Hitchhiking is never entirely safe in any country, and we in no way recommend it. Travellers who hitchhike should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk. People who do hitchhike will be safer if they travel in pairs and let someone know where they are planning to go.
On the main roads, the frequency of inexpensive buses makes hitchhiking unusual, except during the holiday periods when buses may be full. If you do get a ride, offer to pay for it when you arrive: "¿Cuanto le debo?" (How much do I owe you?) is the standard way of doing this. Often your offer will be waved aside; sometimes you'll be asked to help with gas costs. If you're driving, picking up hitchhikers in the country-side is normally no problem and often gets you into some interesting conversations.
Tico hitchhikers are more often seen on minor rural roads. If you hitch, imitate the locals. They don't simply stand there with their thumbs out. Vehicles may pass only a few times per hour and ticos try to wave them down in a friendly fashion, than chat with the driver about where they are going and how lousy the bus service is. (This gives you a chance to size up the driver and car occupants; if you don't feel comfortable, don't take the ride).
Pictures by Jörn Malek. The team of 1-CostaRicaLink and Costa-Rica-Information-Mobile wishes you the best of times in our little paradise called Costa Rica.
Text by Lonely Planet.
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