Theft is a worldwide phenomenon. Use common sense: don't wear expensive looking jewelry or flash lots of cash when making simple purchases. Do watch your belongings. Don't leave cameras or binoculars lying unattended on the beach. Watch your pockets and bags on crowded buses and streets. Use a bag that closes securely and hold it tightly between arm and body. Carry your wallet in an inside coat or trouser pocket, not in a back pocket. Travel stores now carry all kinds of hidden pockets and pouches to wear on practically any part of the body; investigate which one serves your purposes. Keep your passport separate from your money. Better yet, carry a photocopy of your passport (the photo and entry date pages) and leave the original in the hotel safe-deposit box, along with your airline ticket. Carry only the credit cards you need.

Be alert on the street if approached by an overly friendly person who claims to have met you somewhere. There are expert pickpockets around. I lost a watch while trying to explain to a man that I did not believe I knew him. I would know him now.

The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) has published a 'Passport for Your Safety' brochure, distributed at airports, hotels, and other tourism businesses, with tips for travelers on how to have a safer vacation. In case of emergency, call 911.

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