Health and Safety


Health and Safety

San José is safer than other Latin American capitals. Violent crime is rare; the greatest threat you're likely to face is petty theft. Standard big-city precautions apply:

Exchange money only at banks. Street money changers slip counterfeit bills into their stash, or doctor their calculators to compute unfavorable rates. In the extreme, they might grab your cash and run off.

Select ATMs in well-lighted areas. Better still, use a bank's ATM during opening hours, when a guard will likely be present. Go with a buddy, and conceal cash immediately.

Use only licensed red taxis with yellow triangles on the front doors. The license plate of an official taxi begins with TSJ ("Taxi San José").

Park in guarded, well-lighted lots (about $1 an hour). If you must park on the street, make sure informal guachimen (watchmen) are present. Usually this is someone with a big stick who will expect payment of about $1 per hour. Do not leave anything valuable in your parked vehicle.

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