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Solo trip to Costa Rica... help!

21 replies

Redtartanshoes · 23/09/2019 18:20

Ds is away for 3 weeks from Boxing Day (aus with his dad) so I’ve got some time to fill. Really fancy doing something for myself, always fancied Costa Rica, although I’m open to suggestions (as long as the weather is good)

So far options are
A) do a package with Tui (although questionable after today), and do day trips to the places close ish by, accept I won’t see everything, but I’ll feel safe, although will be surrounded by couples 🙄
B) plan a trip myself... better value, the things I want to see, might get lonely/scary.
C) throw money at it and go on an organised trip with someone like flash packers. Will meet people, do stuff although not necessarily all the stuff I want to do. Mega ££

Any thoughts /help/handhold would be appreciated

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alreadytaken · 23/09/2019 18:42

Tui are unpopular in Costa Rica for what they did when building one of their hotels.

The roads are not in great condition and some are very steep,, get a powerful jeep if you decide to drive. It is possible to get around by local transport but takes a lot of planning or good advice - try tripadvisor but be more specific about your interests.

I can recommend the website/ company anywhere.com.

There are plenty of other tours available - a quick google www.tourradar.com/s/d-singles-costa-rica

There is a considerable difference in the weather between the two sides of Costa Rica, that might affect your planning. A bit of Spanish is useful, it is possible to get by without it.

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FairyBunnyAgain · 23/09/2019 18:43

Hi OP

We went to CR earlier this year and I wouldn’t recommend option 1 as you really need to travel around to experience the country. We drove and did all self booking but you can easily get buses or organised transport between the main areas if you don’t want to do a full tour.

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SJane48S · 23/09/2019 19:34

There’s another woman who did do one of the TUI AI places and I think managed to cram quite a bit in who if she spots this could offer some advice on Option 1! We travelled around using a local shuttle firm - didn’t cost the earth and meant we could please ourselves in terms of where we went & with the bonus of no driving arguments! Happy to provide our transport company details if you want a quote but you’ll also find some on Tripadvisor.

Re option 3, how about taking a look at Intrepid? They’ve numerous CR options - some of the accommodation will be basic but won’t break the bank - www.intrepidtravel.com/uk/costa-rica/costa-rica-panama-discovery-116315

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GCAcademic · 23/09/2019 19:40

I’m also looking at doing this next year, and have been looking at Llama Tours and Exodus Travels. I don’t fancy driving or staying in a resort the whole time.

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alreadytaken · 23/09/2019 19:42

The company/website I suggested will give you a draft itinerary, suggested hotels, book your transport for you if you wish. Costa Rica is not considered a dangerous country, unless you count mosquitoes.

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PenguinsRabbits · 23/09/2019 20:17

We went to Costa Rica with TUI - loved Costa Rica and very good value for money for a family. I am not sure it would be good value for money on your own though - the rooms were very large. TUI website is down so can't see but think ours was £6300 for 4 of us 2 weeks AI including lots of activities, transfers, hotel and flights (the flights would have been £3,000 of that). Loads of excursions on offer around 20 different ones including Arenal, Monteverde, Carribean side / sloths, Blue River, Buena Vista, Diamante, Nicaragua was next door. We did Arenal, Carribean side / sloths, Buena Vista (ziplining, horse riding, active volanoes, waterslide through jungle - saw monkeys and toucans there), sloth trip, Blue River, and Diamante - very high zipline and wildlife park. At hotel we saw coati, raccoons, geckos, pelican and on trip saw sloths and hotel included windsurfing, SUP and kayaking which we did. Beach and beach volleyball on site.

Our hotel (RUI Guanacaste) was great for things on site and we loved the food - could get waiter service included every night, lots of activities, surrounded by rainforest, kids loved the 5 raccoons that came to every evening meal with us. Its not a couples hotel at all, its a mix of family and quite lively, party type people. Its not somewhere for a quiet break. All kinds of people were there so someone single wouldn't look out of place. Very safe. Best tours were with Gecko Tours from the beach, a Costa Rican company - was just us on the tour they did in their Mercedes van and they told us about history and their lives too - they are flexible and would do whatever we wanted. Lovely guys, very safe.

You may well get better value booking things separately. I wouldn't recommend driving from where we were by - no signposts, roads in poor conditions, herds of animals would suddenly appear on road, lots of driving in middle of roads, driver drove through what looked like 4 rivers with about 80cms of water. You can just get flights with TUI to Liberia or BA go to San Jose. It depends really on how anxious you would be going it alone - it was relatively safe by South American standards, maybe similar risk to London.

I believe TUI also do a grand tour going round and you can do 4 day tours then stay a week at a resort. We met a couple who had done that and they said it was just 4 of them on the trip and they would highly recommend it. We prefer day on tour, day in resort but different people have different preferences and energy levels. The trips were quite full-on starting at 6am or so lasting until dinner time full of activities. So I was happy to have a lazier day next day just kayaking in oceon etc.

If doing it by yourself check Tripadviser/Booking.com - maybe stick to places that are very highly rated and read all reviews. If I was going with kids again I would go back to where we were as kids loved it (both my kids prefer AI and big resorts and 1 ASD/restricted diet, 1 veggie) and easy and safe plus I don't drive and DH wants a break from driving when we are away. Without kids I maybe would do independently with transfers and trips though that's with DH. Without DH would do a tour but I'm not the bravest of people but would be worrying on my own which would ruin some of it.

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Redtartanshoes · 23/09/2019 20:41

Some really useful advice there, thank you. Off to check links.

Tbh I don’t want to drive. I do a lot of driving with work, and although am confident it would stress me out.

Would quite like to meet people too, would hate to be lonely and miserable

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Egghead68 · 26/09/2019 21:45

Had a lovely time with Cox and Kings being driven around by coach. My impression is that it is reasonably safe with good healthcare and very environmentally aware. The roads are awful though and I got a bit sick of eating rice and beans.

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fluffiphlox · 26/09/2019 21:48

Find a Latin America specialist. Or use Explore or Exodus.

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Egghead68 · 26/09/2019 23:44

Central America specialist maybe. Not totally sure but think Latin is more South America.

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fluffiphlox · 27/09/2019 13:29

Quite right.

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rookiemere · 27/09/2019 22:01

If you google Costa Rica tours there seem to be quite a lot of companies that can organise an itinerary for you without it costing the fortune I was quoted by a uk travel agent. Just book your flights separately.

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underneaththeash · 27/09/2019 22:06

I would not use Cox and Kings. They lost us a day of our holiday last Easter by not booking flights.

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jay55 · 28/09/2019 05:32

I explored on my own by bus in my 20s, booked local tours for waterfalls, hot springs etc and booked a last minute deal for a week in a nice hotel at the end.
My friend went a few years later and booked a few places in advance and did the rest on the hoof.
Generally it's an easy place to get around and feels a whole lot safer than the rest of Central America.

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rookiemere · 28/09/2019 07:22

I don't know if these people are good, but they have been very responsive- I'm asking about a rafting trip - and their prices seem very reasonable exploradoresoutdoors.com/tours/best-of-costa-rica/

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Redtartanshoes · 28/09/2019 09:51

All great suggestions thank you. I like the idea of 10 days touring then 4 chilling by the pool

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Phoenixrise · 28/09/2019 10:01

If you want to go with a company have a look at explore worldwide - they specialize in small group tours for solo travellers.

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GCAcademic · 29/09/2019 09:24

I would not use Cox and Kings. They lost us a day of our holiday last Easter by not booking flights.

I wouldn’t use them either. I had a guide in India who had worked for them leading an 11-day tour, and they didn’t pay him and completely ignored him when he tried to chase them up.

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bexm87 · 30/09/2019 11:52

I went to Costa Rica on a group tour with Cox & Kings last year and loved it. There was a complete mixture of ages and not everyone was in a couple which I was pleased about! If you don't want to drive, travelling alone around Costa Rica can be tricky, so I definitely recommend a group tour of some sort. You have lots of free time to explore yourselves but it's also an excellent way to meet people too!

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InOtterNews · 01/10/2019 13:51

I did 3 weeks in Costa Rica (both coasts and middle of the country covered) - 15 days tour with G Adventures and 5 days post-tour just chilling on a beach. Also, check out Intrepid for similar tours. I'm not an adrenaline junkie but more in wildlife/nature and this suited me fine. Both these companies give you the option of having your own room - I shared a room on this trip and made a friend for life but this really is down to luck. There is no obligation to do things with the group. Ages of tour group ranged from late '20s to 70 (I was 41).

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ashmts · 01/10/2019 22:21

The TUI tour then stay holidays are under multi-centres, I think there are 3 different options. I've been looking at them for next year, I fancy the one that is 7 days touring then 7 days in AI resort.

Interesting that TUI are unpopular, would that impact on people's perceptions of us if we travel with TUI?

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