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Safety in these cities?

CA
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Safety in these cities?

Looking for some ideas as to how safe these different cities we will be staying at. What can be done to stay safe, what to avoid, etc.

I will be traveling with a lot of camera gear. I would like to be able to do some shooting at night, obviously that's a higher risk.

1: San Jose, We won't plan on walking around at night. What about during the day? We would like to experience the night life, where can we go that's safe. We will plan on taking taxis at night. I would love to be able to take photo's at night, any safe area's that can be done?

2: Monteverde. Any crime in this area? Anything to watch out for?

3: Tamarindo. Can we go to the beach and not worry about our stuff if we go swimming? What if we head south, to some more private beaches, any concerns?I probably won't take my camera if we are planning on swimming. Is walking around at night safe? We'd like to try some clubs, are they safe? We are starying at Pueblo Darado, I know it's on the outskirts, can we walk back at night?

4: Playa del Coco. Same questions as above. We'd like to head north to try and find some private beaches, like Santa Rosa National park.

We will be driving in a rental car. If we stop in for lunch somewhere in between legs, on the main highways, how do we protect our luggage in the car? Are the roadside stops/attractions safe to leave your car? We'd like to stop for example at the wild cat place along the way, can we leave our luggage in the car? What do we do!?

Thanks

nebraska
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1. Re: Safety in these cities?

Use common sense as you would in any city in the world.

You won't be needing to carry all your gear while out at night . Ask at your hotel for areas that would be of interest at night where you would feel comfortable.

2. Not a high crime area

3. Same as any beach town for night activities.

At the beach or sightseeing your luggage will be OK locked in a car or trunk. I'd leave any expensive camera equipment at your hotel unless you are going out expressly to take pictures.

Don't leave your passport & wallet on your towel on the beach---if that is what you meant.

4. Same as above

5. See Top Questions in the column on he left.

Relax

Portland, Oregon...
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2. Re: Safety in these cities?

1. I highly recommend Jazz Cafe in San Pedro for night life if you like live jazz / world / local Tico music. Great atmosphere in a generally safe area at night. It's a trendy district due east from downtown on Avenida Central next to Banco Popular. Super easy to get to and from by taxi and would probably make for some great photos. Also, for photo taking, Avenida Central downtown should be safe at night (early) as there are hords of people around. Very lively atmosphere.

I feel I must tell you about an experience I had though. I left there by taxi at about 12:30am and told the driver where I was staying (Hotel Hemingway) in Barrio Amon. The streets are a little confusing in that neighborhood with two or three one-way streets in a row going the same way and the driver was having a hard time getting to hotel (he was trying and so was I) At one point we were just down the hill 3 blocks from the hotel so I told him to just drop me there and I'd walk. When I got out he told me to be careful in that neighborhood. I told him it's just 3 blocks. When he drove off the street was empty except a hooker on the corner who asked me for a cig. I told her I don't smoke. She told me to be careful of the guys on the next corner. I hadn't seen them because there were both wearing black trench coats and it was a very dark street. I told here thanks, crossed the street and proceeded to walk past them on the opposite side of the street. One of them yelled something at me that I didn't understand then they both crossed the street and started following me. I picked up the pace, they picked up the pace, I started running up the hill, they ran after me, I was running very fast, so were they right on my tail. I got up the hill to the hotel in a matter of seconds. Fortunately the gate was broke earlier in the day and they showed me how to manually open it. I reached my hand through, pushed the button, slammed the gate behind me and the two thugs in trench coats crossed the street and continued. I'm glad the gate was broken because there was nobody at the desk to buzz me in. They didn't flash a weapon, but there was two of them and one of me, and anyway what's up with the trench coats? So the moral of the story is, if you go out at night, make sure you get dropped at the front door of the hotel, especially in such a dark, desolate neighborhood.

2. What joyceh said.

3. What joyceh said.

4. Playa del Coco has a bit of a crack cocaine problem. I wouldn't carry anything expensive around at night. Ok in the daytime.

5. Either take your luggage with you into the restaurant or get a table where you can watch your car. I once caught a ride with someone who lost everything they had by not knowing this.

Costa Rica is actually quite a safe country to travel, you just need to be smart about it. Hope this helps. Have a great trip!

Edited: 02 November 2012, 03:33
CA
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3. Re: Safety in these cities?

Thanks for the suggustion guys. I've done a lot of traveling, all over the world. I'm sure every place I've been has the same crime situations as anywhere else and I've always managed to stay safe.

It's just with costa rica, i hear more stories about problems. There's always a friend, or a friend of a friend that has been mugged, etc in costa rica.

I wonder if just more amateur travelers go to CR and thats why you hear about more problems?

I will be staying at hotel doral, which is right next to ave central, good to know we can explore a little in that area.

Mostly, I'm just worried about watching our car/luggage when stopping along the way.

Thanks for the tips, any more are welcome!

Portland, Oregon...
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4. Re: Safety in these cities?

Could be that there are more amateur travelers in CR, but I'm certainly not one of them. I just took a chance.

Thieves are extremely fast at popping trunks / hatches with a crow bar. And I don't know if they've changed this yet, but it used to be that CR rental cars were easily recognizable by the distinct license plate. Last I heard the gov was talking about doing something about that. This made it very easy for thieves to target tourists.

CA
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5. Re: Safety in these cities?

Sorry, I wasn't implying that you were an amateur. Running was the right thing to do. Crazy that they actually pursued, I would have thought the effort wouldn't be worth their time, haha.

I wonder if I can just drive around with the plates taken off? I'll be brining a multi tool and a knife :-) That's what i figured though, there's gotta be some tags or something that give it away that it's a tourist/rental.

Portland, Oregon...
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6. Re: Safety in these cities?

haha you're right, the effort wouldn't have been worth their time because I was out of cash...just didn't feel like getting into it with those jokers...the trench coats...lol

I guess just keep a close eye on the car. Not much else you can do. Have an awesome trip!

Edited: 02 November 2012, 06:10
Seattle, Washington
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for Seattle
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7. Re: Safety in these cities?

If you haven't already done so, I would take a moment to read the top questions on the upper right-hand side of this page: 'Safety precautions to avoid crime?'

San Jose, Costa Rica
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8. Re: Safety in these cities?

Rent a car plates are just like any other car around...if you remove the plates...you will be calling the attention even more than criminals...every other high way policeman is going to pull you over and even give you fat ticket and even confiscate the vehicle...they legally can do it...since the law required that every single vehicle in our roads most ride with plates...also the bad guys will look at your car knowing that somenthing is going on...

roadadvisor

Bermuda
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9. Re: Safety in these cities?

don't ever leave anything of value unattended on the beach, chances are it will be gone long before you get back. this advice holds true ANYWHERE in the world. when you do this, you create an opportunity for a crime to be committed.

a major rule in costa rica is to never leave anything in your car either. you can do whatever you like to disguise the car, but you will still look like a tourist getting out of that car. i've heard of trunks getting popped and emptied in less than a minute in relatively crowded areas.

most of san jose is fine during the daytime, but most criminals will find it difficult to resist an opportunity to grab a grands' worth of camera gear. my advice would be to carry your camera gear in anything but a camera bag, ie a knapsack or rucksack.

lastly, there is no such thing as a private beach in costa rica, all are open to the public, if you meant deserted then there are planty around all up and down the pacific coast.

CA
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10. Re: Safety in these cities?

I was joking about the plates thing, I won't be doing that haha.

I will have a camera backpack that doesn't look like a camera backpack, i understand that part. I'm used to carrying my gear around and I know how to keep it near and and keep it safe around me.

Again, I mostly concerned when getting out of the car to grab a snack on the road. I will just plan on not having both of us leave the car, keep one person with the car at all times.

And yes, for private beaches, I meant deserted. I would like to find some deserted beaches, bring a lunch and some beers and be able to swim without having to worry about our stuff. Maybe I need to just make friends with another couple to explore around with, haha.