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Common-Sense Precautions:

. Never leave valuables in your car, not even in the trunk, as rental cars are obvious to thieves.

. Never leave valuables unattended on the beach.

. Sad as it is to say, you should be cautious about strangers too eager to help you find a taxi, a hotel, fix a flat tire, show you the way, or carry your bags.

. Follow common-sense rules about not carrying a lot of money around.

. Leave flashy jewelry and watches home. Lock valuables in the hotel safe and zip your camera bag up tight.

. Stay out of seedy or deserted areas, such as the Coca-Cola, at night, especially in larger cities. (The Coca-Cola area, named after a bottling plant that has long gone, is around Calles 14- 18, Av 1 and 3, near the central mercado in San José. It has an important bus terminal. Safe during the day, pickpockets and muggers have been known to target tourists and Ticos here at night.)

Men on their own are also vulnerable.We’ve heard of teams of two young men and a lookout putting men in a choke hold until they pass out. We met a college-age student to whom this happened, so think with your elbows! Despite this disheartening litany of possible crimes, we can’t say enough about every day Costa Ricans – they are hardworking, sincere, helpful, caring and very honest. With a few precautions, your chances of being a crime victim are very small.


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