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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 01/09/2023

Costa Rica is the safest country in Central America

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Costa Rica is well-known for having relatively political stability (democracy) and is proud of being without military since 1948. Although violent crimes have been committed against foreigners in Costa Rica, pick-pocketing, muggings, and theft are the most common threats for tourists. 

Passport or credit card theft and fraud are on the rise, so always keep a close eye on your valuables.  Carrying a copy of your passport with your current stamp (tourist visa) while you keep your passport in a safe location is always recommended.  "Never carry more than you are willing to lose" is a safe motto to follow while traveling, not only in Costa Rica.

We recommend taking caution, as you would in any other major city. Try to avoid unnecessary attention. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Know where you are and where you are going.  

Try to avoid visiting downtown San Jose after dark. If you must, do not travel alone and avoid isolated areas. Take caution in San Jose during the holiday seasons, even in daylight.  Petty crimes tend to increase during this time of year.

Criminals usually operate in small groups so it is not recommended to retaliate if you are a victim of a crime. 

When taking public buses, sit near the front, especially when you aren't sure where you are going or at night.  When traveling long distances on the bus, try to stay awake and be aware of your belongings. 

Using official taxis or Ubers is recommended.  Official taxis are red or orange in color and have a yellow triangle.   They are required to follow certain laws, including using the meter, known here as the "maria."  Never get into a cab that is occupied by more than just the driver.

Never leave luggage or valuables in a parked vehicle. Park in paid lots or lighted areas.  When driving, minimize the risk of smash-and-grab robberies by keeping valuable items hidden.

Going to bars or clubs alone is not recommended, especially if you will be drinking alcohol.  Consuming drugs or other illegal substances is not recommended.  Due to its geographic location, Costa Rica has been a major gateway for narcotic smuggling, mainly cocaine, but these cartels have not caused major problems here to uninvolved people, as they have in other Latin American countries.

Protests occur quite frequently but are generally peaceful, usually causing no more than significant delays in traffic, but as a foreigner, it is wise to avoid crowds like this.

If you become a victim of crime, contact the following:
Police emergency - 911
Ambulance - 911
Fire - 911
Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ, Costa Rica’s investigative police) – 911, 2295-3639, or 2295-3640
Tourist Police – 2586-4620, 2586-4287, 2586-4287, or 2586-4458
U.S. Embassy at 2519-2000.

Recommended Hospitals and Clinics in the San Jose area
CIMA Hospital - 2208-1000
Clínica Bíblica Hospital - 2257-5252
Hospital/Clínica Católica (private) San Antonio de Guadalupe – San Jose –2283-6616
Hospital Mexico (public)- 2242-6700
National Children's Hospital - 2523-3600

Make good decisions and you shouldn't have anything to worry about!  Talk to us about your move to Costa Rica!

Is Costa Rica Safe?

Costa Rica Excursions

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