San José, the capital of Costa Rica, isn’t the first city that comes to mind when thinking about creative urban destinations. Travelers visiting this Central American destination often skip the city altogether, catching shuttles to tourist towns like Monteverde or the beaches of Manuel Antonio. But because of the city’s university communities and job opportunities for all kinds of creatives, plenty of talented tattoo artists call San José home.
Tattoo tourism isn’t ideal for most budget backpackers. You have to pay for typical travel costs like transportation and accommodations on top of the artist’s fee. But the experience of supporting a local tattoo artist and receiving a souvenir that will be with you forever definitely makes for a memorable trip.
Rachel Eubanks is a writer, photographer and social media manager currently based in Monteverde, Costa Rica, where she eats beans and rice for three meals a day and captures the cultural practices of a small ecotourism town in the happiest country on earth.