Safety Tips in Costa Rica

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Costa Rica

  • frank_delargy's Profile Photo

    Theft on the beach

    by frank_delargy Written Aug 19, 2004

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    It didn't happen to us, but while we were in Quepas on the beach, a poor tourist couple were looking everywhere for their backpack with his wallet and tickets. He apparently had left it down to go in the water and .. well it was gone when he came out of the water.
    I guess the point is that if you are a tourist you are a mark and you need to be on guard, but not paranoid, all of the time.

    Jessica on beach
    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Beaches

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    Mud Slides

    by frank_delargy Written Oct 19, 2004

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    Maybe it was the confluence of a very rainy season and a small earthquake, which I guess might be considered 'Warnings or Dangers' by themselves, but when you are held up from going where you need to be, waiting for a front-loader to arrive from miles away, you get the idea.
    One consolation, usually the scenery and wildlife can be appreciated while you wait.

    Mudslides can hold up traffic for hours

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  • BEETLE_VERTE's Profile Photo

    Ice cream scam

    by BEETLE_VERTE Written Mar 16, 2005

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    We knew about it and still got caught. You read about this kind of scam and you are sure you would never got caught, that this plan is so stupid it would never work.

    Well, it does. You're in vacation, you're elax, you're happy to meet friendly local peoples... And then a little man comes around with tissue paper and warn you you are dirty in the back. Some kind of bird poop or melted ice cream. You take the tissue papers, so happy to have found a gentleman to help you. This is when the gentleman opend your bag and run away with your passport, money, camera or other precious belongings. Fortunately for us, our gentleman wasn't very good and his pickpocketing was obvious enough to stop it. He ran away before getting anything.

    We though back on the event and realise that we missed every warning signs. And didn't do the obvious.

    So just be warned. It is going to happen, in the more obvious place (we were in the Rostipollos parking lot, a familial restaurant, at noon). Don't let anyone approach you (you approach people), even the sweeter gentleman (if he's a gentleman, he'll understand you have to be careful). Ask to anyone who get too close to stand back. Any kind of gesture in any language will do.

    Reflection...

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    PURSE SNATCHERS!

    by yelli Updated Jul 22, 2004

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    There is a big problem with theft on the 8:40 and 11:30 a.m. bus routes from San Jose to La Fortuna. The buses are charter buses with carpeted shelves overhead, so you can't see your stuff unless you lean out of your chair to look up. Also, they will sell more tickets than there are seats, so there will be people standing in the aisle. There are no bars on the ceiling, so they have to hold onto the shelves that store the luggage in order to keep balance. Sometime during that 4.5 hour trip, the zipper to my backpack was unzipped right over my head and while everyone was squeezing to get out, my purse was stolen out of it. The police say that it is a constant problem with those two routes, and the bus driver is possibly in on it. So, if you're taking public bus, keep the zippers facing away from the middle and take the 6:15 a.m.!

    View of the San Jose bus terminal

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  • gcmm's Profile Photo

    Women traveling alone

    by gcmm Updated May 24, 2004

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    this is more of a reminder than a danger tip...

    for the most part Costa Rica is very safe, like many places it does have it's bad parts ,Costa Rican people are unaccustomed to seeing women traveling alone.
    Males will see unaccompanied females as not spoken for and will traditionally "hiss" and express compliments...we were told this by two different guides on trips we were taking...
    just ignore it and don't feel threatened...

    When a couple walks down the street, a woman should walk to the inside with the man next to the curb, otherwise the impression will be that the woman is "available."

    this is just there culture,just don't remark to them about it.....

    intown

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    Safety rules

    by Helga67 Written Jun 26, 2005

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    If a police officer insists on stopping you or retaining your documents for no apparent reason, ask him to escort you to the nearest police station to clear the problem. Under no circumstances give money to traffic police or other police officers.

    Do not drive through or park your car in poorly lit areas (especially in San Jose). Never leave your car on the street; always park it in a safe parking lot. Do not leave any belongings in the car. Sometimes there will be young boys in parking lots of nicer restaurants who will offer to watch your car for you while you eat. It is best to agree and then tip them a few hundred colones.

    If you see a branch or pile of sticks in the road, slow down. This is the Tico version of a road flare and indicates danger ahead.

    On the road to Manuel Antonio
    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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  • frank_delargy's Profile Photo

    Traffic

    by frank_delargy Written Jan 10, 2005

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    You need to be constantly aware when driving in CR. I found this especially true on the better roads. Why, well you need to watch out for trucks that seem to want to use the yellow line as a guide. Just as an example, I was taking a picture of Jessica on a bridge and this truck came around the curve and you will be hard pressed to figure out what side of the road they drive on in Costa Rica based on this picture!

    it's my road!
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Road Trip

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  • gcmm's Profile Photo

    Down town

    by gcmm Updated Mar 4, 2004

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    Like any city you have to watch where you are and how you stand out. There is very little danger, but there are some situations which can happen.
    Be careful of who is around you and don't carry your money or valuables so they are in view or easy to take.
    We talked to one person who was held up in San Jose.
    But he was alone and in a place he should not have been.
    Just don't carry things you don't need and try to be in a group.
    But please don't be afraid, and don't think that everyone around is going to rob you..Just use your head...just remember, it is a lot worse in our country than here..

    Down town

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  • gcmm's Profile Photo

    More on Animals.......

    by gcmm Written Mar 15, 2004

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    While in many of the Nature preserves you may get to pet some of the locals....

    While at the Curu Nature Preserve we were able to pet some of the Monkeys that were being rehabilitated.

    the care taker told us that it was o.k to pet them, but let them come up to you and only pet them, never ever try to grab them or hold them. If you do they might bite you as one boy we saw found out.

    Please be gentle
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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  • gcmm's Profile Photo

    Make sure you have your passport

    by gcmm Written Mar 30, 2004

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    This may sound dumb or even heresay but please make sure your passport is valid and meats these requirments below, one lady we saw at the airport didn't and she had a lot of problems...
    .........................................................................
    Passport & Visa

    General Entry Requirements

    Adults and children (from 0 - 16 years old)(*) require the following documents below to enter Costa Rica:

    a passport valid for at least 6 months(**)

    a pre-paid airline ticket to exit Costa Rica or proof of financial resources ($400.00US - $1,000.00US in cash, traveler checks, and/or credit cards) to pay for the market value of a one-way airline ticket (either to return to your home country or to go to another country)

    a visa (if required. See Visa Resource Center)

    Required entry documents vary for citizens of Canada and the United States of America

    To find out if you need a visa to enter Costa Rica, please access our Visa Resource Center.

    (*) If a minor (child under the age of 18) does not have his/her own passport, he or she must have a joint passport with one of his/her parents, legal guardian or the person traveling with him/her.

    (**) Your passport can not expire no earlier than six months from the date that you arrive in Costa Rica. For example, if you are going to fly to Costa Rica on January 1st, your passport can not expire before July 1st of the same year.

    Pass port

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  • BEETLE_VERTE's Profile Photo

    The road...

    by BEETLE_VERTE Updated Feb 29, 2004

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    The roads can be tricky to down right dangerous. It is said everywhere, the roads aren't in the best conditions. Be careful when riding.

    But see also from the perspective of a pedestrian. Don't walk on dark roads at night, and not just in San Jose. These dirt roads usually don't have sidewalk and most car drivers aren't demure. Could be speeding, trying to avoid a pothole or just not putting on their headlights. And in Monteverde, the wind picking up the dirt of the road might be blinding you...

    Route to Monteverde

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  • gcmm's Profile Photo

    Wild life abounds....

    by gcmm Updated Jun 6, 2004

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    When in costa Rica one has to watch out for all sorts of wild things. Some things are harmless and others are not. Many of the animals will come close to you at the hotels,Just be careful of getting fingers to close if you decide to feed something.We feed the racoons at night and they were pretty calm, but still be careful.....
    There are many different kinds of wild things around the hotel, lizards,racoons,monkeys etc.even scorpions, they are not a problem though, we have never seen any...but i hear they like shoes and wet places(showers etc,
    hint ... the racoons and lizards love bananas

    A local....

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  • gcmm's Profile Photo

    Itchy..itchy

    by gcmm Updated Mar 4, 2004

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    If you ever see this plant please don't touch it , it's best not to go anywhere even close.
    My wife saw it in the park at the Hotel and thought it was interesting. apon touching it the little bristles stuck to her and she tried to get them off. It started to itch real bad and she broke out in a rash running up her arm.
    It lasted for a little while, 15-20 minutes and subsided.
    But it made her real nervous.
    Our local guide Edwin laughed for 10 minutes when we told him. He said that was one of the worst plants in Costa Rica, called Peka-peka ( itchy-itchy) plant, and that they keep there distance from it.
    So if you see this plant/bean please don't touch.And if you do our guide told us not to try and wash it off right away as this makes it worse....

    itchy...itchy...(peka-peka)
    Related to:
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park

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  • BEETLE_VERTE's Profile Photo

    Bus thief

    by BEETLE_VERTE Written Feb 24, 2004

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    We were carefully warn about the risk of getting our handback stollen or being robbed by pickpocketers during the public bus ride around Fortuna, Santa Elena and Monteverde. Although we never felt as targets, we didn't took any chance.

    We kept our fanny bag under our shirt and our handbag (small backpack) with us at all time. Also tried to keep an eye on our luggage under the bus each time it stopped, avoiding as much as possible to make these big touristic backpacks appealing...

    But the bus company and local authority really seem to care about this problem. The driver was the one to tell us to keep our bags on hand (and not on the overhead compartment). He also gave us tags for our luggage, as he was the only one allowed to open the compartment under the bus.

    Bus in Fortuna
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

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  • BEETLE_VERTE's Profile Photo

    Coca Cola Station

    by BEETLE_VERTE Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    San Jose

    We were more than warn about the danger of this bus stop. And dreading it. But it's an outdoor kind, with bus parking on each side of boarding sidewalk under a roof. Although we never let any of our belongings out of our side and were careful not to do anything stupid, we never felt in danger of anykind.

    The man that got closer to me was trying for the third time to sell me cheap watches. But I think he knew I wasn't interested and even tho I didn't spoke spanish, he engage in a nice little chat. I understood about 4 words of what he said, but it didn't bother either of us. He left after 2 minutes, smilling and waving.

    The other one, and he was in fact the first one we encountered coming in for the first time from our taxi that drop us off at the wrong station (500 meters from the correct one). Although I was sure at first he was going to trap us in an alley to sell our eyes and kidneys, he kindly took us to the correct station, pointing where to buy tickets and where the bus was. Quite friendly after all and I think we didn't made a good impression... being very afraid to loose our precious organs!

    Be careful, but don't be alarmed.

    See the website below for more information on ways of preventing crime from happening to you.

    Coca cola Station
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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