When I first moved to Costa Rica, I had never been on a solo trip. In fact, the only other time I’d traveled alone was as a child. But after months of planning and saving money. I found myself with an extra week off in my schedule and some extra cash in my pocket. Here is all you need to know about my solo trip to Costa Rica as a female.
My First Solo Trip
I was nervous about going on my first solo trip. I hadn’t traveled alone since I was in high school, and that was a different type of travel. For example, it involves more than one person. This time would be different. It would be just me and all the wildlife that Costa Rica offered. But then again…so what? Why should I be worried?
I never really thought about what it meant to go on a solo journey until my friend asked me if I wanted to join her on an adventure across Central America for three weeks this past summer. As she described her itinerary and accommodation options—a rustic cabin in the mountains of Nicaragua or a villa with an infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean—I realized that this would be my first solo trip abroad ever, even though sometimes we would have separate activities during the day (think zip lining versus surfing). As she talked about how much fun she’d had doing these things by herself or with her friends while they were traveling together, something sparked inside me: “Oh yeah! You can totally do this too!”
It seems obvious now that it wasn’t really anything special; after all, many people travel alone all around the world every day with no problems at all—but along our journey together over those next few weeks (and months), something changed for me as well—something shifted within myself so deeply that now when people ask why I’m planning another trip soon after returning home from my first ever international destination alone with no problems (except for one tiny incident involving a taxi driver who refused us service because he didn’t want us using his cab), I answer simply “Because it’s easy.”
Day 1: Arriving in the Jungle
When I first heard about my trip, I was nervous about everything. I had never traveled alone before, and Costa Rica is not a country that many people visit alone. It was exciting to spend 10 days in one place, but that posed its own set of problems: I would have no one else to talk to for days on end and would need to learn Spanish as quickly as possible so I could communicate with locals (and my host family).
I also had concerns about the food—would it be too spicy? What if there was nothing at all like what you get in American restaurants? How do you eat out without getting sick from bad seafood? And then there are the bugs—are there mosquitoes everywhere? Will they bite me even though I’m covered head-to-toe in bug spray? Do all these spiders really exist?!
There were a few other things that worried me: wildlife encounters; traffic safety; being able to find adequate lodging that fits within my budget; dealing with jet lag after 9 hours of travel time on top of 12+ hours’ time difference between California and Costa Rica… The list goes on forever!
Unplugging from Technology
- Turn off your gadgets
- Switch off your lights, including any light that glows in the dark (like a night light or lava lamp) and anything that pulses, makes noise or turns on/off automatically because of an electrical current. This includes things like refrigerators, ovens and stoves. If you have any kind of alarm system on any device—even if it’s just a cell phone application—make sure that it’s silent in case you wake up during the night!
Renting a car in Costa Rica
When you go on a solo trip to Costa Rica as a female, remember this. One of the best ways to explore Costa Rica is by renting a car. You will have more freedom than if you travel with a tour group, and you can choose exactly where you want to go each day.
You can also meet locals while driving around in your rental car! They’ll be more likely to stop and talk with you if they see that you’ve rented one too.
If I can do it, so can you!
You can do it. You will have fun, meet new people, and have a great time with the memories that you make.
- You are going to be safe
- Travelling solo is an amazing experience!
I hope this blog post has inspired you to take a solo trip to Costa Rica as a female traveller. Whether it be Costa Rica or somewhere else in the world, I think it’s important to get out of your comfort zone and see what’s out there. Solo travel doesn’t have to be scary! You just need some planning and preparation.