Is Costa Rica safe for solo female travelers? – Uncensored Guide

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Is Costa Rica safe for solo female travelers? – Uncensored Guide

How Safe is Costa Rica for Solo Female Travelers?

Is Costa Rica safe for solo female travelers? Yes ma’am – Costa Rica is a great destination for solo female travelers.

Additionally, it’s a soft landing in Latin America (the safest country there!). This makes Costa Rica great training wheels before you tackle more challenging destinations with less infrastructure in Central and South America.

What is Pura Vida

Get ready for Pura Vida philosophy, touting a ‘simple life’ or ‘pure life. This philosophy is deeply embedded into Tico culture, making every interaction genuine and heartwarming.

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I’ve been living in and out of a suitcase for the better half of a decade. During that time, I visited Costa Rica and Latin America often. I’ve written this as your ultimate travel companion to experience Costa Rica while ensuring your safety and peace of mind.

Is Costa Rica Safe to Travel Alone?

Costa Rica is an exciting and safe destination for solo female travel.

Is Costa Rica Safe to Travel Alone

Known as the “Switzerland of Central America,” not because of its snowy peaks but because of its peaceful nature and neutrality. The country’s dedication to preserving its natural wonders has led to eco-tourism being another driving force of its economy.

Crime Index:

Safety Index:

With its long-standing tourism economy, Costa Rica is convenient and cheap to visit and get around. Here’s my no-filter take on Costa Rica.

The Good

Warm culture, and sights unseen.

The Bad

Catcalling and aggressive behavior

The Ugly

Lots of scams to watch out for

Now after all that, I’ll leave it up to you to decide if Costa Rica is worth the trip.

So many reasons to go to Costa Rica. Once we get over the fact that yes, Costa Rica is safe for solo female travelers – there is so damn much to see! From spotting quetzals in Monteverde Cloud Forest to zip-lining over the thick canopies, Costa Rica promises adventure and serenity. Here are some reasons Costa Rica is such a popular travel destination.  

Costa Rica is MUCH cheaper to get to from the US and Canada than Europe

If you’re considering escaping winter, you don’t have to bust the bank. Costa Rica is a much cheaper place to warm up than Europe.

Excellent travel infrastructure

Getting around Costa Rica as a solo traveler is a breeze. The economy has been running on tourism for years and this means service providers are ready and available to make things convenient for you.

Diverse ecology

Costa Rica’s breathtaking biodiversity ranges from dense rainforests to pristine beaches. It’s paradise on earth for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Hub for ecotourism

If you’re an ecotourism enthusiast or are looking for a blend of wellness and a well-deserved break, Costa Rica has lots for you.

Perfect landing spot for Latin America

Are you new to solo travel? If you’re looking to explore Latin America, Costa Rica is a great landing spot. It’ll give you the introduction you need to take paths less traveled to less developed countries in South and Central America.

Where Should I Go In Costa Rica?

While each part of Costa Rica holds its unique charm, here are four that stood out, offering a combination of safety and unforgettable experiences:

San Jose

Where should I go in Costa Rica San Jose

No trip to Costa Rica is complete without immersing yourself in the bustling capital city of San José. This city, with its blend of historic neighborhoods like Barrio Amón and the modernity of Escazú, offers a rich cultural experience. 

Here are my picks for San Jose

🏝️ Day Trip

Tortuga Island

🎷 Music

Jazz Cafe San Pedro

🔥 Hot Tip:
When club hopping in San Jose, take a Uber or Taxi from venue to venue. Don’t walk. Especially alone.

Manuel Antonio National Park

Where should I go in Costa Rica Manuel Antonio National Park

With its pristine beaches and dense forests, Manuel Antonio was like stepping into a real-life version of ‘The Jungle Book.’

The park is brimming with biodiversity, and the trails are relatively easy, perfect for solo travelers.

The town has cozy accommodations and delightful cafes, making it an ideal spot to relax after exploring.

Here are my picks near Manuel Antonio National Park.

Arenal Volcano

Where should I go in Costa Rica Arenal Volcano

Majestic and awe-inspiring, the Arenal Volcano is a sight to behold. You CANNOT MISS this active volcano, surrounded by lush rainforests and hot springs. 

Here are my picks near Arenal Volcano.

🌳 Nature

Full Day Hike

🌱 Eco Friendly

Catamaran Eco Adventure

♨ Hot Spring

Perdido Springs


Where should I go in Costa Rica Tamarindo

Tamarindo, nestled along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, boasts golden beaches and world-class surf breaks.

Sunsoaked adventures here you come.

Here are my picks for Tamarindo.

🛍 Market

Tama Market

🍳 Breakfast

NOI Bistro

🎷 Activity

ATV Tour of Tamarindo

Where Do Tourists Go in Costa Rica?

You are spoilt for choice in Costa Rica. Exquisite beaches, magnificent volcanoes, and rich biodiversity surround you. Here are some breathtaking tourist attractions to strike off the bucket list

🔥 Hot Tip:
Share your itinerary with your friends and family and have digital and physical copies of your passport (including the page with your entry stamp) easily accessible.

Where do Tourists go in Costa Rica Tortugero National Park

Tortuguero National Park

Often dubbed as the ‘Amazon of Costa Rica,’ this water-based park is a dream come true for wildlife enthusiasts. 

You will see sea turtles nesting on the beaches, and maybe even an elusive jaguar roaming the dense forests.

Where do Tourists go in Costa Rica Saint Theresa

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa, a quaint beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula, is a surfer’s paradise. Sick waves aside, the laid-back vibe, beachfront cafes, and mesmerizing sunsets make Santa Teresa an idyllic destination.

Where do Tourists go in Costa Rica Monte Verde Cloud Reserve

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Walking through this ethereal forest transported me to another world. The mist, diverse flora and fauna, and the echoing wilderness are pure magic. Try the canopy tours and suspension bridges for an unparalleled forest view.

Where do Tourists go in Costa Rica Gauana castle


Guanacaste is a province dotted with pristine beaches, perfect for those looking to unwind by the sea. From the bustling Playas del Coco to the serene Playa Conchal, there’s a beach for every mood. 

Additionally, the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, with its volcanic hot springs and mud baths, adds a dash of adventure.

Where Should You Avoid in Costa Rica?

If you’re wondering if Costa Rica is safe for solo female travelers – pay attention! Here is a list of places you should avoid in Costa Rica:

  • El Infiernillo, San Jose – El Infiernillo is a three-street-wide section of the northern hills of Costa Rica’s capital. It is known for drug gangs, cartel violence, and everything in between.
  • Puerto Limón, Limón Province – Not so fun fact. 25% of the homicides committed in 2022 happened in Puerto Limón.
  • León XIII, San Jose – Proper barrio-style shanty towns line this area. Gang violence is the norm after dark. Avoid.
  • Jaco, Puntarenas – Thailand’s answer to Patong Phuket, Jaco is home to a whole strip of pumping backpacker bars, plus a slightly less-savory showing of “gentlemen’s clubs”. This brings in the tourists, which in turn brings on street scams, pickpockets, and drunk dangerous buffoonery. I generally skip these types of areas when traveling solo.
  • Cordillera de Talamanca – Alright adventurer, I see you. Popular tourist hiking destinations like Manuel Antonio have clearly marked safe trails. Not to mention the bustling towns nearby. This one is completely undeveloped. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limón – Surfers, keep an eye on your belongings in this gorgeous beach town. There seems to be increasing theft aimed at tourists here.

In short, watch your back in the barrios of northern San Jose, and the east of Limón.

While Costa Rica is safe for female travelers, remember, you’re no longer in Kansas, Dorothy.

I think it’s worth repeating that most crimes against tourists in Costa Rica are opportunistic. Use common sense, a safe, and don’t be the girl that hit the club with all her bank cards and money.

Coolest Places To Stay in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s allure isn’t just in its natural beauty; it’s also home to some of the COOLEST places to stay.

Looking at AirBnb options? Here’s an AirBnb selection checklist for women traveling solo.

Thought I’d throw in a second mention of Tamarindo. But outside of this beach town that has my heart, here are three more suburbs with a total viiiiibe in Costa Rica.

La Fortuna

Coolest Places to Stay in Costa Rica - La Fortuna

Located at the foot of the Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is a place where you can literally sleep in the shadows of a volcano! You can expect eco-resorts, luxurious volcanic hot spring spas, and jungle lodges. Not to mention, an unforgettable stay.

Here are my picks for La Fortuna.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Coolest Places to Stay in Costa Rica - Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Love Afro-Caribbean culture? This laid-back Caribbean town is for you. Experience a harmony of reggae, lush rainforests, and beautiful beaches. Stay in bamboo-framed jungle lodges or boho-chic hostels. And get your dance ooooon.

Here are my picks for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

🦥 Wildlife

See the sloths

🍳 Breakfast

Bread and Chocolate

🖼️ 🍫 Tour

Chocolate Tour


Coolest Places to Stay in Costa Rica - Nosara

Calling all yogis! Nosara is an oasis for yogis and wellness enthusiasts. Serene beach spots aside, the community here will revitalize your body, mind, and soul. Visit for a transformative experience.

Here are my picks for Nosara.


Olo Alaia

🧘🏽‍♀️ Yoga

Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort

🧃 Juice

Go Juice

🏕 Ecovillage

Rancho Margot

Is Liberia Safe?

Liberia the ‘Gateway to Costa Rica’s beaches,’ is relatively safe for tourism.

The Tico culture in general is warm and welcoming. Use common sense, if something is too good to be true, it probably is.

Best Time To Travel to Costa Rica

The best time to travel to Costa Rica is between December and April the weather is dry and the sun bright. If you can stretch your trip to see a little bit of the green season, May to June (or November), even better. In the crossover period, crowds will thin out and you will have more “private” access to the national parks! Way to make space for communing with Gaia ladies.

It’s a tropical country folks. Temperatures stay consistent throughout the year. But god, does it rain all year round. Pack a raincoat or a foldable brolly. Or just get used to it.

How To Get Around Costa Rica Solo

Traveling solo in Costa Rica is easy as pie. Public buses are a popular and economical choice. Shuttle services connecting major tourist spots are available for those wanting comfort and speed. I often opt for spending a little bit more for comfort and safety, especially in countries like Costa Rica where your dollar stretches way further.

🔥 Hot Tip:
Though still not legal in Costa Rica, Uber is a popular option. You may be asked to sit in the front passenger’s seat so that the driver can go incognito. You still have all Uber features. So this remains a safe option. Use rideshare apps for short distances, especially at night.

Getting Around Costa Rica by Bus

One of the most economical ways to traverse Costa Rica is by bus.

The country has a robust public bus system connecting major towns and cities. It’s efficient, cheap, and relatively safe. That being said they are crowded and uncomfortable.

If you are going to put yourself through these buses keep a CLOSE eye on your belongings for the entire trip. No nodding off into sleepytime. Also, zip-tie your luggage shut as an additional measure.

Getting Around Costa Rica by Tourist Shuttles

Don’t want to bother navigating? Tourist shuttles are the answer. These air-conditioned vans offer door-to-door service between popular tourist destinations.

Though pricier than public buses, they offer MUCH more comfort and shorter travel times. You can book tourist shuttles at hotels, local tour operators, or online.

Getting Around Costa Rica by Private Transfer

If convenience and comfort are your top priorities, consider booking a private transfer. While this is expensive, it offers flexibility, especially if you’re exploring multiple places in one day or traveling with luggage.

I often find that this cost evens out when traveling with several people but doesn’t quite add up on solo journeys.

Renting a Car in Costa Rica

Not for the faint of heart. Car rentals are at the expensive end of the spectrum. And roads in Costa Rica aren’t exactly what you may be used to back home. Also, if you are planning on renting a vehicle in Costa Rica, you will be required to show an international driver’s license. Don’t have one? You can get an international driver’s permit online in a matter of minutes.

Expect steep drops and potholed roads. The terrain is safer when navigated by a four-wheel drive. Always have a GPS, be aware of local traffic laws, and try to avoid driving at night.

Is the Tap Water Safe to Drink in Costa Rica?

Yes. You can drink tap water in most parts of Costa Rica. In some rural areas, including the Caribbean and in non-touristy places, you may want to stick with bottled water. One nifty gadget that’s been a trusted travel companion is the Is Street Food in Costa Rica Safe?

Street food in Costa Rica is 💯 safe. And delicious. And cheap. What’s not to love?

I always return for the Empanadas and churros, piping hot from a street vendor. And on a hot day, nothing is more satisfying than a Copos (Snow Cone).

I love purchasing from street vendors. It’s a way to give directly back into the community.

Safety Tips for Costa Rica

Is Costa Rica safe for solo female travelers

Here is a list of things do’s and don’ts for Costa Rica to ensure you have a safe trip!

Get a Day Bag that Locks

Having a reliable travel bag with locks is essential for security and peace of mind. The Bargain Baby, Bargain.

It’s haggle culture over here, so if you’re paying full price, you’re gettin’ ripped off. Start a negotiation at 60% of the asking price and work your way up from there. Don’t be afraid of walking away. There’s often another street vendor around the corner selling pretty much the same thing.

🔥 Hot Tip:
I highly recommend
Never Split the Difference. It’s a great read by FBI negotiator Chris Voss that has greatly impacted my thinking around negotiating with clients, and AirBnb hosts through to street vendors. Everything in life is negotiable.

Learn Un Poquito Spanish

A few words will get you a long way in Costa Rica. The people and culture are warm as is. Showing efforts to understand their culture will further endear you to locals.

Lock Up Your Valuables

Make sure your hotel or AirBnb has a safe in it, and lock your passport and valuables up. Costa Rica is known for petty theft. You do not want lost items derailing a fun trip.

Bring an Extra Debit Card

International transactions can be iffy sometimes. And you could lose your card. Especially when traveling solo this poses immediate stress. Make sure you’re offsetting that risk with a spare card in your safe.

Spend a Little Extra on Your Safety

When traveling in developing economies, I often opt for the slightly pricier, more convenient option. It’s proven to get me where I want to be faster and with less hassle.

🔥 Hot Tip:
If you’re a victim of petty theft Costa Rican police aren’t going to be much help. Still, make sure you get a police report filed for your insurance claim.

Keep your Drink (and Your Purse) Close

Petty theft is the most common form of crime in Costa Rica. Don’t make yourself a target. Try to go out and party with a group of people you have spent some time with and gotten a vibe check on. Stay aware of your surroundings, and don’t get wasted. Especially if you’re hitting the club by yourself.

Stay Hydrated & Lather Up on Sunscreen

Look, Costa Rica is tropical. Which means it’s humid and HOT. Make sure you’re replenishing the sweat you’re breaking. Your skin will thank you for the sunscreen. Try Raw Elements Eco Formula – for a sunscreen that protects your skin and the coral reefs.

Don’t Carry Your Wallet Around in Your Back Pocket. Or Any of That Basic Sh*t.

Girl how many times I gotta say, petty theft is a problem in Costa Rica? Tuck some emergency cash into your bra just in case.

Don’t Leave Your Bags Unattended

This one is especially tough for us solo travelers when we hit the beach. What happens when you want to take a dip? I tend to bring a backup crappy phone I take with me on these occasions. So when I do leave a bag unattended, I have calibrated the risk.

Don’t Walk Alone at Night

As tempting as it might be to take a self reflective stroll along the beach in moonlight, DON’T.

Don’t be Flashy

This is not the time to rocking your designer sunglasses, or bling bling. Forget the real (and costume) jewelry and opt to visually blend into the crowd unnoticed. Don’t make yourself a target. Wallflower is in this solo travel season.

Don’t be Pressured to Entertain Catcallers

Catcalling is a thing in Costa Rica. Don’t feel a need to be polite in these situations. Don’t enjoy the attention, stare straight ahead and walk right by. Try crossing the street if possible.

🔥 Hot Tip:
Catcalling is an unfortunate expression of Latin machismo culture, and this is common in Costa Rica. NEVER feel compelled to entertain anything or anyone that makes you uncomfortable. Trust your gut and don’t worry about being polite.

Common Costa Rica Tourist Scams

Tourist scams are common in developing countries with a heavy bent on the tourism economy. But worry not, armed with these nuggets of information, you will know a scam when you see one.

The following is a by no means exhaustive list of tourist scams you may encounter during your solo trip to Costa Rica, and what you can do to avoid them.

Taxi Scams

It’s common practice for taxi drivers to milk each of their riders for their worth. Whenever you get into a Taxi, make sure the meter is working and set to zero. If they tell you the meter is broken, go with another driver. Drivers are also prone to taking the “scenic” route so they can charge the maximum.

The best way to avoid this is by using Uber, which is a cheaper, safer and more efficient option than local taxis.

Fake Taxi Scams

This one is especially popular in San Jose. Illegal taxis without the right permits flank popular bus stops waiting for the unsuspecting tourist. If you take one of these taxis, expect to be charged in the multiples of the actual price.

Avoid this by being able to identify a legal Costa Rican Taxi. Legal Taxis in Costa Rica are red or orange. They are all metered and have a yellow triangular symbol on the driver’s side door. If you do board an unofficial taxi, always negotiate and agree on a price before you set off.

Or like I said earlier. Just use Uber.

Currency Exchange Scams

If you’re paying in US dollars, pay close attention. The Costa Rican colones have seen a gradual decline in value, and with these daily fluctuations, comes confusion. YOUR confusion, which local vendors sometimes use to gain a profit!

Avoid this by exchanging cash ahead of time and paying for things in colones.

Drink Spilling Scam

Keep an eye out for this one in crowded areas like bars and clubs. Here someone may spill a drink and try to help you clean the stain. All ample distraction for their partner to smoothly make away with your valuables.

Avoid this by being extra vigilant when you’re in crowded areas. And always store a little bit of emergency cash in your bra when you’re out in high-risk venues.

Slashed Tire Scam

Renting a car? This one is one to watch out for. Here you see a team, where one slashes tires and the other comes in to “help” you. You get out of the car. You get robbed.

These are unfortunate circumstances. And at this point, you want to prioritize your physical safety over material things. Only get out of your car to check tires if you’re in a populated area. Otherwise, stay in your car, and call your rental company.

Gas Station Scam

Another one for you car renters. Albeit one with less weight. There are no self-service options in Costa Rican gas stations. So you are entirely in the mercy of your attendant.

To avoid being taken for a ride here, pay attention to both the colones nad liters section before they start filling your tank. They should both read zero. Don’t leave your vehicle as your tank is being filled either.

What to Pack for a Solo Trip to Costa Rica?

With years of practice nailing island chic and running around barefooted on sandy beaches, I’ve got you covered for nailing effortless travel chic during your Costa Rican solo journey.

Showstopping Versatile Travel Dress

Free up space in your suitcase with the Aphrodite Gown by Kasia Kulenty a versatile dress, perfect for transitioning from beach to dinner. Not to mention drop-dead gorgeous!

Vegan Leather Handbag

Dive into the world of eco-chic. Elevate your Costa Rica solo journey with a dash of sustainable flair through the

Classic Sustainable Sneakers

Slip into the Travel Gadgets

As a lover of technology, here are some of my must-haves for your solo trip to Costa Rica.

Smartphone Lens Kit

Favorite amongst professionals and travelers, the

Portable Espresso Maker

Can’t live without your coffee? The