Choosing a city
Safety How safe is this city compared to other cities within the country that you have chosen to study in?
Like in every big city, San Jose also knows crimes. Limn and Puntarenas are two other big cities that top the chart of the Costa Rican crime index. However, big crimes like rapes and murders hardly occur. Petty theft is what you have to be careful with, especially in the downtown area.
Obviously, common sense can prevent pickpockets from taking your precious belongings. Be aware of the fact you stand out in the crowd, because you are not Costa Rican. Therefore you should not walk around with your expensive camera around your neck, do not wear a lot of jewelry and never leave valuable stuff out in the open. Prevent the visibility of your belongings (Keys, cameras, phones, watches, laptops, basically anything you are not comfortable losing) in your car, your hotel room and when eating out, never leave your wallet etc. on the table. When going out, you should never take your real passport with you. Make sure to get a copy of the main page with your photo and personal information and a copy of the page with a stamp of your entry to Costa Rica. When asked for identification (by police or in a club), these copies will be sufficient. In case someone approaches you for money, wants to sell you something or offers you unwanted help, just say NO! and keep on walking.
As San Jose is a big city, there are a lot of different neighborhoods. Most of these neighborhoods are pretty safe, but use common sense when walking around. Before going out, ask your neighbors or people who are familiar with the area what they think about the risks.
If you keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of where you are at the moment, simple common sense can prevent you from being a target. As they say in Costa Rica: “Ms vale prevenir que lamentar!” (Better safe than sorry!) Do not get too worked up; it would be a shame if you miss out on the charming atmosphere and beautiful surroundings!