Is Costa Rica Safe?

Many people like you ask, “How safe is Costa Rica?” In general, Costa Rica is an incredibly safe country to travel through.  Costa Rica’s political and economical situation is stable and strong, and the country was actually voted the “happiest nation” in the world! However, no country can be absolutely perfect.

Costa Rica Safety Information

Costa Rica Crime

Is Costa Rica safe for Americans? Yes, but you must travel smart…just as you would in other countries. Crime in Costa Rica has become an increasing concern for Costa Ricans and visitors alike, and U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise the same level of caution they would in major cities or tourist areas throughout the world.

Americans should walk or exercise with a companion, bearing in mind that crowded tourist attractions and resort areas popular with foreign tourists are common venues for criminal activities.  Travelers should ignore any verbal harassment, and avoid carrying passports, large amounts of cash, jewelry or expensive photographic equipment.

At all times have your belongings in your line of sight or in your possession. Tourists are encouraged to carry photocopies of the passport data page and Costa Rican entry stamp on their persons and leave the original passport in a hotel safe or other secure place.

Driving in Costa Rica

Driving is an adventure in Costa Rica. Rules of the road may not be observed. Lane changing can be abrupt and unexpected. Make sure you drive with much caution. It is not atypical to have bikers, pedestrians, and/or stray animals pop out onto the road unexpectedly. Learn about driving in Costa Rica >>

Walking in Costa Rica

Pedestrians are not given the right of way when crossing streets, make sure to be aware and wait until traffic has subsided before attempting to walk to the other side of the road.

Costa Rica’s Ocean Currents

The surrounding ocean currents, on both the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts, are swift and dangerous. There are few lifeguards or signs warning tourists of dangerous beaches.  Every year, eight to twelve American citizens drown in Costa Rica due to rip tides or sudden drop-offs while in shallow water.  Extreme caution is advised.

Information Resources

For the latest security information about travel within Costa Rica, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site and select International Travel and then the country Costa Rica.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada.  For callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).