Is Costa Rica Safe?

Is Costa Rica Safe?

Because of recent events in France and other areas of the world, people are hyper aware of their safety, and the possibility of danger when traveling. Families and solo travelers want to know that they can feel secure while they are on vacation in Costa Rica. We understand your concern, and we wrote this blog to help you get some peace of mind when visiting Costa Rica. We feel completely comfortable recommending Costa Rica as a safe travel destination, but just like anything else, your safety mostly relies on information and common sense.

single female traveler visiting Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Tamarindo has become a popular destination for single travelers.


North Western Guanacaste is one of the safest regions of Costa Rica.

Anyone visiting Tamarindo, Playa Coco, Nosara, Santa Teresa, or any other of the beautiful beaches in Guanacaste is off to a good start. Does that mean nobody has ever been injured while surfing or pickpocketed here? Of course not. Just because its Paradise doesn’t mean it defies all laws of nature and humanity.

Unfortunately in this life, there is no way to eliminate all risk. That’s not what we’re talking about here. If you are coming to Costa Rica, you’re up for a little adventure!

There’s a certain amount of risk associated with every life activity: every time you get in a car or an airplane anywhere in the world, walk down any street, eat at any restaurant, or go to any beach. What most people want to know is: Is this experience of going to Surf Camp in Costa Rica going to be more risky than the level I am comfortable with in my everyday life? And though it may be different than what you are used to, if you look at the numbers, driving on any highway is more risky for your safety than traveling to Central America.

Group surf trip with Witch's Rock Surf Camp, Tamarindo Costa Rica

Costa Rica has long been known as the safest country in Central America. There is no army, a thriving tourism industry, and a long history of staying out of the conflicts that have impacted other countries in Central and South America. Costa Rica has the highest standard of living in the region, and an Ex-Pat community of over 50,000. With laws that make it reasonable to move and do business here, good schools both public and private, generally low crime rate, and the welcoming Costa Rican people, this is a great place to live, which keeps it a great place to visit.

That being said–crimes do happen here, particularly in certain parts San Jose, Limon on the Caribbean coast, Puntarenas , and the beach town of Jaco. Just like in most parts of the world, the highest crime areas are almost always concentrated around nightclub districts that cater to hard partying tourists. If you come to Costa Rica or ANYWHERE looking for trouble, chances are you will find it.

aerial photograph of Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Most of Costa Rica doesn’t fit that mold. People come here mostly to surf. Of course, we have plenty of fun when the sun goes down, but in more of a casual beach paradise style. Reggae music and cerveza is more our vibe.

The surf and the beach is the overwhelming attraction here. It’s why so many people come to visit, and so many fall in love with the area and decide to move here, start families, and raise kids. The draw of Tamarindo is just as strong with Costa Ricans from San Jose and other towns as it is with all of the Americans, Europeans, and South Americans, who have chosen this place as their home.

There are many distinct factors that make a trip to Costa Rica a safe option for travelers:

  • Most hotels offer airport transportation, and security for your belongings.
  • The established tourism industry in Costa Rica allows for an environment of tons of other people in your same situation. You are sure to make friends and connections from the day you arrive.
  • Friendly locals and ex-patriots from around the world welcome tourism, as it is the main source of income in Costa Rica. Most people are open and willing to help.
  • There are many sandy beaches to surf in Costa Rica. If you are not an experienced surfer, you can opt out of those reef breaks, and find safe, friendly waves to ride.
another happy guest at Witch's Rock Surf Camp

You will always find plenty of great people to share the stoke of surf.

Just because you are on vacation, don’t forget to employ the same common sense that you would back home. Here are some guidelines that everyone should follow:

  • If you are going out, especially at night, go with someone, or tell people where you are headed. If you are ready to leave a bar and you came with people, tell them you are leaving. Keep an eye out for yourself and your loved ones.
  • Take a cab back to the hotel if it is late. Cabs are very inexpensive in Costa Rica, and in most towns, they are around every corner.
  • Don’t walk on the beach by yourself at night. It’s not just other people you have to worry about. There are strong currents in the water here and you don’t want to be caught in one all alone at night.
  • Don’t take valuables with you on surf tours, or out at night. Just take what you need. Petty theft can be a problem in Costa Rica, but YOU can control that by managing your risk.
  • Ladies, keep an eye on your drinks. Not that this is common problem in Costa Rica, its just a is good practice anywhere. You’re welcome.

Don’t hesitate to observe, ask, and think about your decisions just as you would anywhere else in the world. Costa Rica is one of the most naturally beautiful and culturally diverse places in the world. Come enjoy it. Bring your intuition, and leave your fear behind.


Dinner and drinks at Eat @ Joe's restaurant, Tamarindo, Costa Rica