Safety Info for Parents Traveling In Costa Rica

Traveling exposes us to food, culture, tradition, and realities of life which can truly enhance one’s understanding of the world and our humanity. While they may struggle to appreciate it at the time, bringing children to other countries can help them to gain some perspective on their own life. Although many parents understandably get concerned about the safety of some countries, so doing some research on how to be safe there first is wise.

There are some obvious factors which are going to affect your travel regardless of your preparation, like the seemingly endless Coronavirus pandemic. Also if you plan on spending the whole time in your Costa Rican beach front resort, then chances are you and your children will be pretty safe there too. As with anywhere, there is a degree of common sense to being safe in Costa Rica, although it may help to quash concerns by reading on.

Here’s a look at the safety information for parents traveling with kids to Costa Rica.

Common Problems

As it is still a developing nation, it’s important to remember that scarcity is still quite high among the disadvantaged locals. This is common throughout much of the developing world, and even throughout developed countries too, so if you have any experience traveling alone before you’ve likely experienced the worst of what can happen in Costa Rica. In such places, there is always the risk of pickpockets, scams, and sometimes muggings.


More common in and around San Jose than anywhere else in Costa Rica, often pickpockets will use a ruse to try and distract you while someone else subtly swipes your wallet or even watch. There are several things you can do to avoid this, and as with anything prevention is usually the best step.

- Invest in an anti-theft travel bag or a money belt

- Leave your valuables (such as passport and the bulk of your travel cash) in a lockbox at your Costa Rican beach front resort or wherever you’re staying

- Be dubious of strangers approaching you with odd requests, and avoid heavily visited areas especially during peak times

Of course pickpockets are going to happen, and while they are a violation of our personal space and personal property, it’s definitely not the end of the world.


Scams are rife throughout Costa Rica, and can be hard to gauge or detect. It may be impossible to entirely avoid being scammed, and although they may have tricked you, often they won’t be getting away with that much money in the scheme of things.

- Double check your change when purchasing from non-retail entities such as taxis 

- Never pay for anything up front, and be sure to negotiate a price in advance

- If you are scammed out of a small amount of money by an individual, it might be better to simply take it on the chin rather than try to intimidate or involve the police

- Bigger scams should be immediately reported to the local authorities


A nightmare-ish situation in most people’s minds, muggings have likely been happening since the earliest stages of civilized society. The most common piece of advice with muggings is just as relevant in Costa Rica as it is anywhere, and that is to simply forfeit what they want and don’t resist. Although as with pickpockets, this can be minimized by the exact same preventative measures, as well as the following.

- Avoid notoriously dangerous areas of San Jose, or those areas which make you feel even remotely uneasy

- Don’t go wandering the streets in the late evening or early morning

- Don’t let your child go anywhere by themselves if they’re younger than 18

More Serious Crime

Of course more serious forms of crime do happen, although by considering and implementing all of the above advice, you shouldn’t end up anywhere near it. If you are the victim of a serious crime, be sure to contact both the tourist police and your embassy should you require any assistance.

Natural Disasters

Costa Rica is a hotspot for earthquakes, and although they occur almost daily in some parts, they’re usually so minor they go unnoticed. There are also several larger tremors each year, with the deadliest occurring back in 2009 claiming 34 lives. Rather than letting this deter you, it’s wise to invest in insurance which can accommodate your evacuation should a disaster occur, and look into local disaster protocol. You can also ask your Costa Rican beach front resort, or whatever accommodation you have, what their protocol is for natural disasters ahead of time.