Solo women traveling in Costa Rica can be as safe or as unsafe as anywhere else in the World. As long as these travelers use their common sense and practice some the tips we are listing here…if not all!
Solo women traveling in Costa Rica, in tour groups or by themselves, are not unusual: Thousands of single female travelers have visited and enjoyed Costa Rica without a hiccup and left with great smiling memories.
But, even though Costa Rica is a great country and can be safer than many other locations in the World. Still, it essential to keep some things in mind to avoid possible trouble.
1. Travel with us… or at least a serious company
Make sure that whoever you are traveling with, is a serious company and certified by the Costa Rican Tourism Bureau.
In the case, you made the right choice and are already traveling with us, please acknowledge that we have a 24/7 phone for any emergency that may come up. As well as to answer any questions that you may have regarding any extra activity, you may want to do by yourself (Like going to a local restaurant or getting transportation to go to any particular place you want to visit)
Clothes: Think about light! As light as possible!
(Please read our post on What to pack for Costa Rica to see all the tips)
2. A word about jeans for solo women traveling in Costa Rica
Jeans are not the most suitable or proper piece when you are going to the rainforest… Never mind if you are hiking, enjoying a horseback ride or ziplining through the trees. Forget about the jeans! They can be stiff, cold when they get wet, hot if it’s sunny and overall they are not flexible, making a moment that can be amazing into a nightmare.
3. The best is to go into adventure stores, like Columbia or Northface and get some pants, shirts and even underwear that can quickly dry, that is flexible and that you can use throughout the whole trip.
4. Have two pairs of socks for each day! Affordable and ready to be lost when they are too dirty, muddy or wet if you go hiking or on an adventure tour.
5. Shoes: If possible bring hiking boots, tennis shoes, and strap sandals. You may use them all, depending on the activity you are doing. Water shoes are not a bad idea either (Especially for tours like kayaking, rafting or snorkeling) You may also want to have a couple of nice high heels… just in case! 😉
Makeup and other necessary items:
6. Important to bring: Moisturizer, aloe vera after sun lotion, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and dry shampoo. Ponytails are essential if you have long hair (Some adventures cannot do unless your hair is tied correctly.)
7. Makeup: Yes, but not essential. If you want to wear some, make it waterproof (If you are in the Costa Rican lowlands, like Arenal, Tortuguero, Drake Bay, Manuel Antonio or any of the Guanacaste beaches it may be really hot, and you will sweat, a lot).
8. Cream and spray repellent (Yes, both). Try them at home first so that you don’t have any reactions once you are on vacation!
9. Hair Dryers and Irons: Ask your travel consultant about this, there are some lodges where your hair dryer may cause a blackout, and there are many that already have hair dryers. Iron straighteners are not a problem (Usually).
Talking about rain:
10. Disregard the umbrellas, rain ponchos are much more comfortable, and they do not get stuck on the tree twigs.
11. Sweaters and jackets: Have a light jacket or a windbreaker in hand and a light jacket even if you are going to warm regions. And surely, if you are staying for a night or two in the Central Valley.
12. Ask your travel consultant about the weather in the different places you are going or check our packing guide to see where you may need more than that. Believe it or not, there are some places where the temperature may drop underneath the 30’s.
Social Issues regarding clothes
13. In general terms, Costa Rican culture is very open-minded, but sexual harassment happens often; hence it is better to show little skin to avoid trouble. Unless you are at the beach: Longer shorts, higher collars.
Machismo and sexual harassment
You may experience some harassment in the streets, bars or the beach in the form of whispering, gestures or hisses. Best way to deal with it, like everywhere in the World is to ignore it.
However, we have three crucial tips about this:
14. Follow your intuition, if it gets too aggressive and you are in a city, get in a store and restaurant and ask them to call the police.
15. If you are close to the police (And in the touristic areas they are called “Policía Turística”), don’t hesitate and go directly to where they are.
16. Think about a “rape whistle” and carry it around permanently. Something like this Don’t worry about exaggerating or seeming silly. Begin yelling and behaving crazy if the circumstances warrant it.
17. Safety is first over kindness or good manners.
For solo women traveling in Costa Rica and even if you are in a group, be extra careful with local men and male travelers:
18. Mind to your drinks, don’t ever leave your drink alone or receive anything from a stranger (Or an almost stranger).
19. Never, no matter what, go to a man’s house, apartment or even a hotel room.
20. Don’t reveal where you are staying
Tour Guides, drivers, and waiters
21. Tour guides are enchanting (That’s what they do for a living and are great at it!), but you may also find really nice drivers, bartenders, and waiters. And they will flirt! Please don’t get in there! Any filtration behavior will be taken as a direct provocation, especially if you are traveling alone.
Some more tips:
22. Even if single, take a wedding ring and use it.
23. Talk about your husband or fiancee, lie without any hesitation. Carry a fake or old picture if necessary. And tell them he is doing another tour or decided to stay at the hotel. That will scare them off, usually.
24. If you are bothered by any tour staff, please let us know about it at once (Remember we have a 24/7 line). You may be supporting future female travelers and us in avoiding future conflicts.
Please read our article on “Money in Costa Rica.”
25. Use your common sense. Don’t show off your cash
26. Don’t bring expensive jewelry
27. Keep your money in your hotel and carry only the necessary.
28. If you are going somewhere where you may need your cash, or are traveling from one destination to the next, keep your money in a new empty tampon case (They will never take that).
29. If you are traveling, keep them on sight
30. If you are getting in a taxi, keep your luggage with you at all times (In case you have to come down suddenly from the cab, this will work perfectly.)
31. If you are going to the beach, it’s better if don’t take any valuables with you so you can enjoy the water without any second thoughts.
32. If you are using a big lens camera, it’s important to realize that there might be places where you will want it to be safe in the hotel room. Mostly all adventure and water activities are just some of them.
33. Leave your passport with your money and camera in the hotel room and carry a copy with you.
34. Have a friend or relative that you trust to send pictures of your taxi or Uber plate numbers and do it
35. Either use your telephone company international plan or get a telephone chip in Costa Rica but be in communication.
Solo Women traveling in Costa Rica should never:
36. Don’t get caught alone in unfamiliar or deserted places at any time of the day or night.
37. Do not go to bars alone
38. Never walk alone after dark, nowhere.
39. Keep in mind that even casual fling might be seen as a proposition by local men.
40. Never hitchhike! No matter what!
Some more tips:
41. When you are paying at a restaurant or even a tour office, put your bag between your body and the counter or between your legs instead of beside you.
42. Follow your taxi via Google Maps and check if you’re going off route.
43. Take it easy on the drinks, know your limits and be careful.
44. Don’t feel wrong about saying no in any case.
45. If you’re listening to music, don’t wear both headphones.
46. Have all your essential information in paper and carry it with you at all times.
47. If you order room service, never recognize that you are alone.
48. Consider a slash-proof bag. Like this one
Solo Women traveling in Costa Rica may enjoy the trip fully, just keep safety in mind, follow your intuition and use your common sense.
Carlson, L. (2015). 10 Tips for Staying Safe as a Solo Female Traveler. y Travel Blog. Retrieved 17 September 2018, from https://www.ytravelblog.com/solo-female-traveler-safety/
Essential Tips For Solo Female Travelers • The Blonde Abroad
Ten Essential Tips For Solo Female Travelers • The Blonde Abroad. (2014). The Blonde Abroad. Retrieved 17 September 2018, from https://theblondeabroad.com/ten-essential-tips-solo-female-travelers/
10 solo female travel tips from almost a decade of travel – Young Adventuress
10 solo female travel tips from almost a decade of travel – Young Adventuress. (2016). Young Adventuress. Retrieved 17 September 2018, from https://youngadventuress.com/2016/05/solo-female-travel-tips.html
46 Incredibly Useful Safety Tips For Women Traveling Alone
46 Incredibly Useful Safety Tips For Women Traveling Alone. (2018). BuzzFeed. Retrieved 17 September 2018, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicaprobus/46-incredibly-useful-safety-tips-for-women-traveling-alone
Extra Tips for Solo Women Travelers by Rick Steves
Extra Tips for Solo Women Travelers by Rick Steves. (2018). Ricksteves.com. Retrieved 17 September 2018, from https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/trip-planning/tips-for-solo-women-travelers
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