Buses will more than likely be your most common form of transportation for long distance travel across Costa Rica. These bus ride are a huge bang for your buck and the best way to get around the country if you are on a budget. Here are a few of our tips for staying safe and comfortable on bus rides.
Most first time visitors to Costa Rica are terrified of placing their bags under the bus. There is little to be worried about here. It is actually more dangerous to carry your bag on the bus.
Protecting Your Belongings
There are a few main scams to look out for when traveling on buses. Here are a few of the common ones and how to protect yourself from them:
Pickpockets – These guys usually target bus locations where the bus will become very crowded, very fast. These types of locations include places such as ferry transfers, docks, and other popular tourist stops. If you are on a bus that is standing room only, keep an eye on anyone who is trying to make their way to the back of the bus by pushing and shoving. They are most likely a pickpocket. To protect yourself, don’t leave anything in your pockets and wear your backpack on your chest so that you can keep an eye on it.
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Bag Passers – Long bus rides usually have a pit stop along the way. This stop is almost always at the same spot everytime and known by all. At these stops, sometimes people will get on the bus and look for bags that have been left on the bus. If they find a bag, they will pass it out the window to their partner. The best way to protect yourself here is to either stay on the bus or take your bag with you.
Buses here are luck of the draw when it comes to how comfortable they are. Some are air conditioned and have nice padded seats, while others barely have seats and windows that don’t open. Here are something I do to stay comfortable on the bus.
Therm-a-rest makes an inflatable seat cushion. I always carry this in my day pack in case the bus has make shift seats. These inflatable seat cushions are also great for boat and ferry rides.
Neck Pillows are great for sleeping on the bus. Most roads will be too bumpy to allow you to sleep against the window comfortably. Neck pillows will allow you to sleep exceptionally well even on the bumpiest of bus rides.