Theft and You (a must read)
From Costa Rica Travel Guide: Vacation and Travel tips
Theft and You in Costa Rica
Travel Costa Rica Now.com does not wish to scare you. We are merely reminding you of things you forgot you knew when traveling abroad. The majority of crime as it pertains to travelers (petty theft) in Costa Rica, can pretty much be avoided if you just follow of few simple rules. You will notice that these rules pretty much apply to any tourist destination in the world. For a somewhat different perspective on theft, read
Pickpockets are mostly found in San Jose and they love to use distraction to relieve you of your valuables. Scam- Someone accidently spills something on you, and someone else playing the good Samaritan quickly arrives to help. Always keep your wallet and passport in your front pockets if you do have to carry your passport.
If you get a flat tire shortly after picking up your rental car or coming out of a restaurant, be on the lookout for the good Samaritan (they’re everywhere) they miracously appear out of nowhere. This is another distraction and they’ve been doing this for awhile- one guy helps you with the tire and the other one helps himself to your stuff. I don't care if the tires are falling off the rims- DO NOT PULL OVER until you're in a safe place. I can't overstate this fact.
Do not keep valuables on the seat next to you or in the back seat when driving if the windows are down. They will reach in and they also like to snatch expensive sunglasses right off your head. If you think you should keep your windows up, then by all means, seems a little overly paranoid to me. *see the first rule.
Unless you’re staying at a high end hotel, you should not leave your valuables in the trunk overnight, especially in the beach towns. Don’t hide your passport or any important items under the visor or under the seat of your car…..they know this one.
If, on the rare occasion, you find yourself in a hostile situation, give them what they want. Serious injury or death in another country while on vacation; is such a buzz kill. In case of emergency call 911 from any telephone. The operator is probably NOT going to know English.
Again, this isn’t a Costa Rica thing; this is a common sense thing. Ever go visit the Vatican in Rome- all these rules apply there as well. But you do NOT have to be a victim of theft. *see the first rule.