Advice on Going Solo in Costa Rica for Independent Travellers
by Christine Larson
I remember finding my father's Robert Frost book in his library and browsing the dog-eared pages to the heavily underlined part that read:
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;..."-- The Road Not Taken
I'm pretty sure this may have been the spark of my wanderlust ways. I grew up with a longing to travel and see the world, but on my own terms.
My first solo trip changed everything for me. I decided to "Go West, Young (Wo)Man..." and sought to explore the rugged mountains and wild rivers of Colorado and Utah. Traveling alone gave me the chance to indulge myself in experiences I never thought I'd be able to do, like hiking, biking and of course rafting.
When you travel alone, you get to do what you want when you want. You can connect with people if you wish or avoid them completely if you want to be alone. When you travel alone, you travel the way YOU want.
It's not uncommon for us to have solo travelers visit us in Costa Rica. For us at Desafio Adventure Company, we still crave traveling, creating play time, meeting incredible, new people. Many of us are true wanderlusters at heart and open to sharing our travel advice.
Here are some of our top tips to help you travel alone in Costa Rica:
1) Get travel insurance from a reputable source (we like WorldNomads.com)
2) Pack the Bare Minimum - traveling light makes for more room for shopping and bringing back souvenirs and if you forgot something, it's easy to find just about anything you need in Costa Rica.
3) Stay in touch back home - keep a copy of your passport with your emergency contact on it and be sure friends and family have a copy back home, too.
4) Actively post to your favorite Social Media - apart from being fun to track your adventures and share with friends and family, it's a good way to stay safe.
5) Learn a few words in Spanish and making an effort to communicate with locals is always appreciated and Ticos will always want to try out their English on you.
6) Check out local sodas and coffee shops get the scoop on the fun and interesting things to do.
7) Stay at small, family-owned places like hostels or AirBnBs as a way to help the local economy.
8) Take some Day Tours - Meeting people on tours is a great way to make new, lifetime friends
9) Be curious and take the road not taken
10) Stay safe and keep your valuables safe. Costa Rica has a reputation of being a very safe country, but it's always important to be alert and trust your instincts.
Costa Rica is an incredible playground. Its lush jungle and bountiful array of wildlife will surely awaken the adventurer inside of you. The best memories are the moments when you get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and do things beyond your wildest imagination.
So, while you are here in Costa Rica, you can learn so much more about yourself and the world by choosing to go on an exciting adventure.
Why not start with whitewater rafting?
Whitewater rafting is the quintessential water-based activity practiced globally, and Costa Rica is home to some of the top whitewater rivers on the planet.
Enjoy the feeling of total isolation, away from busy urban life and become connected with breathtaking nature and fellow paddlers. As a solo traveller, this is your chance to not only become one with nature, but also bound with new friends as you bond over your new, life-changing experiences.
Facing something bigger than yourself, such as the Sarapiqui River or the Balsa River, can be daunting. Your knees may shake at the thought of conquering something such as a huge river in a foreign country, but that is where we at Desafio come in: we have almost 30 years of adventure experience and for us, the key to successfully experiencing this sport is having quality gear and highly-experienced and trained guides.
Our whitewater rafting guides know how important it is to make sure their team feels safe -- physically and emotionally. They are also more than happy to encourage you to be more aware of your surroundings, and to keep your eyes peeled to the true possibilities of seeing iguanas, sloths, birds, monkeys and an array of unique sights along the way.
But if you're more into soft adventures or getting to know the local culture, Costa Rica is famous for yoga retreats, hiking and at Desafio, we offer an entertaining, hands-on Costa Rica Cooking Class that can also be combined with Salsa Dance Lessons.
But for the Solo Explorer, you won't want to miss out on Stand Up Paddling or kayaking on Lake Arenal at the base of the Arenal Volcano or at the amazing Nicoya Coast of Samara or Carrillo.
We are here to help you out and we'll be sure to help you decide on The Road Not Taken!
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