Is Costa Rica safe for travel?
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Jun 25, 2013 8:05 AM Last Post By: murican
Jun 12, 2011 8:34 AM
Is Costa Rica safe for travel?My husband and I are going for our first trip out of the US (other than a trip i took to the UK when I was 9.. don't think that counts) to Costa Rica for 10 days. We're both in our early 20s and don't have much experience in the way of international travel though it is something we have both wanted to do since childhood and plan on doing from here on. My question is whether or not the area is safe for us to travel to as young, inexperienced travelers. Is Costa Rica suitable for our first trip? We want adventure and wildlife so I know CR has much of that.
Jun 12, 2011 10:40 AM
1Get a guidebook and you'll be fine. Cost Rica is as smooth as it gets outside of North America, Europe and NZ/Australia. Just make sure you have decent health insurance (in case you hadn't planned on that yet). Wildlife shouldn't be a problem. Adventure neither if you think of that as canopy ziplines, rafting, surfing. If adventure is visiting a place that's not touristy where it's hard to get around without any Spanish go north a country ;-)
Jun 12, 2011 12:16 PM
Jun 12, 2011 12:18 PM
Jun 13, 2011 5:09 AM
4The most dangerous thing in Costa Rica.
Keeping hubbies eyes on task.
Jun 13, 2011 1:19 PM
The best answer is yes, it's safe to travel. Just a few simple tips. If you rent a car travel in the day time any where you like. But at night stick to in town on the major highways. Only because if you break down there are no street signs, pay phones or passing taxis to help you.
Have your credit cards or debit cards changed to ATM only with a pin number. Do not use your debit or credit cards for small purchases. Get cash from the bank ATM and pay cash. The last few years stealing card information has become a major problem for the OIJ here ( FBI ). If you use a card in some little shop they can sell your card info and later ( sometimes months ) your account will be drained.
In Costa Rica you are not required to carry your passport unless you are leaving the country, for $3.00 in most places copy stores will make you a business card size copy. Keep you passport in a safe place until you need it. Replacing it means a return trip to San Jose ( at least twice ) and a 7-10 day delay and $60.
Cheapest way to travel is to take buses. You can go anywhere in the country very cheaply. Two drawbacks. Don't plan on too much luggage, one bag one carry one. and check the schedules, buses ALWAYS leave on time. If you have to make a conection make sure you're leaving yourself time to make it.
Always have an umbrella with you in the summer months and enjoy, it's a wonderful country.
Jun 14, 2011 8:54 PM
6Well once out off the US VA you'll be in wonderland, no more arsenals, just nice wonderful tropical fruits, beaches and lovely people, love boat soaps doesn't even come close for these Cauchy potatoes.
Have some Great Rice and beans.
There is some great seafood waiting for you at a % you pay in your country.
and the best is for you to find out.
Cheers and Cheers Again when you come to lovely Costa Rica.
Brot by you by CasaGirasol.weebly.com
Jun 15, 2011 5:56 AM
7Over 2 million tourist a year visit Costa Rica for the last decade, and for the last 3 decades its been a haven for surfers, backpackers and ex pats retiring and investing in foreign real estate. There are more guidebooks on the shelf for CR than just about any country in the western hemisphere, so its a well established destination for honeymooners, families, adventure seekers and wildlife lovers.
Safety is all relative, and every country has its issues, though Latin America, and Central America, have their issues, once you know the dos and donts, its pretty straight forward.
The main issues in the region, and CR, is petty theft, so dont bring anything of value you cant afford to lose, though these days people are traveling with Ipads, Iphones, Laptops and lots of jewelry, it does make you a target in a country/region where the average wage is $150 month.
The best safety tips I give people, is dont leave things unattended, dont drive at night as its hard to see where your going, and its easy to get lost, and there are more obstacles in a developing country on 2 lane roads and limited signage and lots of pot holes.
Lastly, avoid the capitols, and get out into the countryside, mountians and green that surrounds the majority of the country.
With 10 days, pick 3 places to explore, enjoy and rest, the main highlights for most, are the following-
Arenal Volcano- 3-4 hours from San Jose, an active volcano and pretty mountain setting, with hot springs and canopy tours.
Manual Antonio- 3 hours from San Jose, and 5 hours from Arenal, this park offers easy trails and lots of good wildlife, a ton of great lodging and a very popular and well visited area for all types.
Monteverde Cloudforest- a microclimate 4 hours from Arenal, or Liberia, a nice park and cloud bridges and canopy to discover- 2 nights max.
Other fun more adventurist places are the Tortuguero canals, turtle nesting and canals teaming with wildlife and birds.
Favorite beaches, all depends on your style, CR has a lot, as you dig into the countries various vibes you will end up with a short list. Favorites for me are Montezuma, Mal Pais, Tamarindo, Pt Viejo on the caribe side.
Its best to avoid Jaco, and the Papagayo areas, very touristy and not very nice areas compared to others.
The majotity of Inns/Lodges and hotels are family owned, romantic, charming and rustic, no need to stay in the resorts and large multi nationals, they are sterile and lack any Costa Rica flavor or feel.
Unless its Dec 15 to Jan 15, or Easter week, you can pretty much hit CR by the seat of your pants, rent a car and just go. There is also a great shuttle system connecting most the popular venues and beaches in the country, Interbus and Grayline.
You dont need a car in Tortuguero (no roads access via boats) and also you really dont need a car at the beach venues, so consider a oneway drop off after exploring.
Do keep in mind the pacific side is trecherous rip currents and dangerous swimming overall, so be careful, as consider lodging with a pool. Surfing is a major activity, from surf lessons and to surf bums on this coast, due to warm water and endless perfect waves, some huge.
The food and dining scene is easy, fun and clean, no worries there. The biggest health issues will be sun burn, rip tides, car accidents, and sand fleas on the caribe side. Bugs and mozzie bites are rarely a issue at most places, cover up at sunest, and wear lotion.
In closing, CR is a easy country to conquer, and a perfect entree to ther region,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Jun 15, 2011 12:38 PM
8It's safe but the driving can be a little dangerous. Especially if you're new to driving in Central America. Be prepared for the unexpected on country roads.
Some of the more dangerous things that have happened are nearly having a head on collision on a winding mountain road and getting electrocuted by touching a metal shower pipe that had an overhead electric heater while taking a shower. Not my brightest moments.
I've swam many times all over the pacific and never had any issues. But, I did have to listen to the locals a few times when they warned me not to go in certain areas known for rip currents.
Jun 15, 2011 7:11 PM
Jun 16, 2011 10:05 AM
10Yeah, that place was pretty far from the beaten path. I've never been in a hotel with showers as invigorating as that one. The power lines outside my room kind of looked like this, so I should have known better.
Jun 16, 2011 10:18 AM
Nov 18, 2012 12:44 AM
12Some part are safer then others like anywhere, my daughter, i am a single mom, and i walked alone in some areas at night perfectly safe, and other areas, which we should not have and we had a close call. listen to what the locals tell you about safe areas to walk, if you meet some you trust.
Overall we had a great experience in 2009. WE are looking for another place to go this winter this is safe to learn spanish, any suggestions besides CR?
Also don't take any cabs that are not the official cabs. YOu may be okay, but you may not be.
lots of nice people there the Tico's.
Apr 13, 2013 9:33 AM
13Costa Rica is not safe! I have been living in Costa Rica on and off for 20 years and I can tell you for a fact that is one of the most expensive country in central america and one of the most expensive in latin america and there is alot of crime see this article http://www.ticotimes.net/Current-Edition/Top-Story/News/WikiLeaks-As-crime-rises-Costa-Rica-no-longer-safe-_Friday-March-25-2011 the Costa Rican government does alot of propaganda to give Costa Rica a great image when you live here you find out otherwise everything is fake and phony and extremely corrupt, they do not protect the tourists or investors
Edited by: ChrisThomas11
Jun 25, 2013 8:03 AM
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