Is COSTA RICA Safe? Travel Advisory 2023

Is it safe to visit Costa Rica right now

According to the latest Global Peace Index update, Costa Rica is considered the safest country in Latin America. It’s also the most peaceful country in Central America with a low violent crime rate and high political stability.

Costa Rica is the only country in the world that has no army.

Thus, for those still wondering, yes, Costa Rica is very safe.


September 8 – Latest Security Alert – U.S. Embassy San Jose, Costa Rica

Travel advisories for Costa Rica remain at Level 2: Increased caution, according to the U.S. State Department.

The U.S. Embassy is also informing the people of the United States that an internal travel advisory has been developed to better alert Embassy staff members of regions where they should exercise increased caution, owing to violent crime, remoteness, and/or lack of access to emergency services, among other concerns.

Although there are no formal travel restrictions in place, Embassy staff are discouraged from visiting certain locations. This map, which you can download to your smartphone, tablet, or computer for reference, shows these regions with increased caution.

These regions are routinely reviewed and updated as needed. Regarding the security situation in the country, the U.S. Embassy continues to be in regular contact and cooperation with the Costa Rican government.

August 9 – Record-Breaking Violence Surges In Costa Rica Amidst Growing Drug Influence, says Security Minister

According to a top official, the influence of Mexican drug gangs and increasing cocaine production in Colombia have caused the homicide rate in Costa Rica to reach a record high, casting a shadow over a country that has long been a pillar of stability in the region.

656 homicides in Costa Rica were a record at the end of 2022. But in 2023, it gets worse: According to government data, the number of homicides in the first half of the year increased 42% over the previous year.

In an interview with Reuters this week, Costa Rican Security Minister Mario Zamora claimed the country has a “Mexicanization of crime.” He was referring to the increase in gang fights that take place in broad daylight, leaving Costa Ricans concerned for their safety and the country’s industry, which is heavily dependent on tourism.

June 30 –  Ecstasy Seizures in Costa Rica: Gangs Target Tourists and the Youth Market

According to data provided by the Drug Control Police (PCD), the top narcotics seized include ecstasy with 117,922 doses, followed by LSD with 31 doses and ketamine with 15 doses. The PCD further highlighted that ketamine is primarily imported since there are no existing laboratories for its production within the country.

“These drugs are consumed mainly in coastal areas, also in electronic music parties, where the young population mostly consumes it,” said The prosecutor of the Specialized Jurisdiction in Organized Crime, Esteban Chavarría Araya.

Prosecutors warned that users of these drugs should exercise extreme caution because they are highly addictive.

“The most addictive synthetic drug is fentanyl, considered 50 times more potent than heroin. However, other substances, such as the MDPV drug created in recent years, are 800 times more addictive than fentanyl or heroin. Those who consume it experience greater euphoria than with fentanyl, for example, and it has lethal consequences”, pointed out Chavarría.

Safety measures to keep in mind:

  • Do not engage in physical resistance to any robbery attempt.
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings
  • Do not show signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • When visiting abroad, Americans should always be cautious.
  • Follow the State Department on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Review Costa Rica’s country safety report.
  • Prepare a contingency plan in case an emergency occurs. Check out the checklist for travelers.

Why travel to Costa Rica

First and foremost, Costa Rica has virtually 0 entry restrictions for vaccinated visitors. No test, no quarantine, no extra expenses, no hassle.

If that is not enough, here you have 3 excellent reasons to pack your bags.

1. Puerto Viejo

This Caribbean coast is popular among young people and backpackers because of its great beaches, surfing, and party atmosphere. In the town, nearby visitors will find some fun activities going on every day. 

When in town, you must pay a visit to the jaguar rescue center where local wildlife is rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

2. Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero is Spanish for “a lot of turtles.” With more than 77,000 acres, this Amazon rainforest-like is home to rivers, jungles, and “a lot of turtles” coming to nest along the shoreline.

3. Corcovado National Park 

Costa Rica is known for its amazing national parks, where tourists can enjoy some thrilling activities like river rafting, canyoning, cave tubing, and wildlife spotting.

This one in particular is the right fit for adventurous people. It features 13 major ecosystems including a rainforest, highland cloud forest, swamps, and beaches. 

Requirements to enter Costa Rica

Travelers to Costa Rica are not required to show proof of vaccination status or proof of a medical insurance policy to cover COVID-19 related illness.