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Over the last 20 years I’ve heard the same stories multiple times. Here is the first one “I had locked up the car and hid my bag under the seat, but when I came back one of the doors was open and they took everything inside. I was gone only ten minutes.” 

I do not need to tell you what beaches these events took place on because it happens EVERYWHERE. And not just in Costa Rica. But for some reason people let their guard down when visiting the beaches here. It even happens to expats after a few years of living here and to Ticos as well. 

So how do we get these crimes to stop happening? To really solve the problem we have to tackle the issue of why people are stealing in the first place. Maybe its drug addiction, maybe they didn’t get an education so are jobless, maybe they need money for medicine for their child. These problems will take a countrywide solution so in the short term let’s focus on how to protect yourself and your items.

#1 – Do not leave anything inside of it that looks valuable! No cables, sunglasses, fancy clothes or bags – and definitely no suitcases. If you have to leave something, put it under the floormat or hide it somewhere where it would take a longer time to find. Thieves don’t want to stick around to search around. Also get your car rental dirty and put a sticker or two on it so it doesn’t look so blatantly tourist. On some beaches you can park next to a family hanging out by their car and ask them to keep an eye on it, or ask how long they will be there.  Knowing Spanish helps, but even just saying “Hola” will build up a little trust and friendship.

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