It is well known that Costa Rica, the “pura vida” country, is one of the most beautiful places in Latin America, which is why tourism is one of the most significant social and economic activities in this Central American country.
Thanks to the beautiful rivers, mountains, lakes, forests, and beaches here, tens of thousands of tourists arrive every year to enjoy new adventures. Besides the country’s natural beauty, which is a big attraction, it’s also one of the happiest countries in the world, and has been called one of the best places to live by foreign residents.
If you’ve chosen Costa Rica as your next vacation destination, you’ve made an excellent choice that you won’t regret. We will share some tourism safety tips for a smooth, safe, and rewarding trip, so that you can enjoy this country to the fullest.
One basic rule when traveling in Costa Rica is to keep all of your documents, such as your passport and ID cards, with you at all times. These are the only kinds of valid ID that will be accepted if you need to make monetary transactions, such as currency exchange or withdrawals at banks.
Furthermore, some tourist attractions, museums, and tour companies will ask to see your ID when purchasing a ticket to enter a specific site. It can also come in handy when paying for short-term, temporary services, such as bike rentals.
Let’s say you’ve just bought your ticket to fulfill your dream of traveling to Costa Rica. What would the next step be? If you’re thinking that it would be to pack your suitcase, that isn’t the case. One of the most important things to do before going on a trip is to make a specific itinerary of the places that you’re going to visit, and to learn as much as you can about them.
Take everything into consideration, from expenses to the weather in the area you’ll be visiting. If possible, make a plan regarding which tour operators or tour guides you are going to hire, so that you can enjoy your adventure and avoid inconveniences and surprises once you arrive.
Imagine that you’ve just arrived at a museum where something impressive has caught your eye, and in that moment while you’re distracted, your wallet disappears. It wouldn’t be your fault. Many thieves take advantage of these moments to commit crimes or rob tourists. That’s why it’s important to always keep an eye on your bags and your wallet.
If you’re carrying valuable objects, like a camera, money, or your ID, it’s best to carry your backpack in front of you. Also, we recommend buying a small lock for your backpack’s zipper, if it doesn’t come with one, in case you have no choice but to leave your bag somewhere.
Costa Rica’s natural charms can be so impressive that you may make a mistake without meaning to. Many tourists feel compelled to walk through the forests where wild animals live, which can sometimes prove to be fatal. When visiting certain places that may be a bit more dangerous, make sure to always go with a certified tour guide and pay attention to them at all times.
Don’t feed wild animals, don’t leave any trash or leftover food in natural spaces, and don’t try to touch or make contact with wildlife unless the guide has explicitly given you permission to do so. Keep in mind that the removal of wild animals from their natural habitats and the sale of these animals are punishable by law.
If you want to visit a beach, a lake, or a river to practice extreme sports, always do so alongside authorized professionals. If you want to go swimming in these beautiful waters, always keep an eye out for warning signs or ask for advice from a lifeguard about the spots where the current is safe enough to go in.
Whether you’re renting a car, taking a taxi, or hiring a tour operator, it’s important to make sure that these services have been certified by the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), in order to avoid the worst case scenario of getting involved with scammers or thieves who can cause serious problems.
Trustworthy, certified companies usually display the Costa Rica Tourism Board logo. Remember to also read contracts and specifically check the fine print carefully before signing anything when hiring a service.
If you’re heading out somewhere for a few hours or a few days, try to always let someone know where you’ll be, provide an emergency phone number, and tell them what time you’re leaving and when you’re planning to return.
This can be anyone from a friend or family member who lives in the country you’re visiting, to the manager at the hotel where you’re staying. In case anything seems abnormal, this person can contact the appropriate authorities
Money is one of the most important things when you’re traveling. Before landing in Costa Rica, learn about exchanging your money into local currency. Make a detailed budget so that you don’t end up stuck without money due to a miscalculation.
When going out, don’t bring all of your money with you. You can leave some of it in the hotel safe and carry only what you need, plus a little extra in case of emergency. When you’re out and about try not to carry all your money in one place, so that you don’t lose everything you have with you in case of a robbery.
Only exchange currency in banks or places that are authorized to make these kinds of transactions.
One of the most impressive things about Costa Rica is how friendly the people are, and the warmth with which they treat tourists who have come to visit their country. However, some criminals may use this friendliness as a façade to commit a robbery, a scam, or to cause physical harm.
Don’t be overly trusting. If you’re alone on the road and you’re in an accident, ask for assistance from the local police by calling 911 or 800-tourism for free. You should also do this if you get lost, or if you need directions.
Traveling to Costa Rica can be one of the most amazing experiences of your life, and we assure you that if you follow our advice, you will enjoy this wonderful country even more. Costa Rica is a safe country, but it’s important to take precautions here, or anywhere else that you travel. Of course traveling is an adventure, but it’s important to be safe!
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