Five Minute Read: “Is Costa Rica Safe? Yes, If You Travel Consciously, Cleverly, And With Common Sense. Here’s How.”
NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on July 3rd, 2017.
This article is a summary of our full blog post:
Five-Minute Read Brief: If you are at all like us, you have more items on your to-do list than there are minutes in the day to accomplish everything. We understand that your time is limited, so we’ll keep this short. For a deeper and more comprehensive explanation of our suggestions, recommendations, and tips offered below, please click on the link to the full article above or listen to our full article’s audio/video file below (if and when you are able to carve out some extra “you” time in your hectic schedule, we recommend reading or listening to the full blog post in its entirety; your trip experience will thank you!). Otherwise, if quick snippets of information are all you are currently after, you will find these on this page. Pura vida! 🙂
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Costa Rica is a country we feel comfortable recommending to travel groups, families with children, senior travellers, and independent backpackers under one condition: that travellers act responsibly. We would argue that acting responsibly while travelling throughout Costa Rica requires travellers (you, yes you!) to do and consider the following for the purposes of physical safety, identification and possession safety, and money and spending safety:
Watch out for sticky fingers at the airport
- Given the high volume of traffic that the airport exits see, bags can go missing pretty quickly if they are left unattended.
Avoid driving after dark
- Many roads do not offer sidewalks and individuals walking along the side of the road (or stray animals) can be difficult to spot. In addition, Costa Rican roads can offer unfavourable conditions that can be tricky to navigate in the dark.
Avoid visiting the beach after dark
- Touring the beach after dark makes you a vulnerable target.
Avoid visiting an ATM machine after dark
- Visiting an ATM machine after dark makes you a vulnerable target.
Avoid swimming when the water/surf/waves are rough
- Swim cautiously and keep little ones close (within arms reach).
Do not take a taxi that is not an official “red” taxi (i.e., red in colour with a yellow triangle on the door) with the exception of airport taxis (which are orange in color)
- Do not use taxi services other than the official type unless you know and trust the driver.
Plan for your tours/activities accordingly
- Bring the right equipment, apparel, first aid supplies, and accessories with you to Costa Rica according to the activities you plan to participate in during your trip.
- For additional information (including our recommended packing list), please see our related blog post: What To Pack For A Costa Rica Vacation.
Keep a list of common Spanish phrases and questions with you throughout your trip (great for travellers with allergies and/or dietary requests)
- Draft a small cheat sheet of Spanish words or phrases to keep on hand throughout your trip.
- For additional information (including our “common Spanish phrases and questions” cheat sheet), please see our related blog post: Is Costa Rica Safe? Yes, If You Travel Consciously, Cleverly, And With Common Sense. Here’s How.
- For additional information (including our “English to Spanish guide” for vegetarian and/or vegan travellers), please see our related blog post: Vegetarian And Vegan Dining In Costa Rica.
- For additional information (including our “English to Spanish guide” for gluten-sensitive travellers), please see our related blog post: Gluten Free Dining In Costa Rica.
Bring/carry a copy of your passport with you
- Just in case; you never know if, how, or when you will lose your passport.
Email yourself a scanned copy of all important receipts, confirmations, and travel documents
- Email yourself back-up copies of all important travel documents; internet access is widespread throughout Costa Rica
Do not leave possessions unattended and unlocked in vehicles
- If you have your own car, keep it locked at all times and parked in a secure and well-lit area. Do not leave your possessions in any vehicle overnight.
Call your credit card provider prior to leaving home to release any international travel bans on your account
- Avoid being in a foreign country and finding out that international access to your own money at your home bank is restricted.
Do not rely on travellers cheques
- Most hotels, tour operators, transportation service providers, restaurants, and shops do not accept them (with the exception of some all-inclusive resorts).
- For additional information (including which currencies and forms of payment are generally accepted in Costa Rica), please see our related blog post: Spending In Costa Rica – Trip Currencies.
Do not purchase tours from street-corner salesmen
- Reserve your preferred nature/adventure tours, hotels, and transportation services in advance through reputable companies.
- For additional information (including a list of our preferred Costa Rican tour operators, hotels, and transportation service providers), please see our related blog post: Our Costa Rican Hotel, Tour Operator, And Transportation Service Providers Are Awesome. Here’s Why We Think So… We’re Sure You’ll Agree.
Check and double-check your currency conversion
- Make sure you know the going currency conversion rate and make sure you understand the exchange between currency types.
- For additional information (including a helpful USD to Colones currency exchange chart), please see our related blog post: Understanding The Practice Of Currency Exchange and Minimizing Loss: USD to Costa Rican Colon.
Split your cash and credit cards
- Hide collections of cash and/or credit cards in separate pieces of luggage in case one piece is lost or stolen during your trip.
As a reminder, the above article is a summary of our full blog post:
For complete information, please read our full article.
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