For solo vacation destinations, it is hard to beat Costa Rica. It has something for everyone and at an affordable price. If you choose as I did to go off-season, it is an even better buy considering the surcharges routinely added to solo travel packages making it hard to find well-priced luxury travel options for single travelers. These price drops come about quickly after the summer crowds head home so I took the opportunity to visit in September. Although it was still the rainy season, I don’t recall having to dust off my umbrella even once. Fall deals may also reflect smaller crowds where some tourists may avoid the entire Caribbean because of publicity about hurricanes. In actuality, Costa Rica is seldom impacted direct hurricane hits and despite its size has several different climate zones. All in all, it was one of my very best solo travel destinations.
Hotels are abundant at a wide range of prices from global high-end chains to smaller locally-owned properties. TripAdvisor lists 120 hotels in 20 different locations within Costa Rica. A local site listed 61 hotels categorized as 5-star with nightly rates from a modest $113 soaring to $1240, providing virtually unlimited luxury travel options for single travelers. Seven of those 5-star hotels were in the $200-$299 range and although not inexpensive, they compare favorably with resort prices around the world.
Costa Rica is one of the best resorts for singles since it offers 4 different types of top vacations for those traveling alone: 1. historic and cultural travel packages that reflect both the Caribbean and Latin American heritage, 2. ecotourism or green travel packages, 3. adventure tour guides-info.org and 4. beach getaways not just for honeymooners.
I began my trip in the capital, San Jose, piecing together my own cultural travel package as I went along. The country’s Spanish colonial history began in the early 16th century when Christopher Columbus in his travels was credited with naming it Costa Rica. After its first Spanish settlers arrived in 1522, approximately 300 years followed before independence was achieved.
The city has a number of museums to explore, such as the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. However, it was the Museo de Oro (Museum of Gold) that really intrigued me. Not only was it filled with gleaming gold artifacts, they represented the much earlier, pre-Columbian figures from before the arrival of the Spanish. (In addition, the adjacent gift shop sold copies of these unique items, perfect to take home as presents for friends and family.)
History scholars and architectural enthusiasts may be disappointed to find that most of the intact buildings in the capital only date back to the 1800’s rather than the colonial period. The impressive Metropolitan Cathedral of San José was built in the late 19th century replacing the original structure destroyed an earthquake. Newer, but regarded as San Jose’s finest historic building, is the National Theatre of Costa Rica, also dating only from the end of the 19th century. Now celebrating its 117th anniversary this year, it is known for its ornate interior of pink marble and gilt but also houses an elegant Viennese-style coffee shop. Out front two imposing statues, Ludwig van Beethoven and the 17th century Spanish playwright, Calderón de La Barca, keep a watchful eye on 21st century visitors as they enter.