What’s Backpacking Alone in Costa Rica REALLY Like?

Posted by Sep25, 2013 Comments (0)

backpacker

Reading a tour guide about all the rafting and hiking you can do doesn’t really help if you’re deciding whether to backpack through the country on your own. If you want to travel to Costa Rica you need to consider the various nuances, such as language. We haven’t gone into the things you can do here. We know there are lots of things to do for tourists. Instead, we’re going to discuss the fundamentals of what makes a country a great place to travel to on your own.

Safety

Safety is the main priority for any traveller, but it’s especially important for the solo traveller. In short, you won’t find many examples of violent crime in Costa Rica. Pickpocketing is the main issue. You’ll find a lot of this around the markets in central San Jose. There are some areas of the capital where you might not feel safe, but since these are well out of the way and there are few attractions here it shouldn’t be a problem.

English Speaking Locals

Whilst Spanish is the first language, most Ticos have a good grasp of English. They might not always be fluent, but you’ll understand them well. English is a staple of the modern schooling system and therefore younger people will probably have a better understanding of the language than their modern counterparts.

If you need help, signal someone nearby and you should be able to communicate with them. Try to learn a few words of Spanish just to be courteous, though!

What about the Culture?

Costa Rica is strange in cultural terms. It’s devoutly catholic yet everyone looks at their religion in a very easy-going manner. You’re free to practice and preach other beliefs. The culture and the values are different from what you’re used to, but there’s nothing strict about it. If you make a social faux pas someone might politely point it out to you, but the chances are most people will ignore it and carry on.

Getting Around

Wiley Brooks-Joiner / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Driving isn’t the best, and to travel in Costa Rica you’ll usually need to employ a guide to get to the remote areas. Largely, it isn’t bad and you can do well with public transport and rental cars. As long as you know where you’re going and have a rough idea as to the direction you’re going in, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to fully explore this colourful nation.

Travelling alone in this part of Central America is easy. There are notable differences in language and culture, but crime is probably worse in your home country and there’s always a friendly face willing to help you out. Come to Costa Rica and you’ll be able to enjoy the solo travel experience of a lifetime!

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