Is Costa Rica Safe for Tourists? What You Need to Know

Costa Rica, a tropical paradise nestled in Central America, has become a hotspot for tourists seeking breathtaking landscapes, rich biodiversity, and vibrant cultures. 

In recent years, the country has gained popularity as a travel destination. As you plan your journey to this enchanting land, one crucial question looms: Is Costa Rica safe for tourists?

Key Takeaways

  • Costa Rica is safe for tourists, but it’s important to take precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings and avoiding displaying valuables.
  • The country’s healthcare system is efficient, and the infrastructure is well-maintained.
  • Costa Rica is a popular destination for families, with a variety of family-friendly activities available.
  • The country is committed to conservation and sustainable tourism, which ensures a safe and educational experience for visitors.

Costa Rica’s Safety Right Now

Costa Rica got the 39th position in the Global Peace Index for 2023, and it’s the safest in Latin America. This ranking considers things like terrorism, gun access, mass shootings, human rights, and how well they get along with nearby countries.

When it comes to crime, people who moved there and locals team up to make sure their neighborhoods are safe. In some places, there’s a worry about crime, like small thefts and sometimes break-ins at homes.

You can have a safe and calm time in Costa Rica by taking simple steps. Be careful with water, stay away from certain places, and avoid unfamiliar areas to make sure your visit is worry-free.

Costa Rica Safety for Tourists

Costa Rica is a popular tourist destination, expecting 2.5 million visitors this year. While petty crime is the main threat for tourists, violent crime, such as armed robbery, homicide, and sexual assault, also occurs in the country. The Costa Rican government provides additional security resources in areas frequented by tourists. To stay safe, it’s recommended to:

  • Inquire with the staff at your hostel or hotel about the area’s safety.
  • Make friends and explore urban areas with a group of travelers to deter would-be robbers.
  • Avoid walking alone at night, and stick to well-lit areas.
  • Take a taxi instead of walking at night, and make sure the taxi is licensed (red or orange).

By following these tips, you can enjoy your time in Costa Rica while minimizing the risk of crime.

Costa Rica Safety for Families

Costa Rica is an excellent destination for families seeking adventure and relaxation. The country offers a variety of family-friendly activities, like: 

  • Exploring national parks and rainforests.
  • Enjoying pristine beaches on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
  • Ziplining, surfing, and rafting.
  • Hiking and horseback riding.
  • Visiting wildlife reserves and sanctuaries.

The country’s commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism ensures a safe and educational experience for families exploring its natural wonders. With careful planning and the right tour companies, families can enjoy a memorable experience in Costa Rica.

Credit: Enoch Omololu, Arenal Volcano National Park

Costa Rica Crime Rate and Safety to Live There

While Costa Rica is generally safe for tourists, it’s essential to be aware of the crime rate, which is relatively low compared to neighboring countries. The key tourist areas have a heightened police presence, contributing to a secure atmosphere. 

Moreover, many expatriates choose to live in Costa Rica, and they work together with locals to ensure their neighborhoods are safe.

Infrastructure and Health Care System

Costa Rica is also known for its efficient healthcare system, reliable infrastructure, and diverse accommodation options, which contribute to the safety aspect of traveling to the country.The government has invested in healthcare and infrastructure, resulting in a quality healthcare system that is ranked 69th in the world. 

Some highlights of Costa Rica’s healthcare system include:

  • Universal healthcare coverage for citizens and permanent residents is provided through Caja, the country’s social security system.
  • High-quality public and private hospitals, many of which are internationally accredited.
  • A strong primary care model that focuses on preventive care and community health.

In addition to healthcare, Costa Rica’s infrastructure is well-maintained and reliable, with a good transportation system and a variety of accommodation options available for different budgets and preferences. The country’s dedication to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism practices also contributes to its overall safety and appeal for visitors.


Is Costa Rica safer than Mexico for tourists?

Costa Rica is generally a safer destination for travelers than Mexico. Mexico has higher crime rates, particularly related to drug cartels. Costa Rica is a peaceful nation without a military and has a lower overall crime rate.

What should I be careful about in Costa Rica?

Though Costa Rica is generally safe, be cautious of petty theft in crowded areas. Keep an eye on your belongings, avoid flashing valuables, and use reliable transportation. Also, respecting local customs and natural habitats enhances travel safety.


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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a traveller, culinary tourist, and money expert. He is the co-founder of Only Earthlings and established the popular Savvy New Canadians platform. Enoch has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes, Best Life Online, GOBankingRates, Penny Hoarder, Globe and Mail, Yahoo, and CBC News.

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