Security Risks for tourists in Costa Rica

Compared to its Latin-American neighbors Costa Rica still is a relatively safe travel destination. However, thievery is a serious problem and also violent crimes with robberies at gunpoint have increased, even on the remote Nicoya Peninsula.

Take extreme care and use common sense to avoid any risk.

The most important Rules for Safety:

  • Be alert – you might always being watched.
  • Never, really NEVER, leave valuables unattended in your vehicle.
  • 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.
    Your accident might have been manipulated and the helpers just want to rob you.

More advice for travel safety:

Should you’ve been robbed there is little recourse. You can file your report with the police and that’s it.
In Costa Rica petty crime (a theft worth less than $1,000) is hardly punished, nor is there prosecution for minors below the age of 18. Even if you catch the thief and deliver him to the police he is probably released the next day without any consequences.