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Freedom © Vytautas Serys/Flickr
Freedom © Vytautas Serys/Flickr
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A Solo Traveler's Guide to Costa Rica

Picture of Jenn Parker
Updated: 1 June 2017
There is something very special about solo traveling. If you have never embarked on an adventure alone, you might want to give it a try! Traveling alone gives you the opportunity to reconnect with yourself, step outside of your comfort zone, meet new people and have experiences that you might not otherwise have if you were traveling with someone else. Here’s why Costa Rica is a great place to have a solo adventure.

Towns

While there is really no part of Costa Rica that is considered inadvisable to visit, there are some towns that are especially suited for solo travelers. Unless you are specifically seeking solitude (which is also amazing sometimes), you will most likely want to be somewhere where there is the opportunity to meet other travelers, try a variety of different foods, have nightlife options and be within close proximity to different types of activities. Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Puerto Viejo, Nosara, and La Fortuna are all very solo traveler-friendly destinations.

So much solo space in Santa Teresa
So much solo space in Santa Teresa | © Zanzabar Photography/Flickr

Transportation

During your solo expedition, it is likely that you will want to move around a bit. Private transportation can get pricey if you are the only one paying for it, but fortunately there are some very reasonable and easy transportation options available. Nature Air and Sansa are Costa Rican airline companies that fly small planes to dozens of small airports around the country. This is probably one of the easiest ways to jump from place to place without wasting a lot of time and money. There are also shuttle companies like Grayline and Interbus that offer transportation all over the country.

Hostel life

Hostels aren’t just for broke college backpackers! Neither does staying in one necessarily mean you’ll have to share a room and bathroom with guests whom you’ve never met. There are actually several high-quality hostels in Costa Rica where you have the option of a private room for a very affordable price. Staying at a hostel is a great way to meet other travelers. The hostel environment is typically one that resembles a temporary family and community – you’re sure to meet people to have adventures with and share meals and drinks alongside. Tamarindo Backpackers is one of the best, if you find yourself in Tamarindo.

Home away from home
Home away from home | © Courtesy of Tamarindo Backpackers

What to do on your own

Traveling alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do everything alone. There are plenty of activities where you can meet and share your experiences with others. If you want to take a tour, just let the tour operator know that you are traveling solo and ask if there are any groups that you join; which is often the case. Take a surfing lesson, go on a sunset sailing excursion, sign-up for a yoga class, or join a guided nature tour. The beauty of traveling alone is that you get to do whatever you want to do and not have to worry about anyone else.

Take a surf lesson
Take a surf lesson | © Courtesy of S.A.L.T. Surf School and Tours

Go on a retreat

There are many different types of retreats happening all year long and all around Costa Rica, so signing up for a retreat is an incredible way to venture out on your own. You can spend a week doing yoga, surfing, paddle boarding, detoxing, or learning how to live an environmentally sustainable way of life, among many different other types of retreats. Everything will be set up for you (accommodations, transportation, food, classes and activities) and you will be surrounded by other like-minded individuals from around the world.

Reconnect at a retreat
Reconnect at a retreat | © Vajra Sol Yoga Adventures

Go to school

There are some really great Spanish schools located on the coast and in the Central Valley in Costa Rica. There are programs that are as short as a few days and as long as several months. Joining a Spanish language program is a wonderful way to spend a portion of your day learning Spanish and the rest of your day exploring and participating in activities of your choice. Spanish schools are also a great place to meet other travelers. There is often the option to stay at the Spanish school, which is similar to staying at a hostel. Wayra Spanish Institute, Coastal Spanish Institute, Nosara Spanish Institute, Monteverde Institute, and Academia Tica Spanish School are all fantastic choices.