Costa Rica or other suggestions in SA for a single woman travelling?

Hi guys,
I’ve decided I want to take a break from my way of living and go nomad for a few months (at least). I do music so WiFi is not my main concern, all I need is good inspiration and nice people around me.

I am looking for a mid-cheap / safe place, preferably having a nice beach around. I’d also like to socialize with people from different cultures. Meet and make new friends.
I got sick from living in Europe/US, so I’d rather be far away from these continents.

My choices have come down do Costa Rica, but I’m reading some good stuff about Medellin, Mexico, Panama. I’ve spend quite some time in Asia traveling as well (I love Bali and Koh Lanta), but I’ve never been to South America, so I’d rather go in that direction.

What would you suggest?

Have you considered Rio? or Buenos Aires? To be honest all the options you listed are very good. It really depends on what inspires you. Maybe you can move a little bit from one to another?

I’m pretty much looking for the same thing. Costa Rica is pretty high on my list, too. I’m looking into Colombia now, particularly Cartagena, as I think it’s more affordable than CR and I heard good things…

I’ve been in Medellin for 2 months and really like it. Very safe place, even for women travelling alone - according to the ones I have talked to and what I have noticed. Also very cheap. The Col peso has been beaten down 30% to 40%, so many things are discounted that much if you exchanging dollars or euros.

Going to Panama end of the month for a week to check it out - also it is a very cheap flight from MDE. Planning on Cartegena in Jan, but from what I have found it - definitely more expensive than Medellin. Santa Marta next door is cheaper and less touristy. Also a trip to Leticia / Amazon river is affordable - round trip flights $200-ish.
One thing - not many people speak English…so I am taking Spanish lessons. But I have gotten around pretty with with Google Translate on my phone and Uber English at the beginning of my trip. Now I am comfortable jumping in a taxi - they are everywhere, just raise you arm and most trips are $2 or under.

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Heya! I’m also a solo lady traveler and I highly recommend Sayulita, Mexico. It’s a small town, lots of yoga and surfing and beaches. It’s affordable. Super sunny. And a huge international community of interesting people from all over the world. It is, hands down, the best place I’ve been in Latin America.

I’m currently in Colombia and I’ve been pretty disappointed so far mostly because of the harassment and cultural perception of women. I know not every female nomad has experienced that (I’ve talked to several who adore Colombia), but I’ve found it exhausting and I’ve heard others say the same.

Cuzco, Peru, is also a super cool town. Really beautiful and interesting. I don’t know much about the community there, as I was there with a giant group many many years ago, but it’s somewhere I’d look into if I was thinking about South America for the first time.

Good luck!

Thanks a lot everyone I’m sticking around Costa Rica Medellin and definitely checking out Mexico. if anyone is going in that direction in January hit me up :smile:

Lived in Sayulita most of last year… In Tamarindo Costa Rica now through Feb.

Mexico is much less expensive… And has much more of a music culture… And better food! Sayulita is quite awesome!

Costa Rica has stronger nature and a very international vibe… I hear French, German, Italian, English and Spanish being spoken every day.

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During peak tourist season (winter), you will find travelers from all over the world in Costa Rica. There has been an upshot in burning man culture inspired music festivals throughout the country in the last 5+ years, and a lot of places that were formerly very remote are starting to become a lot more modernized. Check out Puerto Viejo on the east coast, and Dominical on the west coast.

Medellin is the best option for safety, comfort and city vibe. Lifestyle is amazing because of the current exchange and the city is world class.

I traveled through panama and Central America through the first half of the year and I found it to be too sketchy. you have to stick to beach towns where tourism is better managed otherwise its always Risky. Bocas de Toro is a beautiful spot and puerto viejo in Costa rica is not far from there. same with the pacific beaches in Costa Rica.

But for a longer stay Medellin is one of the best options in the planet, by far. Great Weather, Cheap, Entertaining & world class everything. Nothing beats it for getting work done.

I’d like to counter that. There’s big issues with constant catcalling, harassment in Medellin and the rest of Colombia. It’s their culture but it’s rough for female travelers. I’ve heard lots of stories and was just there with my girlfriend and it was pretty much a multiple times per day occurance.

People are really nice though, but somebody needs to kill that macho shit, it’s 2015!


I lived/ traveled solo for 3 months in Costa Rica earlier this year, spending most of my time near Puerto Viejo. I liked it, and it’s safe enough as long as you’re not wandering isolated roads at night – they do have their crime there too, it’s not all serene paradise as the tourist industry makes it out to be. But Costa Rica is not cheap if you want to be in or near a town with services and wifi. They have US prices, basically, in a developing country, though the Caribbean side where I was is a bit cheaper (and cooler, though very humid). Avoid staying in Limón or Cahuita for safety reasons, though they both make great day trips.

While we’re on the subject of personal safety for women (or anyone), I saw this recently – looks promising for travelers:

Hey @ruthkoleva!

I will be travelling around Mexico starting in Mexico City in January.
Let me know where you end up, would be cool to link up if we happen to be in the same spot.

I am a female who has traveled alone for many years (over a decade). Some of my favorite “safe” places are:

-Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Varied international residents, nightlife, activities, yoga, beaches and no car needed to get around. I’ve also heard good things about Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta.

-Costa Rica: CR has gotten more dangerous for everyone (not just women) in recent years. But the country is still quite a gem. My favorite places are Mal Pais/Santa Teresa for a younger, hip, international crown. For nature and solitude, the Osa Peninsula and surrounding area: Puerto Jimenez, Mata Palo area and Pavones (there is a cool place called the Yoga Farm there).

-Puerto Rico: The west and nw coast of the island is very popular with expats; it’s a tight knit, diverse crew that grows every year. Surfers, celebs and health/wellness types are all attracted to PR. It’s also a good jumping off point for visiting places in the Caribbean.

-Bocas del Toro, Panama: Fun, beautiful, laid back place, especially good option if internet isn’t a priority. Pretty safe and striking distance from Panama City if you need a dose of culture and city life.

-Note on Medellín: This is an okay destination for a short term visit, but for a Western woman, there are better places to stay long term.

Places to probably avoid:

  • Honduras: Unsafe
  • El Sal: Unsafe
  • Guatemala: Mixed; beautiful place but better to travel with at least 1 other person
  • Nicaragua: Mixed opinion - Overall Nica is pretty safe but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a great place that stands out necessarily for a Western woman to meet other artists and expats. However, San Juan del Sur is a bit of an anomaly with a diverse population and many tourists, expats and backpackers. That would be one possibility, then pop over to Ometepe and the Corn Islands for something different. If internet isn’t a big issue then that makes it more appealing because it is very affordable. I would recommend checking it out if you spend time in Costa Rica.
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Buenos Aires is about a 6 hour bus ride from the beach and has a huge city feel. I don’t think that’d be the right fit for you. I’m heading to Costa Rica next week and there’s a new coworking space in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Tamarindo is touristy so the cost of living is a little higher there than other spots in the country.

One of my nomad friends loved her time in Florianópolis, Brazil and ended up staying there way longer than she’d initially planned. It is a vacation spot for Brazilians and doesn’t have the safety problems of Rio.