Is it safe to backpack in Costa Rica??
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Jul 26, 2010 12:32 PM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Jul 22, 2010 6:55 AM
Is it safe to backpack in Costa Rica??I am considering a backpacking trip in Costa Rica. Is this safe for 2 females to do? We would just have a flight there and flight back with no plans in between - figure it out as we go. We would stay in hostels or hotels as we go and take public transportation. I have some concerns with safety regaridng this. What is the transportation situation like? Is it safe and reliable? As far as hostels, etc. are these safe in Costa Rica. What other concerns should I really have about this or am I over reacting. I do not know what Costa Rica is like and do not want to be in a bad situation. I really want to do this because it will be an amazing experience, just don't want to be unsafe. Please advise!!!
Jul 22, 2010 7:00 AM
Jul 22, 2010 7:17 AM
2I have done some reserach. My friend planned this and just invited me last minute so I am trying to figure out if it makes sense to do.
Yes, I have travelled a lot in all parts of Mexico, to Portugal, Azores, France and Tunisia, Africa. However, I have never done a "backpacking" trip or stayed in hostels. I've always planned out my trips - not gone on a whim.
Any advise would be helpful.
Jul 22, 2010 7:17 AM
3It is safe if you follow the basics like watch your stuff all the time, stay out of the cities as much as you can and don't go out in them at night. Travel light, you need much less than you think. Don't bring camping stuff, maybe just a bag liner. Hotels are cheap and there are always rooms. Get a good travel guide book.
Jul 22, 2010 8:39 AM
4Well I would be flying in and out of Liberia. We want to go to Nosara and Tamarindo. My friend does not want to plan anything. She wants to stay longer where we like and leave where we don't. Are these areas touristy or desolate - what about safety travelling public transportation in these areas or can the transportation be sketchy and unsafe?
Jul 22, 2010 10:02 AM
Jul 22, 2010 4:12 PM
Jul 24, 2010 7:54 AM
Jul 24, 2010 8:26 AM
8Costa Rica is the easiest country in Latin America to break into Backpacking, its so user friendly, many people avoid it as too westernized, haha
Jul 24, 2010 6:49 PM
9There is no place in the world where someone can be sure nothing will happen to them, even in your own home. I've been to Costa Rica twice, went by bus, went to so called dangerous places like Puerto Limon (which I loved) and nothing happened to me. Chances are good that if you stay alert, nothing will happen to you. Enjoy travel, fear kills joy. I've read advice elsewhere on this forum, someone said to not wear a watch, jewelry, etc. I disagree. Chances are good people will know you aren't Costa Rican and guess you have money even if you dress down. Many Latinas like flashy clothes and jewelry, so being like that would not be so out of place in Latin America. (And I'm not trying to make a negative sterotype, I'm glad the grim, dour sewer look isn't popular)
Jul 25, 2010 12:42 AM
10Just stay together, dont travel at night, watch out for dodgy taxi drivers and people hanging around in bus stops (like the coca cola 1 in San Jose). Youll meet tons of tourists like you that you can team up with if you wanted too. Its such a cool Country and not hard to get around cos its so small...Have fun!
Jul 25, 2010 10:26 AM
11People recommend not to wear expensive watches and jewelry for good reason. Just think about it. We are not talking about the well-dressed Costa Rican lady who has a perfectly fitting outfit with accessories to match and some dangly earrings, we are talking about people who come to CR dripping in gold and wearing a Rolex. Why would you want to make yourself a target? Who are you wearing all this jewelry for? Why not just wear a sign on your forehead that says "Rob me." Likewise, the person that moves around in a dodgy area with a $1,000 camera slung around his neck. The same guy who goes into a restaurant, uses his laptop and goes to the bathroom, leaving it on the table. The same guy who goes to the bar, gets drunk and invites his "new girlfriend" back to his hotel room. The same guy who ______________ fill in the blank.
In most parts of the country, there is really no problem with theft. But it can be a problem, like anywhere else. So it is just easier to not make yourself a bigger target by wearing obviously expensive stuff.
Jul 25, 2010 11:32 AM
While not having a plan is great, it's probably a good idea to have a vague itinerary, that you can change, if you fancy at the time.
As a female traveller, I find it worthwhile to pay a little more in San Jose, for a hostel or B&B in a better neighbourhood. You don't need to go overboard - I usually pay about $35 for a single, rather an $8-$10 in a dodgier area.
In San Jose - always take legal taxis, they are no more expensive and they are safer because they are registered.
Pack as light as you can since you'll be carrying everything on your back.
Many hostels can be great, but pay close attention to your feeling about the place (someone else mentioned the gut feeling thing), and often a b&b will be about the same price.
Generally - except in dodgy areas of San Jose & deserted beaches - I feel safe here. But I don't 'party' in the evenings', and am always aware of my surroundings and the people around me.
If you do hikes in more remote areas, seriously consider going with a guide (a locally known one - always ask several people). Not only will you be safer, but you will get more benefit, ie - flora & fauna spotting.
Use a safe when you can for your valuables, bring a lock.....
Good advice above about the the copy of your passport and the camera chip. Also know the phone number of your embassy here, and the emergency number for any cards you have.
But mainly come & have fun. Costa Rica, I feel, is the safest CA country I have been to.
Jul 25, 2010 7:32 PM
13I think your asking for trouble if your toting a Gucci handbag, wearing diamond earrings, expensive watch and other jewelry, the average local makes $70 week, you do the math.
Just because the locals are wearing flashy jewelry, which they can not even access, nor afford the average Tiffanies Charm bracelet, or a $5000 Rolex, so who are you fooling with that comment? Like women wearing Designer jewelry and watches are riding the busses, or even taking a taxi?
The average Tica biggest investment is her cell phone and her denim, after thats its between her top and her shoes. Total cost $25.
Jul 26, 2010 10:07 AM
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