I loathe being dependent on someone or something to achieve a goal so much so that I refuse to drink coffee to avoid of becoming too reliant on a caffeine fix to start my morning. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t play favourites with lipstick shades for fear of the colour becoming discontinued so imagine how having to depend on another person to travel must chaff me. Finding a travel buddy with the same budget, flexibility, and goals is a feat of Herculean proportions akin to finding a seat on the subway during rush hour.
Itching to hop on a plane and too impatient to wait for other people to become available to make it happen, I booked a flight to Costa Rica – an ideal destination for solo female travellers. Not only is it a tropical paradise but it’s full of escapades that was sure to get my heart racing.
Keep reading to see how Costa Rica is the ultimate trip for an independent thrill seeker to chase adventure across.
The sleepy community of Monteverde doesn’t seem like the ideal spot to kick off an adventure-packed trip in Costa Rica but the area is host to the namesake Cloud Forest Reserve.
ZIPLINE THROUGH A CLOUD FOREST
Trek through the misty forest, characterized by the ever-present fog shrouding the densely wooded area, till you reach the highest point where you can attach your harness to the front of you or if you’re daring, to your back so it feels as if you’re soaring over the tops of the towering trees. As you glide along the industrial strength cable in the sky, the unhindered bird’s eye view of the unspoilt landscape below will render you in utter awe.
Next stop in Costa Rica to get your blood pumping is a jeep-boat-jeep ride north through Jurassic Park-esque proportioned highlands and across Costa Rica’s largest lake – Laguna de Arenal – to La Fortuna. Deceptively unimpressive at first glance, this quiet, agricultural town, aptly named for it’s fertile lands, is the gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park.
HIKE A DORMANT VOLCANO
During the day, go on a hike through lush greenery, over precarious hanging bridges, and past impressive waterfalls to a steep clearing to catch a glimpse of the dormant Arenal Volcano lurking behind passing clouds.
SOAK IN HOT SPRINGS
The foot of the volcano is abundant with hot springs that are naturally heated to 30 to 50 degrees Celsius that manage from rivers in the depth of the earth’s crust. Unwind after a long travel day by soaking in one of the many pools such as the ones at Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort, complete with broad palm leaves, tropical blooms, and a steamy waterfall flowing over a constructed cliff to conceal caves.
CAMP IN A SAFARI TENT
Where better to spend the night on an adventure-seeking trip than camping out in a legit safari tent? Arenal Backpackers Resort has comfy queen sized beds stowed away inside sturdy tents that are raised on wooden pallets under a covered area outdoors. Luxuriate in the comfort of the indoors while enjoying the experience of camping. Don’t worry about bears or other intruders – hefty locks are provided that you can secure from the inside of the tent.
RAPPEL DOWN A WATERFALL
Don’t leave La Fortuna without testing your limits by going canyoning! It’s a thrilling activity of travelling in a canyon, whether it’s by hiking through it, climbing over the limestone walls, or wading through thigh high waters. Follow the flow of the rushing rivers running throughout the moss-covered interior of the canyon before getting your adrenaline pumping by rappelling down a 165 foot waterfall.
THE NICOYA COAST
If you want to work on your tan while still satisfying your need for adventure, head south in Costa Rica to the Nicoya Coast. Set up camp at an eco-B&B like Luz en el Cielo in the hippie beach town of Montezuma to soak up some vitamin D during the day and being lulled to sleep to the sound of crashing waves nearby.
HIT THE ROAD ON AN ATV
As soon as the sun rises, grab a cheese and bean empanada – so fresh that it’s still warm – rent an ATV, throw on some shades, and take a cruise down the coastline. These all-terrain vehicles are perfect for conquering dirt roads along the way to exploring nearby towns while enjoying the glorious stretches of sandy beach.
CATCH A WAVE IN SANTA TERESA
Park your quad at one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches, Santa Teresa, and slather yourself in sunscreen before heading into the frothy waves for a surf lesson. Whether you actually manage to stand up on your board or not, the pursuit of the perfect ride will satisfy your adrenaline cravings while the sunshine and ocean wakes up the senses.
Before heading back to Montezuma, perch on shore to witness the unreal sunset in vibrant shades of pink and purple.
JUMP OFF OF A WATERFALL
Don’t go chasing waterfalls, jump off ‘em! Consider rappelling in La Fortuna the warm up; the opening act to the main event. Hike to the trio of waterfalls that progress in height – from 15 to 80 feet – within walking distance of Montezuma. Clamber up the slippery rocks, stand at the edge of the rapids, take a breath and a leap of faith (literally!), plummeting into the refreshing pools below. Daredevils may be tempted to jump from the highest waterfall but there are too many rocks so stick to the 40 foot one in the middle.