COSTA RICA is a beautiful country and Guanacaste is one of the safest areas for tourists in the country, but as in any country in the world, Costa Rica faces the challenge of staying safe and achieving security for its citizens and visitors alike. Taking just a few common sense precautions, you can avoid possible risks.
TRANSPORTATION AND DRIVING
If you are renting a car:
- Always follow traffic signs, especially the speed limits.
- Never leave luggage or other belongings in sight in the car if it is unattended.
- Keep doors locked and windows closed while driving or parked.
- Avoid stopping when a stranger asks for a ride.
- If you were lost or needed to check your map or ask for directions, find a public and safe place to do it.
When using a taxi service:
- Always ask an employee of your hotel to get you a taxi from a reputable company.
- Verify that it meets the legal requirements, such as the yellow triangles on the doors and the meter on the front.
Traveling by bus:
- Plan your trip in advance, especially your transportation from the hotel to the airport.
- If you plan to sleep while traveling by bus or any other means of transportation, keep your belongings close to you.
- Do not rely on someone who is very friendly, just remember that he/she may be trying to distract you while someone else steals from you.
- Police officers are always at your service to help you. In an emergency call 911 immediately.
- Our currency is the Colón.
- The exchange rate varies slightly from day to day.
- Use only banks or authorized exchange booths to change your money. These transactions require your original passport.
- Use ATMs located in safe, well-lit places.
- 13% sales tax is always charged on the price of items you are buying. In restaurants and bars there is a 10% tip. An extra tip is optional but it is a frequent custom.
- Buy only from established suppliers (car rental companies, tour operators, etc.) They can provide you adequate security and support if needed.
- Keep an eye from people offering services on the street. They can be scams or unsecured informal services.
- Always ask for a bill with the details of your purchase.
- Always ask for an explanation of the cancellation policies of the company before paying.
- Always ask local people about rip currents, waves, weather or dangerous animals on the beach you visit.
- Watch for sea or river conditions. Muddy water can mean dangerous currents or a head of water.
- Avoid swimming alone.
- Remember that some rivers and beaches are inhabited by crocodiles. Avoid swimming in estuaries or in the mouth of a river you don’t know.
- If you like water sports, practice them only with certified companies.
- Never leave any of your belongings unattended.
- Leave your values in the safe of the hotel (passport, airline tickets, reserve money and credit cards, etc.)
- Keep your wallet with you in a safe place out of sight.
- Be always alert and aware of what happens around you. We suggest not to use fine jewelry and not to carry large amounts of money with you.
- Leave your room key at the front desk when you leave.
- Never let a stranger get too close to you under no circumstances; it could be a robbery attempt.
- If harassed by a hostile individual, do not resist and do what he asks. Your belongings are not worth your life.
- If your credit card gets lost or stolen, cancel it immediately.