Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
Safety tips for a trouble-free Costa Rica vacation
Having experienced a triptych of robberies in the past 24 months while traveling in Colombia (see this blog post) and Costa Rica for work, I’ve put in place a series of security measures for the road to help ensure a trouble-free trip this time.
Hence, I’ve ensured that my luggage will be safely secured inside the vehicle while I’m driving between my daily destinations, with sturdy cables and locks that attach each bag around the frames of the rental vehicle’s seats. If I'm outside the vehicle, there's no way a thief can steal my bags without investing significant time and effort.
Plus, I’ll be using PacSafe bag protectors for an extra degree of protection. (These dandy metal mesh enclosures also guard against pilfering hands in hotel rooms, etc.) As you see from the photo, I even use a PacSafe to secure my duffle-bag when motorcycling.
I’ll also be carrying pepper spray to ward off mad dogs (you laugh, but I used said spray to good effect for that purpose in Colombia last year) or, heaven forbid, other wild creatures or—most importantly—would-be muggers.
Meanwhile, gone are the days of two decades ago when roadside crime against tourists in Costa Rica was unheard of.
Thus, the Costa Rican Tourist Board now publishes a warning sheet: “Tips for having a great and safe vacation in Costa Rica.”
Pick one up from the ICT information bureau when you arrive at San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport or the Daniel Oduber International Airport at Liberia, in Guanacaste; or at one of ICT’s nine regional offices nationwide.
Here are the tips:
• While driving or parking your car, lock the doors and keep the windows closed.
• If you get a flat tire, or someone tells you something is wrong with your car, you are bumped from behind, or you are being followed, do not stop. Seek police assistance or drive to a busy shopping center.
• Avoid stopping when a stranger asks you for a ride.
• If you need to check a map, do so in a public and secure area or ask a police officer for help. Do not stop in front of strangers.
• Traffic infractions are paid at banks, never directly to police officials.
• If you travel to areas far from your hotel, you must carry your passport and be cautious. If you stay within close range of your hotel, keep your documents in a safe box and carry a copy of your passport with all the relevant information.
• Never leave money, credit cards, bags or valuables in the car.
• When possible, try to park in the parking garages, never in the streets.
There’s absolutely no need to be paranoid.
The vast majority of visitors to Costa Rica return home thrilled to having enjoyed their visit and without any mishap having happened.
For complete information about travel in Costa Rica, buy Moon Handbook Costa Rica
If you're traveling only to San José and the Caribbean, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast pocket guide.
If you're traveling only to the beaches of Nicoya, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula pocket guide.
If you're traveling only to Arenal and/or Monteverde, buy Moon Spotlight Costa Rica's Arenal & Monteverde pocket guide.
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly
Learn more about Christopher P. Baker.
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker