Is Santa Teresa Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On April 5, 2024
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Safety Index:
72
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Santa Teresa is a coastal village in Costa Rica.

It offers the peaceful climate of a remote town and a beautiful forest-backed beach for surfing and scuba diving.

Nature has blessed the area with waterfalls, a protected nature reserve, and with over 150 species of birds, and an exotic collection of free-ranging animals.

Once a fishing village, Santa Teresa has opened up to tourists, allowing them to experience an unforgettable vacation of swimming, horseback riding, hiking, and more.

The atmosphere, lodging, and cuisine will tempt you to return year after year.

Warnings & Dangers in Santa Teresa

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Costa Rica is considered a safe place to visit. They have low crime rates and have a stable political situation. However, there will always be robberies and muggings, mainly on crowded beaches and tourist attractions. Your travel guide, hotel receptionist, or resident are good people to ask about the overall safety of a specific area.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Buses, taxis, and Ubers are the primary forms of public transportation. They are considered safe when you keep your personal belongings secure. Rental cars are available but can be challenging due to the lack of road signs, poor travel control, and no nighttime road lights. Private drivers are also available at the airport.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

Pickpockets are risky in any busy city or location where tourists gather. It is recommended to leave essential papers, extra cash, and credit cards in a safe at your hotel. Fanny packs and inside pockets are suitable for keeping spending money secure. Pickpockets are experts at lifting wallets from outside pants pockets.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

Hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from June 1 to November 30. This is the most significant natural disaster risk for Santa Teresa. Flash flooding is also a concern, especially along the coastal areas. Excessive rainfall can cause dangerous mudslides and flooding. Local radio stations will keep you informed on the weather conditions.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

In some areas of Santa Teresa, there are 0 muggings a year, while other regions have a higher rate. This is still low and often avoidable by learning about the most prominent crime spots and taking safety precautions.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

Costa Rica has no current record of terrorist attacks. Cybercrime is the most significant threat to the infrastructure due to a lack of up-to-date internet options. As a result, little security is available in many parts of the country.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Scammers are everywhere. Even before leaving the US, tourist scams from Costa Rica could be contacting you. They may offer cheap housing, inexpensive tours, and more. As long as you use a reputable travel agent, scams can be avoided. Other schemes include money exchange, credit card fraud, and timeshares. Don't fall for great deals without doing your homework.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM

While generally safe for women, there are still areas of concern after dark. Public transportation, especially buses, can attract criminals looking for an easy target. Earning 2.2 stars out of 5.0 for solo female safety, traveling with a companion is always recommended.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: MEDIUM

Most of the tap water in Santa Teresa comes from wells. While bathing in this water may be fine, you cannot be sure what impurities exist. Drinking local well water could bring on stomach upset or diarrhea. When in doubt, always purchase bottled water.

Safest Places to Visit in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a favorite tourist area in Costa Rica.

It is rural and small and has a low crime rate.

It does not have a lot of entertainment attractions, but that is the beauty of it.

Yoga, fishing trips, scuba diving, and surfing are among the top recreations available.

Hiking through forests, admiring waterfalls, or horseback riding is an adventure.

There are many tours and classes to participate in that are safe and fun.

Local guides will lead you along the safest trails and point out dangerous areas on foot or horseback.

Spa centers offer a place for yoga enthusiasts and a calming place to relax.

Places to Avoid in Santa Teresa

Although walking along a moonlit stretch of beach can sound like paradise, it can also be dangerous.

Because Santa Teresa feels safe and comforted, criminals always wait to take advantage of these special moments.

Take a partner and watch for other individuals who could be a threat.

There are no current statistics on Santa Teresa as far as crime goes.

However, the Nicoya peninsula has many reviews on the area’s safety.

Petty theft is the most prevalent crime among tourists.

There have been reports of theft of stranded cars, stolen backpacks in restaurants, and break-ins at hotel rooms.

However, violent crimes are rarely reported.

Airports and party beaches have many tourists, and robbers will exploit their target.

Pickpockets can be found in any area where large gatherings of tourists exist.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Santa Teresa

  1. Traveling to Santa Teresa without wanting to swim in the ocean is impossible. This can be one of the most dangerous recreations of all. The rip currents can be quick and harsh, especially if you are unfamiliar with ocean safety. Lifeguards are posted at the most popular beaches. Stay within their sight and swish your feet to discourage sting rays from nipping.
  2. Educate yourself about the best places to stay in Santa Teresa and check availability. Many forums and blogs offer personal experiences on tourist visits. Recommended places to stay are Horizon Hotel & Yoga Center, Funky Monkey Lodge, and Makanas Beach Bungalows.
  3. The roads around Santa Teresa are rough and bumpy. Be sure to travel from the airport to your lodging destination in a 4×4 vehicle.
  4. The most popular way to reach Santa Teresa is to fly into San Jose and drive to the port city of Puntarenas. From here, a ferry can transport you and your rented vehicle across the Gulf of Nicoya to Paquera on the Nicoya Peninsula. Ferries can become crowded during the busy season, so book your reservation beforehand. There is a lot of switching from airport to rental car to ferry, so devise a plan to keep all your luggage and personal belongings together.
  5. Taxis and Ubers are marked if you travel this way. Never get into a vehicle that is not marked as official. If you have any questions, ask any airport representative. Buses and shuttles are also available and are more inexpensive.
  6. Take advantage of the safety options offered at your lodging. Lockboxes and safes are provided at many for storing valuables while out for the day.
  7. The shops and restaurants can be delightful to visit but never wear a purse that dangles by your side. This is an easy target for a robber. Clutch your belongings and purchases, as well.
  8. Wandering through the forests is an exciting way to appreciate the different flora and wildlife. However, traveling within a tour is the best way to avoid getting turned around and finding yourself lost and alone.
  9. Never swim alone along a deserted beach. Respect the ocean as a force of nature. There are many safe areas where swimming is recommended. You can even take a jump in at the incredible waterfalls.
  10. Respect weather reports for approaching storms. They can come on quickly and be dangerous without shelter.

So... How Safe Is Santa Teresa Really?

Santa Teresa is one of the safest locations compared to Costa Rica.

Perhaps this is because Santa Teresa is secluded and difficult to travel to.

Most residents have been there for years, and crime has been rated low due to the type of population.

This could change as more outsiders find this area very desirable for living in.

Tourists are reminded to protect their possessions to keep from attracting thieves.

While large groups of people are a target for petty theft, you should avoid walking alone at night and in desolate areas.

Many thefts can be avoided by taking these simple steps:

  • Avoid areas with bars and nightclubs, and never leave a bar with strangers.
  • Do not leave purses or packages in plain sight if you have a rental car.
  • Leave your passport in the hotel safe when going out.
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police.

Many thefts are due to tourists being careless with their possessions.

While Santa Teresa can provide comfortable surroundings, never let your guard down.

There is crime everywhere.

How Does Santa Teresa Compare?

CitySafety Index
Santa Teresa72
San Jose59
Monteverde74
Manuel Antonio58
Quepos55
Puerto Viejo52
Tamarindo57
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Vancouver (Canada)82
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

You do not need a visa to visit Costa Rica from the US, but a passport is required.

Currency

Currency

Costa Rica colon is the currency of Santa Teresa. However, many stores will accept US currency. It would be best if you had both for easy payment. Only change money at banks. Locals may present a better option, but the currency could be counterfeit. Credit cards can be skimmed, so be careful when using them in unknown places.

Weather

Weather

There are different seasons in Costa Rica. Most tourists visit from mid-December through April to enjoy the dry season. Sea breezes can deliver some wind, but the climate remains tropical. The rainforest can get hot and steamy, while the beaches deliver a refreshing warm breeze.

Airports

Airports

The closest airport to Santa Teresa is in Tambor. Several non-stop airlines service San Jose, where flights can be booked to Tambor. To fly to Peninsula Papagayo, you'll need to fly into Liberia. The US has several airlines that have non-stop service to Costa Rica.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Some areas of Costa Rica require liability insurance from tourists. Travel insurance is always good for rental cars, theft protection, or last-minute cancellations. Check with your travel agent for the best insurance type in this region. Insurance runs 3% to 5% of your travel package and is well worth it.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Santa Teresa Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 18° C
Feb 19° C
Mar 19° C
Apr 20° C
May 20° C
Jun 20° C
Jul 19° C
Aug 20° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 19° C
Nov 19° C
Dec 18° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
232424252323222322222222
Low
°C
131314151616161616161514
High
°F
737575777373727372727272
Low
°F
555557596161616161615957

Costa Rica - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Manuel Antonio58
Monteverde74
Puerto Viejo52
Quepos55
San Jose59
Santa Teresa72
Tamarindo57

Where to Next?

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