Travel Alerts

Costa Rica Travel Warning Issued

Level 2 Travel Advisory issued for Costa Rica by the Canadian government
restaurant by the beach, showing two fruit cocktails
Central America (Vax Before Travel)

The Canadian government has issued an ‘Exercise a High-Degree of Caution’ advisory for the Central America country of Costa Rica. 

This Level 2 Advisory was issued on May 13, 2019, due to the increased potential for ‘crime' in the Republic of Costa Rica.

This Canadian travel advisory says ‘violent crime against foreigners, though not frequent, is a concern. And, incidents of sexual assault against foreigners at beach resorts and by taxi drivers in San José have been reported.’ 

Incidents of armed robberies, carjackings, and home invasions have occurred in beach areas and on the main highways in the Central Valley region, even in daylight. 

On Costa Rica’s southeast, Caribbean coast, be particularly vigilant in Limón province towns of:

  • Cahuita
  • Puerto Limón
  • Puerto Viejo

Previously, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 1 Travel Advisory for Costa Rica, in September 2018. Should Americans need assistance while visiting Costa Rica, the US Embassy is located in San Jose.   

And, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued travel advice in March 2019, saying ‘most visits to Costa Rica are trouble-free, but incidents of violent crime against tourists have increased.

There have been incidents of a robbery at gunpoint involving groups of British visitors, and 2 incidents in August 2018, led to the deaths of tourists.’ 

This is unfortunate news since Costa Rica receives over 1.7 million tourists per year, the majority of whom come from the United States and Canada.

From a health perspective, both Canada and the UK have issued advice for travelers regarding the Zika virus, recommending pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant, should avoid traveling to Costa Rica. 

These Zika warnings are important since the number of children born with microcephaly in Costa Rica has quadrupled since 2016.

Microcephaly is a neonatal malformation caused by the Zika virus. Children with microcephaly may have delayed speech and motor function development, visual and hearing impairments, or other problems associated with neurological abnormalities.

According to data from the Costa Rican Nutrition and Health Research Institute (INCIENSA), between 2011 and 2015, the average number of microcephaly was 30 per year. 

That figure increased to 163 cases in 2017, data has not been published for 2018.

For additional Zika virus news, visit ZikaNews.   

Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its advice when visiting Costa Rica, on March 29, 2019.

The CDC says to ensure you are up-to-date on several Routine Vaccines and suggests these travel vaccinations: Hepatitis A and Typhoid. 

The government of Costa Rica requires proof of yellow fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of the yellow fever virus.

The Stamaril yellow fever vaccine is available in the USA.

These travel vaccines, related medications, and pre-trip counseling appointments can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.

Article by
Dani Reiter