Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 6 December 2016, 15:16 NZDT
  • Still current at: 27 May 2018

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Some Risk

There is some risk to your security in Costa Rica due to violent crime and we advise caution. 

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Violent Crime
Violent crime is a concern in Costa Rica and can include armed robbery and car-jacking. Incidents of “express kidnappings”, where individuals are forced to withdraw funds from automatic teller machines (ATMs) to secure their release, have occurred. To reduce the risk of this occurring we recommend you use ATMs located inside banks during daylight hours.

We advise New Zealanders travelling in Costa Rica to exercise vigilance at all times, particularly in popular tourist destinations, including airports, bus stations, harbour facilities and the capital city of San Jose. You should avoid travelling alone at night and only use official red taxis or pre-booked orange airport taxis.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, is a significant problem, including in tourist areas and from vehicles. Theft from overhead compartments on buses is common. You should take steps to secure your personal belongings and avoid wearing or displaying valuables such as mobile devices and jewellery or leaving them visible in vehicles. Theft may involve attempts to distract victims, such as slashing car tyres.

There have been incidents of drink spiking followed by robbery and assault reported in Costa Rica. Extra care should be taken to ensure your drink is never left unattended. We recommend against accepting drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances.

Civil Unrest
Demonstrations and strikes take place occasionally in Costa Rica and may disrupt local public services and transport. While protests are generally peaceful, New Zealanders in Costa Rica are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations and marches as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.

General Travel Advice
New Zealanders in Costa Rica should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Costa Rica are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Mexico City, Mexico is accredited to Costa Rica

Street Address Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510 Telephone +52 55 5283 9460 Fax +52 55 5283 9480 Email Web Site Hours Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

See our regional advice for Central/South America

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Mexico

Street Address
Jaime Balmes No 8, 4th Floor, Los Morales, Polanco, Mexico D.F. 11510

Telephone: +52 55 5283 9460

Fax: +52 55 5283 9480



Hours: Mon - Fri 0930 - 1400, 1500 - 1700 hrs

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