Tips for Safe Travel in Costa Rica
While working as a travel agent specializing in Costa Rica I always told my clients that there are certain safety tips they should be aware of while traveling in Costa Rica. And I will share them here:
Petty theft is common in Costa Rica so keep the following in mind:
1. Don’t wear flashy jewelry, especially in the cities.
2. Carry money in a money pouch -preferably under your clothes. (I use the type that straps around the waist) If you carry money in your purse don’t carry large sums. Keep you purse close to your body while walking crowded streets and congested areas. Pick pockets are common.
3. Make a copy of your passport front page with your name and photo and a copy of the page showing when you entered Costa Rica: keep it with you all the time. Most hotels have safety deposit boxes in the rooms where you can lock up your passport and extra money, and airline tickets or reservations forms.
4. Don’t lay camera, binoculars, etc. down and walk off and leave them unattended. Keep these with you at all times. Don’t hang your purse on back of your chair in restaurants.
5. Tie a colorful ribbon on your suitcase handle for easy identification at the luggage pick up ramp. Seems most suitcases are black and they all seem to look similar.
6. If traveling by public bus, don’t place your luggage in the luggage compartment under the belly of the bus. If possible take it inside the bus so you can watch it.
7. If you change money into colones, Practice counting it. It’s easy to get confused if you are in a hurry…like paying a taxi. Also you will know if you are being given correct change. It’s better to have colones in small denomination bills (it’s less confusing when you get change back)
8. Some stories told to me by my clients over the years: 1. A small group of young people were walking behind me and one of them spilled a drink on me. Taking advantage of my confusion, one of them snatched my purse and they all ran. And of course I never saw my purse again. 2. We got into our car (parked in the airport parking lot) a couple miles down road we noticed a flat tire, got out to check it, when two well dressed young men pulled over and offered to change the flat for us. I left my purse in the car to check out the tire, and while I was distracted one of the young men removed my purse from the car. I didn’t realize my purse was gone until I arrived home.
9. Don’t lay your watch down on your beach towel and go into the water.
10. Late at night avoid areas where there is high concentration of bars and night clubs.
11. Don’t walk around at night in poorly lighted areas.
12. Don’t pick up hitchhikers.
13. Always leave your car parked in a lighted-guarded parking lot, not on the street. And lock it. Don’t leave suitcases etc visible, especially don’t leave cameras, etc. in the car. Take them with you. My husband and I travel with two video camera and a digital still camera (inside backpacks) We never leave them inside the car–no matter where we are!
14. If you have your luggage on top of the vehicle (luggage rack) park the car so you can watch it (if you are going into a restaurant, etc.)
15. US Embassy is located in Pavas, a western suburb of San Jose. Monday-Friday call 2 519 2000. After hours 2 220 3127.
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