Costa Rica Country Guide

Everything you need to know about moving to Costa Rica

Safety and Security for Expats in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a relatively safe country, but certain precautions should be taken

Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Latin America. Rates of violent crime remain relatively low, despite upticks over the past few years. In general, expats should take precautions to protect themselves from petty thefts and crimes of opportunity.

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Overview of Crime in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is generally considered a safe country for tourists and residents. It has a lower crime rate compared to some of its neighboring countries in Central and South America. The government and local authorities take measures to ensure the safety of visitors and residents alike.

However, like many places around the world, Costa Rica is not without its safety concerns. Theft, including pickpocketing, car break-ins, and property-related crimes are relatively common, especially in crowded tourist areas. Tourists can sometimes be targeted due to their perceived wealth, so it’s important to take precautions, such as securing your belongings and avoiding high-risk areas.

Certain regions and urban centers, like San Jose and Limón, have higher crime rates than others, and it’s advisable to stay away from areas that are recognized to have more crime.

Safety and Security Tips for Expats in Costa Rica

It’s likely that you will not face any safety and security issues while in Costa Rica. However, here are a few things you can do to stay safe:

  1. Stay away from high-crime areas: Parts of San Jose, Limon, and a few other parts of the country are known to have higher crime rates than the rest of the country. Unless you have business in one of those places, it’s best just to stay away.
  2. Don’t draw attention to yourself: As an expat, you will likely stand out to a certain degree. Do not draw more attention to yourself by exhibiting signs of wealth, like expensive jewelry or phones.
  3. Don’t let many people know when you’re leaving town: If you own a home, try not to let too many people know when you’ll be gone from the house for a few days. If the wrong people get wind that the house will be empty, it could become a target.
  4. Have people stay at your house: If possible, have a trusted friend stay in your home while you’re gone. This can dissuade potential burglars.
  5. Hide valuable belongings in an inconspicuous place: Do not leave keys or valuables out in your home. Whenever you are sleeping or out of the house, it’s best to have them close to you or in a safe.
  6. Have an emergency contact: Elect a friend or a community representative to serve as an emergency contact so that you have someone to call in a pinch.
  7. Avoid driving at night: Driving in Costa Rica at night can be difficult for expats that are not accustomed to the windy, poorly lit, narrow roads. Try to avoid driving at night until you feel very comfortable on the roads.
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