Costa Rica : Safety by CityCosta Rica - safety as a country
Tamarindo, Costa Rica, is a town located in the Guanacaste Province.
It is infamous for its beautiful beaches and surfing scene.
It’s located right along the shores of the North Pacific Coast.
It’s also a popular tourist destination for groups, families, and couples looking to have a great time in the sun.
When visiting Tamarindo, you’ll soon find out that there are about 12 hours of daylight every single day here.
This is mainly due to its proximity to the equator.
You’ll also see plenty of whales, particularly humpback whales.
If you’re considering traveling to Tamarindo, Costa Rica, this guide will provide all the pertinent information to help keep you safe while you’re here.
Warnings & Dangers in Tamarindo
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Overall, Tamarindo is considered safe. But when traveling here, you should still take the necessary precautions while visiting major cities, especially after dark. Be watchful of pickpocketers and bag snatchers. Always keep your personal items close to you. Avoid carrying large sums of money while traveling. Moreover, avoid leaving your valuables in plain sight.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Overall, if you’re going to use public transportation during your visit to Tamarindo, it's generally safe. But you should remember to be extra cautious when taking buses and while standing at bus stops. This is especially true for those going in the direction of San Jose, as this is the primary target for petty thieves and pickpocketing crimes.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
It’s no secret that pickpocketing occurs at an all-time high in Tamarindo. If you’re going to be visiting the area, it’s highly recommended that you remain watchful at all times while out and about. Avoid flashing your valuables and money. Be cautious when using ATMs as well.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
The risk level for natural disasters in Tamarindo is medium. The most commonly seen natural disasters are earthquakes. It’s normal for them to occur on a daily basis, but they are relatively small. Yet, the area does see stronger earthquakes every several years. The last big earthquake that occurred in the area was in 2009, which took the lives of 34 people.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
It’s not unusual for muggings to occur in Costa Rica either. If you are ever faced with this type of situation, the smartest thing to do is to hand over all your belongings and avoid resisting. You should also avoid areas that are poorly lit, in addition to isolated areas.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Costa Rica hasn’t seen any recent terrorist attacks. But, even still, you should always remain vigilant, as they cannot be totally eliminated. With that being said, the overall risk level for terrorist attacks in Tamarindo, Costa Rica is low.
SCAMS RISK: HIGH
Scam risk levels are high in Tamarindo as they are a very common occurrence. Always make sure that you double-check your change. Also, avoid paying for anything upfront. Common robbery schemes are happening in town where a person will slash your tire. Once you stop trying to fix your flat tire, a couple of individuals will attempt to help you. However, they will pick your pockets or simply rob you.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
Typically, it’s safe for women to travel to Tamarindo by themselves. But you should never hike alone, nor should you explore the city by yourself. Women should avoid poorly lit areas and isolated streets.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The tap water in Tamarindo is generally safe to drink. Frequently, the tap water here is tested for quality control. In addition, it is chlorinated. Even though Tamarindo doesn’t have the best tap water in regard to quality, many tourists feel fine after drinking it. If you have a sensitive stomach, you should drink bottled water instead.
Safest Places to Visit in Tamarindo
Whether you’re looking for the safest areas in Tamarindo or the most interesting attractions to visit while you’re in town, here is a list of places you should check out:
- Tamarindo Beach is considered a safe attraction for those looking to surf or swim. You can also safely enjoy other beach activities here, such as beach volleyball or soccer.
- Plays Avellanas is another safe beach for tourists to swim and surf. It’s located just 30 minutes from Tamarindo. It’s a lot quieter here, so it’s perfect for relaxing near the water.
- Dream Chaser Catamaran sunset cruise is yet another safe adventure for tourists. You can enjoy a 5-hour sailing trip packed with a lunch buffet, an open bar, and much more.
- Monteverde is a popular tourist attraction for those looking to zipline while in Tamarindo. You can feel safe here knowing that the canopy is thick and there’s plenty of adventure that awaits.
The safest and best areas to stay in Tamarindo are:
- Palm Beach Estates
- Playa Tamarindo
- Play Grande
- Tamarindo Island
Places to Avoid in Tamarindo
Generally speaking, Tamarindo is extremely safe, even for visitors.
Yet, Tamarindo has still seen an uptick in crime (especially robberies) targeting tourists.
With that being said, there aren’t any particular areas that should be avoided.
Overall, you should be cautious while out and about in Tamardino, especially during the night.
Also, if you’re going to be visiting other areas outside Tamarindo, there are some areas to avoid.
For example, you should avoid Quepos and Jaco, located right outside Manuel Antonio National Park.
In addition, all parks in San Jose should be avoided at night.
These neighborhoods, outside of Tamarindo, should be avoided at all costs:
- Los Guido
- Leon XIII
- La Carpio
- El Carmen
- El Infiernillo
Safety Tips for Traveling to Tamarindo
While visiting Tamarindo, here are 10 safety tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid walking alone at night. This first tip is self-explanatory. You should avoid walking alone at night and instead walk in groups. Moreover, you should avoid areas that look suspicious, whether alone or with a group of people.
- Take advantage of taxi services. This tip is important to keep in mind, especially after dark. Always use rideshare services, such as a taxi, to get you from one location to another instead of walking at night.
- Only carry a small amount of cash. While out and about, never carry large amounts of cash with you. This makes you an easy target for mugging. Instead, try to carry a small amount or only carry credit or debit cards.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry. Wearing expensive valuables and jewelry also makes you an easy target for mugging. The best piece of advice is to leave all expensive valuables behind. If you must bring them, keep them locked in a safe in your hotel room.
- Never leave your bags unattended while visiting the beach. Leaving your bags unattended at the beach also makes you a target for crime while visiting Tamarindo. No matter how charming or “nice” an area looks to you, always keep your personal items close to you.
- Utilize a flashlight at night. If you are going to be walking at night, especially in rural areas, be sure to keep a flashlight with you. A backpacking headlamp will also do. Not only will this give you a clear view of what’s around you, but it’ll also keep you from stepping on something you don’t want to!
- Look busy when waiting at bus stations. If you are going to be using public transportation while visiting Tamarindo, make sure that you appear busy while waiting for the bus. Looking lost makes you a target for scammers and more.
- Avoid hanging your purse on the back of your chair. Not only should you avoid leaving your bags unattended, but you should never hang your purse or bags on the back of a chair. This makes it easy for thieves to steal.
- Utilize hotel staff. For all inquiries, you should communicate with the hotel staff where you are staying. They will know the area best.
- Travel in groups. Traveling to any location with friends may deter robbers. It’s always a good idea to bring some friends and family along with you on your trip.
So... How Safe Is Tamarindo Really?
As far as safety is concerned, Tamarindo is extremely safe.
With any tourist city and areas that are crowded, you can expect pickpocketing and petty theft crimes to take place.
Yet, the locals in Tamarindo are very warm, welcoming, and friendly.
Overall, the crime rate in Tamarindo is relatively low.
In addition, local law enforcement is always willing to assist locals and tourists visiting the area.
Tamarindo has a crime index score of 57.52 and a safety index score of 42.48.
Between 2013 and 2017, Tamarindo has seen a 36% increase in crimes.
Tamarindo had a crime rate of 60 per 1,000 residents during that time period.
In the event you have to report a suspicious individual or crime, you should reach out to the police in Santa Cruz.
Of course, dialing 911 in case of an emergency is recommended.
No matter where you are, it’s always wise to remain aware of your surroundings.
If you are going to be traveling by yourself, try not to wander the beaches or streets after dark.
Also, keep your valuables out of sight.
While pickpocketing is a real thing, especially in Tamarindo, they generally rarely target tourists.
Regardless, you should take the necessary precautions to stay safe while in Tamarindo.
For example, avoid carrying copies of your passport and carrying around large amounts of cash.
Keep your valuables in your hotel room.
While visiting the beaches in Tamarindo, avoid leaving your belongings unattended.
Walking around at night in the city should be avoided, as you may run into areas that are poorly lit.
How Does Tamarindo Compare?
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Tourists generally don’t need a visa to visit Costa Rica, as long as their stays are shorter than 180 days. Yet, tourists will need to obtain a passport to enter Costa Rica, and it must be valid one calendar day beyond the date you enter the country. It is also possible that you may be asked to show proof of income confirming your ability to cover the cost of your entire trip.
The colón is the official currency in Costa Rica. Colones are typically carried as souvenirs and even for bus fares. However, US currency can be used throughout Costa Rica. It’s also possible for you to withdraw them from many of the ATMs in the country. Moreover, credit cards can be used during your visit as well. With that being said, there will be no need to convert your currency if you’re already carrying US currency with you.
Costa Rica experiences mainly tropical weather throughout the year due to its proximity to the Equator. This means that you should pack clothing that you will wear during the spring and summer. The climate here can also experience varying conditions with regard to rainfall.
The busiest airport in Costa Rica is Juan Santamaria International Airport. It’s also the primary airport in the capital of Costa Rica. It’s located in Alajuela. The airport is about a four and a half-hour drive to Tamarindo. There are shuttle buses that tourists can take from the airport to Tamarindo that cost about $54 per person. And while this is the cheapest way, you can also take a taxi or use other rideshare services.
Travel insurance is highly recommended, no matter where you travel. Consider purchasing travel insurance prior to your stay in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, as it will cover loss of valuables, theft, and medical issues that you may experience during your trip.
Tamarindo Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Costa Rica - Safety by City