10 tips for a solo woman traveling in Costa Rica

14 November 2016

When traveling solo and backpacking through Costa Rica you have the flexibility to go wherever you wish whenever you want. If you decide you don’t like a particular destination then you are free to pack your bag and head off. You can also choose to stay longer if a place appeals to you, if you meet some great people you want to stay with or you just love the accommodation. Backpacking is a great way to travel solo as it makes it easy to visit many destinations, and you can leave at a moment’s notice. You will also meet lots of like minded travelers in backpacker hostels. So for a woman traveling solo to Costa Rica here are tips to keep you safe and enjoy your stay.
1. Confidence
First thing first you have to possess great confident in yourself, The worst thing you can do for yourself both internally and externally as a solo female traveler is look worried or fearful. Even when you’re lost or you’re in trouble, remain assertive and attentive at all times, no matter how tough it can be at challenging times. Just remember it will all be okay in the end
2. Dress like a local
It’s one thing to think and act like a local, but it’s another to dress like one. If you really want to blend in, be sure to take a visual note of what others around you are wearing and follow suit. One of the best lessons I learned traveling alone over the years is how to blend in, and that means dressing like a local when necessary. If that means you have to cover your hair, cover your hair. Or wear long sleeves or loose clothes, etc. It’s important to do some research before traveling and check out what the local customs are.
3. Lose the jewelry
Try and avoid shiny or expensive looking jewelry and accessories. Nice watches, bracelets, necklaces and alike should be avoided. The same goes with top of the range phones, laptops and cameras. Just try and look as simple as you can, during your stay
4. Keep documents safe
It’s very important you keep your documents safe while traveling, including passports, visas and anything you require for a particular country. If you need medication you may need a letter from your doctor so that you can bring it with you into certain countries. Keep this safe as well. Don’t carry all your money with you either; put some away with your documents. Hostels and hotels have safes to store these in and while traveling it is a good idea to keep them in a pouch or bag concealed under your clothing.
5. Money
Costa Rica is not a cheap country, that’s why you must always have at least $20 with you while going on a tour, they take U.S. Dollars (Euros are much harder to change or pay with), and all usual credit cards. In terms of colones, they will always give you back the change in colones. And also Visa and MasterCard are taken almost everywhere and there are ATMs in all big towns.
6. Don’t disclose were you are staying to people
Its very safer not to tell anyone were your camp or hotel is, am not saying you should keep to yourself but for security reasons it is advisable not to disclose were you are staying to people you met while you on tour. Don’t say because you met them that day and you are now friends; no one knows who is bad.
7. Keep an eye out
Always watch out for suspicious movement and use a bit of common sense. Don’t leave bags lying around, even for a minute. For example if you are sitting at a cafe keep the bag on your lap or on the ground with your foot through the strap as some thieves are brazen enough to snatch bags and run. Watch out for crowds of people. Pickpockets sometimes work in groups and will crowd around you in busy places so you don’t notice that you are being robbed. Use common sense when it comes to valuables too. Keep your money and important documents hidden safe under your clothing and don’t wear expensive or flashy jewellery like I said earlier.
8. Avoid been to forward when necessary
It’s really important to remember that in many cultures around the world, women who are very outgoing can be seen as being “forward.” When you are out and you see two people dragging over something you don’t know about, just go on your own way.
9. Have a backup plan
There’s no harm in having a plan A, plan B, plan C, D, E and F (and so on and so forth). When you sense something doesn’t feel right, it’s often for good reason. Trust your instincts and never sacrifice your safety… opt for plan B when necessary.
10. Leave a trail
Social media – with its’ many pros and cons – can be a great tool when traveling solo. A simple check-in at a new location or a quick photo upload will help to keep your family and friends back home in the know of your whereabouts.

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