Is it safe to travel in Costa Rica?

There is no doubt that Costa Rica is an absurdly beautiful country. Travelers flock from all over to experience the natural beauty of its rainforests and embark on day trips to experience the waterfalls in Costa Rica, and, of course, spend time enjoying the best beaches in Costa Rica. There’s really no wonder it’s fast becoming the most popular tourist destination in Central America. 

At the same time, going to Costa Rica for the first time intimidates many travelers. After all, it’s an entirely different culture, different ecosystem, different currency, different language, different…everything, really. And new travelers can easily be intimidated by the fear of the unknown. 

But let it assure you – Costa Rica is a very safe country to travel in (this risks largely amount to being scammed out of a few dollars). However, with a few helpful tips of things to watch out for, you can feel much more prepared for what’s ahead. 

Costa Rica Travel Safety

Looking for the do’s and don’ts? Here are some basic things to always keep in mind when moving around in Costa Rica: 

  1. Don’t Isolate Yourself: You would do well to always stay in populated areas, especially after dark. Being isolated makes you much more vulnerable to the possibility of being mugged. Avoid isolated places and (even better) make friends who are also traveling so you can always have safety in numbers. 
  2. Learn Some Spanish: You will find some English in Costa Rica, but certainly not everywhere, and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where communication is necessary, but impossible. Learn a few standard phrases (think restaurants, bus stations, taxis, medical services) and keep a phrase book handy for anything you don’t remember. 
  3. Hold Onto Your Bags: While you may want to leave you things on the beach while you go for a dip, don’t. This is the easiest way to be taken advantage of by opportunistic locals and tourists. Keep your things in sight or on your person, and don’t carry anything you don’t need. 
  4. Keep your valuables out of sight: You might as well wear a big sign that says “I have money and you should take it from me.” Do yourself a favor – dress plainly, and keep valuables hidden. 
  5. Purchase Travel Insurance In Advance: This will keep you financially protected in case of theft, injury, or illness, and is generally a good idea to have in any travel situation.
  6. Stay Alert on the Bus: You know the drill by now – pickpocketing and petty theft are the biggest culprits of theft. Public transport is a hunting ground, so eyes open, and hands on your bags, and you’ll be okay. 

Even the safest countries in the world have risks associated, and it happens that petty theft is Costa Rica’s biggest culprit. Lucky for you, this is simple to avoid – with your eyes open and aware of your surroundings, you’ll evade the biggest threats and enjoy your holiday in peace and relaxation. 

Looking for more information? 

Check out the following articles below for specific tips about safety in Costa Rica: 

Food and Water Safety in Costa Rica

Scams in Costa Rica

Getting around: Buses and Taxis in Costa Rica

Solo Travel in Costa Rica

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