I originally wanted to do a guided tour from Costa Rica into Panama. I will be staying for a week in Montezuma, Costa Rica but would like to take an extra week to explore more of the area, particularly into Panama. I am thinking that I may have to do this on my own as none of the tours I have come across coincide with the dates I want to do this. I would like information on traveling from Montezuma into other areas of Costa Rica and Panama and flying out of Panama City to come home. I am a 32 year-old female traveling alone. Is it relatively safe for to do this in this area? I also would like any information at all on hostels, ground transportation and the best way to do this route while still seeing all the must-see attractions and anything else I might need to know to do this trek safely and enjoyably!
Which guide book(s) are you using?
I am only in the beginning stages of planning this solo journey....I was originally going to do a tour but just decided recently to go alone so I have actually not acquired a guidebook yet so maybe that would be a good start!
Central America has seen countless backpackers for decades so the entire area in general has a VERY well defined Gringo Trail.
Costa Rica in particular is very well developed with loads of gringos and ex-pats and Panama isn't far behind - both countries are covered in detail by several guide books.
So yes, a couple of guide books would go a long way in relieving any worries... you'll see that travel through both countries is very straightforward and easy.
I'm doing a similar trip, arriving on the 8th in San Jose. I'm a male however.
I'm sure you've come across similar information but a few tips I've picked up:
Strive to be in a safe place a few hours before nightfall.
It's safer to approach someone (for help, directions, etc) than wait for someone to approach you.
Don't be afraid to be direct (if not rude and aggressive) if need be.
You have a boyfriend/fiance if a male is bothering you.
Political march or protest (Panama), GTFO
Get directions before getting into a taxi or on a bus, the drivers are not fond of giving them.
Costa Rica and Panama sound pretty safe though overall, hope you have great trip!