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Traveling on a budget - Any advice appreciated!

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Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'm also reading through past posts here - these are great!
9 years ago, February 24th 2010 No: 1 Msg: #104899  
Hello! I have never been to Central America and am taking a life sabbatical to surf and relax. Single, American female, so i do not want to draw attn to myself. My plans:

A. mid-March (already booked): land in evening @ San Jose. I will have to stay at a San Jose hostel.
- Cabs should be OK, correct? Any idea what rates generally are?
- Any recommendations on safe hostels (preferably where there are other tourists?)

B. For the next 22 days, my primary goal is to SURF.
- i want to go where there are nice, easy waves (i am a beginner), and ideally i do not want to travel around too much (so ideally just stay in two or three beaches...). I am thinking Taramindo, Hermosa, and Jaco?
- A bus from San Jose to the beach should be OK, correct?
- Do you think these beaches will be too crowded, since I am going during spring break season? If so, any other beaches to recommend?

C. Then in between I would like to see the Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal, and a few more must-see and perhaps even more remote areas. Def zip-lining and an eco-tour (yes, I am unapologetically touristy!)
- any suggestions or tips on cheaper rates or free activities would be wonderful!

D. Then, early April, I am traveling from San Jose to Farallon, Panama. I will only be in Panama for 3 days before I fly out from Panama City back to the U.S. Here is my understanding of my choices:
- Choice 1: take flight to Panama City; cab to Farallon. Pro: safe, simple. Con: EXPENSIVE!!! ($300)
- Choice 2: tica bus to Panama City, cab to Farallon. Pro: established company, cheap. Con: takes 10 hours.
- Choice 3: take flight to David; bus to Panama City but ask to get off at Farallon. Pro: cheaper flight than Choice 1. Con: no idea which bus companies would even do this.
- Choice 4: is there a choice 4?

Thank you!!!
Reply to this

9 years ago, February 25th 2010 No: 2 Msg: #104915  
Buses are easy and cheap in all Central and Sth America.I don't know about Costa Rica but the surf scene in Panama is thriving.I haven't surfed for 20yrs but I dive so have done many tanks in Panama surf towns.Santa Catalina ,Coiba Islands, was 1 of my fave towns.Its on the Nthern Panama Pacific.
Rather than make plans just get to the 1st surf town then let the other surfers guide your holiday.If it was me I'd have my flight into San Jose and out of Panama City and that would be the extent of my planning. Reply to this

9 years ago, February 25th 2010 No: 3 Msg: #104994  
Hello Suzanna 😊

Single, American female, so i do not want to draw attn to myself.



I think all females seem to attract attention in the world, whether they want it or not. One way to reduce it would be to avoid wearing sexually suggestive clothes. Go for the 'nice girl' look. That is what I generally do in S or C America.

A book such as 'Central Asia on a Shoestring by Lonely Planet' may be a useful purchase for you. It has just about all the information a traveller in C. America could need.

Cabs should be OK, correct?


I almost always avoid them, unless they have a reputation in a particular place for being honest. Public transport during daylight hours is generally a safer option, in my opinion.

You could maybe try staying in hostels. There are plenty of travellers in those, so you would have company, if not privacy. Also, they are generally safe and give good advice about the area. To find one Google the name of the place you are going to be. You can book them on the internet.

Mel Reply to this

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