Is Costa Rica Safe?

Everything you need to know in order to feel secure during your Costa Rica vacation

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Safety is always a concern when traveling to a foreign country. 

In general, we feel really safe in Costa Rica, but there are several things we do as safety precautions.

Safety is not limited to crime. You also need to protect yourself from nature, wildlife etc. 

Let’s go through our tips to keep you feeling secure!

costa rica safety

Crime in Costa Rica

The most common crime here is petty theft. Never leave anything in your rental car while parked. 

It is also best not to wear any flashy jewelry or walk around with your cell phone easily accessible.

Occasionally more aggressive crimes do happen, but luckily these are very rare. 

You can read all about safety in our guide to protecting yourself from crime in Costa Rica.

Scams in Costa Rica

It does not occur often, but there are a few common scams that you may experience in Costa Rica.

For example, did you know that there are pirate taxi drivers here? 

These drivers frequently hang out at bus stops and will ask unsuspecting tourists if they need a taxi. When you then arrive at your destination in this “taxi” they will charge you A LOT of money. If you do not pay they will drive off with your luggage.

You can find out about common Costa Rica scams and how to avoid them in our guide to Costa Rica scams

Travel Tip

It is important to have a way of getting in contact with someone during an emergency. If you rent a car with our Adobe discount you will get a cell phone to use during your stay. This is not a smartphone, but it is fine for an emergency.

We also have a guide to using your cell phone in Costa Rica. This will teach you all about how you can get a cheap prepaid SIM card at the airport in Costa Rica. 

If you are in an emergency, the emergency number here is 9-1-1

Safety During Activities

When participating in any type of organized activity it is always best to go with a well recognized company. We usually opt to support small local companies, but always look up reviews ahead of time to ensure that the company is reputable. Things aren’t always regulated here as well as they might be in your home country.

It is also important to keep in mind that you need to visit places at your own risk. For example, many waterfalls are open for public access. There are often no signs telling you to not get near the edge. Accidents have been known to happen.

Also, there are often crocodiles in rivers. Don’t swim in rivers unless you ask someone ahead of time to ensure they are safe.

Find out all our tips in our activity safety guide

zip lining

Transportation Safety

Are you planning to rent a car in Costa Rica? We suggest first reading our guide to driving in Costa Rica. This guide will tell you all about street signs and what to do in an emergency.


If you plan to ride with any Ubers or taxis please read our guide to taxis in Costa Rica. This guide explains how to recognize pirate taxis, how to stay same while in a taxi etc.

Mosquitos in Costa Rica

Travel Tip

The mosquitos can get pretty bad here especially during rainy season along the beaches. 

It is important to always protect yourself from mosquitos because Zika and Dengue can be a problem here.

Check out our guide to mosquitos in Costa Rica for all our safety tips. 

Natural Disasters in Costa Rica

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flash flooding etc. These are just a few of the fun natural disasters that rarely occur in Costa Rica. 

To stay on top of natural disasters while you are in Costa Rica we suggest you register for STEP if you are a US citizen. This is a great program in which the US Embassy will keep you up to date on any impending disasters.

You can read all our safety tips in our guide to natural disasters in Costa Rica

Travel Tip

The UV index in Costa Rica is crazy high. You have to remember that you are not too far from the equator here. To keep your self safe we suggest always wearing at least SPF 50 sunscreen and covering your skin as much as possible.

You can read all of our tips in the guide to protecting yourself from the sun in Costa Rica.  

sun puerto jimenez

Costa Rica Travel Insurance

We definitely suggest purchasing travel insurance before you travel to Costa Rica.

Not only does travel insurance protect you from things that can happen while in the country but it also protects you if something gets stolen.

You can read all about our travel insurance suggestions for Costa Rica.

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2 Responses

  1. Hello! I love your website! I have been reading and reading. It’s been the best tool for me. I found it on Pinterest. I visiting CR for the first time at the end of November. I haven’t come across anything on your site about drinking water? Any tips, should I get a water bottle with a filter? I’m not staying in a fancy hotel just hostels.

    1. Hi Kimberly! In most places you can drink the water, but it is always better to be on the safe side. We just buy huge jugs of water at the grocery store for about $2 and refill our bottles as we go. 🙂 Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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