Am I Safe in Costa Rica?
In the big picture, Costa Rica is a safe place to visit and to live in.
By being one of the safest countries in Latin America, Costa Rica has kind and hard working people. We still recommend getting travel insurance and will elaborate on that in this article.
This beautiful country has had no army since 1948 when the former president, Jose Figueres, delivered one of the most important military barracks to convert it to the National Museum. In 1949 there was an attempt of a coup for not agreeing with the new politics but it was a failure. The decision was made to honor the dead in battle from the only and last civil war in Costa Rica and it created trust and stability for the population. The Civil Guard was created and it eventually became the National Police, under the Security Ministry.
Police Academy was founded in 1964, creating specialized police teams. With the abolition of the army, the country is more democratized and free speech is sustainable; besides, the inversion of resources can go directly to public education, health, social help for vulnerable communities and more.
Today´s reality about security in Costa Rica, especially after the pandemic, is that robberies by neglect are common but violent crimes are not.
We will provide some tips for your visit to Costa Rica to be as safe as possible and you can enjoy its beauty.
- Leave your passport at the hotel and go out with little cash money. Take a photo or a printed copy of your passport and show it if ID is requested. Most shops in Costa Rica accept credit or debit cards that you can also cover with travel insurance. You can also put your cash money in different parts of your outfit so in case of a robbery, you don’t lose everything.
- Drug trafficking is a serious problem in Costa Rica. There are communities where drugs and violence are very common and the exposure to these zones can be particularly dangerous. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid going through bad neighborhoods.
- You will find in Costa Rica full streets to party, normally plagued by prostitution and drugs. You have to be extra careful at night in such places.
- Ticos don’t drive very well, downtowns in all the provinces are full of people walking. Follow the locals when crossing a street or such to avoid accidents. If you are renting a car, we recommend you to get insurance for it.
- When transporting via bus, don’t neglect at any moment your belongings. For longer rides, buses have a compartment under it that is safe because your bag gets numbered and they provide you with a ticket to be able to get it back.
- Wildlife in Costa Rica is crazy. Don’t try to pet any non-domestic animal that you might encounter.
There are 22 species of venomous snakes, when hiking, you need to pay attention to the trees and the paths.
Mosquitos might be another issue since some of them transmit strong diseases like malaria, zika and dengue. Use repellent before going out even in the city.
Racoons and monkeys might try to steal food from you in touristic zones. They bite, fight and can transmit diseases.
You´re all set to be extra safe in Costa Rica. By being careful, you will enhance your experience in the country because you will avoid bad experiences.