Precautions for avoiding crime in Costa Rica
Below is some typical precautions to take when traveling, especially in developing countries.
Costa Rica is a developing Latin American country, so conditions will be different from the North America, Europe etc.
Costa Rica, while much safer than most Latin American countries, is located between the biggest drug producing countries in South America and biggest consumers in North America; This results in Central America (Costa Rica included) as a main land transport route for much of the drug trade from South America.
Like many developing countries, Costa Rica has limited financial resources and a much lower standard of living; resulting in understaffed and inadequately trained police forces and justice system. Cultural attitudes towards crime are also more permissive than in developed countries.
Opportunistic theft and drug related crime are the two main concerns for tourists. Assaults against female tourists has also been increasing in the last few years.
Here is some general advice to help make your stay a safe one.
Thieves want cash, cell phones, tablets, credit cards, laptops, cameras, jewelry and passports. Before leaving home, ask yourself which of the above do I not need? Always leave valuables in hotel safe and do not carry them around.
Please read the following tips
• Don’t carry much money on you and if you feel you have to, have a little in your pocket and put the main amount somewhere hidden.
• Don’t walk around with your expensive cell phone or your camera hanging around your
• Leave your passport in your safe, carry a copy. Your hotel will usually make one for you. You need a copy of the page with your photo and a copy of the page with the entry stamp
• Don’t take anything valuable to the beach, choose a spot where you can get someone you trust to look after your belongings when going into the water.
• After dark, don’t walk or use a bicycle, use a taxi or your car. Of course, in the centre, after dark on the main streets it should be fine.
• Don’t leave ANY valuables unattended in your car, not even in the trunk.
• A common trick is to puncture your car tires and when you pull over, some people will come and “offer help”. They then try and divert your attention and one of them takes off with your belongings. Better to keep driving if possible and to stop where there are more people around, ideally a gas station or police station or a restaurant.
• A similar trick is to bump slightly into the back of your car, don’t stop and drive on to a safe place.
• If threatened, don’t resist, give them what they want and get help. This may depend on the situation.
• Don’t buy drugs and if drugs are offered, don't trust them, tell the staff of the establishment and go to a safer place.
• Being drunk makes you an easy victim.
• It is much better to be in a group than alone.
• If you do become a victim, ask for help and take the help that is offered, and report; every correctly made report will help make this a better destination.
• If you feel you need to bring electronics, make sure your tracking software is functioning. This can greatly assist and possibly recovering any lost electronics.