Costa Ricans are known to be friendly, polite and helpful with visitors and that is certainly the general rule in this country however like anywhere else in the world not all people are necessarily well-intentioned and some might be hiding other negative purposes behind their smile. While in the country you should always take the minimum precautions to protect your belongings, especially don’t be too trustful.
Costa Rican people seem to be always willing to help and although when most times they are honest about their intentions there is still a risk factor involved. When possible try not to accept help from strangers unless you are in a position where you have no other options.
Tourist locations are often visited by pickpockets waiting for any opportunity to run away with your belongings. Don’t listen to people offering tours, accommodations or any other services without researching who they really are and even better read some feedback from some of their previous clients. Also keep your luggage safe and don’t accept help from others to carry it unless of course is someone working for the hotel or tour operator that you contracted.
It is all about common sense…
You have probably heard beautiful things about Costa Rica but the country is far from being a perfect place, use your common sense and pay attention to the things happening around you.
Here are the top 5 tips to ensure safe vacations in Costa Rica:
1. If you have decided to rent a car make sure the GPS works and that you understand its usage in order to avoid asking strangers for directions. Don’t leave expensive items too exposed on the seats of your car preferably keep them out of sight in your trunk.
2. Airports are favorite locations for pickpockets therefore you should be extra careful when handling your luggage here, if someone offers you help finding hotels, tours or transporting you to your destination be polite and simply say No Thanks! Don’t fall for it even if they insist, Ticos are quite persistent but try not to lose your temperament just say no a few times and eventually they´ll give up.
3. At your hotel keep your most valuable things in the safe box. Robberies in hotels’ rooms are rare but they do happen you are better taking this precaution just in case.
4. Being the adventurous-type traveler can have consequences as not every location in the country is equally safe, some areas especially in the capital San Jose are known to be more dangerous than others, a proper planning of the places you want to visit before arriving to Costa Rica can save you a lot of troubles.
5. The final advice is to look for serious people when planning your trip to Costa Rica, preferably a local travel agency with lots of experience and great online reputation ; )