How safe is safe? I guess that is always a question that you have to ask yourself as you embark on a life changing move. When we took off on this road we knew we didn’t have enough saved to make it through our golden years, especially with the down turn of the markets and the out of control price of health care. Since we started coming to Costa Rica in 2000, I guess I always felt that this would be a great place to live out those few remaining years. Patience is the key to a happy life (Pura Vida) in Costa Rica. Things move (or not) at a very different pace than the fast paced life of the US.
Although I have never felt very secure while in San Jose, outside of San Jose I have never felt any real threats (other than driving on the roads). Then again we don’t do a lot of night life kinds of things like dinning out or go dancing till all hours of the night either. That was reserved for the younger days and now with those days way far back in the rear view mirror we are content to live a simple life and enjoy the abundant nature that surrounds us.
When I read something about Costa Rica it perks my interest and when I saw some comments someone made about Costa Rica I started looking at what might have caused this to be so negative.
Here is a small except from an article I saw in the New York Times “Your Money” section:
“”Americans Who Seek Out Retirement Homes Overseas
By SHELLEY EMLING
Published: May 18, 2010 The New York Times
For those worried about finances, Latin America seems to be one of the safer bets, according to Kathleen Peddicord of Panama City, Panama, author of “How to Retire Overseas.”
Ms. Peddicord said she used to recommend Costa Rica, but no longer does. She cited the growing crime rates both within and outside of San José, the Costa Rican capital.
As time goes on, retirement hot spots change along with countries’ economic and political situations.””
Interesting that she believes that crime is a factor not to recommend a place to live. Try finding a place in the world without crime! All those in New York better find another place to live!
Here is a small except from the US State Department’s web site on Panama:
“Crime in Panama City is increasing and the Department of State recently increased its evaluation to “High” for purposes of providing increased resources to protect Embassy employees housed in Panama City. The increase in violent crime is primarily related to narco-trafficking related violence. The city of Colon is also a high crime area. Police checkpoints have become commonplace on weekends on roads in both cities. Based upon reported incidents by local police, the high-crime areas around Panama City are San Miguelito, Rio Abajo, El Chorrillo, Hollywood, Curundu, Veracruz Beach, Panama Viejo, Casco Viejo (particularly at night), Santa Librada, San Miguel, Cabo Vierde, and the Madden Dam overlook.”
Here is a small except from the US State Department’s web site on Costa Rica:
“”Crime has become an increasing concern for Costa Ricans and visitors alike. Daytime robberies in public places occur, and thieves have been known to brandish weapons or threaten violence if victims resist. Over one and a half million foreign tourists, the majority American, visit Costa Rica annually. All are potential targets for criminals, primarily thieves looking for cash, jewelry, credit cards, electronic items and passports. U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise the same level of caution they would in major cities or tourist areas throughout the world. Local law enforcement agencies have limited capabilities and do not act according to U.S. standards. Travelers should minimize driving at night, especially outside urban areas.
Thieves may work in pairs or small groups. The most prevalent scam involves the surreptitious puncturing of tires of rental cars, often near restaurants, tourist attractions, airports, or close to the car rental agencies themselves. When the travelers pull over, “good Samaritans” quickly appear to change the tire – and just as quickly remove valuables from the car, sometimes brandishing weapons. Drivers with flat tires are advised to drive, if at all possible, to the nearest service station or other public area, and change the tire themselves, watching valuables at all times. Another common scam involves one person dropping change in a crowded area, such as on a bus. When the victim tries to assist, a wallet or other item is taken.””
What they say here is all true, I have read many post by tourists citing the very same tale with the flat tire or leave valuable in cars parked in parking lots. You notice that the State Department did not put an evaluation of “High” on Costa Rica (yet). I think to say that Costa Rica is a bad place that should be avoided is, in my opinion, not true. We have never had any problems (knock on wood) while we have been in Costa Rica and want to keep it that way.