Safety in Costa Rica
Thievery in Costa Rica is more than common
While armed assaults are still rare, break-ins into houses, hotel rooms and cars, pickpockets on streets, bars,
buses and beach are very frequent. Use common sense and take safety precautions.
The most important Rules to avoid Burglary:
- Be alert - you might always being watched.
- Never, really NEVER, leave valuables unattended in your vehicle.
A break-in is almost guaranteed at Rio Tarcoles while you watch the crocodiles.
- Keep your hotel room's doors and windows locked and store valuables in a safe box.
- In a restaurant or bar keep contact with your bag.
Also take care that nobody has the opportunity to put something into your drink.
- In crowds, buses, or on lively streets wear your backpack on the chest, not on the back.
Always be suspect if anyone pushes against you.
- On buses most thefts happen inside the bus. Never put your bags in the overhead bins.
- Women in particular should not walk alone on the street or beach at night.
- With a rental car be alert if you have a flat tire and people show up to help you.
They might have put a nail under your tire previously and will rob you while "fixing" the car.
Should you've been robbed there is little recourse. You can file your report with the police and that's it.
Costa Rican laws are probably the most lax in the world. Petty crime with a theft worth less than $1,000 is hardly punished. Even if you catch the thief and deliver him to the police they will release him the next day so he can resume his work. Neither is there punishment for minors below the age of 18.
Left to say that the vast majority of Ticos (Costa Ricans) is on your side: they also belong to the victims. Thieves steal as well from their fellow Ticos but most time tourists are an easier prey as they aren't aware of the danger.