I'm travelling there in a few days and I'm not aware of any major risks.
Having said that, I have taken some vacinnations and am on a course of maleria medication.
And like most Latine American countries one needs to watch their belongings. Generally, thieves are just after your things they're not usually violent.
That's my understanding anyway. about 7 years ago
Anita, our research indicates Costa Rica is a place where you need to keep your guard up, crime is a problem and often it crosses the line from 'petty' to 'serious'. The thieves who want your camera and ipod and designer sunglasses will often take them by force. Tourists do get assaulted and injured. For example, tourists travelling through the banana plantations in the province of Limon should make sure there's a security guard on public transport, because bandits have stopped and robbed buses and taxis.
Express kidnapping is a problem.
You should aim to arrive in the capital San Jose before 10pm because robberies on the road o the airport occur frequently.
Bag snatching and pickpocketing in San Jose is common especially at tourist attractions and on public transport. Downtown San Jose is notorious for unattended cars being robbed. One scam is to slash the tyres of a rental car, then while one thief lends a hand changing the tyre another robs the car. Unfortunately in Costa Rica rental cars are clearly marked and easily identified, making tourists targets.
Malaria is a big problem, so is Dengue Fever, so avoid mosquito bites.
There's no reason you should NOT enjoy the amazing sights and natural wonders of this beautiful country, but as I said, you need to be on your guard and do everything you can to lessen your chances of being a victim.
I have more information on Costa Rica in the pipeline, I'll aim to get it all posted on WorldNomads.com this week.
Phil about 7 years ago
I have traveled all around Costa Rica on several different trips. I have never experienced any crime or dangerous situations at all. I have heard the area that has the most problems is near the Carribean Coast which I have not personally traveled to. about 7 years ago
My daughter and I went to Costa Rica over this past Christmas-New Years. San Jose was a little sketchy but when we got away from there it was fabulous. We hired a driver, which was a smart move since roads are poor and traffic horrible. Our favorite place was the Blanca Cloud Forrest Inn... Remote, in the jungle, with incredible facilities and service, sustainable about 7 years ago
Costa Rica is very safe as Central American countries go. Petty theft is prevalent , so you should take precautions as you would anywhere in the world. Try to get out of San Jose ASAP, because there is little to see there anyway.Do not try to rent a car, traffic is crazy, and there are few road markers. A better option is to fly into Liberia, in the northwest portion of the country. I have been there 6 or seven times with no problems. If this your first visit I suggest you get a packaged tour. The people are very friendly, but there can be a problem with Kidnapping. This is largely a result of unchecked Columbians in the country, and the get a backpacker to pay 3-5hundred ransom, and if you appear wealthy, expect to pay more. The nw providence has less of this problems, and is actually driveable. about 7 years ago
I've lived and worked (running a non-profit volunteer company) in Costa Rica for 8 years. Be careful in the bus stations and in San Jose. Use common sense - like you would anywhere. Don't leave belongings in your rental car. I've found it to be safer than most places I've been in the world. Here is an article from USA Today about the safety in Costa Rica:
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/deals/inside/2006-07-26-safe-womens-travel_x.htm almost 7 years ago
I lock all my stuff up in my room and when possible in my car.
I use this security backpack http://TechTourist.com/category/security/
and I have a small bag (probably the largest you could carry on?) that has the same security mesh in it (and a really small one).
I use the small one when hiking to lock up my pocket camera + cash when swimming. The big one for long hikes with multiple cameras (sometimes I travel alone and I want to swim/etc.).
I've never been mugged or (been aware of theft) anything while in Costa Rica (12+ trips) and I wander in places where I probably shouldn't. I usually hang out on the west coast (northwest-ish) and while I've heard stories from people, most stories I hear are from people when they were on the east side (I think they get more cruise tourists there).
FYI: the west coast robbery stories are generally from unattended at the beach or from the car and more of the east coast stories are at gun/knifepoint. These are first hand stories from other tourists. I hate to generalize east vs. west, but that's what I've heard.
I stay at the Montezuma Pacific hotel (in Montezuma), they have big safes in the room and I've gotten laundry back with $20 with it that I must have left in a pocket, that made feel more safe about stuff in my rooms and like that hotel even more...
And EVERYONE says don't leave stuff in your vehicle when possible.
And don't drive at night. I've done this multiple times, but the roads are SO bad and areas so deserted I don't like to. I do it when I drive to see a sunset but otherwise, the car stays parked at night. Normally, I don't even take a car I take shuttles to get around.
Just like at home, use common sense. almost 7 years ago
If you have never travelled to a less developed country.. Then No, it's not that safe!
Do not bring unnecessary valuables, and do not wear expensive jewelry walking around.
There are armed security in most nice locations, from malls, to banks, to hotels. There is a reason for this. over 4 years ago