9 Reasons Why Costa Rica is the Best Country for Solo Female Travel
Costa Rica was my first real solo trip abroad.
When I saw the $150 roundtrip airfare to San Jose pop up while hanging out at a friend’s house in Miami, I knew I had to snatch it up, even if no one else could go.
That last-minute 8-day trip would change my life forever.
I’d traveled abroad before, even spending 3 months in Europe and North Africa in college, but it was with a study abroad crew. This was different. I’d never flown truly and completely solo.
Six years later, and I still can’t stay away from this country for long, although I’ve traveled to many more places alone since then. Costa Rica was the catalyst that started my obsession with solo female travel.
Being truly alone fostered a relationship between person and place that felt distinctly different than my prior travels. Those had been crushes, but Costa Rica was my first love.
It was the best introduction I can think of to solo female travel. Costa Rica is the best country for solo female travel because it helps you to break out of your shell, try new things, gain a sense of independence, and do it all in a safe and positive way. Here’s why.
9 Reasons Why Costa Rica is the Best Country for Solo Female Travel
9. It’s safe
When I visit home and tell people that I live in Costa Rica now, some know little more about the country than its location in Central America (in fact, some didn’t even know that much). These people often remark with surprise and fear at the thought of living in this foreign land, telling me I’m crazy to go to a place so filled with crime, drugs, gang-activity, and violence. The funny part? Costa Rica is a beacon throughout the world for peace and pacifism. The United Nations has headquartered the University of Peace here. They don’t even have a military! It was abolished in 1948. It’s also the safest country in Latin America, and it’s ranked as the 10th safest country in the world.
Get this… It’s safer than the United States. That’s right, traveling to Costa Rica on your own could actually be safer than staying at home.
Of course, it is critical to exercise caution and do your research before jumping in. But as long as you stay smart, keep your valuables in a safe place, and prepare yourself by reading about areas and asking your hotel or more experienced travelers, you’ll be safe.
8. Lots of female travelers
I encounter tons of female travelers in Costa Rica, both in groups and solo. Although I couldn’t find any statistics on this, they seem just as common, if not more common, than groups of male travelers in many parts of the country. It’s a popular destination for your fellow solo female travelers, which means you’re in good company to make friends!
7. Beautiful beaches
With long stretches of coastline along both the Caribbean and Pacific ocean as well as two lush peninsulas, Costa Rica is filled with so many beaches it would take months to see them all.
And while beach parties with big groups can be fun, there’s nothing quite like laying out on the sand all on your own, soaking up the sun, reading a good book, and going for an occasional dip in the ocean. Beaches are a great place for alone time.
6. Adventure tours
That being said, a little adventure can spice up your solo travel, and give you some much-needed social time.
Costa Rica is filled with adventurous destinations and activities, from ziplining to volcano-hiking to river rafting, and you can always hop on one of these tours on your own. If you’re worried about feeling awkward riding solo on a tour, it’ll fade faster than you can say “dios mio!” when you start flying through the jungle, hundreds of feet in the air, attached to nothing but a cable. These adrenaline-pumping adventures inevitably help you build bonds with the people in your tour group, so they’re a great way to make new friends.
5. Bond with animals
You’re never alone in the best country for solo female travel because you’re always surrounded by wildlife.
While some of it is a little intimidating (jaguars and snakes and spiders, oh my!), waking up to the calls of howler monkeys and toucans and taking a walk on the beach with baby sea turtles makes you feel like you’ve got friends right outside your window. Most of the hotels and hostels I’ve stayed in have pets (Blue Osa has three dogs and four cats as residents!).
You’ll even grow fond of the crazy looking bugs and geckos that hang out around you.
4. Yoga and meditation
Yoga and meditation are great activities for the solo traveler, and they’re very popular in Costa Rica.
Unless you’re in a rural area, it’s hard to walk a few blocks without encountering a yoga studio, and there are tons of beautiful retreat centers. One of the things about traveling in the best country for solo female travel is learning to be more in tune with yourself, and you can increase that benefit with a little yoga in the rainforest or meditation on the beach.
3. Easy to get around
The infrastructure in Costa Rica is some of the best in Latin America.
It’s no cakewalk, but it isn’t hard to get around the country via shuttles and planes (and even the public bus system) once you get the hang of it. It’s a system that’s easy enough to figure out eventually, but challenging enough to make you feel accomplished when you do.
2. Everyone is friendly
Ticos (Costa Ricans) are generally very friendly people, as nearly anyone who’s spent time in Costa Rica will tell you.
Hospitality is an important value in Costa Rica, and you’ll feel it. At every turn, you’ll find someone willing to help you out when you’re in a pickle or in need of directions, and often they’ll go far out of their way to do so. So many Ticos have a genuine love for showing off their beautiful country to visitors.
It’s even been named as one of the world’s top 10 friendliest countries.
1. The happiest country on earth
Costa Rica is the happiest country on earth. Like, it’s been proven.
If you’ve been, you’re probably not surprised. It’s almost impossible to feel sad when you’re surrounded by so much natural beauty, wildlife, tranquility, and friendliness. Being in a foreign place alone can come with occasional feelings of depression and loneliness. Traveling solo teaches you the valuable lesson of how to fight those obstacles, and doing it in such a happy place provides a lot of support.
Ready to hop on a plane to Costa Rica with nothing but you and your backpack? Read our guide to staying safe in Costa Rica as a solo female traveler.
About The Author
Elizabeth Aldrich is a lifelong traveler and freelance writer specializing in arts and entertainment, travel and lifestyle, and finance and business writing. She’s written for outlets as varied as Rawckus Music & Arts Magazine, Credit Karma, Sweden Tips, and Engadget. Elizabeth has a knack (read: obsession) for finding the best deals, travel hacks, and hidden gems everywhere she goes, which she blogs about at Temporary Provisions. You can find her playing the urban romantic in NYC, downing Stumptown coffee in her hometown of Portland, OR, or retreating from the madness in the rain forests of Costa Rica. To see more of her work, visit her at www.elizabethaldrich.com.