Is Costa Rica safe for solo female travellers? 

Traveling to Costa Rica as a solo female traveler is safe. However, avoid using unofficial cabs, walking alone at night, and flashing cash and jewelry—book guided tours with reputable companies to avoid being scammed. Research safe accommodations and see their reviews from other solo female travelers. 

Costa Rica is one of the few countries I have visited several times as a solo female traveler. Costa Ricans are welcoming, and the country has many beautiful places. I have never encountered any significant crime apart from having my camera stolen once. However, I still recommend solo female travel in Costa Rica, as it’s pretty safe. 

Key Takeaways From This Article

However, I encourage every female solo traveler to Costa Rica to be cautious and alert. There are a few key takeaways that you’ll learn from reading this article. 

  • Avoid carrying a lot of cash and wearing flashy, expensive jewelry. 
  • Respect the culture and customs of the locals, such as not wearing revealing clothes. 
  • Use public buses and official taxis and avoid traveling at night. 
  • Always have the emergency number for Costa Rica and your country’s embassy or consulate. 
  • Connect with fellow solo female travelers at local events and guided tours. Check out solo female traveler communities.

Safety Overview of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is safe for solo female travelers. However, avoiding some scenarios that can make you stand out is more than ideal. Avoid wearing your expensive jewelry, especially if you’re traveling alone. 

Carrying a lot of cash on you as a solo female traveler can also put you at a higher risk of attack. Since most places in Costa Rica accept cards, carry only the cash you need for the day. 

Downtown San Jose tends to be very insecure and is one of the areas you should avoid. While most areas in Costa Rica might suffer from petty theft, serious crimes like murder are fewer compared to other Central American countries.

Which cultural and local customs should a solo female traveler observe? 

Women in Costa Rica wear modest clothing according to their local culture. As a solo female traveler, avoid wearing revealing clothes, though you can wear your bikini at the beach. Wearing clothes with offensive slogans or images might also get you in trouble with the locals. 

Some other local and cultural customs you should observe as a solo female traveler include: 

  • Costa Ricans are very proud of their Catholic religion. Avoid taking photos during religious ceremonies and dress conservatively. 
  • Haggling in Costa Rica is considered disrespectful by the locals. Instead, ask for discounts when you buy multiple items. However, ask respectfully to avoid making the seller angry. 
  • Don’t initiate discussions about politics or religion. Costa Ricans are very protective of both and might not take your opinions well. 
  • Don’t touch the locals without permission, including patting someone on the back or shaking hands. 

Tips for Solo Female Travelers in Costa Rica

While you might receive much catcalling from men as a solo female traveler in Costa Rica, ignore them. It’s a common occurrence, and though it can be unsettling, the best way is not to react. 

However, as a solo female, you should be cautious when using and undertaking the following facilities:

Accommodation

Before traveling to Costa Rica, thoroughly research safe accommodations for female solo travelers. Consider only those with positive reviews from other solo female travelers, especially if you prefer Airbnb over hotels or hostels. 

The accommodations should be in well-lit and populated areas. Avoid looking for accommodations in places where other solo travelers have classified them as unsafe. 

However, if you feel the place you’ve booked your accommodation is unsafe, the best option is always to leave. 

Before booking accommodation, inquire if they have rooms with safes. Alternatively, carry a portable safe where you can lock up your valuables. 

Transportation

Fortunately, traveling alone in Costa Rica as a woman is not dangerous. There are plenty of public buses, and they go to most cities in the country. The buses are ideal if you’re looking for a budget-friendly and safe way to travel around the country. 

Local flights are also ideal for solo female travelers. You can fly to 14 different local destinations in Costa Rica. 

While taxis are plentiful in Costa Rica, it’s safer for solo female travelers to use official Costa Rican cabs. The official cabs are red regardless of the model of the vehicle, and they have a yellow triangle sign on their doors. Use unofficial cabs in the smaller towns but not in the big cities. 

When traveling by public bus or taxi, ensure your luggage is on your lap. Avoid overhead compartments, whether traveling by bus or on local flights. 

Night Entertainment 

Like most cities worldwide, walking alone at night as a solo female traveler is unsafe. 

While it’s not wrong to go out to clubs as a solo traveler, avoid taking a lot of alcohol, as this can make you lower your guard. 

Please don’t leave your open drink at the table, as criminals might lace it with drugs. 

Avoid visiting beaches at night alone. To avoid going out late at night to eat, carry some snacks to your accommodation after a day out. You will, therefore, not have to search for places to have a meal at night. 

Emergency Contacts:

Having the emergency number for Costa Rica will be helpful if you’re in danger. Costa Rica has a free toll number, 911, whether you want to call the police, ambulance, or fire brigade. Ensure you also have the contact number for your country’s local embassy or consulate.

Travel insurance in Costa Rica is essential in case of medical emergencies. Though the private hospitals and clinics in Costa Rica are more expensive, you’ll be safer. 

What are safe destinations for women in Costa Rica? 

Costa Rica has so many beautiful places you can visit. But it would help if you were a bit picky as a solo female traveler. Please read our recommendations for safe destinations for women in Costa Rica<span data-preserver-spaces=”true”>.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is one of the most popular destinations for solo female travelers. The city is generally considered safe for solo female travelers and has a low crime rate. 

Solo female travelers can enjoy solo surfing, visiting the beach, snorkeling, and various other attractions in the area. 

Manuel Antonio 

You can visit the beach, see wildlife, and visit one of the best natural forests in Costa Rica. 

Sportfishing, canyoning, dolphin watching, and whale watching are other activities for solo female travelers—several waterfalls in Manuel Antonia, not the Manuel Antonio National Park. 

The park has a wide range of wildlife and is three hours from San Jose.

La Fortuna

If you want a bit of everything, La Fortuna is the place to visit. Hike the Arenal volcano, experience the hot springs, and see the stunning La Fortuna waterfalls. The Tenorio Volcano National Park is also within La Fortuna. 

How Do You Connect With Other Travelers? 

Just because you travel as a solo female to Costa Rica does not mean you can’t have company. If you want to meet other travelers, you can book local group tours through the company or the place you’re staying. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fake tour companies in Costa Rica. 

Before traveling, you can also research local platforms, communities, or groups for solo female travelers. Check out the “Hangouts” feature on Couchsurfing, a great place to meet locals in Costa Rica, even before you travel. 

You can interact with locals at events and festivals in the cities you visit. Ask around and find out if they are secure enough for solo females to attend. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can a solo female traveler dine alone in Costa Rica? 

Yes, a solo female traveler can dine alone. However, avoid eating out at night far away from where you’re staying. 

It is safe if the restaurant you want to dine at is within the same compound. Ensure the paths from the restaurant to your room are well-lit and are not isolated. 

Which language is most common in Costa Rica? 

Spanish is the primary language in Costa Rica. While you might speak a little Spanish, learning a few common words would be ideal. 

But do not worry too much; most locals in areas where tourists visit are well-versed in English.

Conclusion 

As a solo female traveler in Costa Rica, research beforehand. Ensure that you plan most of your activities during the day. Avoid nighttime activities for your safety. 

Refrain from venturing to Costa Rica as a solo female traveler. Follow all the tips and guidelines in the article, and you have nothing to worry about!

Are you a female traveler who has visited Costa Rica solo? Please share with us some of your most beautiful sights and tips for safety. 

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About 

Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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