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 .
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