Robbery, San José
San Jose is having real problems with violent crime these days. You have to remember that it is a major mid-way point for cocaine trafficking and there are a lot of poor desperate people on the streets. In certain areas tourists are targets because they are easy marks. They usually don't speak Spanish, carry lots of cash, and sometimes have their judgement impaired by drugs and alcohol. As a precautionary measure it is a good idea to leave anything that you can't lose in your locked bag or the hotel safe (especially at night). The common scenario is that you could be walking in a desolate area and someone will come from behind you and put a sleeper hold on you until you pass out. You wake up (if you wake up) with a headache and nothing in your pockets. I almost got mugged walking from a bar really late at night. Luckily a cab driver saw what was happening and came by and saved me. His advice to me when dropping me off at the hotel was do not go out alone after midnight. That may sound extreme but this guy has lived there all of his life.
If you're going to walk in downtown San Jose don't carry anything you can't afford to lose. The pickpockets are very aggressive. I even had one grab a mace sprayer that was clipped to my shirt pocket.
I included a photo of a shooting I witnessed during the day, I just happened to have my camera with me.
When you are walking trough the streets dont look at your map were you have to... step into a restaurant or shop and look at your map there... keep some change in your pockets
I was watching the map on the street searching for my hostel, a guy came to me and started talking in englisch and was walking with me...
I talked back " the good guy I am" finally I didnt trust it and he wanted to bring me to the hostel... I told hem that I already knew were it was.
Then told me he wanted change... I had some change in my pocket not much and wanted to give it to him.... he said... I want more...
When I said to him that I didnt had more and that he is getting nothing then.... he took the change and walked away....
So when it happens make sure you have some change.... give this to get rid of him and never get your wallet out !!!!!!!
This is just an genaral tip that fits in every big city in the streets
Unless you are going to a very up scale event, leave the good jewelry at home, or at least in your hotel room safe.
Gold chains, fancy watches and rings are like wearing a big sign saying, “ROB ME”.
While the majority of local people are honest hard working people, like anywhere else there are a few people who don’t live by the laws of the land.
Besides being dangerous, I felt it was almost rude. Just because you have it you don’t have to flaunt it. The income for locals is at a much lower standard then the U.S. and many European countries.
The San Jose Airport Taxi's are prone to theft from luggage. There are always several people helping with your luggage. If you do not watch closely they will pilfer your bags and carry-ons while putting them in the trunik. Be sure to watch until the trunk is closed. I did not and lost an $800 camcorder. My tickets, passports, $4000 trav cks and $2000 cash were in a pouch and I am surprised they did not rip that off also. I guess they felt sorry for such a dumb gringo. LOL
In Brazil theft and crime take the place of welfare. The gov looks the other way and does not have to feed the crooks. I hope this never happens in Beautiful Costa Rica.
I was in San Jose March of 2006 studying abroad.
While there, a lady that I know had someone attempt to steal her purse in the area behind the BalMoral hotel.
Another guy that was with us, on a seperate occassion had someone pull a knife on him at an ATM machine by the Burger King.
I reccommend walking in large groups if possible. I did walk a bit outside along while in San Jose and didnt feel unsafe but that does not mean danger isnt there.
The San Jose airport was also crammed full of people "wanting to help you." Keep your head down and walk fast with your luggage close by your side.
Do not go out alone at night ! My husband decided to Go out alone for a drink in the town of Puerto Viejo. He met some people who he stupidly started talking to. He ended up at the Lazy Mon. He had one drink with these people and that's pretty much all he remembers. He woke up Robbed Beaten and in someones house in a shanty town. They took the car and the GPS He managed to get away and luckily he showed up about 20 hours later. While I was searching for him. I found out these were well known local Crack Cocaine users. They watch you and and if they can find a way to rob you they will. This could have turned out much worse he could be dead. I have travelled all over the world and to many third world countries. I can tell you the caribbean side of Costa Rica is filled with drugs and crime. I have also traveled extensively in Costa Rica. Take my advise, stick with the pacific side it is so much more civilized.