Is it safe to vacation in Costa Rica?
It’s natural to be concerned about safety when planning a vacation in a foreign country. While no country can guarantee complete safety, with common sense and a little research it is possible to set off on an international adventure and have the peace of mind that you will return happy and safe as you left.
Costa Rica is considered one of the safest and the happiest places on earth. It is democratic, peaceful, and politically stable – with a well-developed tourist industry. Far from turbulent world politics and terror attacks, Costa Rica boasts world-class hospitals and doctors, easy access to healthcare, and more.
Costa Rica is a visitor-friendly country. If you are traveling from the United States, then you will only need a passport (valid for 30 days after arrival) along with a pre-paid ticket home.
Personal safety is all about common sense. No matter how safe a country is, it is best to exercise caution at all times. The following are some safety tips you should keep in mind:
- Exit the airport as quickly as possible, with luggage in tow.
- Don’t use the ATM at night.
- Use your hotel room safe.
- Don’t wear valuable jewelry and large amounts of cash.
- Don’t walk the beach alone at night.
- Don’t rely on Travelers’ Checks.
- Use caution while driving at night. It is recommended that you hire a professional for this purpose.
- Carry a copy of your passport, not the original.
- Don’t leave possessions unattended.
- Only use licensed taxis, orange and red with yellow triangles painted on the side.
- Split your credit cards and cash in case of theft.
- Double-check your currency conversion for fraud.
- Beware of “good Samaritan” scams, particularly in busy tourist destinations.
- Use only properly licensed tour companies.
Violent crime is very rare in this country. Petty theft is the biggest theft in highly populated areas, usually around Christmas. In short, Costa Rica is safe and stable. Still, you can enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program of the State Department as an added precaution. This program provides security updates and allows the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy to contact you in case of emergency.
Before leaving for Costa Rica, it is highly recommended that you make sure that your routine vaccinations are up to date. For assistance, you can dial 911 in an emergency and get connected with an English-speaking operator – just as in United States.
Even if you are not visiting Costa Rica to surf, you still need to know about the water conditions of the country. Both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts are subject to dangerous currents, undertow, and riptide and should be approached with caution.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Costa Rica is one of the greenest and the cleanest countries on earth. If you are looking for a safe, family-friendly tropical destination for travel, then Costa Rica is the place for you. But do beware, a lot of people who visit Costa Rica quickly become addicted to the Pura Vida lifestyle, for which there is no cure!