Nomad Chronicles: Safety Tips for a Trouble-Free Trip to Costa Rica

Arm yourself with indispensable insights from fellow explorers, safeguarding your journey from unexpected situations.

It’s finally here: the day you’ve eagerly awaited, the day you meticulously planned as the start of your vacation or “workation”. Well-deserved and eagerly anticipated, your trip to Costa Rica is finally unfolding. With the intention of having a remarkable life experience, you embark on this journey, filled with excitement for the adventures that await.

Upon your arrival in Costa Rica, you may notice that English is not widely spoken. The change in weather might also catch your attention, especially if you arrive during a time of heavy rain. After passing through customs and stepping out into the country, you may find yourself at the beach within an hour or two, depending on your airport of arrival.

While the serenity of the natural surroundings and the pristine beaches may leave you in awe, the euphoria can be short-lived if you suddenly discover that your personal belongings have been stolen. What initially promised to be an unforgettable experience has suddenly turned into a nightmare.

Though the preceding narrative is fictional, such incidents have occurred to some foreign travelers. At CR Nomads, we deeply care about your experience and wish to offer recommendations to help you avoid unfortunate situations while exploring our beautiful country.

Be Vigilant With Your Personal Belongings:

Please refrain from leaving valuable items such as laptop computers, cell phones, tablets, cameras, wallets, and passports in your rented car. While Costa Rica is generally a safe destination, it doesn’t eliminate the risk of theft.

In some isolated tourist areas, opportunistic thieves may be waiting for an opportunity. If you don’t require these possessions when heading out, it’s best not to bring them along. If possible, always keep them with you or secure them in a location where they are not easily accessible.

Do Not Trust Everybody – Be Cautious:

While Costa Ricans are renowned for their warmth and friendliness, it’s vital to exercise caution when dealing with unfamiliar individuals, as you would in any other part of the world. Avoid disclosing personal information, especially with “pushy” people you’ve just met and are suspiciously eager to engage in conversation.

Be wary when accepting unusual offers of assistance, as seemingly well-intentioned individuals may not always have your best interests in mind. Trust your instincts, and if something doesn’t feel right, heed your gut feeling. Additionally, strive to establish genuine trust with locals, as these connections can prove invaluable in case you encounter problems during a longer stay.

Research Your Planned Accommodation Area:

Not all parts of Costa Rica are equally developed, and when it comes to accommodations, there’s a wide range of options, from luxurious resorts to more modest and affordable locations.

We understand that many North Americans have certain expectations regarding accommodation standards. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some areas may not be as upscale as you anticipate. When staying in rural parts of the country, explore the surroundings and assess the environment before finalizing your decision.

Make Informed, Rational Decisions:

When renting vehicles, properties, or other items, avoid making hasty, emotional decisions. Research and gather information about your purchases, ensuring that you’re well-informed about the products or services you’re acquiring.

What may initially appear to be an excellent deal could turn into a source of frustration in the long run. It’s always recommended to work with reputable companies or agencies that can provide you with comprehensive information and guidance regarding your purchases—that is a cornerstone of our mission at CR Nomads.

Particularly in Costa Rica’s bigger beach towns, and much like in other beach destinations frequented by tourists throughout the world, illicit services are often offered to visitors. We strongly recommend you always use your better judgment, and exercise a high amount of caution at all times.

What to Do in Case of Theft or Adverse Situations:

The best way to deal with problems in Costa Rica is to prevent them in the first place. However, if issues do arise, it’s always best to contact public authorities for assistance, and don’t hesitate to ask for help to do so.

If you’re not staying at a place where local staff can help you out, seeking guidance from an English-speaking legal service can be very useful in case of an unforeseen event.  

While not all problems lead to immediate resolutions or the apprehension of thieves, the Costa Rican legal system offers potential solutions.

In the event of theft, ask for assistance to report the incident to the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) or the local police.

If you encounter a situation that entails potential danger or personal injury, seek help from the local Municipality. In these types of cases, it is recommended to file a formal claim or “denuncia” to ensure prompt action.

In conclusion, this article aims to provide honest insights into potential challenges you may face while in Costa Rica. While these incidents are not an everyday occurrence, they can happen.

As native Costa Ricans that regularly interact with foreign visitors, we have heard about or even experienced such situations, and we hope to prevent them from happening to you.

By considering and following these recommendations, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to our beautiful country. Be safe and savor every moment of your Costa Rican adventure!

Andres Vedova

CR Nomads Commercial Director


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