Safety in Costa Rica
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Oct 1, 2012 4:12 PM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Jul 15, 2012 4:52 AM
Safety in Costa RicaHi All
I will be going to Costa Rica in September to attend a language school for 3 weeks. Originally my plan was to go to a school in San Jose but after doing some research and reading about the increase in crime there currently - especially on tourists visiting the city, I have decided to switch my school to one in San Joaquín de Flores. This school also has sites in Monteverde and Playa Flamingo which im planning on going to visit too.
If any one has been too San Joaquín de Flores, Monteverde or Playa Flamingo recently and can let me know how things are in reality there. I know only the bad stuff gets reported and never the good stuff, so i would like to get a general feel from other people who have been there how safe it is, in their opinion, to visit.
Jul 15, 2012 5:37 AM
1i think that san joaquin de flores would be a good choice. out of the city but not too far away.
monteverde is pretty isolated and in september will be very cool and rainy. it's not at all a place where i would like to spend 3 weeks.
playa flamingo would be another good choice. it's a small beach town, near a couple of other small beach towns but the large commercial center of liberia is easily accessible as are several national parks for visits during off times.
i think that either san joaquin de flores or playa flamingo would be fine, depending on what you are looking for.
Jul 15, 2012 5:44 AM
2i will agree with the other author
sjo is dangerous and a large city
i am a beach nut.. PF is said to be lovely.
I will say i went with a different language school because of a lower price . i am very happy with the one i use but thye dont go to flamingo, they go to tamarindo dominical and turrialba and a few other places.
Jul 15, 2012 6:54 AM
3another great option for language school is intercultura which has classes in heredia and at playa samara.
Jul 15, 2012 8:05 AM
4Though San Jose is not really bad crime wise as whole, the issue is more the beauty of the country vs a crowded and congested diesel smoke filled dodgy at night place...
Monteverde in Sept will be very wet and damp, cool and misty, if not miserable.
Playa Famingo is not a great seaside town and not very tropical in feel.
I would for sure consider Samara or Tamarindo over any of those. Turriabla is a pleasant mountain town as well. Probaly the least English would be spoken there...
Oct 1, 2012 3:25 PM
5My husband and I have been in Costa Rica several times. We were planning a trip this November but things aren't looking too good there. The drug problem is now in Costa Rica and the police force is very inadequate. As you know Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948 so there is no military influences. I just read that the President of Costa Rica is trying to obtain money for more police officers in order to control the drug problem. Stay away from some areas of San Jose; it is plagued with legal prostitution, drugs, robberies, etc. The area of Jaco is also a haven for pickpockets and crime. Not to mention the countless Americans, Europeans and Canadians that have gone "missing" in CR. Some have never been found and their families want answers. One guy was found tied up and murdered on the beach; and the government is saying that "he probably committed suicide". Get real. There is NO protection for crime victims in CR. I am tired of them advertising "that it is a paradise"; when in fact, it is not. A car here for $12,000 sells in CR for 24,000. Everything is TAXED. Gas is high, insurance, cars, etc. It is still a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY; no matter what anyone says.
And yes, we have our own crime issues in the United States. But if you read the facts, CR has a higher crime rate than the US; and it is only the size of W. Virginia. At least we don't go around saying that the UNITED STATES IS A PARADISE; like they say for Costa Rica. It is NOT a paradise. Pickpockets are everywhere, you have to watch yourself. When we went to Manuel Antonio, we were accosted in the parking lot
Oct 1, 2012 3:33 PM
6Despite billions of dollars in tourism, Costa Rica has the WORST potholes; and there are NO security guardrails when driving on dangerous mountain curves. We went to the Pacific, the Caribbean, the South Pacific and the Central Valley. So I know what I am talking about. You got to see the POVERTY in the jungles of Limon and Cahuita to see how thankful we should all be. We saw houses in San Jose where the floors were dirt; and people only make $1.50 an hour; while there are MILLIONAIRES living up the high life in CR. Prostituion is legal and it is a bustling trade in CR. With all the money made in prostitution and tourism, why can't that money go to the POOR people who barely have enough to eat? The cost of living is certainly HIGH and the minimum wage is still only $1.50. No wonder the Ticos are angry that americans, canadians and europeans are BUYING OUT their country. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Sure, it's nice to vist but I wouldn't live there. Go to Limon and travel through the Caribbean coast and see all the poverty; with people living in HUTS and see what I mean for yourself......IT IS NOT A PARADISE, AND I AM TIRED OF ALL THE LIES. IN FACT, PEOPLE THAT HAVE INVESTED THERE ARE LEAVING.....
Oct 1, 2012 3:41 PM
7You are now just realizing all this? The petty crime has always been an issue in CR, as is most the region. Pickpockets are also in just about every developing country, from Bangkok to Beijing, Rome to Marakech.
Potholes and Guardrails? Umm, its a developing country, its not the USA, get over it. Its actually famous for its potholes...its mostly mountains and it rains in feet, not inches...
Prostitution is legal in CR, what pinneapple cart did you just fall of? Jaco has always been a bastion of crime and trouble, mainly due to the huge influx of gringos, mainly American and Canadian men partaking in the easy access to drugs and women, exploiting the culture to a negative.
Taxes on Imported vehicles are also basically the same, all over Central America, and many other countries its even worse.
Costa Rica is a paradise, its a lot of national parks, eco systems and tons of nature and adventure. As for its social ills and lack of police, well, its Central America, not the USA.
The drug violence, is due to the need to ship drugs to the USA for consumption, where even though they are illegal, its a billion dollar black market business, as is illegal prostitution, sex trafficking, on the streets of every city in America.
The wealthy gringos are developing all the countries, have you not seen all the nice casas bought up in Granada Nicaragua, or the huge private gated planned developments on Nicaragua's Pacific coast, of the nice homes and hotels all over Guatemala's Antigua and Atitlan? Honduras Bay Islands?
You have been very sheltered in your travels, considering that Nicaragua is far worse off and poorer than Ticos, wake up and see true poverty. Are you also aware the reason CR does not have a military, they use this money saved to educate their citizens, who are the most literate in the region and also CR's economy is booming, has a huge amount of foreign investment, and is also a major tech sector manufacturer. They have many english speaking call centers there, and they also a large percentage of their population attending secondary education.
Show me a country that has not had foreigners buy up all the prime spots? Morocco? Nope, filled with French and Spanish investors. Thailand? Nope, filled up with EU folks. Mexico? Nope, filled up with North Americans.
If you took the time to speak to the locals that live in these shacks and on dirt floors, they are wonderful people, that have a far better life than the crime ridden streets of the US urban poor..thats for sure.
Oct 1, 2012 4:00 PM
8for once, solohobo, i have nothing to add to what you have written! well done!
i do think the vast majority of the 2 million or so tourists who visit here each year would disagree with the op.
i have lived here for many years and definitely would not consider returning to the us. everyone has their own idea of paradise: costa rica is mine. the climate, the natural beauty, the warm and charming people -- it's all there for anyone who is willing to look for it.
Oct 1, 2012 4:12 PM
9and I am very jealous Wiremu, seriously...
speaking of paradise gone wrong, read this newspaper in Thailand, a country that gets 14,000,000 tourist a year, some of the worst ones I might add..makes Jaco and San Jose look like the Vatican...
(4 star Hotel)
From US$255.15 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$169.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$86.35 per night