U.S. Raises Travel Advisory For Costa Rica To Level 2 Amid Recent Spike In Violence

A spike in violent crime prompted the U.S. to issue a Level 2 warning for Costa Rica earlier this week, urging Americans to exercise additional caution. No specific cases were cited, but such a warning should be taken seriously.

It has been highlighted that most of the recent criminal activity has been concentrated in San Jose, the country’s capital and the site of its principal airport. Most tourists begin their adventures in Costa Rica in San Jose, the country’s largest city. According to a recent report, more than 1.2 million U.S. tourists flew to Costa Rica last year.

These are the guidelines provided by the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica:

  • While in a public place, especially when leaving a store or venue, be cautious.
  • Keep an eye on your surroundings and leave any area that does not feel safe.
  • Try not to stick out in a crowd, and avoid being alone whenever possible.
  • Keep valuables such as electronics, jewelry, and money hidden from public view.
  • Walking about at night in a group on well-lit streets is best. Never wander alone at night.
  • Provide someone you trust your contact information and advise them of your whereabouts, including when and where you will be traveling.
  • While leaving your home, hotel, or vacation rental, keep all doors and windows closed. Activate the security system (if applicable).
  • When driving, it is best to keep all doors locked. Even if the doors are shut, keep valuables, such as phones or jewelry, out of sight.

The embassy always advises its residents to sign up for STEP, a government initiative that keeps tourists up to date on the latest security advisories. If someone is in immediate danger, the Costa Rica emergency phone number is 911, as it is in the United States.

Opposition From Costa Rica

Costa Rica is largely reliant on tourism because there is so much to do for visitors to experience the Costa Rican lifestyle. When their safety is called into doubt, it might harm their reputation and seriously harm their economy.

Jorge Torres, Minister of Public Security, questioned how the United States came to the decision to issue a travel warning, but he believes drug fights between gangs are primarily to blame.

There is no current update on what the plan is to address this issue. Costa Rica has acknowledged the increase in violence, but it may be in the damage control phase until a new approach is developed.