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Safety in Costa Rica

Before continuing

We highly recommend reading the State Department’s Country Specific Information about Costa Rica, and enrolling in the Smart Traveler program before leaving.

Below, we have a brief summary of their report, and contact information for the U.S. Embassy. Please also feel free to contact us directly with any safety questions or concerns:

Important Phone Numbers

  • Ambulancia / Ambulance: 128
  • Bomberos / Fire Department: 118
  • Carabineros / Police Department:  911
  • US Embassy: +(506) 2519-2000

The U.S. State Department on Safety in Costa Rica

Civil Unrest: Demonstrations throughout Costa Rica are generally peaceful. However, foreigners are banned from participating in them. Therefore, participation could lead to arrest or deportation even in peaceful scenarios.

Road Safety: San Jose has the best marked and maintained roads of Costa Rica, but they are filled with traffic that frequently gets stuck in jams. And though they are some of the best maintained, the quality still isn’t up to a particularly high standard. Driving in rural areas can be quite dangerous, and those areas can also be dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Health: While in San Jose adequate medical care can be found, it becomes much more scarce outside of the city. Medical evacuation out of the country can be extremely expensive, and in most cases will only occur after the fee is paid. Because of this, travel insurance that covers medical evacuation is recommended.

Natural Hazards: Costa Rica is sits on the edge of tectonic plates, making it prone to earthquakes. And earthquakes come with the added risks of volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. Costa Rica’s rainy season from August to October can also bring flash floods and landslides. Riptides on beaches are also a danger year-round.

If venturing into the rainforest, there will obviously be wild animals present. If bitten or scratched, even if it may seem minimal, make sure the wound is cleaned out and treated properly.

Crime: As per usual, the most common crime that travelers in Costa Rica have to worry about is pickpocketing, so guard your belongings closely. Another very common means of theft is stealing from parked cars, so do not leave belongings in plain sight. However, muggings do occur. To avoid this, take usual precautions to avoid become a target, such as refraining from flashing cash.

Embassy Information