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Old 01-08-2006, 03:47 PM   #1
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Hey all- I'm looking into a trip to south/central america probably costa rica. I've travelled alone in Europe and in Australia an I did the backpacker/hostel thing. Does anyone know how it works in S. America? Costa Rica? Are there a lot of hostels? Is it safe to backpack? (I'm blonde with blue eyes). Any info would be helpful. Thanks ;-)
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:11 AM   #2
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Backpacking will be the same in Latin America, but it is very helpful to learn some basic Spanish, or at least common phrases. I was in Costa Rica last year and it was totally smooth sailing, especially with a bit of Spanish to help the process along.

It's also just as safe as anywhere else - being white isn't a liability, although some places might be more likely to charge you tourist prices, though even then everything is super-cheap.

Hostels are cheap, safe, and plentiful - just do a lookup for cities you'll be visiting.

Costa Rica is the most prosperous of Central American countries (due to all the tourism) which makes it among the safest and, of course, most well-prepared for foreigners. Naturally, there are bad spots in big cities like San José and Limón to worry about, but you'll generally know to steer clear of them.

If you want more info, do a search for threads on Costa Rica - there are a handful of 'em, including one of mine that has a play-by-play. Buena suerte!
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Old 03-12-2006, 12:58 PM   #3
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i am also travelling alone to Costa Rics, i don't think it will be a problem being a man. but i am looking for some tips on the best beach cities in CR. i will be ther in May and June
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Old 03-12-2006, 08:31 PM   #4
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Jaco beach for surfing... Playa Dominical... Playa Grande (Tamarindo)

are the best beaches (well that's how I feel)

and no there should not be a problem with anyone male or female who wishes to travel alone in CR... just ensure that you respect the cultural rules... women should not wear tank tops that are spaghetti straps... as this is seen as crud and will cause you to be harrassed... however if you are dressed right there really should be a need to worry.. I went through the country for two weeks without a single problem... granted I had other people around me.. but not all the time

P.S San Jose SUCKS stay there for as little time as possible.. I personally found it dirty and dangerous..
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Old 03-12-2006, 09:43 PM   #5
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I did 8 days hiking/ecotour through Costa Rica in January. I have to say it was the best time I've ever had traveling, and I did it solo. Along the way I met plenty of folks and had a blast.

For safety's purposes, a few pointers:

San Jose can be very dangerous for tourists and locals alike after dark. As MG said, spend as little time there as possible. I'm sure Omid could, and I will definitely suggest that when there, stay at Hostel Pangea (www.hostelpangea.com). They offer a shuttle from the Juan Santamaria Airport (if you fly to San Jose, its where you'll be) for at most $14 pp. If you get lucky, you'll be riding in with several people, and the cost drops to $6 or so pp. (email them ahead of time and reserve a spot, its very popular and that way you make sure the shuttle is there) Cabs are around $20, and you do not want to take a bus in. The bus stop is in a BAD part of town.

Spend as little time as possible there, and if you do go out at night, taxi everywhere directly- do not walk around by yourself at night- it plain isn't safe.

Ask the hostel desk folks about what to do/where to go/where not to go and pay close attention to that. Once it got dark out, I didn't venture outside Pangea (there wasn't really a reason- they had a bar and little soda on the roof.)

Beaches- I cant really specifically say any over another but I do know that a lot of friends I met had a blast in Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast, but they said they were also VERY touristy. I did meet someone that was mugged at gunpoint in Tamarindo, however, so use caution.

FWIW, the Ticos I talked to told me that the majority of the crime comes from poor Nicaraguans and Panamanians coming into CR because the economy and standards of living are so much higher there than at home. They also said parts of the Limon province are pretty rough, too (Carib. side), specifically Puerto Limon.

Exercise caution- don't leave your bags unattended, don't wear flashy jewelry, advertise your iPod, camera, etc etc and you'll be okay. Use common sense.

If you are interested, I doc'ed my trip on my blog... Misadventures of a Crazed Kitchen Pirate

Any other questions and we'll be more than happy to answer them!

Pura Vida!!
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