duration for you.

Whether you're searching for a 5-day Diva’s Detox retreat near Dominical or a week-long Kundalini Yoga retreat in Guanacaste. They have many to choose from including a surf and yoga retreat Costa Rica and horseriding with yoga too. I've included two recommended yoga retreats in Costa Rica below but for all other yoga retreats just search by duration or price to find the one that resonates with you. * Check prices, dates and duration for all yoga Costa Rica retreats

4 days Rainforest Yoga Holiday in Lake Arenal

Arenal is one of my favourite places in Costa Rica. This 4 day rainforest yoga holiday in Lake Arenal is perfect for a short yoga retreat. The gorgeous setting provides you with a chance to renew your mind and meet other like-minded solos, all here to unwind and enjoy the tranquillity of the eco property.

There’s a pool and jacuzzi and you can hike in the surrounding areas with great views of the volcano. Yoga classes are daily and you also have the opportunity to learn about permaculture and receive advice from a certified naturopath so you'll leave Arenal feeling healthier and more relaxed. * Check prices, accommodation and availability: 4 days Arenal Retreat 

7 Days Yoga Retreat in Guanacaste

If you have 7 days, join this 7-day yoga retreat Guanacaste Costa Rica. This retreat is for all levels so it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or more advanced. It includes 2 daily yoga classes, both in the morning and the afternoon and 3 meditation sessions and because it’s just a short drive to the beach, there’s a daily beach shuttle too.

If you’re looking for a peaceful, beautiful place to relax and harmonise your body, this yoga holiday is a great place to rejuvenate. * Check prices, accommodation and availability: 7 days Guanacaste Retreat

Costa Rica Travel Insurance

Costa Rica is a beautiful country to explore but travel insurance is always recommended for your Costa Rica trips to cover you for any travel delays, medical assistance and activities.

True Traveller and World Nomads are two insurance companies which can cover travel to Costa Rica. True Traveller is available to UK and European residents, and World Nomads is available to over 100 countries worldwide, including the USA and UK. For digital nomads, Safety Wing is a nomad insurance that covers people from all over the world.

All companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road and offer different plans depending on your needs including additional adventure cover.

* Check insurance cover and prices for True Traveller

N.b. World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Costa Rica Airports

When you are travelling to Costa Rica, the country has two international airports: Juan Santamaria International Airport near San Jose, and Liberia International Airport in the north. Costa Rica is well connected with direct flights to North America, Europe, and London.

From San José – Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) is only 30 minutes away from the city by bus. A taxi will cost approximately $30 for the 17-minute journey one way or you can take one of the bus operators: TUASA or Station Wagon which cost approx $2 and leave every 15 minutes.

From Liberia – From Liberia International Airport (LIR) a taxi will cost approximately $22 for the 15-minute journey or there are private shuttles which you can pre-book. Line 513 bus takes 12 minutes into the city. 

solo travel in Costa Rica

Getting Around Costa Rica

When solo travelling Costa Rica, the country may look quite small but the distances can be misleading making travelling in Costa Rica a bit challenging to plan. Below are some ways on how to travel around in Costa Rica to help you plan your trip. 

Travelling Costa Rica by busThe country does have a good bus system and can be the best way to get around Costa Rica if you are travelling on a budget or on a solo backpacking trip Costa Rica. But you may find yourself having to travel back to San Jose between destinations. Buses from San Jose can take you all over the country, but some of the roads may not be as good as you’re used to.

For example, when you are touring Costa Rica on your own, the bus from San Jose to Fortuna takes 4.5 hours, and Fortuna to Monteverde takes 7 hours. Don’t expect there to be air conditioning on the buses or for them to stop for toilet breaks. You can’t buy bus tickets online and only from the stations.

The best way to travel Costa Rica in comfort and an alternative transportation option to the public buses is shared shuttle services such as Interbus Costa Rica. They are more pricey than the local buses but they are the best way to travel around Costa Rica as they are air-conditioned and you'll arrive at your destination in less time than if you took local transport. 

If you are planning on driving in Costa Rica, the country’s road network is good enough to self-drive your way around but hiring a rental car can be expensive because you have to add insurance “mandatory by the government” even if your credit card already includes it. I have personally used Discover Cars and recommend them. * Check car rental prices here. This article is good if you are considering driving alone in costa rica

If you're not keen on Costa Rica public transport and prefer a private transfer you can also use Uber for your Costa Rica trip. It is a quick and easy way of getting around in Costa Rica. For Uber buy a prepaid SIM card as you’ll need a number for them to contact you. Sit in the front seat of your Uber ride.

Water taxis operate from Playa Jaco to Santa Teresa. Ferries from Puntarenas to Paquera Costa Rica take 1.5 hours. Buy your ferry ticket beforehand if you can.

Solo Travel Tips Rome 2 Rio is a great resource for traveling Costa Rica alone as it helps you to plan your route. 

Costa Rica Itinerary

How long do you need for your Costa Rica solo travel female trip? When you are planning your solo trips to Costa Rica, you do need to allow enough time to explore Costa Rica properly especially if you want to see all the Costa Rica tourist attractions. Travelling around Costa Rica can take a while so plan ahead if you are only here for a short time. 

Whether you are planning to spend a week in Costa Rica or a fortnight, below are examples of a Costa Rica solo travel itinerary to help:

1 week itinerary Costa Rica – For 1 week in Costa Rica stay in San Jose (2 nights), Monteverde (3 nights), and Arenal (2 nights).

Costa Rica itinerary 10 days – You can also use this itinerary for a Costa Rica road trip 10 days. Stay in San Jose (2 nights), Monteverde (3 nights), La Fortuna Costa Rica (2 nights), Montezuma (3 nights)

Costa Rica itinerary 14 days: For 2 weeks in Costa Rica stay in San Jose (2 nights), Manuel Antonio (3 nights), Monteverde (2 nights), La Fortuna (2 nights) Tortuguero National Park (2 nights), Cahuita National Park (2 nights)

Two weeks in Costa Rica: For a Costa Rica road trip 2 weeks stay in San José (2 nights), Montezuma (3 nights), La Fortuna (3 nights), Monteverde (3 nights), Isla Tortuga (2 nights), Liberia (1 night).

Travel Guide For Costa Rica

If you need a guidebook for your Costa Rica vacation I recommend Rough Guides. Covering where to go and when to go, things not to miss, itineraries, getting around, festivals and events, history, and maps, they are amongst the most comprehensive guides on the market. If you prefer Lonely Planet click here for all Costa Rica guide books.

The Rough Guide To Costa Rica

If you are planning a solo trip to Costa Rica, the Rough Guide to Costa Rica covers topics such as: booking your trip, about Costa Rica and its culture, the best things to do in Costa Rica, where to stay in Costa Rica, getting there, how to get around Costa Rica, food and drink, Costa Rica itineraries and travel essentials.

They also include low-key, tourist-free spots, hot springs, and enjoying some of Costa Rica’s best coffee. If you are unsure where to fo in Costa Rica, it is your travel Bible.

* Check prices and availability on Amazon

Packing List For Costa Rica

If you’re unsure what to pack for your solo adventures in Costa Rica, I've created a guide of my favourite solo travel products to help you decide what to pack. One of my must-have travel products when traveling to Costa Rica alone is a head torch.

If you are planning on taking a night safari and spotting the Costa Rican wildlife on your walking tour then a head torch is a must. Find out why I love this head torch and click on the link to discover all of my favourite travel products:

Click here for all of our recommended travel accessories for solos

Head Torch

This LED headlamp has 5 settings including a high and low beam and a red light to not attract flying insects. It’s also water and shock resistant and the bulb lasts for up to 100,000 hours. It allows you to be hands-free so you can use your hands to take photos on your night safari. * Check prices and buy from Amazon

Best Time To Go To Costa Rica

If you're wondering when to go to Costa Rica, the country has several micro-climates. Having cloud forests and highlands means that you can experience different weather as you travel around the country. The dry season is from mid-December to April and it’s the most popular time to travel but it is also the most expensive.

If you are going to Costa Rica for wildlife, you can watch sea turtles lay their eggs at Santa Rosa National Park, or see them in Tortuguero National Park between July to October. If you are wondering what to do in Costa Rica in July, visit between here to April for humpback whales at Uvita in the Pacific Ocean, or the Caribbean Sea from December to March.

For what to do in Costa Rica in February, visit the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge between February to April for a greater chance of seeing sloths and toucans. Costa Rica is a year-round destination so just choose the time of year depending on what you want to do there.

How To Be a Conscious Traveller in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the greenest countries on the planet making it easy to be a conscious traveller here. Take part in community-based tourism, such as visiting a cocoa farm or banana plantation during your stay to help preserve indigenous communities and local cultures.

Purchase hand-crafted arts and weaving from markets in local communities to sustain their traditions. If you see them making it directly at a workshop you know it will go directly to the craftsman or woman.

Help protect the sea turtles by visiting a marine conservation project on the Talamanca coast, and staying in an eco-lodge at the same time!

For getting around Costa Rica, Nature Air is a Costa Rican airline that offers internal flights in the country. Although they are still an airline, they are doing its best to reduce its carbon emissions. The airline has a NatureKids Foundation and donates funds to forest conservation. 

Wellness in Costa Rica

Wellness in Costa Rica doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You don’t even need to go to a spa to pamper yourself as nature provides it for free. One of the unique things to do in Costa Rica is take a mud bath near Rincon de la Vieja National Park before relaxing in a hot spring.

Costa Rica is the perfect destination for transformational travel. Toby Israel offers yoga, nature and writing retreats to reconnect with yourself and come away rested, rejuvenated and transformed. Upcoming retreats include “Yoga and The Art of Listening” in Finca La Flor, and “Find Your Flow Balance Your World,” a yoga and nature retreat in Samara.

Volunteering in Costa Rica

If you are planning to volunteer in Costa Rica, Raleigh International offers volunteer placements such as environmental projects and improving access to conservation areas. Or join a community project to build and improve school facilities. Find out more about their projects here.

Or volunteer with turtles at a Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Ostional through Global Work & Travel, nurturing sea turtle nests and their eggs and making a contribution to Costa Rica’s marine life. Or choose a 2 to 10-week placement at a Sloth & Wildlife Rescue Sanctuary, dedicating your time to caring for injured rainforest animals such as sloths, monkeys and macaws.

Global Work & Travel offer complete volunteering and teaching packages including transfers, accommodation, insurance and ongoing support. 

Social Impact Projects

Kekoldi Indian Reservation HikeThis hiking tour is not your average hike but is part of a larger project implementing sustainable and community-based tourism within the region. By taking this tour, which is guided by an experienced local guide, you not only get to learn about indigenous history and plants but also contribute to the further implantation of self-sustaining jobs.

Café MonteverdeThis café is a whole experience! Not only do they offer a cup of sustainably grown coffee but everyone is welcome to take a tour of their farm as well! The tour takes you on the journey of the coffee bean in its environmental, social and economic context. Café Monteverde also offers educational programs where visitors can learn about sustainable agriculture and the history of conservation in Monteverde. 

Stay Eco in Costa Rica

Monteverde Lodge and Gardens 

Monteverde Lodge and Gardens is a hotel nestled in the forests close to the city of Monteverde. It offers stunning views and comfortable, modern rooms. Their strong commitment to the environment can be felt in every corner of the 28 guest rooms.

Solar energy heats the water of the swimming pool and rooms, their recycling program has been in place for over 30 years, and all guests are offered a stainless steel, reusable water bottle. For the eco-conscious traveller staying a night at the Monteverde Lodge and Gardens will certainly be a luxurious experience. 

Rancho Margot Sustainable & Self-Sufficient Eco Lodge

Nothing screams more ‘off the grid’ than Rancho Margot. This hotel is not only eco-conscious but self-sufficient as well! Enjoy a meal from their organic farm, learn how to milk a cow, dip your toes into their natural pools, or immerse yourself in the community with their volunteering programs! 

Issues affecting vulnerable girls in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has rather successfully implemented programs dedicated to education, specifically girl’s education. In 2012 the literacy rate of girls (98.7%) even surpassed the literacy rate of boys (97.9%). The government is working closely with UNESCO to identify a set of educational standard goals to be reached by 2030. Read more… 

Costa Rica has established well-respected child development initiatives, however children, especially young girls, fall victim to child trafficking. Many are exploited for the purpose of sex tourism. Children living on the streets are especially vulnerable. Read more… 

The government of Costa Rica raised the minimum wage for marriage to 18 in 2017, in order to help girls receive an education and avoid teenage pregnancy. Previously, one in five Costa Rican girls was married by the time she turned 18, sometimes to older men. Child marriage is especially prevalent in indigenous communities where enforcing the law could be seen as a challenge. Read more… 

FAQs For Costa Rica

  • Can I drink the water? Yes but not in the rural areas. Buy bottled water or take your own water filter with you.
  • Is tipping expected? 10% is expected.
  • Fixed price or barter? Fixed price but you can try and barter at the markets.
  • Any ATMs? There are ATMs in the main tourist destinations.
  • Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side.
  • Good for vegetarians? Yes.
  • Any Seven Wonders of the World? No but the country is very biodiverse and lush!
  • Are there any Costa Rica Beaches near San Jose? There aren’t really any San Jose Costa Rica beaches. Jaco Beach would be the closest but it’s a 2 hour drive from the Costa Rican capital
  • Is it safe to travel to Costa Rica alone? Yes but you do need to be careful in certain areas. See the solo travel section above for ‘is Costa Rica safe for solo travelers?'

Planning a Trip to Costa Rica

Current time in San Jose, Costa Rica

Budget – At least $80 a day. This website is useful for costs

Capital – San José

Population – 5.15 million

Language spoken – Spanish

Local Currency – Costa Rican Colón 

Do I need a visa? British Citizens don’t need a visa for Costa Rica and can stay up to 90 days. 

Vaccinations Required 

Useful Info

Airlines to Costa Rica 

Which Plug Do I Need? 

UNESCO Sites in Costa Rica 

Events and Festivals in Costa Rica 

Local Cost Guide 

Local Customs & Etiquette 

Costa Rica Map

solo travel in Costa Rica