Safety Tips For Travelers
Costa Rica has a long history of political and social stability. Compared to its Central American neighbors, Costa Rica is very neutral. In fact, some call it the Switzerland of Central America. The country does not have a military and does not seem to need one. Costa Rica can distinguish itself from its neighbors because of its low rate of violent crime and social and democratic political stability.
That being said, Costa Rica is a relatively safe country to visit. But just as in any foreign country, you must exercise caution and obey some common sense rules in order to safely enjoy your time. Below is a list of safety tips that should aid you in having a great time (free of crime and mishaps) here in Costa Rica.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention (or at least look like you are paying attention to your bags and the people around you. Avoid looking lost and try to act as confident as possible. Pickpockets prey on those who look lost or are not paying attention. If a situation becomes scary or intimidating, leave.
- Watch your things! As in any big city it is important to keep an eye out for pickpockets, especially in San Jose. If you carry a backpack, keep it in front and again, be aware of your surroundings. Carry money in more than one place, so that if you are a target of a pick pocket you will still have money for bus fair or whatever you need.
- Watch your bags on the beach. Leave your bags and money with a friend while swimming or bring as little as possible with you on the beach. Thieves have easy access to items left on the beach during a walk or a swim.
- Carry one or two copies of your passport. Always try to carry a copy and not the actual passport. Keep your real passport somewhere safe.
- The most dangerous element in Costa Rica is traffic. Beware of cars here, because in most cases pedestrians do not have the right of way. Be sure to look both ways several times and to utilize crosswalks whenever possible. When in doubt, cross when the Ticos cross.
- Sun Safety-Remember that you are in Central America and the climate can be tricky. To keep from frying fast, stay out of the sun from 10am-2pm. Wear sun block and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. In addition, wearing a hat is always a good idea.
- Tropical Diseases are a reality, however rare. Make sure to take precautions against the ever pesky mosquito, which not only itches, but also causes Dengue and Malaria. Wear bug spray, light clothing and try to sleep in a screened room or use a bed net.