Public Safety

The safety situation in Costa Rica is relatively good and the political situation is stable. Nevertheless, if you do not take precautions, you can be a target of assault and robbery. In case of facing any risk, call 911 or head to the nearest police station.

Emergency system 911: 9-1-1 is a call-center for emergencies, which attends and processes the emergency calls for the response teams, whether it be police, hospitals, firemen, the Red Cross among others. It is a toll-free number.

Here, we share with you certain recommendations which may help to prevent situations of risk:

• While walking:
– Do not carry valuable items openly (jewellery, camera, laptop, mobile phone, etc). Be discreet while handling money.
– Try to walk accompanied or try to have your family members or friends accompany you to the country where you are headed.
– Walk through illuminated areas and avoid taking dark or dingy short-cuts or walking through parks alone.
– For men, it is advisable to keep your wallet in the front pocket and for women it is better to carry the handbag cross-body and placed the front.

• When using the public transport:
– Wait for the bus or train in areas where there are other persons waiting and in a well-lit zone.
– Try to sit close to the driver, especially if there are only few passengers travelling on the bus.
– Try not to fall asleep.
– When alighting from the bus or the train, be attentive as to who is alighting with you.
– If you are taking a taxi, we recommend you to use official taxis which are red in colour and duly marked. Do not take a taxi which is carrying another person apart from the driver.

• If you are driving a car or a motorcycle:
– When leaving or reaching home, be attentive that there aren’t suspicious persons around.
– Do not leave the car running while opening or closing the gate of the house.
– If you are travelling in a car, always try to be locked securely and with the windows pulled down.
– Do not carry valuable items visibly within the car. For example, the purse or the laptop.
– Try to change the route periodically. Avoid taking the same route always.

• At home:
– While asleep or leaving the house, make sure that everything is locked.
– Ensure that the area where you live (whether a room, apartment or house) has good locks, gates, and grills to protect the windows.
– The doors leading outside must always be locked and the keys should be hanging on the inner lock. In this manner the door cannot be opened from the outside and, in the case of emergency, the doors can be unlocked quickly without having to search for the keys.
– Do not open the door to strangers.

On a general basis, we recommend that you always be attentive and avoid risky situations. If you are a victim of assault, remember that your life is the most important. Do not resist and hand-over what is being asked of you.

If you face any danger, call 911or head to the nearest police station. The police force of Costa Rica is trustworthy. They will look out for your safety and will do everything to help you. It is important that you report any danger or threat.

You can find more information regarding safety in Costa Rica on the website of the Ministry of Safety.

Natural Disasters

Costa Rica is characterized by a lot of seismic activity (tremors and earthquakes), apart from being a country which receives so much rainfall that landslides or flooding may also occur. Thus it is important to share some recommendations which can help you in case of a natural disaster:

• Take the following precautions:
– Try to not live in an apartment which is very close to a river, to the sea or to lakes.
– If possible, always have at home a suitcase ready for emergencies which contains: a lantern or small torch (with batteries), a small quilt, basic medicines, tinned food (for example, tuna), a bottle of water, items of personal hygiene, a rope and a cape.
– Study the apartment you live in, its exits and its most secure zones.

• What to do immediately after an emergency?
– Stay calm, do no run outside or shout.
– Go out into a secure zone which you have identified earlier.
– Listen to the radio and try not to use the telephone.
– Ensure that all the family members are safe.
– Check the state of the apartment.