Violence Costa Rica

Old Nov 20th, 2013, 05:03 AM
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Violence Costa Rica

Hi all

Costa Rica was touted as the coolest spot for families for a while; with wildlife, beaches and weather being the big draws. It was relatively safe - little crime and decent healthcare (although dengue outbreaks are increasing). However, this past year has seen many governments change their advisories for Costa Rica - from safe to 'high degree of caution" based on violence towards tourists.

My question is twofold: are people noticing these things "on the ground" so to speak? I would think for governments to change their advisories it would have to be more than an isolated incident. Is it mainly in one or two regions (or cities)? Is CR still a safe place for people with young children to travel?

Thoughts?
KD
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 07:52 AM
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Governmental advisories are almost always hype and serve to protect bureaucrats' reputations moreso than travelers' safety.

Like any country, you will be safe in Costa Rica so long as you use good sense, and you can find trouble if you look for it.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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We go every year and have always felt safe everywhere that we've gone. I would worry more about petty theft than violent crime. We don't wear pricy jewelry or flash iPhones, etc. around, and we use the safe in our room, don't leave things in the car unattended, etc. We've never seen an ounce of violence anywhere that we've gone. The Carib. side has a reputation for being a little rougher than other areas of the country, and San Jose as well. We've stayed in some isolated areas that didn't even have locks on the doors, but I wouldn't do that in the city.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 11:25 AM
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There have been many reports of violent crime in downtown Sam Jose and on the Caribbean coast. There has also been the occasional murder or home invasion of expats and tourists on the Pacific Coast and elsewhere in the country.

So in this case it is not really hype, but rather making travelers aware. Of course the odds are still in favor for any one traveler to have a trouble free vacation.

Just don't leave anything of value in your car, or bring your valuables to the beach. Ask your hotel host about other safety precautions such as taking taxis after dark.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 12:19 PM
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We brought our children with us to Costa Rica last March, and are doing it again this year. We never felt unsafe. But, like Volcanogirl, we don't bring laptops and fancy cameras out and about with us, I don't wear jewelry, and we never stay out late at night (who would, with kids along?). My husband and I spent a few days on the Caribbean side this past summer, and we're bringing our kids there this next trip. We'll be cautious, but not paranoid.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Friends of ours did rent a house, and it was broken into and all their fancy cameras, iPhones, etc. were stolen. We always stay somewhere that has a security guard, not that I've really looked for that, but it's just always worked out that the places where we stay have them. I like hotels/lodges over individual accommodations for that reason, just feels a little safer to me. Like janie, we don't really walk around late at night, just go out for dinner and then head back.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 06:06 PM
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Crime has increased in Costa Rica in recent years. I don't think anyone can or should deny that, and it would be irresponsible for the State Department or their counterparts in other countries not to mention it. There was a disturbing crime wave in Puerto Viejo earlier this year that caused the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica to take the rare step of issuing its own travel message cautioning anyone traveling to the area. The problem seems to have subsided.

As everyone says here, you can take steps to minimize your risk. I would still go. In the grand scheme of things, Costa Rica is one of the safer countries in Central America to visit. But Central America's lowest crime rate belongs to -- get ready for it -- Nicaragua.
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Old Nov 21st, 2013, 08:48 AM
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That's a shame about your friends volcanogirl. I stayed at a nice lodging that was not a hotel (Shelter from the Storm) and only found out about the problem of thefts and invasions of private homes after I returned home. Unfortunately many lodging operators are not going to be upfront about recent crimes in the vicinity, they don't want to lose your booking. I think the policy of staying in a place that had security (someone else on site 24/7) is a good one.
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