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Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

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Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

Several yrs back we had a terrible experience driving in Acapulco. Corrupt police officers pulled us over at least once/day in an attempt to solicit a bribe. Was stressful and scary! By day 5 we retd the rental car and took cabs.

Has anyone had similar experience in Costa Rica? We will be traveling from SJO to Arenal. We'd like to have a car, but do not want a repeat of Acapulco.

We are very comfortable with the driving conditions, roads, etc.... It's the issue w/ police which causes us to hesitate. I have not seen any reports on this forum, but have heard stories and seen other sites reporting these types of incidents in CR.

Appreciate any insight. Thanks

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1. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

I wouldn't worry about it. If you violate traffic laws they will pull you over and may try to let you pay a bribe to let you go. Don't go for it! If you don't violate then there is no reason for them to stop you. I have been driving in Costa Rica for the last six years without a problem.

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2. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

I always share my experience with a incredible corrupt cop around Colorado Springs Colorado USA ...he ask me for a bribe to let me go...when I toll him that I was willing to go to court he was furious and let me go...he pull me over for no reason...!!

We have some guys like that...but if you observe the speed limits driving distances...and common sense nothing is going to happens to you...

Please do not worry...if for any reason they pull you over...and they want money...just calmly said please write the ticket... they do not like that..but in general police officers are very nice...

Corrupt cops anywhere in world today...

Of course some people here will have some horror stories...we have more than 2 million visitors a year now days...that means that according to that huge number we most have a lot of ugly reports...but thanks God we do not!

Just buckle up and enoy the ride in PARADISE!

roadadvisor

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3. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

The police in Colorado Springs make $80kUS per year, can't imagine one asking for a roadside bribe, the average CR road cop makes $600-$700US a month....so a bribe to "support the family" is often expected, a private driver knows better, it's the cost of doing business.

If you are approached, ask to go to the station and lodge a complaint. That usually is the end of the confrontation.

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4. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

Sorry clpayne...I just try to answer your question...a corrupt cop is a corrupt cop...as you know...if the they get $ 100.00 a day...that means $ 3,000.00 extra...not bad at all in USA ...Canada or Europe..

In my case as a a private driver I observe the speed limits and driving distances and that is my way to know better...no bribes anywhere!!

Some times here just answering nice questions is starting a civil war...sorry clpayne...corrupt cops anywhere...anytime...!! JUST COMMON SENSE!

roadadvisor

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5. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

My wife and I traveled to Costa Rica last year and rented a 4WD for our 10-day stay there. We were on the road a lot (Airport to Manuel Antonio; day trips to Dominical, Uvita, Jaco, Rainmaker; drive up to Monteverde; then back to the airport) and never had any problems. We just made a point of driving a couple mph under the speed limit and observing all traffic regs so that we didn't draw attention to ourselves. We had a great time there and are planning to go back again this November.

This is not to say that CR is devoid of corruption. As with a lot of places, there is potential for petty crime and corruption (my son actually had some bad experiences there this spring). But it shouldn't be even close to the experience that you had in Mexico.

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6. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

We just returned from a trip to Uvita Costa Rica and feel I should report an incident of theft and most likely corruption within the area of Uvita.

My wife and I live in Panama and every six months we have to leave the country to renew our visas, on this occasion we made arrangements to stay at beautiful property between Dominical and Uvita. We arrived in Uvita before lunch after a pleasant two hour bus ride from the border of panama We decided to rent a car from Alamo, the representative held a small desk with in a tour operator business in a small strip mall type building. After renting the car, we crossed the main street and parked directly in front of the main entrance to the BM Supermarket, Locked all three doors (it was a small Suzuki Jimny with two doors and rear hatch door) and went into to buy some supplies. We were there no longer that 15 minutes, when we came out, the back hatch had been unlocked and all of our luggage was gone. My wife's Passport and two laptops were the biggest loss, but everything was gone and we were left standing in front of the grocery store stunned with only the cloths on our backs. Thankfully I had all the cash, cards and my Passport on my person. The police station was just a couple hundred yards from the grocery store my wife ran to the station and we had two officers on motorcycles at the scene with in ten minutes. They asked a few question and then rode off stating that they would look for the perps. So they rode off out of our site and returned in around ten minutes saying they were sorry but they did not see anything and could not find the thief(s). Needless to say we were in shock and definitely not thinking clearly, but later (hind site is always 2020, ha ha) we realized that the police questioned none of the people that were within visual of the scene of the crime, and there were at least 20 to 30 that could have seen something if they had been looking at our car. We filled out a crime report at the station and started preparing for our unscheduled trip to the US Embassy in San Jose. Of coarse nothing was found and we were stuck spending two weeks in Costa Rica waiting for a replacement Passport for my wife.

My thoughts on this incident now that we have had nearly three weeks to recover and reflect; Corruption within the police department and the Alamo rental agent. My feelings have been confirmed by others who have lived in this area, they flat out said that the Alamo agent has an extra key that he sells or gives to his conspirators. And the police departments lack of tactic speaks for itself. They questioned NONE of the possible witnesses. My advice; avoid this area or at least go there with a very high level of caution.

Hope this helps all you travelers, we love to travel and have never been robbed like this, it really was extremely stressful and costly in more ways than one.

Cheers,

Jon and Jules

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7. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

Jon and Jules: How many more times are you going to post this?

You can see my comments on the police situation in the other post that you made about this.

As I also wrote there: it has been written over and over and over and over in this forum that you should NEVER leave anything of value in your car.

It's unfortunate that you had this experience -- I hope it didn't sour you totally on Costa Rica.

Now --- tell us what you did during your two weeks.

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8. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

just returned from CR, drove over 600 kilometers over 8 days, saw over 10 police roadblocks(they stand at the side and wave people over if they want too), I was never waved over but i was ready if they did, had my license and passport ready..i felt very safe on the roads with the numerous police and dont speed...you have nothing to worry about if you arent breaking the law, even if its a random stop dont worry, CR isnt mexico.

Doenst mean the police are perfect but this isnt the tourist zone bs in mexico where they pull cars over for an easy 10 bucks.

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9. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

I managed to run over a traffic cone right in front of a police roadstop outside Tamarindo n didn't even get pulled over!

Drove circa 1,000 km in 10 days without issue.

Edited: 05 April 2013, 22:52
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10. Re: Driving in C Rica - corrupt police?

Ops, yeah you're right I should not have posted so many times.

We made the best of our situation, since our lives have moved to Panama we did not want to take advantage of the emergency travel document as it is only good for a return to the USA. We spent the two weeks traveling of coarse! We went La Fortuna and explored the lake area and enjoyed the hot river that supplies the Tabacon Resort (Saved $60)! That was incredible. Then we went to Monteverde, it was a bit dry due to the time of year, I enjoyed Monteverde more when I went back in the 90's when it was raining and really green. Then we drove to Playa Samara and had a very nice time on sea kayaks and long beach walks. The beaches in CR are by far the best I have ever found.

To be honest I still love CR. I lived in the Guanacaste (Playa Pan de Azuca/Playa Potrero) for over two years in 91 and 92, I learned Spanish and fell in love with everything about Costa Rica. That was a much different CR than today and I feel obligated for the good of the country report my issue. CR is a tourism based economy and everyone relying one that industry in CR should be concerned.

There you have it.. I don't dwell on little problems it's not my first and won't be my last. Hell I'd come back to CR in a minute, I will be more careful, but then I need be more careful everywhere. The world is changing and I'm an old dog, so new tricks don't always come fast or easy.

Bien Viajes

Jon

Edited: 05 April 2013, 23:05
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