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Spring Breakers Opt for Safe Costa Rica as Mexico violence soars Mar 01

spring-break-costa-rica-college-girlsAccording to the US State Departments website, Mexico should be avoided as a destination for travel. The site offers the general mix of safety suggestions; travel in groups, be aware of your surroundings, etc. This is coming on the heels of ever increasing violence and killings that the police, Mexican army cannot stop. Currently, Mexico’s border towns are lawless but the perpetrators thought to be drug gangs know that hurting or destroying Mexico’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry has a greater impact than the killings of police, soldiers, and civilians. and many other sites have seen a huge increase in visitors seeking information about Costa Rica. Most are concerned with the violence in places like Cancun, Cozemel, and Mazatlan where they would typically spend their college spring break. Students are increasingly searching for safer destinations for their spring break and are choosing Costa Rica. Just when the global economy was putting further pressure on the tourism industry here in Costa Rica, it is actually grabbing another niche travel market. more…

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The 411 on 911 in Costa Rica Jan 07

Every year thousands of tourists visit Costa Rica with ideas of experiencing adventure, tropical rain forests, wild animals, and surfing. While the majority of these adventures are safe and relatively low risk, it is the alternative activities or spontaneous decisions that pose very high risks. What are some of these alternatives? Suffice to say, anything in which your participation when gone awry could cause grave injuries. Why?

While Costa Rica boasts the traditional 911 emergency number, it is nothing remotely similar to the USA, Canada, or European systems. To demonstrate differences, just a few basics about the other countries system: US,CA; rapid response under 10 minutes, stabilization for transport and trauma care at hospital, European;rapid response under 10 minutes, stabilization & trauma care brought to scene. All have Enhanced-911 services; callerID with physical address, coordinated radio command & control of fire-police-EMT. And all come equipped for the job.

In Costa Rica, while authorities may claim rapid response is a high priority it does not exist. Furthermore, the noted basics of the other countries systems does not exist here. When you dial 911 in Costa Rica, you are sent to a central office in San Jose where they attempt to coordinate a response.

Red Cross Central Operations upgraded in 2001 from donation by Japan

Red Cross Central Operations upgraded in 2001 from donation by Japan

Often, when they call the local Red Cross or Cruz Rojo there is no answer. If you become incapacitated during the call, no luck locating the origin of the call, hence, no location information. When a response is received and the Red Cross arrives they often are ill-equipped to deal with any emergency other than their training. Equipment is often non-functional, or non-existent and hospital transport can be upwards to 2 hours depending on your location and that meter begins after they arrive on the scene which can take up to an hour. more…

Costa Rica Bus Travel Safety Tip #1 Dec 29

Costa Rica has an amazing bus network that allows you to travel the country coast to coast for under $30. The bus system here is privately owned and each particular transit point is usually a seperate company. 

Despite the private ownership, they generally coordinate their schedules so if you arrive Libreria at 2pm from SJO, there ususally is a bus that will be ready to leave within the hour to your final destination. I will post an online bus schedule with the next few weeks so everyone will have an updated list.

While the the bus network is amazing, it is still used by the general population.  Usually each route has its daily passengers who are familiar with the driver and the other passengers as they travel to and from their destinations. Most of the people are friendly and generally leave you alone or will help you if you ask them questions. But there are passengers who use the bus to prey on tourists and other new passengers who are not familiar with the route. more…

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