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Low budget adventures - places - get there by public transport?

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Hi to all!
I’m working on a solo, low budget trip to Costa Rica, flying there after 3 weeks, and plan to travel around, about 10 days (before/ after I cross to Nicaragua, for a couple of weeks there also).
This is a revised plan, after an earlier question, so I limit the initial destinations, to make it more realistic.
After some initial research, it seems that CR is not generally a low budget paradise (!), but I’d still like to see something from it, so I’m looking for nice spots, to get a good and true feeling of the country (nature, people) without the expensive eco-lodges, river rafting agencies, taxis, packages of any kind…. These amenities could make a great trip also, no doubt, but cannot do it.
So, best would be, if possible, to get at places by public transport, hike around independently (where it is safe and have clearly marked trails), smell the forest, hear the birds, see the animals, ride (public) boats …
Adrenaline sports, adventure parks, clubbing and drinking are not my thing, anyway.
Some ideas I’d try, are: Poas, Sarapiqui, Tortugero, Manuel Antonio… so many others…
CR has obviously many superb destinations, and I’ve got recommendations from guidebook and forum, but many times, they involve obligatory use of expensive services (travel companies, guides, private transfers, resorts etc), and venturing solo, makes things even more expensive. So I’m looking for some more relaxed situations, backpacker friendly….
It goes without saying that the trip wouldn’t worth, if it was an exile to an insignificant place, just to achieve the low budget aim… The idea is to see some good stuff, yet the small budget.
Your recommendations would be … gold to me!!
Many thanks, happy travels !
Nikolaos

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