There is a known thief in Esterillos Oeste. His name is Marlo. He will distract you by offering to get coconuts from the highest palm tree. While he has your attention showing off his partner will come in the back and steal the first available thing. In our case it was my daughters brand new Ipad.
The local police are well aware he is the thief and even said "we wish someone would take care of him". So much for Costa Rican law enforcement.
I had my rehearsal dinner with my family of over 40 people in EI Hicaco seafood restaurant on Feb. 13th, 2010. At the end of dinner, my husband and I were standing at the entrance, seeing everybody off to get on a taxi. When we walked back inside after 5 minutes, my purse on the chair was GONE!!!!
There was only one last table of guests in the restaurant. We were sure that nobody walked out of the restaurant in that 5 minutes could carry my big yellow purse without being noticed. It must STILL be in the restaurant.
I had all my credit cards, cash, travel documents in the purse, so I was desperately asking each waiter whether he saw anything. When I mentioned I had my passport in the purse, one waiter finally said he saw it couple of minutes ago. Then the waiters started surrounding us in the middle and communicating in Spanish. I knew that the restaurant has cameras at the corner, but the manager refused to review the tape. He ensured me that he will review it tomorrow and let me know.
When I left the restaurant, I had a feeling that I will never see my purse again. Yes, they never called me. When I finally talked to the owner of the restaurant Francisco Gonzalez, he told me the tape was too dark to see anything.
Keep an eye on your belongs if you want to have dinner in EI Hicaco, that is my advice.
Jaco has certainly developed in leaps and bounds over the last 4-5 years. You will read a lot of bad press and reviews about the most popular destination on all of Costa Rica.
With it's rapid growth has come some very outstanding improvements. The local Police force has been tripled in size, with the addition of the new Municipality Police Force's Anti-Crime, Zero tolerance special units division. These units patrol the streets and beaches 24hrs a day and are exrtremely touh on theives, vagrants, and hoodlum types.
The crime rate in Jaco has fallen by over 50% in just 6 months, and very notable efforts have been made to make Jaco a better place for the upcoming peak tourist season.
Furthermore, it is not as bad as many folks try and make it out to be at all. To insure you have a great experience in Jaco or anywhere you travel, exercise COMMON SENSE!
Petty theft is the main crime in Costa Rica and is rampant everywhere in Central America, and is nothing more than crimes of opportunity. If you take away the opportunity, there can be no crime. Do not leave anything in your vehicle of value. Not even for 30 seconds! It's a golden rule here, and if you dont follow it, and your camera, camcorder, wallet, money, or luggage gets stolen out of your vehicle, after reading this, it is your fault.
You are safe to walk the streets at night, and enjoy the best nightlife scene in Costa Rica that Jaco Beach offers, just lock up your valuables in your hotel room or rental condo before you leave the house. Don't carry big wads of cash. You don't need flashy jewelery here like Rolex watches, big Gold chains, diamonds, or any other type of senseless Bling, as this is a non-judgemental society. Nobody will be impressed by your displays of how much money you are worth back in the states, or what you do for a living. Acting like a big shot-big,spender here does nothing but draw the attention of the criminal element!
Passports- You MUST carry your Passport or a copy of the Photo page, and entry stamp page, with you at ALL TIMES! This means if you leave our condo, hotel, house even just to go to the store, have it WITH YOU! When you arrive in Costa Rica, it is a good idea to get a copy of your passport , and leave your original in your acommodations during your stay. Remember, you must copy the photo page AND the page that immigration stamped when you arrived at the airport that shows the date you entered the country.
I'll be posting more very helpful tips here soon, to help you better prepare for your vist here so you have a great experience. In the meantime, please be cautious about what you read on line and through other travel tips as there is a lot of false, one side, inaccurate, and bad information all over the internet about Jaco and Costa Rica in general.
Stay away from the Lonely Planet books as they are the worst offenders for offering inaccurate or false information about most regions inCosta Rica.
Autor: David Molina
Date: 2 september 2007
Two days ago all my stuffs was stolen, my surfboard, my IPod, sleeping and all my money ($200) the thief is the manager of the camping, i say this because the first day he saw intersting all my stuffs but i think that this camping was secure, we need to be very careful in Jaco Please CAMPING HICACO IS VERY DANGEROUS dont trust in anybody. im from Costa Rica and i study turism and is very dificult to me say this, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, Puerto Viejo, Quepos, Tamarindo as very dangerous.
Watch your stuff if you plan on taking a swim. If you're traveling alone, and you're close to your car/hotel room, just leave all your valuables behind and take the bare essentials-nothing nice. Jaco is notorious for roving bands of kids who grab and dash. Once your stuff is gone, there are no police to complain to.
There has been a huge amount of development all over CR . Every now and thenagressive persistent sales people are let loose to canvas the tourists. They will try and persuade you to listen to an even higher pressure sales pitch with promises of free flights and other give aways. I guess you have to decide how you want to spend your day.
Do not leave anything in your car when traveling. Surfers beware, not even a beach towel. A group I met last Aug (2005) from Panama City, FL. was surfing in Playa Hermosa(close to Jaco) and left their camera, passports and all ID. Guess what-stolen, right in front of their eyes and they couldn't get to the car quick enough. It took them 3 days to get things done. What a nightmare. Be so careful, passports are an ITEM!!!!! They pay big bucks to the outside.
Jaco, lately, is getting a negative reputation as a party town. Well it has always been a party town for Costa Ricans taking a trip to the beach. However, the American tourists here tend to be under age 23 and their type of partying at night may include drugs and alcohol. There are too many stories of young women getting into trouble after hours at the bars. Please be careful.
Another suggestion, Don't be tempted to sleep in a campground at the beach, or any campground in Jaco. You will be penniless and itemless for sure.
If these recommendations are useless because this is not what you include in your travels, then you will likely be fine.
Use discretion regarding leaving your passport in a hotel safe. It is not always the best option.
And one more thing, have two photo copies of your passport, one on you seperate from your passport, the other with your travel companion. Don't be careless with your belongings, especially with your cash.
I did fine/safe in Jaco and you probably will too.
You know you're in the right spot for your vacation when the most danger you expose yourself to is the sun... but still! We spent 2 or 3 hours under the sun at the beach, one time late afternoon and one time early in the morning. We had sunscreen on. And still, we caught beautiful little sunburn. Please protect yourself!!
Taxi in Costa rica is red. These taxis have a yellow triangle at both sides of the car with their license number. It is a good habit to remember this numbers, just in case you forgot something in the car etc. They have a tax-meter. Make shure it is turned on and they charge you the amount showing. Taxis are cheap in Costa Rica and it is normal to give a small tip.
Before you get in a Taxi, ALWAYS ask how much is the ride to your destination. You can always so NO and go to another Taxi. There is plenty of honest taxist around.
We took a bus from San Jose to Jaco, and from Jaco we had to take a taxi to Playa Hermosa. After our experience in San Jose, we decided to ask how much they charge for the ride. The first taxi said 2500 colones. I thought it was a lot. I went to ask another taxi. He wanted 1000 colones. See the difference? It was a 8 minutes max. 10 minutes ride.