Need reassurance on safety of Costa Rica

Jul 2nd, 2018, 10:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 91
Need reassurance on safety of Costa Rica

US Embassy site and others have me concerned about safety. We will be staying at resorts in the Arenal and Manual Antonio. Driving our own car, but not planning to at night. Staying our first night in San Jose. Needless worry?
kanne is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2018, 05:16 AM
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We've felt safe everywhere that we've gone including the Arenal area and Manuel Antonio. Petty theft can be a problem, so we don't wear fancy jewelry or flash electronics, don't leave anything in the car unattended, and we use the room safe. I'd be more careful in San Jose, take taxis there if you go out at night, but sounds like you won't be venturing out in the evenings. San Jose isn't a very attractive city - lots of traffic, congestion, bars on the windows, etc. MA and Arenal both feel very safe if you just take the same precautions you would anywhere. Both are beautiful spots with tons to do. Costa Ricans for the most part are very warm, helpful, and friendly. You don't see a lot of poverty there, and they really stress education. We love it, have been about ten times. We go just about every year.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 4th, 2018, 07:04 AM
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Great - thank you! Just what I needed to hear. I was thrown when I saw Costa Rica on a list of most dangerous places for Americans to visit.
kanne is offline  
Jul 4th, 2018, 02:17 PM
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There seems to be more crime on the Carib. side vs. places like Arenal and Manuel Antonio. One thing - the airport is in Alajuela, not San Jose, not sure if you knew that. There are some good America chains close to the airport if you just need a place to crash for the night.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 5th, 2018, 12:27 PM
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I am getting ready to take my 2nd trip to Costa Rica. I went with my sister-in-law and some friends a few years ago and now I am going back with my husband. On our 1st trip, we had a great time and didn't have any issues with anybody. We were at a resort for part of the trip and then did a bit of a road trip after. We spent 1 night in San Jose - city center - and it was ok, but not a place that I would return - nothing bad happened, but it wasn't an attractive place to visit really, and everybody kept warning us about risks to our safety - I travel a fair amount and never experienced that kind of hyper-vigilance. We hadn't even finished our trip though and I knew I would be coming back. It was a really neat country to visit. On this upcoming trip, we have 1 night before our flight home out of SJO and we are staying in Alajuela - more convenient and nicer.

It seems that the biggest threat generally is petty crime, so we are taking precautions against that. We'll be on a road trip, but we have made our plans such that we won't be stopping places en route between lodging to avoid leaving the car with our stuff in it. Also, we are taking the advice we have read on this board and TA about where to hire guides in national parks when out hiking - for safety and also to help spot wildlife, as well as not carrying around unnecessary belongings when out and about.

I did a search to find the information about dangerous countries and found a Forbes article - has similar information to what you were describing. Costa Rica shows up #9 on the list of countries where the most Americans have been killed. The ranking drops to #19 when murders are considered as a percentage of total visitors. That does make it one of the most dangerous countries to visit in the world, but the numbers are still very small - 27 people out of a little more than 8 million visitors. That's actually a pretty low number, so it doesn't really worry me.
november_moon is offline  
Jul 7th, 2018, 05:40 PM
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We are planning our third trip to CR. We’ve traveled over a lot of the country with our kids and we’ve felt fine. Big American cities are probably more dangerous, and if you feel ok traveling to LA or San Francisco, then you will feel very safe in CR.
florclover is offline  
Jul 8th, 2018, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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It is a good idea to stay in a resort or other lodging that has on-site security. Many of them do (often armed security although you won't be aware of it). There is more crime all over Costa Rica than there used to be 20 or 30 years ago. All of it isn't petty theft. Consider yourself a "walking ATM" and act accordingly. All localities are hampered by the inadequacies of the criminal justice system there, and you can't always count on getting accurate information ahead of time about local crime outbreaks (such as around Uvita).

BTW I live in Los Angeles and I don't have to look over my shoulder or worry about someone puncturing a tire when I'm parked at a roadside restaurant.

Not San Jose, but near the airport such as others have suggested. You often can arrange to have the car delivered the next morning. I did this, stayed here. Note...driving is complicated by there being a general lack of addresses.

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 8th, 2018 at 08:56 AM.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 10th, 2018, 06:28 AM
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Thanks for all the helpful tips and reassurance!
kanne is offline  
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