Finally managed to save up enough money for a small vacation. I have narrowed it down to Mexico or Costa Rica. Any recommendations? It looks like I will have to go alone since my friends are either in school or have no money. How can I travel to these places alone, be safe and still enjoy myself?
The "fun" of costa rica costs a little bit of money, because of the hiking, moving around between sites, national parks. I'd absolutely snorkel, cloud walk, river raft, and other stuff there. The food is deliciously more caribbean, than say mexican (think s.american quality steaks, and rice with delicious Lizano steak sauce) vs salsa and more low end chopped up meat of mexico.
The only thing going for mexico would be prix fixe, where you're going to get the most competitive airfare, resort all inclusive cost control, but nothing much to do outside of your actual resort.
So, if price is your ultimate concern, pay attention to what you actually want to do on the ground. Just add it up daily. Costa Rica has a coast, and various cities and tours and food is ultra-cheap, but you'll be doing it a la carte. If you just want to visit one beach and stay there like you would in Mexico, that's fine too. You can always go back and see the rest. For the ultimate in cost control, you cruise, but it's not always cheapest when it's 1 per cabin. Talk a friend into going with you so you split the nightly rates.