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Assessing Safety: Is Tamarindo Costa Rica Safe for Tourists?

Costa Rica delights with numerous adventure activities for travel enthusiasts looking to enjoy all that nature has to offer in this Central American land. Tourists from all over the world enjoy the local resorts, visit the national parks, sunbathe on fabulous beaches, and go on day trips to explore the beauty of Costa Rica.

Whether you prefer to dive in the turquoise waters, explore wildlife, enjoy nature, or discover the local cuisine, you’ve chosen the best destination in Central America. Costa Rica is considered to be the safest country in the region and always scores high in terms of peacefulness and safety.

Costa Rica’s safety concerns

Costa Rica has a good reputation when it comes to safety. It is the safest country in Latin America and hasn’t had an army since 1948. Costa Ricans love their democracy, and their Pura Vida approach to life manages to keep crime rates much lower than in other countries in Central America. As long as you’re taking the standard precautions anyone would take when visiting a tourist destination, you will be perfectly fine.

Petty crime

Pickpockets operate in crowded areas, so keep your belongings safe. Avoid isolated areas, and don’t go around in the dark if you don’t know the area. Violent crime cases aren’t likely to happen since thieves are going for easy access to things such as unlocked car doors.

Petty crime is something you can easily prevent. Not flashing your valuables in public and not leaving your bag in the car are common safety tips that apply anywhere in the world. Just use your common sense, and you’ll be fine.

Common tourist scams

It would be helpful if you learn about the most common scams, such as friendly people that offer help and end up asking for money. They could help you carry your luggage or find your hotel and ask for a tip even if they didn’t say this initially. 

Locals in Costa Rica are nice and friendly, and most of them are genuinely looking to help, but, just like any other foreign country, you should trust your gut feeling when it comes to overly friendly locals.


The roads in Costa Rica have improved significantly, and the infrastructure is better than one would expect. Immaculate streets are rare in the world, so you can expect the same level of traffic you would expect in any capital if you’re visiting San Jose. 

Costa Rica has the same issues any modern country is struggling with when it comes to cars and drivers. As with any other destination, it is best to plan your routes and avoid driving in isolated and rural areas. 

Public transport is perfectly safe and reliable, and taxis are affordable for both tourists and locals looking to get around.


Food and water

Exploring the local cuisine is often on the bucket lists of most tourists and expats looking to discover real Costa Rica. Food and tap water in Costa Rica are perfectly safe for consumption in both local areas and expat communities. 

Street food is excellent and up to health standards, as well as a delicious way to discover Costa Rica’s fascinating past and diversity of cultures. However, it would be better to avoid drinking water in some remote rural areas and take bottled water with you. For food, standard hygiene precautions apply before consumption.

Is Tamarindo safe?

Crowded and touristy cities are often the target of pickpockets, but this is pretty much the only threat you could expect when visiting popular spots like Playa Tamarindo or Playa Grande.

When it comes to safety, Tamarindo is an extremely safe place to visit. The locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and the crime rate is extremely low. The local police in Tamarindo are also very helpful to both tourists and locals. 

If you need to report a crime or a suspicious person, it’s best to contact the police station in nearby Santa Cruz. Alternatively, you can dial 911 from any phone in Costa Rica.

The police station is located on the main street in town, and it provides a 24-hour emergency response service. It’s best to always stay aware of your surroundings, but if you ever feel unsafe or see suspicious activity, don’t hesitate to contact the police.

Be aware of pickpockets

Pickpockets are the main issue, but they rarely target tourists. With that said, it’s always important to take precautions to ensure your safety, like carrying a copy of your passport, leaving valuable items at the hotel, and not carrying too much cash. Take only the money you need for the day and leave the rest in your safe. Living in gated communities with security cameras is entirely safe. While there may be some petty crime in certain areas, law enforcement works hard to ensure that tourists feel secure during their stay in Tamarindo and other nearby towns.


Be safe at the beach

Costa Rica’s beaches are quite popular among tourists and locals. Nature lovers should explore the sandy beaches with the standard cautions. Tamarindo Beach is a touristy area, ideal for the ones that want to surf or enjoy the tropical heaven. The beauty of the beach can distract you, and your unattended belongings are an easy target. Keep your bag closed or avoid bringing any valuables on your beach trip.

Taxi safety

Getting overcharged by illegal taxis is another thing to avoid on your trip. Always make sure to travel with legit companies and avoid the ones with a broken meter. The official taxis are orange or red with a yellow triangle on the door with a number. Check whether the number matches the license plate to avoid being scammed. Research or ask the accommodation staff to estimate the taxi prices.

Note for solo travelers

Some wonder whether Tamarindo is safe for solo travelers. The answer is yes, with the standard precautions. Avoid wandering through the streets and beaches in the dark, and keep your valuables away from sight.

Be careful during the rainy season

Adhering to the lifeguard’s directions during the rainy seasons is essential. Lifeguards provide recommendations on where it is safe to go from a swim.

Living in Tamarindo Costa Rica

The compact nature of Tamarindo and its proximity to the beach makes it a dream location for a relaxed life.

Laid-back lifestyle

If you’re looking for a laid-back lifestyle by the sea, Tamarindo is an excellent choice. Supermarkets, surf shops, and fashion stores are available, and the beach is within walking distance. The Liberia airport is only an hour away, with connections to American countries.


Real estate prices in Tamarindo

The real estate prices in Tamarindo are appealing to a wide range of travelers and foreign investors. Whether you are looking for luxury villas to rent or a posh mansion to purchase, Tamarindo will spoil you with its impressive selection of properties.

With different options available, anyone can find the property that matches their budget and location preferences. Some of the choices include small condos, town center apartments, large houses, and luxury villas. Digital nomads appreciate the excellent prices here and the comfort provided by luxury gated communities.

Affordable prices

Grocery shopping in Tamarindo is affordable. The big supermarkets have all you need. But if you want to save money and enjoy a local experience, visit the Saturday morning market. Villa Real is a five minutes drive from Tamarindo and has plenty of fresh produce. Eating out in Tamarindo is an experience for all budgets. While you can enjoy the seafront restaurant options that cost about 20 USD per person per meal, the trendy food stalls that abound in delicious local specialties will satisfy your taste buds for a lot less. You can find tasty local dishes in home kitchens called Sodas.

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