in Crime and Punishment

Crime in Costa Rica – Why some expats prefer Panama.

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AM Costa Rica is reporting there’s been a decrease in visitors to Coast Rica. Further, internet statistics show a “decline in interest in Costa Rica”. online papers and e-zines are losing readership. “Tourist operators say business is off 35 percent”

What’s up with Costa Rica? Tourism officials there suggest several possible explanations for the decline in tourism: bad roads, crappy infrastructure, the softening of the housing market in the U.S. But talk to anyone who’s done time in Costa Rica, and the reason will hit you upside the head and demand your wallet.

On my last visit to San Jose (’07) I was surprised by the up tick in violence and filth (I had traveled there in ’06, ’05 and ’04). Sure, the downtown area (see picture) was still a nice place to hang out. It was still a cool 70 degrees, and all the wonderful architecture was still there. But danger lurked on many side streets. I was hassled everyday by somebody wanting money. It felt like every Costa Rican I met was on the grift.

In the last year I’ve noticed more and more refugees coming to Panama from Costa Rica. Intrigued, I decided to interview an expat who’s lived in Costa Rica for years. He’s in the process of getting his Panama passport. And he’s young, a savvy marketer, and college educated. Not the stereotypical frail, geezer-gringo unable to speak Spanish and deal with culture shock.

“So there’s crime in Costa Rica. Big deal. Isn’t crime a problem everywhere?”

Aaah… it’s the “Crime happens everywhere” argument. Sure it does. It just tends to happen more in Costa Rica. You cannot talk to five people without meeting someone who’s experienced crime (and not pansy crime). Stop believing the travel brochures and start using your eyes and ears. EVERY Tico you talk with will have a story about how they’ve been affected by robbery, violence or theft.

I talked to people in Palos Verdes, Torrance and Redondo Beach, California… and almost nobody had a story for me. (One guy actually, but it had happened several years ago). Sure, you read about stuff in the papers… but rarely do you meet someone who is affected by it personally.

But here in Costa Rica, it’s endemic. Even in the most “swanky” part of the country, Escazu, if you have money– then you probably live in a gated community with an armed guard with a shotgun. You (or your neighbors) probably have a guard dog, too.

This is not a normal way to live. It is a manner of living that will eventually take a psychic toll and leave the people of this country fearful and paranoid. (Hell, they already live in houses that look like prison cells, so maybe it’s too late?)

Sure, you can compare Costa Rica to Compton or Watts or Harlem and say, “Well, it’s still so much better here.”

Whatever. When I’m in the States, I can choose to live in a community where I can go for 40 years and never lock my front door– and never be affected by crime. Even in my years living in a Beach Community of Los Angeles, and five years in Austin– I’ve never known anyone (let alone a majority) of people to have been affected by so much crime.

There’s a saying the Ticos have here: The good people live in houses that look like jail cells (because of the bars on the windows, gates, front yards, metal doors, alarms, padlocks, etc.) … and the criminals roam the streets, freely.

In most parts of rural America, you can drive to the grocery store, leave your car window open and put your wallet on the dash– every day of the week– and nobody’s going to touch it. Why? It’s a different culture.

Try that here… in the “Switzerland of Latin America.” Gone in 60 seconds.

“OK, to be fair, we’ve got crime in Panama too.”

Look here’s a simple test: Drive around a better area of San Jose (Rhormoser, Pavos, Escazu) at night and see how many people with BMWs and Mercedes park their cars on the street, or in their driveway– without a gate and a guard. Now do the same in Panama City. What you’ll see in P.C. is that people do it– successfully– without getting their cars stolen.

Does crime happen in P.C.? Yes, crime happens everywhere. But it happens a lot more, here in Costa Rica. Try taking your toy poodle for a walk at 9 pm, alone, in Manhattan Beach, California. No problem. You can do it every night of the week for a month, and nobody will bother you. Do it here and I guarantee you’re going to find trouble.

“Well, I was out last night at 11pm and there were couples and single women on the street. I feel very safe in El Cangrejo Panama.”

Hey, even in Bogota, Colombia, there are good parts and bad parts. But in the good parts, you can generally feel pretty safe walking around at night. Not so, here in Costa Rica. Look, if some folks like Costa Rica, then fine. Enjoy life. But let’s not pretend this is a rose garden without thorns, or that Crime happens everywhere, so pura vida. — when in fact, it’s a heck of a lot more dangerous (even in the good areas) here, compared to the good areas in many, many other countries.

For those of you who don’t live here yet… make sure you factor in all elements before moving. It’s not the “peaceful paradise” the tourism ministry would have you believe. It is a life of constant vigilance, if you wish to live a regular, normal life. (If you live like a hippie at the beach, far away from good hospitals, restaurants, infrastructure, etc… then go for it!)

“Funny that. My friends and I were living like hippies in Pavones, Dominical, Mal Pais, and still, anything that was not locked up, like our towels and flip flops, would get stolen.”

It’s a problem. Costa Rica’s still a great place to live… but security must be a constant concern. I hope this changes in the future, and the government will get serious and get it’s act together. But until then… Buyer Beware.

I think the crime here is an aspect of the culture. There are many, many parts of Asia where the people are (on average) much poorer than your average Tico– but do not engage in this level of crime.

“So what do you think of the websites promoting this false image of Costa Rica as tropical paradise – for example, the Escape Artist?”

Yeah, I’m familiar with Roger Gallo. His marketing is very good. Albeit bullshit. “Costa Rica– it’s all sunshine, smiles and ice cream. Not to mention… cheap beer!” — Yeah, until your 70 year-old wife breaks her hip on one of the pot holes, a transvestite takes her purse while she’s unconscious, the paramedic feels her up on the way to the hospital, and the hospital itself catches fire and needs to be evacuated, while half the patients are stuck inside because some moron locked the exit doors. Pura Vida, mother fucker.

Um … to be fair, it’s not all bad – I understand the coffee’s good.

Yeah – and you see what good Costa Rican coffee does to a guy’s blood pressure …

-More crime in Costa Rica.

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117 Comments

  1. Man– now THAT'S a good article!

    I think this one really proves, once and for all, you're ready for that pulitzer.

    Hee hee hee.

    Seriously– Good job. It's nice to find somebody with the balls to publish this stuff.

  2. This is a bit of a shocker; I’ve been in and out of Costa Rica on ships for 15 plus years. I never had any problem with muggers in Puntarenas (the port) although; normally I proceed as if trouble is just around the corner. It is a place that has certainly lost its luster. They built a modern cruise ship dock and terminal there, but the tourists are bused off to different destinations (San Jose and the rainforest tours and hotels) and rarely do you see a tourist walking around in Puntarenas. I have wandered around half-drunk at all hours of the night waiting for the water taxi to take me back to the ship and I’ve never had a problem. Just lucky I suspect.

    In San Jose, during the day I’ve walked and shopped in the downtown area and never had any problems. At night is different, a few locals have told me to watch it, especially near the parks and alleys…common sense stuff.

    You’ve got to watch it in Panamá City too. Normally, I stay in the banking district and even though typically there are security guards at the banks at night, there are still bad guys loitering around the ATM machines. I’ve been shadowed more than once. These guys can be working independently or they may be part of a mugging scam set up with the security guards’ knowledge. I hate to say that, being that Panamá City is one of my favorite places, but most of these guards only earn about 5-10 dollars per day. Best to walk around with a buddy or two. During the day the Cathedral area on Via España can be a hangout for hoods looking for gringos (the captain and another officer got jumped at knife-point there a few years ago). I’d avoid the guys handing out tourist brochures on Via España as well. Typically they are hired by the day, they promote ecotourism, canal trips, etc. but they also try to give you ad hoc “city tours” or direct you into seedy bars where so-called beautiful women await you. Once, I got hustled out of twenty bucks, long story but it is best to just avoid these guys and keep walking (even if they do speak english). Keep a constant eye on your refreshing beverage while in the bars and clubs in Panamá. A buddy of mine, a former Army MP in Panamá, was playing pool with two chicas and a guy at the El Pavo Pub (British and American hang out in the banking district); he felt dizzy, walked outside with these people, passed out and when he woke up he was lying in the street with his wallet gone. They dropped sedatives in his beer and mugged him after he passed out. It’s a good idea to put a napkin over that cocktail.

    On Via España in front of the Hotel Continental, I did get into a fight with a couple of pickpockets during festival two years ago. They didn’t get any of my belongings, I did manage to land a few punches and the little bastards bloodied up my nose a bit before I decided to get the hell out of there. Generally, I think the festival is fun, but stay out of the big crowds around the bandstands. The thugs are looking for gringos to mug. I’ve been in and out of Panamá for about 25 years; generally it is safe and a fun place to be. I’ve only had a few problems but it is a poor country with crime so it’s best to keep a constant look out.

  3. lol – your comment's almost as long as my interview jim. well done.

    well, puntarenas was rather sleepy when i visited two years back. not many gringos to rob back then. i'm guessing the increase in crime is in areas where gringos settle in.

    i don't disagree with what you say about panama. like any city – it's got crime. you need to be careful if you're out clubbing late at night. i lived in boston 8 years. never had a problem. but i had friends who were mugged. i learned that to live in a city i need to always be careful about what i do, where i go, and at what time.

  4. “They dropped sedatives in his beer and mugged him after he passed out. It’s a good idea to put a napkin over that cocktail.”

    — I prefer to put a condom on my cocktail. It’s much harder for them to slip a sedative in my drink when we’re having safe sex. And usually the beer gets knocked over, anyway.

  5. Agree. Please see the last Tico Times (6 murders in a week including West SJ). Think it is because the police force there has gotten way too lax and the inflation is out of control). If a Gringo does not want to buy the coffee anymore because it is more expensive than the US what about the poor Ticos who make like $300/month. I'm not just talking about the supermarkets in good areas. Same price at a chain store in 3 diff. locations. Police are proly lax because they aren't paid shit either. The CR Govt. needs to open their pocket books and pay the police more and/or fund more policeforce.

    Check out Colombia. Really bad in the bad areas but in the good areas with military with weapons everywhere relatively safe.

  6. yeah dave, crime's gotten bad in costa rica. i just got back from san jose. when i go, i always stay in barrio amon. very safe. 4 years and never a problem. but this year they had to add armed guards at the hotel.

    i still like san jose. and i'd never want to live in a police state. but they need to get it together.

  7. Great article.Been here two years and had three burglaries so far.I've had it and after I have sold my properties the motto is "get he hell out…"

  8. Thoughts on Costa Rica: When I first visited San Jose in 1980, and for several years after that, I could walk anywhere in San Jose at anytime, even at 3:00AM. No problem, not a hint. But, by my last visit in 1989, things had changed: There were shanty towns of very poor Nicaraguan refugees from the Contra wars. (Hmm. All those poor Nicaraguan kids raised there would be in their teens or older now!!!) The poorer Costa Ricans began to notice the rich gringo tourists that started to pour in. During my last visit, I remember a very desperate appearing little kid selling flowers. We decided that he would probably be beaten if he did not sell all of his flowers. Confrontational crime became the norm, rather than the exception. CR was a great place at one time, but not anymore.

  9. You really can't blame this on poverty.

    There are many places in the world where you can travel that are much poorer, yet safer.

    What you can blame it on is "Pura Vida" — which is Costa Rican spanish for "We don't give a shit."

  10. I share the author's observations. His story parallels mine. I visited CR from 1995 to 2002 and each year the crime was increasing. My plan was to move from the the Los Angeles west side (I lived at one time in Manhattan Bch) to CR. I finally got mugged in San Jose. I wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time. I now live in Panama. There are many expats here that previously lived in CR. Almost all left because of bad crime experiences. I really wanted to like CR, but I just met too many people there that have been mugged, then my number came up. No mas!

    • I am a single woman from Jamaica and was looking for some where to relocate to, because Jamaica is becoming a bit too expencive. Costa Rica was on my mind, but just reading what you have said, I dont think thats is where I want to end up. Can you say where are the best part of Panama and how can I get in contact with you? icilda.

  11. It's true , i was in costa rica a few days ago and I will never go back . I felt that is not a safe place to be.

  12. I visited Puerto Viejo de Talamanca last year. I loved it but there was a slight edge. My neighbour just came back from there yesterday. He visited a friend with the intention of staying. He said the physical attacks on people are so out of control he left in disgust. He is not the only person to say this. I also know of someone in England who said he could no longer stand the place. I am vey sad about this as I loved the beauty of the area and found most of the people friendly.

  13. I just returned from San Jose. There are dozens of chapolinas on the streets day and night.If you don't give them a 100 collon per day you better watch your ass when entering your appartment at night. The cops are also shaking down gringo's looking for drugs and cash. They are all on the take. They intimidate you untill you give them something.There usual excuse to hassle you is that you don't carry your pasport. They claim that a photo coppy is not adaquate enough.

    The chapolinas smoke crack right in front of the cops and the cops look the other way. THERE IS NO MONEY THERE. I think the cops are worse than the chapolinas.

    I might try Columbia. Believe it or not I think it is much safer. Buenas AL

  14. I just returned from several weeks in Costa Rica. I enjoy the Puerto Viejo area. It seems that there "had been" several incidents of backpack snatching episodes…especially in the Cocles Beach area. Tourist surfers leaving valuables on blankets, packpaks being snatched from bicycle baskets. A few months ago…there were a few dozen incidents of this sort. However, I understand they caught the guy…he was from Limon. He's no longer seen in the area.

    Three weeks ago, I witnessed a young Swiss girl standing on the roadside bleeding from the leg. She had been pushed off her bicycle, and then had the bicycle stolen, along with her backpak. When she fell, she landed in gravel…and cut her hand, knee and foot. The manager of her hotel was summoned, and he took her to the clinic. The police showed up…and searched for the 15 year old local boy.

    Two days later, I ran into the hotel manager who told me that the police caught the MULTI-OFFENDER…and the girl was able to identified him. I asked what the cops do with a kid like that. I was told that they cut his arm and shot him in the leg.

    Although I was shocked…I believe this kid will not be stealing in the near future…nor, would I assume, will his close friends. And, then I started to think about how our system in the US would have handled this problem. Court, Lawyers, Jail, comes out worse…cost tax payers plenty…and he, most likely, according to statics, becomes a greater threat to society.

  15. John…I lived in CR for 3 years. I wouldnt believe what the hotel manager told you. Yes…they are a bunch of theives up there. And they would not shoot or harm the boy for thievery. They would rather shake down gringos. He might be detained for a couple days and then he's back out on the street. I saw many incidences of this when living there. You were probably told that to make you feel safer and more protected…so you'll come back and stay at the hotel again. Just my 2 colones worth…

  16. Nobody.

    But if a swiss girl gets pushed off her bike in Costa Rica, didn't you know that it's America's fault because of "Bushitler?"

    I hate you, hippies.

    Anyway– I completely agree with Tman. There's no way in hell that the Ticos would have shot him, for this type of offense. They don't even do that to convicted rapists and murderers.

    Maybe in Dubai, but not in CR.

  17. I live in the mountains of Heredia, Costa Rica. It seems like a safe enough farm area, and I've always thought people were going overboard everywhere in fear of robberies. But last night some crackhead went into my yard, tried to break into my car, couldn't get in so he pulled the glass out of a window, broke into the house, found my wife's purse took the money and the keys, then opened the car and took my iPod and a dvd player. I'm not feeling all that safe here anymore.

  18. Wow guys, thanks for the info. I always thought CR would be pretty lightweight crime-wise compared to some places I've been: Peru and Bolivia.

    Darn, I was just about ready to take my wife and 2 young daughters for a laid back 2 months based out of escazu next winter. I had been pretty full of "jism" about Costa Rica. I mean more and more pumped every day! But now, I don't know. . .

    My chilean wife and I are searching really hard for a good LA country to winter in and possibly live in eventually. We spent many years in Chile, but had decided that the Chilean people are essentially such incredible jerks that we would look for another latin country to be our adopted second country (outside of the USA).

    Peruvians and Bolivians are warm, fantastic, gringo-friendly people, but street crime is bad and getting worse, especially in Peru of course.

    O darn, it looks like I might have to go back to Chile, after all, and listen to Chilean neo-nazi morons tell me why they are supposedly the world's best country and that they will eventually conquer the world. Better than getting mugged in CR, I s'pose.

  19. Confused Gringo, you could do a lot worse than consider Panama for your winter vacation.

    I went there a few years ago for work and have returned regularly. I'm now looking to buy a house there and emigrate from the UK.

    It's a great city with plenty to do. On the whole the people are friendly and you can get to decent beach resorts within a couple of hours. We regularly head down to the all-inclusive Decameron resort on the Pacific coast for a short mid-week break.

    Don't get me wrong, it's the same as any major city, there are areas you most definately avoid but then there are areas that you feel totally safe and that are family orientated…..just take a trip down the Causeway on any Sunday afternoon and you'll see it packed with families from all cultures.

    You can travel anywhere in the city for US$2 in a cab…although make sure the driver is aware you know the costs. Last year when I was back a cab driver tried to charge me US$10 for a ride half way across the city but when I started to get out the cab, telling him I wasn't a tourist, he quickly changed the fare! A couple of notes on cabs though…try to use radio cabs whenever possible as there have been a few cases of "cab muggings". Try to get a cab that has it's windows rolled up (it normally means it's got aircon). You'll pay a little extra if you get a cab from outside an hotel.

    If you don't consider Panama as an option, then good luck wherever you do decide to take your vacation.

  20. Everything you say is 100% true. I have been living in Costa Rica (Mal Pais) for the last 2 years and EVERYONE I KNOW has been robbed one way or another. Unfortunately last night one of my friends was nearly killed by two guys with guns that broke in his house, they did not give any warnings at all, as soon as he spotted them they just started shooting at him, thank god he had a shout gun and was able to return fire and scare them off. When he got the gun a few months ago I laughed at him and said he was over reacting at the petty theft, well guess what I just called my lawyer and asked him to start the process of buying me a gun. I am sick of people saying PURA VIDA, it's such bullshit, the same person that waves at you and says PURA VIDA is the same MOFO that will rob you that night!

  21. Hola from Costa Rica,

    I have lived here for 5 years. Thus far I have had a ladder and a car stolen. When I was in Dallas, Texas a couple of months ago someone stole a guys motorcycle in seconds while he went in to buy a soda so I guess it happens everywhere. The problem in Costa Rica is the inflation is super high and the people are paid really low wages. Personally I would and do have security anywhere I live. It is no better in Panama unless it is an island. A friend from here was robbed in Panama City last month by 3 guys with knives. It boils down to luck sometimes…………..

  22. Interesting comments on Costa Rica's crime problem. I lived in Costa Rica many years ago, before crime was ever a problem — in late 50's and 60's. I still have family there, but have not been back for a visit since early 80's. It was starting to look somewhat different then, but my understanding from is that it is really a differnt place there now — dirty and crime ridden. That is main reason I have not wanted to go back, in spite of fam. and friends urging me to. I would rather remember the place as it was then. A wonderful place to grow up where there was little, if any, crime. I used to be able to ride my bike through the coffee plantation trails with my friends without fear of anyone bothering us. What a pity the place has gone bad. It was a lovely country once.

  23. My husband and I are considering leaving America for Coast Rica or Panama. After reading this article and numerous others we are leaning toward Panama. I have a concern with safety because we have our three young sons with us. We are looking for a nice place to live with a tropical climat that isn't as pricey as the Virgin Islands. Are there any specific cities in Panama that are safer than others? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  24. Hey couldn't agree more.

    I was robbed twice in my first visit to Costa Rica this Year. I tried my best to be careful, I am in my early twenties, female, speak Spanish and never went out on my own. I was even told by Ticos that I looked like a Tica. But you have to be super vigilant in Costa Rica. Don't believe the bollocks its beautiful, safe and relaxed. Landscapes are beautiful, but the cities are anything but. I am very glad I went but highly disappointed with the lies I heard prior to my trip. It IS NOT safe at all. One Tica lady told me that as soon as you step foot into San Jose, your being watched.

    • That is not true! Don’t listen to people who don’t know what they’re saying! I’m in cr right NOW and I don’t have any problems, some people just don’t know what they’re talking about

      • I was in Costa Rica last April and again in October(both times over 3 wks.) We (2 women) had a nice hotel in Escazu, however the area surrounding it was mostly warehouses, then mansions and more warehouses. We walked shopping during the day, and a few times at night and were treated with a great deal of respect from the natives. We didn’t even come close to having a problem. Very beautiful tours, but certainly wouldn’t want to drive there!!! It’s not a place I would want to live, but visiting for a month is such a relief from being in the U.S.

  25. All these articles are mostly correct. The ONLY DETAIL IS these crimes that you are commenting on and the nationality of the people is 98% WRONG!

    First of all I want to mention that as one of you said a few years back things were a little better compared to now. It's NOT becuase of 'gringos' going there more. FACT: One-third of the 30,000 Colombians living in Costa Rica are refugees. in 2000 Costa Rica granted assylum to Colombian refugees. Out of 500,000 there are 10,000 in Costa Rica from the yr. 2000!

    Most Costa Ricans are students and true professionals – The house maids or 'muchachas' of even the poorest home are either from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Colombia. Most refugees aren't given work by NATIVES becuase they aren't trusted -stereotyped 'ladrones'. So when you don't have work – you FIND AND FEND for yourself. You figure because you are in Costa Rica the person who mugs or kills is a NATIVE. Not so!! Read the paper and see what that person is…OH NOW WHAT? Cat got your tongues? A lot of the refugees from Nicaragua were doing the same back in 1990 – never forgot when I was there back then all the kids were being told to get indoors early because the NICAS were coming out soon and it's dangerous. So NOW they have Colombian refugees who GET SENT there and THEN get followed by the "sicarios" (paid gunmen) who follow them there from Colombia. So what do you think is happening to Costa Rica's years past reputation? It's getting tarnished by people like YOU who don't tell the WHY'S AND people who are corrupt WHO GO THERE FOR HELP BUT TURN OUT TO f*** THEM IN THE A**….TRUE NATIVES OF COSTA RICA DON'T DESERVE THIS KIND OF CRAP. THAT'S WHAT THEY GET FOR BEING NICE. OR should I say STUPID. You're right the Government is at fault bringing in all these refugees without enough true protection. Police are very laid back because years past there was NO NEED TO GET TOUGH – for what? BUT NOW THIS MAKES NO SENSE! They need to send them to Cuba not Costa Rica. AND THAT'S WHYYYY CRIME IS UPPPP IN THE CITY AND WILL CONTINUE TO GO UP!!

  26. By the way this is why most States and Countries in the world get the crime rather than in inner towns.

    The non-natives rome in cities because it's easier to grab someone Reason:(more people, tighter crowd) or something is easier to snatch and the theif gets lost within the crowd. And there IS 'REGULAR LIFE' IN OTHER PARTS of Costa Rica' other than nasty San Jose. And you don't need to be a 'HIPPIE LIVING ON THE BEACH' They need to get these REFUGEES out and that's pretty much IMPOSSIBLE. My sentiments goes out to the Natives. It will never be the same in San Jose AGAIN.

  27. One thing I didn't mention about the description one of you so called ticos wrote about Costa Rica being 'dirty and crime ridden'…you are wrong! This crap is not in the beautiful mountians and natural beaches or the facinating volcanos or the peaceful coffee fields…no my friend- IT'S IN SAN JOSE THE CAPITAL – THE CITY. THAT'S WHERE THIS MESS IS HAPPENING. Costa Rica is STILL A BEAUTIFUL PEACEFUL COUNTRY. And your car won't get stolen in any other place other than San Jose and who the heck wants to live in the city? For that case move your ass to New York! People who go to CR to live look for tranquility not crazy city life…hellloooo. The bars on the windows are in most foreign countries in the cities even in the US. in CT some house even have them – they're fancy bars but bars nonetheless! You all are making it grimy and it's not even like that…but better for the Ticos the less grimy people the better. Maybe if you all stay out it'll get better again in the City. So spread the word. Stay out! go to Cuba or Colombia -or Panama it's much better…yeah.

    • Places to watch out for in Costa Rica: San Jose Metro Area, Jaco, Quepos, beach towns in Guanacaste. The South Coast is fairly safe and people friendly.

      • How can you say the South coast of CR is safe. 6 foreigners were
        killed in the Osa área from 2010 to 2011. After almost no investigations
        and a weak arrest of the usual suspect there are no convictions.

        Foreigners and tourists are targeted for crime which is heavily hate motivated.
        The criminals know that they wont be bothered as here in CR crimes against foreigners
        by Ticos are not against the law.

  28. let tourism go down and the interest to go away as the reports show! We were a simple country and did for ourselves without an army or help from anyone. Yeah tourists spend money but we don't need the littering, the drunks, the after-mess, before the 'so called interest' that's when our city was good. After people started coming to visit – the city went to pot! So stay the F*** out! It's not us that's making it dirty – it's the people coming IN!! U SEE? IT'S YOU ALL! And the neighboring Countries too. If your country is so much better and you're so patriotic to your country GO THE F*** BACK AND STAY THERE! NO ONE ASKED YOU TO COME IN – YOU NEED TO BE IN CR – WE DON'T NEEEED YOU – YOU NEED US. SO GET OUT! GO BACK TO YOUR SO CLEAN CITIES. GO BACK TO NEW YORK, COLOMBIA, NICARAGUA, PANAMA, SALVADOR, AND ALL THOSE OTHER PLACES THAT ARE SOOOOOO MUCH BETTER! AND DON'T COME BACK!!

    • Read carefully what this post says. It says we dont need tourists THE TOURISTS NEED US

      This is probably the most ridiculous comment you will ever hear in a socalled “tourist destination”

      YET WHAT VERONICA SAYS IS WHAT MOST TICOS ACTUALLY BELIEVE

      so Verónica I dont know if you are still looking at this fórum 4 years later

      But you wish has and is becoming fulfilled Stick a Fork in it Tourism in CR is done,
      finished, kaput and the reason is 2,000,000 Verónica Schmit and their terrible arrogant
      bad attitudes and hate.

  29. Veronica, a couple of things:

    littering in Costa Rica is mostly done by locals, guaro is consumed mostly by locals, crime is mostly perpetrated by locals.

    i do agree with you on one thing – yes, absolutely, we should "let tourism go down." no one needs to visit Costa Rica. Panama, Nicaragua and Colombia are cheaper, safer, and far more interesting. AND the people are much nicer.

  30. Is this guy that warped or does he have property in Panama he hasn't been able to offload ? Costa Rica and Panama both have lots to offer with neither being perfect nor claiming to be. I have spent time in Panama and outside the gates of a gated community or on the main street in Panama City I find I would much rather be in a similar situation just about anywhere in Costa Rica. Thats not to say I do not love Panama but this character has some kind of alterior motive, which is pretty easy to see from the way the artice flows. Maybe he was thrown or chased out of the country for something most normal people would not be involved in. There is trouble in both countries for those who look for it as with most countries inclusive of the US irregardless of where you are at. I cannot tell you this dude is all wrong because as I said trouble lies in wait just about everywhere I have ever been if you put yourself into a situation you shouldn't. I can tell you that the claims being made are absolutley crazy just in the fact that he plays the Panama is better routine everytime he spouts off another tale of "murder and mayhem" in Costa Rica. I would live in either country and happen to own property in both so in a way I do. I am careful as I am in the US or where ever I am. I have property in Jamaica as well and have never had a problem there either. Jamaica is another great place and as well a little tougher to relax in but nevertheless worth the trip. As wth most places you learn a little each time you go and stay true to your school per se. I as of late visit, both for pleasure and for business, Costa Rica more than either Jamaica and or Panama. I would say Jamaica is and or can be the most dangerous but often walk through the city of Montego Bay and as well Kingston in both the daylight and night time hours with no other problems than the typical desire for the native people to get you to buy something. I never carry more than 50 dollars on my person and carry a copy of my passport only. I hope all those that visit any of the above places can appreciate the opportunity to get see a different peice of the world. I would highly recommend any or all three. Jamaica was mentioned only because it as well has been given a bad rap in a similar fashion due mostly to the peoples pushiness. All in all as far as the article goes I would think of this article as pure rubbish and poorly written.

  31. it was an interview. just one expat's opinion. you don't have to agree with it. or the Tico newspapers reporting the uptick in crime and violence.

    i feel safe in either country. but i much prefer Panama.

  32. Who the hell was the interview with for Gods sake, the guys building and trying to sell out every square inch of Balboa Ave. I know you are doing a job/your job and all is well with that. I know there is crime in Costa Rica as I know it existis in Panama, the US, and anywhere else in the world. It will always be worse where ever there exists such a large disparity between the haves and the have nots. If the belief is that crime in Costa Rica is "worse" than other neighboring countries it would be attributable to the fact that tourism and real estate sales as well have been greater than the others leading to more and or easier opportunity for those who would harm and or steal from others. The reference to homes that look like jail cells is a bit absurd as well as the reference to the need for "gated communities". A gated community has many reasons for walls with Privacy and Insurance requirments being the most important, at least in both Panama and Costa Rica. Bad people exist and that sucks no matter where you are plain and simple. There will always be people who would steal from and or hurt others including their own family memebers. I fear for my children today in my own neighborhood here in the US if I do not know there where abouts every single minute of the day. My house is locked as well as my vehicles. I want it to be different but it ain't, not here and not in either country we now speak about. The plain truth is that we need to be careful where ever we are whether it be a vacation and or our permanent "place of residence". The person you interviewed for this article would have us believe that there is something in the water in Costa Rica, which has resulted in many or most of it's population bearing side effects leading to a life of crime. George Burns (great guy) put it best in "OH GOD" when he explained to a small child that you cannot have one without the other refferring to opposites such as hot with cold, happy with sad, and ultimately good with evil. I love Central America and both Panama and Costa Rica have lots to offer, some things different somethings similar. I think both will eventually get better but at this time find both great places to visit but in all honesty Costa Rica a better place to live.

  33. i agree with much of what you say, but better is a relative term.

    Costa Rica its more expensive. does that make it better? not to me. i couldn't afford to buy a house or apartment in San Jose. but Panama City? no problem.

    and crime? crime in Panama was modest when i first wrote up this interview. i hear/read that it's getting worse now that more money's moving thru the country. but i lived in Panama City for over 5 years (walking the streets daily) and never experienced any problems.

    now i have been ripped off a couple of times in Costa Rica. also, Panama's use of the America dollar means i never lose money on exchange rates.

    then there's the people. the people i meet in Panama are much much nicer. not only nicer, but the women are hotter. they tend to be darker, leaner, less likely to stick you with a knife. that is, unless you try to take away their winning lottery ticket. :-)

    also, the country's less touristy. and to me the infrastructure in Panama seems better. there are more, and better roads, more reliable electricity, cable and phone etc. and i'm a slave to a dependable high speed internet connection.

    on the flip side i'd guess the legal system in Panama is more corrupt. though i did buy and sell an apartment in Panama with minimal issues.

    in the end, i think it just depends on what you like, how much you want to spend. if you prefer Costa Rica that's cool with me. i just think it's a bit over-hyped.

  34. I agree with the women being hotter and better built in Panama. I as well agree with the fact that there at this time in Panama, again depending on where you are, a better infrastructure. The countries themselves are much different however as far as the lay of the land making Panama a bit easier to develop an infrastructure. Panama at one point was or appeared to be almost clear cut for the grazing of livestock which kind of sucked. I like the fact that Costa Rica is wilder and untamed and this has worked well for growth in tourism. Both Countries have had problems, like most will with any new "gold rush" type development, with environmental issues such as Panama with Red Frog Beach (and others) as well as Costa Rica and several developments along the ocean in Guanacaste. Panama's Boquette and Bocas Del Toro are both great places as well. Panama is 7 to 10 degrees hotter with less of the tropical breezes you get in Costa Rica. Like I said there are reasons to like them both and I do. I was simply disagreeing with the crime issue being any different and or better in Panama. I have not been bothered in either and in both have changed a possibly bad situation into a handshake by not blowing my stack and or accepting the challenge thrown my way due to a women I was with and or being a stronger than normal guy. The same happens here in the US but it can be scarier and end up messier in a foreign country. All in All I enjoy both and beleive that if not for borders it would be little more than driving between two neighboring states here in the US. I really wouldn't know the difference.

  35. littering, guaro, crime IS NOT DONE 'MOSTLY' BY LOCALS. I gave you some websites to READ you gave me NOTHING. I Read the local paper – regarding crime in the city ONE place out of many towns that Costa Rica has and the crime is documented and statistics are documented and MOST OF THE CRIMES AS YOU SAY ARE NOT NATIVES…LOCALS MEANING PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE BUT THEY ARE NOT COSTA RICANS BY BIRTH! dumb dumb THEY ARE LOCALS NOWWW FROM OTHER PLACED COUNTRIES. MAJORITY OF THE CRIME is from struggling 'placed' people from neighboring contries. If you read much you would KNOW that. Littering, and drunks we can't document unless you go around AND account for them all. Is that something you do??? DUMB DUMB. You are judging an entire country by one city! Like I said if you want to live in a dirty city go to any city in the US why go to San Jose? Most people who go to Costa Rica to live go for the peacefulness they think is there. So why pick a noisey city? COMMON SENSE tells you city life is not peaceful- FOR THAT GO BACK TO NEW YORK CITY. You don't see drunks and littering outside of that one place San Jose…you don't. I mean is that all you know of Costa Rica…San Jose??? Obviously it is. Please you don't know enough but a sorry ass opinion and no facts so you need to give up your journalism skills and go back to Panama…yeah. Go back or stay there which ever. Who cares.

  36. And the reason why it's so expensive is so cheap people like you don't buy anything and finally go back to a low quality cheap Country. You seemed so angry and hung up on one city – something MUST HAVE happened and you try to bring the entire land down based on one city/area. Another fact: Chile and Costa Rica are the ONLY two countries in the WORLD that haven't been effected by the 'recession' in the WORLDDDD. OKAY? You didn't know that either did you? Oh maybe it's because we are too busy stealing and killing and sooo poor, like you say, and we are sooo crime ridden that other countries look to us to send you all to live in CR and Chile to get you out of the 'so called' peacful countries you come from???uh NOT-it's to get you out of the crap drug/crime/MURDERERS OUT TO GET YOUR DUMB ASSES. EVEN 'NATIVES' FROM COSTA RICA LOOK TO GET OUT OF THE CITY – I LIVE IN THE SUBURBS EVEN IN THE US! COMMON SENSE…ONLY THE EXTEMES LIVE IN CITIES-DOESN'T MATTER WHAT COUNTRY. EITHER THE VERY WEALTHY OR THE VERY POOR LOOKING TO MAKE A FAST BUCK. People with some kind of common sense opt for suburban towns. -when looking for peace and quiet. I mean what is wrong with you? This is all common sense. COMMON SENSE. I wouldn't judge New York on New York City/Manhattan?! I know there are other towns-BEAUTIFUL TOWNS IN NEW YORK – who the heck wants to live in the CITY?? Only a knuckle head with no choice. Or like I said a very well off person who NEEDS TO BE RIGHT SMACK IN THE CITY. BEYONCE, JAY-Z? Donald Trump??? Prostitutes?? Ummm I am wealthy but my choice is not the city to sleep or live in. It's to do business only….I wouldn't judge California by L.A either. Or Florida by Miami. Or any place for that matter by the frickin city…you are way OOFFF JUDGEMENT DUDE.

  37. Cojito?? That means limpy – did you get beat up that you are now 'cojito' or is it slang for coji-to-do as in cojer todo?

    Translated: I took everything.

    Since you couldn't get in on the crime and couldn't take everything you wanted you a now a bitter man.

    too funny…take a joke. just kidding now. but the rest above this one I MEANT

  38. Veronica, i think you summed it up perfectly when you wrote:

    "GO THE F*** BACK AND STAY THERE! NO ONE ASKED YOU TO COME IN – YOU NEED TO BE IN COSTA RICA – WE DON’T NEEEED YOU."

    you really didn't need to say anything else. i heard you loud and clear. but since you're back, and you still sound angry, i should probably mention this was an INTERVIEW. these were not my words. nor did i author the many articles about Tico crime that can be found in the local newspapers almost daily.

    if you're curious about me, i can tell you i've traveled up and down both coasts of CR. i would never judge Costa Rica by San Jose. that would be silly. besides, i really like San Jose.

    let's see: i've witnessed locals drunk on guaro (i was told it was part of the culture – and i drank my share of guaro too), locals tossing trash from bus and car windows (many many times), locals stealing wet towells from our clothes line and sandals from the porch, locals pumping raw sewage into rivers, local cops asking for bribes, i've been overcharged in local eateries, harassed by local thugs in the street …

    need i go on? let me repeat, i like Costa Rica and San Jose – but i'm beginning to dislike you. i mean, i get it already. i'm dumb, you're smart. Costa Rica is shiny and wonderful, anything bad was probably done by outsiders, and we should all just stay the fuck away.

  39. Well when you hang in places that you shouldn't, drink with drunks and think that you shouldn't be 'selective' when it comes to people and places you are very naive. Oh and NOOOW YOU ACTUALLY LIKE COSTA RICA – when you 'recommended' other's to go elsewhere because of YOUR BAD LUCK. NOOOW THAT I say to stay the FUCK out then you ACT like I came with that out of no where! You were the one complaining on how BAD IT IS YOU ARE THE ONE commenting on all the crap that goes on in the CITY, SAN JOSE, on how unless you don't want to have accomadations and be close to civilization or whatever mumbo jumbo you spit out San Jose is pretty much the only place to find life outside of being a beach bum elsewhere. WHICH IS NOT TRUE. YOU NEVER MENTION ANYTHING OR ANYOTHER TOWN IN YOUR 'INTERVIEW' AND HOW PANAMA IS THEE SAFE ZONE COMPARED TO DIRTY COSTA RICA! SO YOU ARE THE ONE MOST DON'T LIKE! BECAUSE YOUR SO CALLED INTERVIEW IS BASED ON YOUUUURRRR EXPERIENCE! AND YES I AM ANGRY BECAUSE YOU NEED TO GET FACTS ON TOURISTS THAT GO AND THEIR EXPERIENCE GOOD AND BAD, ON PEOPLE OOOOUTSIDE SAN JOSE ON HOW THEY LIVE GOOD AND BAD. NOT YOUUURRR DUMB ASS NIGHTS OUT WITH BUMS!! NOT ASHAMED TO BE ANGRY BECAUSE I VOICE MY OPINION WHEN I SEE INJUSTICE. AND A RUDE SO CALLED INTERVIEW BASED ON THE BAD ONLY TELLING PEOPLE TO GO ELSEWHERE WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD THERE. DID YOU WATCH CNN THIS PAST WEEKEND??? I DO BELIEVE THEY BASE THEIR PROGRAM ON FACCTTSSSSS. COSTA RICA WAS SAID TO BE THE HAPPIEST COUNTRY IN THE NATION. IN THE NATION. OH MAYBE CAUSE THEY ARE ALLLL DRUNK I'M SURE. OR BROKE BECAUSE THEY ARE GETTING ROBBED EVERYDAY AND RIPPED OFF. CAN'T TURN YOUR BACK ON US THAT'S WHY WE ARE SO HAPPY.

  40. P.S.

    YOU NEED TO READ the article that ends with "written by cojito" the one you say is an 'interview' that sounds like opinions of cojito – that says 'EVERY' tico you talk to has a story about…blah blah blah.

    NONE OF MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS THERE HAVE NEVER, HAD A 'PERSONAL' STORY PER SAY – THANK GOD. I certaintly have stories of others as well as here in the U.S. but to say EVERY TICO is like you are trying to make others think the worst. In your interview with who??? I only read YOU spitting out smack. Before you say you 'like' it read it AGAIN!

  41. I never would've known about San Jose – I'd actually heard that Costa Rica was one of the safest countries in Latin America. I guess not.

    I live in Bogota, Colombia. The north is the nice part. I think it seems OK at night, but all the locals say nowhere is safe after 10pm. And the streets do empty out around then.

    The main difference I think is that Bogota has improved to get to this point. The stories I hear about Bogota in the 90s are horrible. Being in the crowded downtown in broad daylight was dangerous. There was no control. So most people are ecstatic about the current situation.

  42. Costa Rica is a beautiful diverse land with warm and wonderful people. Crime is now rampant due to foreigners escaping their countries to live there and because it is a haven for organized criminals. My experience has led me to belive that law enforcement, bribery, and corruption are almost one and the same. Greed guides the chopping up of rainforest by foreigners who are eager to sell lots to newcomers in this "save" place. Those "savest place in the world" articles are written by people you should beware of because they are lying. The cost of living there is much higher than the U.S. EVERYTHING cost more unless you grow your own food or shop strictly in farmers markets. It is a haven for organized crime and the drug trade…just follow the daily news. Terrorists can move freely in and out of the country for a price…about $3,000. Bribery is the mode of operation for the higher level criminal. The common criminal will steal anything and everything…so don't bring anything you don't mind parting with. I personally was severely victimized there by a foreigner who sold plot of land along the coast. There aren't laws to protect you and the criminals do roam freely without fear of justice being served. Hopefully one day the Costa Rican people will boot out foreigners and forget trying to "improve" their way of life. They are happier than most Americans and they don't need to be "modernized". That is the beauty…Costa Rica should remain a wild and happy land. It is going the wrong direction by getting involved with the U.S. Costa Ricans were far happier before they attracted tourists and people escaping their own countries for whatever reason. Most tourists that are targets and victims of violent crimes do not end up staying and prosecuting their assailants. Most such crimes go unprosecuted and unreported and the government at the municipality level often is paid off by someone….in my opinion. Lawlessness is the word I'm looking for. High level criminals know the system and work it well to exploit the innocent target coming to the "land of pura vida".

  43. Now that's a well written article!! Thank you Ed! Finally, someone who says it like it is and very well put 100%!! Cojito should take notes.lol-

    That's why I said they need to STAY OUT! Some Foreigners go in, corrupt where they can, then leave, and then talk shit about the place that gave them sanction on how bad it is. Like a disease taking over a clean vulnerable body. I hate to say 'it's too late', but it is!! Look at Oscar Arias the C.R. President – Mr. Mediator/protector for the Honduras President against his OWN government! Not his people though. Why does it have to be CR to protect everyone running from somewhere?? Now watch,soon they'll be talking shit about CR AGAIN on how they had some kind of involvement with the crap going on in Honduras, but who asked them to send him to CR??…People running from their OWN countries…for crap they got themselves into. STAY in your own land that you LOVE SO MUCH and is so much 'SAFER' and deal with the consequences – LEAVE US OUT OF IT. Don't bring your disease to our land as it's already infected by the likes, it didn't START IN COSTA RICA but misery likes company so they picked US!? My CR people I can say are VERY dumb. Not smart at all. Too naive and quick to fall for a dumb ass money making scheme. But Ed you were right on point.

  44. You were absolutely correct when you said-

    …."It is going the wrong direction by getting involved with the U.S….."

    I guess this is who sent Hoduras President there…

    …"Even the Clinton-chosen mediator of the talks, Costa Rican president Oscar Arias, told the US that Honduran elections scheduled for November will be illegitimate if sponsored by the coup organizers. [NYT, July 12]

    Obama could recall the American ambassador to Honduras. In addition to suspending $18.5 million in US military assistance, Obama can disallow the $180 million presently in the pipeline. Spending that money is arguably illegal under the 1997 Leahy amendment to prohibit assistance to a military which overthrows an democratically-elected government, as Honduran forces did on June 29. "

    ouch! this sucks SORRY HONDURAS. Now that the people are all in a tight situation and kaos is forming DONNNT COME RUNNING INTO COSTA RICA!!! PLEASE! STAY WHERE YOU ARE OR GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. HAHAHAHAHAHA PLEEEEEASE. MAN O MAN.

  45. if you don´t like my country then stay away from it… we don´t need more fat winy gringos here, we have plenty with the more than half a million we get every year… if the u.s is so good, then PLEASE by all means stay there!!!!!! most decent costa ricans wan´t nothing to do with gringos, because they only come here for cheap sex and to feel better about themselves… gringos should need visas to come here…

    • Very Good Pablo!!
      What are gringos doing here?
      Stop talking wrong about CR, every country has good and bad….what is true is that most of the gringos go to bars and motels in downtown San Jose, where not only ticas are working there , people from Panama Republica Dominicna, Columbia, etc also some gringas…….and they come for sex, cheap sex like Pablo is saying, so of course they get robbed!!!
      We are proud of CR, go back to states and STOP saying that CR is a sh !!@?!
      Is a wonderful country and also good for living, can be a little more expensive than Panama, but I know Panama, is not a good place to live!!
      The same kind of robbery, drugs, prostitution, the police there is corrupted too, like EVERYWHERE!!!
      We have wonderful neighborhoods, schools, educated people, that most of you , maybe don’t know, if you have been only traveling like tourists, what can you see in the streets, Nicas!! Columbians, Venezolanos, local people working every day, but go to the malls, go to the nice neighborhoods, it is different!
      If you are not alone all the time and be careful, don’t drink if you are in solitaire and cheap bar, go to safe places, you will spend a wonderful vacation!
      It is safe, it is nice to live! I have been all my life here, no problem, no assaults, not to me, or family , not to my house, because we are careful, we are not crazy, we are decent!

  46. Well I've been here for about a month now and so fat it's all good. Preetty much common sense will prevail and I've lived and worked all across Europe from west to east. Same for Asia from Korea to China to Australia and even did a 3 month stint in India. The bottom line is yes there is crime everywhere and yes you will be affected by it in some degree but to shit on a whole country for the criminals they hold within their borders? You must be retarded. I've met plenty of locals who are decent citizens like any other country I've lived in. Have I been robbed? Sure I have but do I rag on about the country? Fuck no I just wish that motherfucker who robbed me fucking dies a horrible death. Bottom line, take care when you need to and take care even if you don't.

  47. Reading about all this makes me sick to my stomach. But times change and eventhough I travelled to many central and south American countries in my 20's and 30's I was never robbed, not bothered by the police. But just as times have

    changed the way we live in the U.S., and it is mess here, I just wanted to take some retirement time to enjoy "the paradise" every travel agent in the U.S. is showing us in the brochures. The times have made people desperate every where, but what you describe about Costa Rica really surprises me.

  48. I haven't been to CR in 30 years. I was thinking about going there in a couple of months…but now I am not too sure. I read that it has changed a lot…and was adjusting myself to that (growth, commercialization etc.)but afer reading these comments aside from the overzealous ranting woman…I don't know. If they don't want me there…alright by me. I'd rather keep the wonderful memories i have of CR untarnished and see other places. Don't care if they a refugees or not. Crime is crime.

  49. I'm a Tico and just moved back to CR from NYC. And honestly, I felt considerably safer in NYC. This, despite having a knife pulled on me by a teenager in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. I live in a beautiful area north of San Antonio de Escazu. Well, guess what? My mom decides to take a trail walk, and what does she run to? A body, apparently a person murdered execution style. Catch is, they found immigration papers on him, and guess what? He was Colombian.

    Now, I'm a leftist, an absolute liberal, but seeing where my country is heading, I think it's time for mass deportations and the death penalty. When we opened our doors to the Colombians we let in a completely different brand of criminal. We're talking about guys who will kill your grandmother for $100. Now, the Colombians I met in NYC were very honest and upright, but the Colombians in CR have brought a culture of absolute disregard for human life.

    Additionally, I think these ridiculous free trade agreements have aggravated the problem. The cost of living and prices in general are a complete vulgarity. I constantly ask myself how the locals are able to make ends meet.The disproportion between the have and the have nots is disgusting, and President Arias is a clueless and spineless "privatizer." Costa Ricans have been way to willing to assimilate American culture, and as a result we have completely watered ourselves down.

  50. My wife and I are currently considering moving to CR bur frankly Im a bit scared. We currently Live in the outskirts of LA and frankly we feel very safe here. I can go walk outside at 12 am and not sweat it. We both speak Spanish and her family is Costa Rican. We have tons of family in CR and they are trying to convince us to move but im not sold. Things like safety aré a concern, cost of living, wages, etc. I dont like the fast paced life here but i love everything else…i guees i Will finder out when we go explore on June 9th.

  51. PLEASE CONTINUE POSTINGS LIKE THIS, COSTA RICA DOES NOT NEED ANY MORE DIRT BAG GRINGOS IMMIGRATING. COSTA RICA WAS A TROPICAL PARADISE, AND STILL IS ALBEIT LESS, UNTELL DIRTBAG FOREIGNERS CAME AND BROUGHT CRIME. PLEASE ALL FOREIGNERS READING THIS POST, GO TO PANAMA SO IN 10 YEARS WE CAN HAVE A POST TALKING ABOUT HOW HORRIBLE THE CRIME IN PANAMA IS. and actually just a note, check out the CIA world fact book online, crime rates per capita section, Panama actually had nearly 75% more murders per 100,000 people in 2009, but lets keep that hush hush. GO TO PANAMA ITS SAFE, COSTA RICA IS A SHIT HOLE, NEVER COME TO COSTA RICA

    • Yes Brian CR is GIANT SHITHOLE

      and yes in 10 years you wont have any tourism

      everybody will be in panamá and Nicaragua and Colombia
      and CR will be por again.

      Cuba threw out all its tourists in 1959, and now CR is doing it via racism and crime
      a different method to get rid of your tourists but with the same ultimate result

      POVERTY

  52. Ha

    Veronica says CR is the happiest country?? She don't sound so happy!

    Veronica, if the other CR's are as miserable of a loud mouth as you, I'm not going, so you should be a bit happier. Oh, and let tourism go, you guys will do just fine, selling coffee to other countries. You are all mixed up. WE, THE TOURIST DON'T NEED YOU, YOU NEED US……..are you really that stupid.

    Plus, your country isn't that great anyways. It WAS cheap. That WAS your catch. Anything your second rate country has, panaman,nica, california, hawaii, the bahamas, the carib….they ALL have the same thing and most of the time BETTER THINGS than CR….DO YOU UNDERSTAND? YOU…..HAD…..CHEAP (POCO DINERO?) When you are cheap, people put up with more…I got news for you….YOU AIN'T CHEAP ENOUGH ANYMORE that I got to put up with ANY BULLSHIT CRIME…got it??? And if it YOU or aliens, I could give a ratz azz..its still your god forsaken sorry excuse for a country that ALLOWS it.

    So, in closing….I'm not returning. SO, you, my miserable fat friend, will be a bit happier. And by the sound of things, MANY others wouldnt be guests in your little hell hole EITHER, so you should be absolutely farking GIDDY!!! I'm glad I made your day, because its important to me that I make some third world "gal" happy. Sincerely yours, MR. D Ortega.

  53. Lived there for 3 years , got robbed twice, arrested twice(By Costa Rican Police) for not having passport on me… and ripped off countless times in businesses, restaurants, bars etc.. but i didn't care because i could afford it, but since i left i talked roughly 30 people out of even thinking about going there even for a vacation, so thats my gift to you CR… and FU

  54. For Ortega and Danny Boy,

    Yep, my countries has gone through some radical changes as of late (and I not too pleased). Too bad it's like any other country in Latin America now, I suppose it's unrealistic to expect it to remain an exception in a sea of crime and poverty. Don't know if you're American, but if you are, than you don't have much to talk about. Now, do you? I've been mugged in NYC and Houston. In addition, at least my country is not a bloated parasite comprised of a mongrol race that insist on usurping power, invading nations, conconting inane couter-productive policies, and generally has a dispostition of superiority and entitlement. So you can do as much as you've suggested and eat sh.. pie.

  55. *proofread version

    Yep, my country's has gone through some radical changes as of late (and I'm not too pleased). Too bad it’s like any other country in Latin America now, I suppose it’s unrealistic to expect it to remain an exception in a sea of crime and poverty. Don’t know if you’re American, but if you are, than you don’t have much to talk about. Now, do you? I’ve been mugged in NYC and Houston. In addition, at least my country is not a bloated parasite comprised of a mongrol race that insist on usurping power, invading nations, conconting inane couter-productive policies, and generally has a dispostition of superiority and entitlement. So you can do as much as you’ve suggested and eat a sh.. pie.

  56. No i am not american nor canadian…

    i speak from personal experience and to me some of the most dishonest , doublefaced , backstabbers i met so far were all TICOS, not nicas or colombians, let me say it again i speak from my own pesronal experince and i dont like to generalize. i'm sure there are a lot of noce people in your country , i just haven't met any.

    • i hate to say this but its true i had a bad esperience with people too all ticos ,but im sure there is some great people but i havent met any ,in the building that we own an apt 2 people got killed and we live in a condo with security and all that but this old couple got robbed and killed and never find the killers the only know that were 4 people and made believe the rent an apt there to rob and kill so i know im afraid to go there

  57. I read the books about retirement in costa rica,saw the adds on TV how costa rica was a "paradise with warm and friendly people-pura vida" and all that. Sounds wonderful- right? Well,

    ITS A VENUS FLY TRAP! I bought property there in 2001-invested,hired many locals,paid much more than ticos would pay employees and treated every one with great love and respect.I lived there for close to eight years, learned spanish and did everything right.(tried to anyway).Once I got settled in for for the ideallic life that the realtors had sold me on – THE FLY TRAP CLOSED! It was non-stop and constant- always had to stay vigilant, always looking over my shoulder. Cannot recount the number of times I got ripped-off. There is NO punishment for crime in Costa rica and its out of control.If a thief is caught, he's usually in a "chicken wire jail" for less tha 24 hrs , then set free( of course after the policia and "confiscated" the goods). You can park your car in front of a place with many people around, families with children,go in for a few minutes and return to find everything in the car(trunk included) GONE! And the same people sitting around as if they saw nothing.Tne children learn from a young age that its OK to steal.The little children are lifted up into the small windows of houses (because they fit)to steel items inside for the parents.

    I do think the older costa ricans who are attending mass on wed and sat nights are dissapointed in this activity going on in their country- but the younger think its good for the country. What a way to bring revenue into the country -steal it from the "hands that feed you".( tourist and employers)I could write for hours about the differnt times either I or other people I know were ripped off,either by "ladrons" or CORRUPT LAWYERS.You see,most people living there don't talk about it much either because the are in the tourism industry and don't want to jepordize business or have realestate to sell,but once they are ablr to sell- they leave. Yes, Costa Rica has some areas that are very beautiful, but the novelty of that wares off very quickly. If you move to costa rica to live, you will get ripped-off at some point and probably multiple times. If you go there on vacation, you will probably get ripped off. Of course, ther are good and bad people everywhere, but its over the top in costa rica. If it were not true, then why is there a constant discussion all over the internet about it? It will not get better until costa rican authorities decide to do something about it. But why would they, they benifit from it.I left and rediscoverd the natural beauty that exist right here in the U.S. Four seasons,beautiful beaches and snow skiing.I feel sorry for my good Costa Rican friends and the reputation their country aquiring.Anybody want to buy realestate in Costa Rica?–cheap!

  58. Dan,

    Please man, let's get real about the world's state. There aren't many countries that don't have a massive crime problem. Chicago, anyone?They thought about calling the national guard, crime got so bad.I've been victimized more by crime and belligerence in the US than in my native Costa, constantly harrased in the subways in New York, including a mugging in Brooklyn, twice had my car broken into in Houston. My New York friends have been mugged at least once in NY, and in two cases severly beaten. Costa Rica's crime problem begin the early 90's, prior to that, CR was one of the safest countries in the world. S For over a 100 years of our country's history we were crime free. Did something change overnight to the Costa Rican character, or was that element imported, or brought through illegal migration. The fact is that when you hear of a crime in Costa, 80% of the time it involves a foreigner. I'm not a xenophobic person, and hate when immigrants are scape-goated, but alot of Costa Ricans of Nicaraguan parents are finally of age to do some serious damage. I won't even mention the census where Nicaraguans have created huge slums via squatering, and they don't contribute via taxes. Yet,our political class has failed us,the presidencies in the 90's. Such is the trend of the world my friend, over population, limited resources, widening income gaps, and crime. To signal out Costa Rican in particular for a universal problem, specially coming from an Amercian ( a country with an excessive amount of security problems at every level),wreeks of sour grapes.

  59. Dear Limon FC,

    I am being real, very real. I don't understand why people keep making excuses and do not address the problem. This is not about "sour grapes", its about facts. I have traveled all over central america and all over the U.S. and Europe and nowhere compares to Costa Rica for theft- nowhere.I have nothing to gain by stating these facts. And to blame it on the Nicaraguans or any other group is a cop-out. Of course, its not just the cost rican nationals, but the fact remains is that it happens, not much is being done about it and the country as a whole is being blamed for it. The O.I.J told me once that the laws in Costa Rica make it almost impossible to prosecute and punish offenders.If all the money that the costa rican people spend on razor wire,walls,fencing,metal bars and private security companies was spent on punishment and incarceration, the problem would be greatly reduced to the levels normal for most countries. You can go anywhere in the americas and leave your stuff on the beach while you swim and odds are it will be there when you return- in costa rica, odds are it won't be. I met some very nice people from Colombia while I was living in cost rica. Within the first two days of being in costa rica their back pack with their camera, passports and money was stolen off the beach. They were extremely hurt and disappointed and said they would never return- true story. A fellow I met in Puntarenas who was attempting to sail around the world said he had been in many countries before with no problems, but it was not until he entered costa rican waters that he got his dingy motor stolen. So you see, the whole world is not going to hell in a hand basket and dragging costa rica down with it. I have heard it said that "the two favorite passtimes in costa rica are soccer and thievery". It is sad that these things are being said. I write this because I have freinds in costa rica and friends considering moving to costa rica and the truth should be known, otherwise it will not get better. Good people in costa rica want it to be better, but as long as we stick our heads in the sand and blame it on the world, the foregners, the "nicas" or anyone else , it will not get better. The costa rican people need to take responsibility and change their additude towards crime and corruption. Yes, there is crime in the U.S. but offenders are actively pursued, usually caught and punished. I know that there are many outside organizations that are trying to help the costa rican authorities with this problem. When I was in costa rica I donated thousands of dollars and hours of time to help with the cause,but honestly I never felt it was in the hearts and minds of the people to do anything about it. The truth is that the people there really don't want you in ther country- but they do want your money,ask any foriegner who lives there. Nicaraguans are especially treated with great disrespect.Gringo's are loved up front and robbed in the back. A venus fly trap has two faces and so does costa rica. Its great to be passive, but sometimes you can be too passive. Many of the forigners that stay still believe they can be cause for change and are so hypnotized the beauty and the idea of living in a forign country-not to mention many can't go back to their home country for legal reasons otherwise they would not stay. Its not cheap to live in costa rica at this time. It is now cheaper to live in Panama or the U.S. when you consider amenities and security. Oh, one last thing, my best, most responsible and honest employee was a Nica- and I payed her the most!

  60. To Dan,

    Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your feedback on this issue. Your comments appear calm and well-thought thru, and your sincerity comes thru loud and clear. Truly, a problem so endemic to an entire country needs be addressed by the government, as you note. Your comments are valuable to many Americans, and as I can attest, to Alaskans specifically, as nearly all of us search the planet for a place to warm up during long, dark, and very cold winters. I have heard the Economic Development District where I live state that nearly 26% of Alaskans have property or homes in Hawaii, so that should give a clue…I am leaving for Costa Rica Dec. 5th, and will be wary as ever thanks to your comments.

    Thanks,

    Jayme in Alaska

  61. Dan,

    Are you real? Do you know how irrational you sound. It's tantamount to an attempt at black balling a whole nation. Aren't many places I haven't been to, including living in Europe, Mid-East, US, and Venezuela. I am more aware of my country's situation than you could ever be. I grew up here in the 70's and 80's, dealt with crime in Venezuela, Curacao, England, Costa Rica, and specially, and I mean specially, in the U.S. The only place were I felt truly secure was Amman, Jordan, and we all know how intolerant Muslim coutries are towards crime. For you to make the irrational claim that CR stands out in criminality does not reflect the raw data. And thus, if your claims to not reflect the studies done concerning the issue of crime in Latin America, than you're just lashing out, or simply want to further tarnish our reputation. I think it's laughable that you would assume we don't know we have to sure up our justice system. I here complaints about our crime problem every day. Also, for you to claim that pointing to the Nica issue is a cop out, then you are wildly ignorant about our history, and makes me question your honesty. Do you want me to tell how many times we've been ripped off and robbed by Nicas ( including a family we offered our home to for two years, free of charge, just for maintenance)? Unfortunately, I have to make this point, because I can sense that you have a serious bias.If you want to eliminate the bias go with the raw data. Crime is a universal problem, which of course, has its wide array of causes, and its always coming to a town near you.

  62. Limon FC,

    I appreciate your defense of Costa Rica.In order for "raw data" to be valid there must be accurate and trustworthy reporting of crime and a willingness to address it. You say that the data shows costa rica's crime problem is no different than any where else and yet you tell me your house has been ripped of multiple times. And your not alone,in the town that I lived in Costa rica for eight years not a single foriegner (and many ticos also)could not say that their house had never been broken into and robbed. In fact, it was always common subject matter in the local bars. I can't make this stuff up. If what you say is true, then in every case it was a Nica that did it.This is simply not realistic you are being very bias towards a whole nation of people.Do you really think that in all the other towns in the world every person in that town is getting robbed multiple times. I dare anyone to go to any town that tourist go to in costa rica(Flamingo,Tamerindo,Puntarenus, Jaco,Quepos, Manual Antonio,Dominical,Puerto Viejo, etc) and ask any expat, foriegner or well to do tico who do not have a private security guard and ask them if they have been robbed- the answer will be yes! This is not normal.To say that all crime in costa rica is due to the nicas is like saying that all crime in the U.S is due to the Mexicans. This is not true and any rational person knows better. The majority of Mexican and Nicaraguan people are hard working people and only want to feed thier family.I know alot of Nicas come over the border with nothing and resort to stealing from tourist and anyone else, but you can't blame it all on them. This is not about Nicas, Ticos,Gringos or Mexicans, its about criminals and crime.Before a problem can be solved it must be recognized that it exist. I write this only in hopes that it will bring more light to the subject and things can be made better.I understand why people in costa rica(nationals and expats alike) would like to brush this under the rug and never talk about it because it is not good for tourism, the #1 industry in costa rica. I still have property there, but I don't want to hide the problem, I want to see the problem go away. I know many intelligent costa ricans with integridy that agree with me. They would like to see more transparency in government, allow the O.I.J to prosecute and implement stiff punishment. We used to have town meetings with local business owners and the local police force to privately fund equipment for them. Efforts would be made, the money would run out and the bad guys would return. So far, the bad guys are winning and the crime is getting more violent every year- the raw data supports this. To fix the problem will require money and a willingness of ALL costa rican people to change their additude towards crime.Its not hopeless. Costa rica is about the size of West Virginia and has a population of about 4 million. The U.S. has a population of 380 million, larger resource for funds. If a city of 4 million in the united states had the same amount of crime that Costa rica is experiencing,there would be a state of emergency declared. Im not one to complain about proplems and not propose solutions, so her are a few things I suggest for starters:

    #1 Clean up the prostitution and hard drug trade and expel the cocaine mofia cartels.( this will take guts and backbone)

    #2 Build more maximum security work jails and employ stiff punishment. When someone is incarcerated, make them work to prduce products for the country.

    #3 Disbar corrupt lawyers and city officials and require internet transparency so ANYONE can go in and see just where the money is going.

    #4 Pay for all this by making the "vacation rental by owner" houses pay taxes just like the hotels. A ton of money is brought into Cost rica every year by the construction and rental of luxury homes built by foriegners and much of the money is pumped right back out of the country to foriegn bank accounts either by "PayPal" or by some other means. These houses are often rented and treated just like hotels with chiefs, a concierge service and bar and not a single dime of this money goes to benefit the costa rican people. This is not fair to the legitimet hotels that are registered with ICT, Tributacion Directa, the Caja and INS.

    #5. This one is the most radical and would require extreme international and banking policy change but I'll say it anyway because it would work and will happen inevitabley in the long run:

    All central American countries, the U.S. and who ever else that wants to join should unite under ONE currency. The more people you have under one currency, the stronger and more competetive economy you will have. Europe did it and now the Euro is very competitive against the dollar. Europe now has 480 million people united under one currency as compared to the U.S. with 380 million under one currency. When many countries are united under one currency it is easier over time for the economies to equalize somewhat.The standard of living for developing countries increases dramatically because the value and inflation of currency is stablized from country to country. Then nicas would be less inclined to come to costa rica for a better life and Mexicans would be less likely to cross the boarder into the U.S.( most people would rather stay with their families) The World banks, mofias, and drug cartels should be cut out of the pie and hard working, honest people should be getting the bigger cut.

    Oh, one last thing. Costa rica should legalize marijuana, collect taxes on it and put much stiffer penalties for the possession of cocaine and other hard drugs.("If God don't make it,don't take it")So you see Limon FC, I'm not trying to be bias against costa rica or black ball the whole country- quite the contrary. I'm just adopting a"no holes barred, straight shootin, lets get it done" additude towards an obvious problem.Crime is usually born out of a sense of hoplessness, greed or just pure evil. Most all of this can be overted when a person has strong family support from childhood is taught right from wrong and there is a sense of hope for the future.Most Costa ricans have strong family ties and lean on each other greatly, so there is plenty of opportunity for change and I believe it can happen, if people expose the problem,unite and rally together for the cause. This is true for all nations- including my own.

  63. Oh bravo, Dan. Positing solutions and not just bitchin'—what a concept. This lady entrepreneur is impressed. Wish you were going to be in CR around xmas, I'd like to meet you and chat.

  64. Dan,

    I sense that you are honest about this issue, but re-state points that are plainly obvious. Specially, to me, since I live in CR. Additionally, I'd like for you to point out where I made the claim that Nicas are 100% responsible for our crime, or that they are the overwhelming perpetrators, but I do have a vast historical narrative of my countrymen and women's character. A timeline that offers a clear representation of the rise in crime parallel with the rise of immigration and income disproportionality. And no, I don't accept your analogy with the Mexican immigrant, who I have lived, worked, and shared with during my time in NYC and Houston. So I'm well aware of the contributions and overall humility of the Mexican immigrant. Here, I' afraid, we've received a different brand of immigrant. Again, I've been an immigrant for 75% of my life, so you won't find a more understading and liberal person when it comes to this issue. Previous to moving back to CR, I was aware of the xenophobic, and at times inane uerocestricism of the Tico, and I still dispprove of it, but I have found reason, due to my experiences, that the quality of immigrant in CR is not up to par. You start with the street vendors, who don't contribute via-taxes (nor do they want to, unlike Mexican immigrants in the US who want to contribute),and who are also a huge burden on our public sector. yes, there was a time that the import of such labor was good for the country, now, and specially due to our current conflict, we realize how vulnerable we are. As far as measures, I'm no neo-liberal, and I always consider proportionality and balance as a means for solving problems. And thus, I'm always for a decent living wage, and income redistribution. Unfortunately, when a country opens themselves to the multinationals, you become subject to their bottom line, and at the same time sacrifice the development of one's domestic industry, so when a multinational leaves, then you have unemployment and no domestic industry to take its place. And let's not forget Nicaragua's and CR's economies are symbiotic, but Nicaragua is much more dependent due to money that finds its way back to Nicaragua. Unfortunately, we're not the US, Canada, or Europe, we have limited resources and limited space, our policies have to address that reality. Don't forget, the Costa Rican is in extinction, or in flux, but the Costa Rican born of CR parents is severely on the decline. It's like a New Yorker in NYC, only that, New York's immigrant population is amongst the best in the world. But yes, there are dishonest Costa Ricans, and we do have a crime problem, and severe penal reforms should follow, yet Costa Rica's crime is well below Latin America's level.

  65. Oh, and I'm completely with you on the legalization issue, I take it a step further, legalize all drugs, not just pot. Unfortunately, in my country, the inane religion-based ethics (which by the way, is a whole scam, where you see people going in and out of church, only to be absolved before their next crime wave) has prevented us from modernizing when it come to social issues. Then you have the alcohol and tabacco industries not willing to compete, mainly due to the inferiority of their product in relation to weed (which I proudly indulge in).

  66. I just spent 14 days in Costa Rica. I am shocked at how expensive just about everything is. My last dinner was at a small restaurant with only locals: 1/4 chicken $7.00, guacamole salad $4.50, this price includes the 13% Costa Rican tax. In Monteverde, the main tourist trap restaurant charged $10 for a bowl of ceviche. I was pleasantly suprised by the prices around the corner with locals and paid $3 for a bowl of ceviche.

    I really did not like the American expats telling me that they live in CR for 40% less than in the states, but "manage to stay under the Costa Rican government's radar" in how they operate their businesses: do not have the required number of Costa Rican employees, work the business when they are supposed to only oversee, etc. I wonder if they even send in the taxes that they collect. I got the distinct impression that the money generated by the American expats was making it's way back to the U.S. fart more than supporting the local economy.

    As for crime, I was frequently warned by Ticos to be careful and lock my car doors and keep an eye on my things on the beach. On my trip out of Costa Rica, I met a Costa Rican lady returning to her home in Dallas, TX. She visits family in CR, but says she would never live in CR again. She said she feels safer in Dallas, and that she feels very unsafe in CR and so do her realatives. She said that as the years go by the fences get higher. While she was visiting her cousin in the San Ramon (pop 155000)his car was broken into at 3 in the afternoon in his driveway…he had fallen asleep and did not put the car behind the high fence.

    I talked with a Canadian who owns a small day spa in Escazu (think upscale looking neighborhood with modern shopping centers, including a mall with prices to rival the states). The rent rivals prices in the states ($1800 a month), but she said she was willing to pay more to be in an area where she did not feel like she had to put bars on the windows/doors and did not feel like she'd get robbed.

    I have visited 29 countries and CR is by far the most disappointing except for Iraq, but I live and work there and it is in it's own unique category.

  67. I live in CR and am married to a Tico. The problem is the attitude of the people to crime. I live in a small town and there are known child rapists(Costa Rican born) who are saluded in the streets by the towns people as if they have done nothing wrong.

    There are known criminals who break into homes and steal and beat old people and no one does anything to stop them. And the towns people say nothing to these theives.

    When a guy hit another guy over the head with a machete and tried to kill him. The people of the town treated the perpetrator like he did nothing wrong. Did not even call the police or try to stop this man.

    This passivism is not only towards crime it's towards every facet of life in CR. This is their culture.

    At the banks when there is a long line of people and only one teller working while 2 other tellers talk on their cell phones laughing, no one complains. They just sit with blank faces waiting for hours. In the US someone would be complaining.

    I have seen ticos sit by and watch while crime is being done, and do nothing about it.

    The Costa Rican people's culture is to not make waves. Don't fight. Don't complain. Don't have your own voice. Don't stand up for what is right. No back bone, no "balls".

    And now they are paying for it with all this crime and no one does anything about it. So it's not just with the polices' response to crime, it is the culture of CR.

    And please don't blame the "Nicas" for your problems. Costa Ricans need to face up to their own problems and change their attitudes and get a "backbone"

  68. Jill,

    Your comment reads like a propaganda hit piece. Defecating on a whole nation as having no backbone, and your additional claptrap makes me question your motives. Anyone will agree CR has crime issues, but to procede to dump on the country as a whole says more about you than the country.

  69. Jill

    Why would you Marry a Tico if you feel they are ball less, spine less jelly fish.

    Or more importantly why would a Tico marry a ball crushing , suicide inducing , ugly gringa when there are women in Costa Rica that are so young 18+ and beautiful that they put a play boy playmate to shame. I will be moving there to get away from USA women and s, genetically modified foods, & too many other gringos.

    Crime you dont know what Crime is till you lived in the USA. The hood, barrio s, and the white trash dont get left behind …

  70. Interesting as I am thinking about Costa Rica. I currently live in Medellin, CO. so I know a bit about crime in SA.

    Sadly Panama is going down the toilet, lived there too, all of my Panamanian friends have had encounters with crime, including me.

    The problems in most SA countries is cultural. Tell a Colombian that the crime rate is high and you will get 3 hours of excuses for the criminals. In the end there are 2 real problems 1 that nobody will take action. "I didn't see anything!" Not surprising given the fact that witnesses tend to get murdered along with lawyers. 2 They aren't harsh enough when they do get a conviction. No capitol punishment and short prison sentences. Add to that the corruption and you have most, if not all, of Central and South America.

    Compare them to other really poor places I've lived like China. There you can walk down the street with an expensive camera hanging on your neck even in poor areas of big cities. Your can flag a taxi at 4am without a second thought. Why? Because someone sees everything and the system is very harsh on criminals. Their arrest and conviction rate is much higher than even the US. Hence very little crime even with a population of 1.3 Billion. If it weren't for the crappy weather and the language I would still live in China.

  71. I was born in Costa Rica and then moved to USA early in life. Went to college and served in the Army until I was discharged due to disability.

    When I returned three years ago there was little left of the Costa Rica I remembered as a child.

    They truly gave the Circus to the clowns… !

    Lazy, parasitic and spineless is the new social norm.

    And I have tried given my "people" the benefit of the doubt.

    NO EXCUSE !

  72. AS A20 RESEDENT OF COSTA RICA MARRIED TO A TICA ISEEN SO MANY CHANGES COMING HERE FOR AVACATION IS ONE THING LIVING HERE IS ANOTHER DO YOUR HOMEWORK COME AND LIVE FOR 3 MONTHS DURING THE RAINEY SEASORE ON CARS FOOD GAS INSURANCE ARE FAR MORE EXPENESIVE AND FOR CRIME I WAS ALMOST KILLED IN FRONT A CASINO 4 YEARS AGO WHY TO I STAY IM NOT I KEEP THINKING IT WILL GET BETTER

  73. “Yeah, I’m familiar with Roger Gallo. His marketing is very good. Albeit bullshit. “Costa Rica– it’s all sunshine, smiles and ice cream. Not to mention… cheap beer!” — Yeah, until your 70 year-old wife breaks her hip on one of the pot holes, a transvestite takes her purse while she’s unconscious, the paramedic feels her up on the way to the hospital, and the hospital itself catches fire and needs to be evacuated, while half the patients are stuck inside because some moron locked the exit doors. Pura Vida, mother fucker.” Man, I couldn’t stop laughing after I read the preceding quote that is absolutely hilarious.

    Anyway, I myself am married to a Tica (a very sultry wench indeed) but have only been to CR once. While there, my wife stressed the importance of vigilant security and as we drove around (during the school day no less) we had young ragamuffins approach her automobile supplicating for coins. Indeed, there are many shotgun toting guards at the banks and it was slightly surprising to see the policia cruising on motorcycles with Uzis strapped to their backs. However, me having the adventurous spirit and always craving excitement, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and am looking forward to going back. As far as utilizing vigilant security, that is just my own personal manner of living no matter where I am located so for me the lurking danger did not concern me. I doubt we will ever live there or anywhere outside the U.S. With all the shit going on in the world, I consider the good old U.S. of A the safest of countries in which to live, one only needs to select the right area in which to reside and insure that Mr. Colt 1911 and Mr. Remington VERSA MAX Tactical are always locked and loaded for home defense. While on the go I have bring Mr. Glock 21 (don’t leave home without it) for “carry” defense (with mandatory carry permit, naturally). By consistently utilizing my Number 1, rule: “Avoid trouble at ALL times”, I like to think that I have so far successfully not been a victim of crime and I hope it stays that way.

  74. Worked all over CR 20 years ago. Loved it then and have been coming back consistently every chance I get. My husband and I bought a house here 3 years ago and are working on selling out all of our property in US and getting permanent residency here. the people, country, culture and lifestyle are beautiful. Yes, there is crime here. There is crime everywhere. US is one of the most violent countries in the world. I have 4 guns in my house in CO. Here in CR I carry a tiny can of pepper spray.

    What you idiots need to understand is that you can’t walk around in other countries with your uppity American attitude and culture and not make yourself a target. The Jackass who wrote this article needs to go back home and park it on the couch where he can eat his nice, safe, pesticide free TV dinner and shop at Walmart. Catching Geraldo on TV is about as close to Latin America as that wingnut needs to get.

    To the Jackass: How dare you malign this beautiful country and wonderful people. Glad you’re gone dude and good riddance. Your bitter whiney little ass is not missed here and BTW…it’s wankers like you that give us “gringos ‘ a bad name.

  75. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with wonderful people. I’ve been coming there for years, spending months at a time..When I travel there, like in all foreign countries, I leave my gringo culture and attitude behind, not my character or personality. I have learned their language and treat people with courtesy and respect that they deserve..they in return have brought me into their families and shown me the courtesy and respect that I deserve and appreciate. Yes there is theft and crime, and I have had things stolen in CR, just like I’ve had things stolen in the USA. Until a better paid and trained police force with the right leadership initiatives happens, awareness and precaution are the best preventatives. The positive experiences here far outweigh the negative ones, enough that I dont give returning a second thought. Attitude is everything.

  76. After spending some weeks reading, I have changed my mind about living there but, I may visit for awhile.
    I certainly don’t want to stay in San Jose. The produce in CR is covered with the worlds number 1 rate of pesticide spraying and the unreliable people, I will avoid when I can. I won’t pay for more than a days rent at a time because I don’t trust them. I will bring my own bug net for sleeping and not bring anything of significant value to be stolen. I will avoid cops, as is the case in any country; at least you can see that they are bad guys when you see the uniforms. On the other hand, I expect some of the rural areas to be quite nice and interesting with the flora and fauna.

  77. I realize that I am somewhat late to the conversation.. It saddens me to read this thread as I realize some major points have been lost. My parents were U.S. Foreign Service Officers who traveled extensively on assignments. In1965 they were posted to San Jose where they fell in love, married and started a family (me). Out of all the posts that my parents served CR was the “one” – Its unbelievable beauty and the Ticos who to this day Mom still adores at almost 90. My father had stories about violence he saw in other countries that was appalling. I completely agree in immigration(Give us your tired and poor) but only so long as it promotes mutual benefits… but if they come to a country and do harm or bring crime- Deport them… PLEASE LEGALIZE!!! you could effectively shut down half the violence. But here is where all are missing a critical point, a gift if you will. From the tip of Alaska to the tip of South America we are not united. Why are not ALL the Governments more concerned about this as a whole. I know-we have conferences, Summits and press gatherings- sadly not working. The U.S. spends unimaginable amounts of money all over the globe in many cases for governments and people that only wish to continue fighting and have no interest in peace or progress and at same time we seem to be making many more enemies than friends. Reality check China is spending big bucks in CR!!! Time to change the game plan. Like it or not we have so much more in common in our histories, peoples and culture, we better start to act like it!! STOP THE RACISTS QUIBBLING BACK AND FORTH-THIS PROBLEM IS MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT. Our group of nations posses all the resources we need to change, prosper, protect ourselves and have kickass future. I would much rather see this part of the world foremost in our foreign policy. After all we are neighbors and in many cases family. Give CR credit they have gotten this far without bullets in a world that seems now only to understand bullets. I fear the rest of the world has found CR… and brought the bullets…CR will have to stand up for itself in this fight but we should all recognize just what this really means and act accordingly.

  78. I suspect that all this trashing of CR has some motivation behind it. I traveled to both coasts when I was there in 2006 and met a lot of tourists whom where doing the same thing and never heard about crime or bad experiences like described on this web sit at all. My experiences were wonderful and I left there with only good things to say about the country!

  79. I love CR
    Its a great climate and have spent years here
    Get to know the local people properly and live amongst them if you want a real experience
    Crimes everywhere committed by all nationalities and in all countries
    Dont show off , if u do , ur likely to attract attention . If you don’t want attention ,don’t, show off
    If u get unexpectedly mugged , assaulted , it’s harsh . I’ve had it , in Europe , not here
    There’s no right or wrong . Life is a gamble whatever we do .
    But if u lucky enough to be a native English speaker , spend some time with the kids and adults that want to learn English
    You will get rewarded by them . Teach them numbers and the alphabet. Teach them whatever you can , it will always be appreciated

  80. OmGOSH! Everyone, STOP listening to all these people! I’m in CR right now, and I LOVE it! There’s no crime or anything, and the people are VERY nice! They are hard working, kind people and it offenses ME when people say LIES about THEM! So STOP! I have to admit, I don’t like San Jose, but WHO CARES????? CR is WONDERFUL! The people are AMAZING! They’re INSPIRING BY THEIR HARD WORK AND NICENESS! And they AREN’T BAD PEOPLE! I have had NO problems with them, and I WON’T! So STOP JUDGING INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T DO ANYTHING AND GET A LIFE! To all those people who want to live in CR, GO AHEAD! The only thing I hate is the heat! There is no crime or anything there is NOTHING bad and don’t listen to people who don’t know what they’re talking about! They’re clueless! In fact, if you’re planning to go on a vacation soon, go to CR! See how ya like it! then see for YOURSELF! There’s absolutely NOTHING bad! I’m in CR currently I have a week left its PERFECT! Don’t listen to those stubborn people who judge innocent CRicans and don’t know what they’re talking about! There is crime EVERYWHERE but hardly any in CR! Just because they may not have as much money as you do or not dress like you maybe, THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE MUGGERS AND ROBBERS!!!!!!! BECAUSE THEY ARE SO MUCH NICER THAN MOST AMERICANS I KNOW! So STOP JUDGING! I LOVE it here! And @cojito , REALLY? YOU So stupid! READ THE D COMMENTS I WROTE AND THEN THINK ABOUT HOW STUBBORN YOU ARE! STOP JUDGING INNOCENT PEOPLE BECAUSE I DON’T EVEN KKKNNNNOOOOWWWW YOU AND I COULD JUDGE ALOT ABOUT YOU! So if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at ALL!

    • been in costa rica several times including panama and many other places around the world and the best way is to be alert at all time and man don’t let sex blind you that is why a lot of you get in trouble, and stop been so friendly and at like you are walking down 5 ave NYC not event someone try to play them self the other day as i was going to my dental appointment he most to smell P u ss y he was wrong.

  81. I totally agree, thanks for sticking up to us Costa Ricans, we appreciate it! Hope you have a safe and blessed trip!
    Bye amigos!
    ~Riticka

  82. i hope all of you who defende costa rica dont come back crying you may not had anypoblems as yet but more likely you will about 2 months go 18 american where robbed in their hotel at gun point they were left with nothing just the clothing in their back and a day left 3 canadians also where kidnap in their home rental the canadians left next day the where too scared to stay anylonger so please the crime its getting worst day by day

    • Wow just found this fórum. I post on other fórums in an attempt to
      counter all the false and exaggerated positive publicity about CR.

      My background. married to Tica with 2 Tica girl kids. Retired from
      international organization speak Spanish.

      Lets stick with the topic. Crime and crimes against me.
      3 assaults against me 2 that required hospitalization
      1 successful home burglary
      1 unsuccessful home burglary–I caught the thief.
      1 attempted car theft–i stopped it after theives hot wired the car but before they could go.
      1 apparent car theft where the thieves got in the car pulled all the wires in an attempt to hot wire
      it but apparently left in failure i found the car open with the wires dangling down.
      1 property theft a lot was stolen from me with fraudulent documents
      2 unsuccessful property thefts
      2 robberies of trust money held by lawyers.
      10+ car breakins losing as follows
      a. tire off back of car
      b. luggage twice
      c. headrests
      d. jack, childrens car seat, kids toys
      e. lots of loose stuff of no value. Over time I learned to leave nothing of value in the car

      2 times people have tried to run me over with their cars but missed
      20 times guests in my houses have stolen stuff a camera, money, lots of nickel and dime stuff
      I have learned not to invite Ticos into my house. Even the pólice have stolen stuff when investigating
      the burglary.

      Of all the above crimes I have reported only 6. Only one crime was investigated and 1 prosecution with 1 month in jail.

      Okay racist acts against me I am blond blue eyed and tall 1000´s dozens in one day if I go to a public function or concert.

      MY OPINION about Ticos. If this were a state in the US half the people would be in jail. The people are either weird or mentally ill take your pick. Only 10% of the people would be considered normal under U:S. Canadian or European standards and we would consider only 20% as GOOD people honest, helpful sympathetic kind.

      The only way I can keep my sanity here. Keep away from any Tico. Dont do business with them, dont try and talk to them, dont rent your house to them, dont lend them any of your possessions. STAY AWAY FROM THEM ALL THE TIME AND UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.
      There are about a million people here that arent Ticos hang with them.

      DO NOT TAKE YOUR HIGH OPINION OF USA HSPANICS and asume the Ticos in CR are like them. YOU WILL BE HORRIBLY DISAPPOINTED.

      Survive in CR by enjoying the natural beauty. Befriend the kind and intelligent Nicaraguan population. There are 10,000
      Cubans here great people. Seek out and try to befriend the Chinese.

      This place would be a great place if they rounded up all the Ticos from the old families and just ran them out. they are the worst. Arrogant, criminals, racists unsympathetic, socio paths.

  83. get a gun everyone should have one, when i stay in escazu everyone has guards outside there homes, as a city experience PA city is better meaning more things to do. and is not cheap to leave in costa rica especially when they try to charge tourist more that they would charge a tico.

  84. On my 10th consecutive year going back and forth to CR we have officially marked this place off the list for good! I’ll be heading to Panama or Nicaragua for all my Families beach and surfing needs as well…

    Just returned from a 6 week planned trip after 1 day.. Showed up at an apartment we rented time and time again for years in what we thought was a safe place.. Had your standard 8ft cement wall with metal spikes, gated with an armed guard – sounds safe, right? Our 10th year in a row staying here – we know all the locals, the owners and the staff.. The first night within this compound our apartment was broken into while me, my wife and 2 small children were asleep.. We were robbed of everything we owned including over $3000 of cash for rent and tours, phones, passports, documents, clothes, bags, etc… And all the owner could say was “did you not have your valuables locked up in the safe at the front desk”… We know for a fact one of the little shady employees was behind it.

    There’s a reason why every single nice home and estate in this area are for sale – people are cutting their losses and getting the F out!! If you do want want great surf Playa Grande, Guanacaste is great – however, you better hide your shit cause that whole town is nothing but little shady ass thieves…

    I’m F’n over it…. Why and the hell would i want to continue to go to a place where I have to watch my back with every possession i have and everything i do to keep from getting robbed… We’ve been careful every time we’ve ever been there with only the occasional stolen shoes, cooler or little thing like that.. Not to mention the initial allure was the affordable travel, stay & food. Only to notice more and more of price gouging and even the local spots jumping on the band wagon and doubling their prices for food and drinks that were barley worth the original local price… I’m sorry, but $4 for a plastic bottle coke is a bit ridiculous.. Send me to the most expensive resort town in the US and I guarantee I’m paying $4 for a damn coke…

    All in all – “Pura Vida” = “Pura Bullshit”…..