Is San Jose, Costa Rica A Safe Destination For Travelers?

Picturesque mountains and tropical rainforests are the things that come to your mind when speaking of Costa Rica. 

As the country’s capital, San Jose justifies this expectation by providing travelers with a fantastic experience with its stunning landscapes and many things to see and do.

However, many questions exist about the safety of the capital and the country. Is San Jose Costa Rica safe? Let’s find out!

About San Jose, Costa Rica

First, let’s dig into some details regarding San Jose, Costa Rica. San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is located on a plateau at a height of 1200m.

It consists of beautiful landscapes with mountains and valleys. The capital holds almost half of the population of Costa Rica!

There are many things to do and see as a traveler in San Jose, including visiting historic venues, museums, galleries, markets, and parks.

Is San Jose Costa Rica Safe For Travelers?

Many travelers are keen on knowing the safety background of the country and city they plan to visit.

The same applies to travelers who come to San Jose and want to know whether traveling to the country and its capital is safe.

No matter the safety level defined for any city, town, or village, you must ensure your protection when traveling overseas.

How Safe Is San Jose?

As a country, Costa Rica has managed to stay away from the Cold War and gang violence incidents that were commonly encountered by many other countries in Central America.

However, the country has seen an increase in money laundering activities and drug trafficking incidents in recent times.

Regardless, Costa Rica is generally known to be safe for travelers. 

San Jose, Costa Rica: Risks And Dangers For Travelers

As with traveling in any city, there are a few risks and dangers to be wary of when traveling in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Overall Risk 

Just as with what you do when traveling to any city in the world, you must practice a certain level of safety and caution in San Jose.

Security-related authorities enforce all measures possible to ensure that San Jose remains safe for travelers. It includes implementing constant police surveillance in the city.

Crime exists wherever in the world you travel to. Therefore, you must ensure your safety by staying alert during your travels.

Travel-Related Risk

You must ensure safety precautions when ordering a taxi to travel from one place to another in San Jose.

Try to obtain taxi services from only the ones marked in orange or red. Calling a taxi rather than stopping one randomly passing by on the street is best.

Traffic can get out of hand in San Jose, so cross the road in groups rather than individually.

Pickpocket Risk

Tourists are the primary target for pickpockets anywhere in the world. You have to be extra cautious in tourist hotspots, attractions, public transport, and other crowded spots in the city.

Car theft is also common in San Jose, which many people don’t think of. Ensure you park your car in areas with locked fences.

Mugging Risk

Several incidents have been reported about robbing and mugging occurring in San Jose. Tourists are the prime target for robbers and muggers.

If you get caught by these people, it’s better to give your valuables and money and resist taking the problem further.

Natural Disaster Risk

Due to continuous rain, San Jose is prone to natural disasters like landslides and flooding. Its geographical placement also has a part to play in this regard.

June to November is a high-risk period when the city experiences heavy rainfall, hurricanes, volcanoes, and other extreme weather conditions.

It’s better to avoid this period or be cautious of the warnings given by authorities if you’re traveling.

Scams Risk

Scams are also a common way locals use to get some money from tourists. 

One of the common ways people steal things from you is to spill something on you and run away with your belongings. It could happen anywhere, even in the middle of the road.

Taxi drivers are also constantly trying to charge more for negligent passengers, so you better be aware of it. Tourists must also carefully monitor their credit cards when traveling in San Jose.

Terrorism Risk

San Jose is generally safe in terms of terrorism. There haven’t been any accounts of terrorism recorded in recent history. However, tourists should be cautious when traveling in the streets and remain attentive to their surroundings.

Women’s Travel Risk

Women traveling in groups have nothing much to worry about. It’s women who travel solo who need to stay alert.

It’s always best to dress modestly and ensure your valuables, like your mobile phone and wallet, are not revealed to anyone outside.

If you follow these steps, you’ll not find any risks in traveling in San Jose.

How Does The Safety Level Of San Jose Compare To Other Major Cities?

San Jose is generally considered safe in relation to other cities in Costa Rica and major cities worldwide. 

San Jose has a safety index of 59, which is relatively good compared to other cities in Costa Rica, like Puerto Viejo, 52, and Quepos, 55.

In general. Costa Rica ranks 38th according to the Global Peace Index, which is the safest for a Latin American country. The USA ranks 129th according to this index.

Safety Tips For San Jose, Costa Rica

Following are a few tips to ensure you travel safely in San Jose, Costa Rica.

  • Avoid wearing bright and flashy clothing and accessories that could grab unwanted attention.
  • Avoid roaming in isolated areas.
  • Stay alert when traveling on public transport.
  • Never leave your belongings unattended during your travels.
  • Stick to marked trails and pathways.
  • Take an authorized taxi service.
  • Don’t carry all of your valuables with you each time you step out.
  • Buy travel insurance.


San Jose, Costa Rica, is an excellent travel place and generally safe, too. As with traveling to any country, traveling in San Jose requires staying alert in public places and popular tourist attractions.

Thieves are everywhere, and it’s up to you to be safe on your travels. Ensure that you do not display your valuables in public and try not to carry all your valuables when going out.

Dillon Morrison, from, tells his account of the journey to San Jose. Check out his thoughts and experience of the city before you plan your trip to San Jose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is San Jose, Costa Rica Safe For Tourists?

San Jose, Costa Rica, is considered a safe tourist destination, with a safety index of 59.

What Are The Safest Areas Of Costa Rica To Visit?

The safest areas of Costa Rica to visit are Tamarindo, Drake Bay, Puerto Viejo, Dota, Arenal, and Guanacaste.

Is It Safe To Walk Around San Jose, Costa Rica At Night?

Although San Jose is generally considered a safe city for travelers, it’s better to avoid walking in the town after 8 pm