Is Costa Rica safe? Generally speaking, Costa Rica is a peaceful and safe country. Indeed, it has one of the lowest crime rates in all of Latin America. However, nowhere is completely without danger or crime and Costa Rica is sadly no different.
Below is a short list of things to be mindful of to make sure your visit to Costa Rica is as safe and enjoyable as possible.
As in many places around the world, visitors to Costa Rica can be the targets of non-violent theft. People new to the country often casually carry wealth and valuables around when local Costa Ricans do not; they may be less mindful of certain things that someone used to the country are more familiar with. As such, it is not uncommon for items to be stolen from travelers. Sometimes this is in the form of items left on the beach being snatched, or cars broken into. But bag snatching, pick pocketing and even muggings, although rare, can occur.
To help mitigate these dangers, its best to keep your valuables out of sight. Keep the most important items, such as your passport, safely locked away in your hotel (ideally in the hotel safe).
In addition, it can be advisable to avoid going out alone at night, and seek safety in numbers. Most criminals are opportunists so denying them the chance to steal from you is best. An effective way of doing this is to simply avoid places where they operate, so if you can, avoid the Hospital (which is the name of one of the city’s districts, not a medical facility) and Pavas areas of San Jose, which have higher rates of crime.
While most crimes and thefts occur in the cities, it’s not unknown for similar crimes to occur in national parks or rural areas too. In fact, the area around the Arenal Volcano was once without internet signal for several days as someone stole the area’s fiber-optic cables!
Taking a taxi is often one of the most efficient ways to travel around a city. Yet, several cases of people unlawfully posing as legitimate drivers to con others have been reported across the country. Luckily, there are ways to tell the difference between one of these Taxi Paratas (Pirate Taxis) and a legitimate taxi. An official Costa Rican taxi is red, with a triangular sticker, and a plastic box on the roof listing the driver’s name and taxi company on the top.
However, if you can, only get into taxis you have specifically requested for to minimize any potential risk.
When you see a taxi, make an effort to check if the driver’s ID card is visible on the dashboard and that they use the meter while driving. These measures will greatly decrease (the already low) chances of encountering danger.
While in Costa Rica, your private vehicle will be at your disposal during your sightseeing tours. If you wish to explore the city or town at your own pace, your guide or your hotel will be able to arrange safe and convenient transportation for you.
Costa Rica’s status as one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world may be a blessing, but it is also something to keep in mind as you travel. Wildlife species can be unpredictable and hence dangerous. While you may be familiar with the dangers related to some animals, both sharks and crocodiles are known to frequent Costa Rica’s waters. It is therefore advisable to ask your guide’s advise before you decide to dive in.
Other dangerous animals may be less obvious to you such as the Poisonous dart frog, or the small but lethal Brazilian wandering spider. Because of these natural dangers, if you go exploring the rainforests and wildernesses of Costa Rica, the presence of an experienced and knowledgeable guide is essential.
Aside from these, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions (the Arenal is an active volcano), and oceanic riptides have occurred in and around Costa Rica so, if you are concerned, it can be useful to research reported risks prior to visiting a place.
Exercising a little caution can go a long way in keeping you safe and protected during your tour. Please refer to the Costa Rica travel advisory for more information.
Your safety and security are our top priorities. Your Travel Consultant will be happy to advise you on the do’s and don’ts while planning your trip. During your tour, your trusted guide and personal chauffeur are happy to help you see and do everything you wish to. While you travel, your Trip Coordinator will be available to assist you around the clock and answer any questions that you may have.
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