How about going to a country that is absolutely beautiful, but the inhabitants live behind fences, windows with bars and razor wire on top of the fences? Welcome to Costa Rica.
Judy and I went to Costa Rica recently, along with a friend that owns property there. In San Jose, capitol of Costa Rica, we were informed at the car rental agency not to leave our SUV unguarded. If we get a flat tire, keep going, thieves there slash your tires, than come by on the pretense of helping you, but instead proceed to rob you. That’s right get a flat, ruin the rim, but keep going until you get to a service station.
Judy and I were eating at a restaurant in San Jose and I said, look at the front door. She said what? I said, there are two men there with steel pipes in their hands. They are guarding the entrance to prevent being robbed here. Walking back to our hotel, a taxi cab driver went by and stopped to tell us, watch out for thieves, be careful. Nice.
Going to a local bank, there were two guards at the entrance, both with guns behind locked bullet proof glass. They would let one person in at a time, lock the door, search the person, than let repeat the process after a few minutes wait, so there were not too many people in the foyer.
Leaving San Jose, we found much the same thing throughout Costa Rica. Private homes with eight foot fences with razor wire on top, guards at restaurants, stores shuttered at night, windows with steel bars.
Arriving in Nicoya, we broke the rule that the rental agency gave us, leaving our SUV unattended. I parked the car downtown and looked at the street. I saw a lot of school children going home and thought, well, our vehicle should be save.
Wrong, came back thirty minutes later and all our luggage was gone. We called the police and after much jabbering, we were told to drive to the local police station. When we got there, there was an identical vehicle to ours. Robbers had taken a screw driver to the back door lock and stole all the luggage out of this guy’s SUV.
Gone was all of our suitcases, everybody’s medicines my new Sony camera, laptop, I-pad, Bose earphones, Judy’s Kindle and new binoculars, as well as a few gifts we had purchased.
So Judy lost all her luggage which her home insurance policy will not pay because she has a $2,000 deductible. I have AAA and my home policy will pay for most of my loss.
After that, we drove straight to San Jose, got a room for the night and flew back to California. Along the way, we talked to at least three people who knew of similar robberies during their vacation in Costa Rica.
One incident, as told to us, involved a case where armed robbers went into a hotel room and stole everything the tourist had, including the wife’s wedding ring.
Than after we got home, I talked to one of my former clients who had a friend that went to Costa Rica last year and was robbed at gun point while a policeman across the street completely ignored the situation. Then, to top it off, another friend of my told me his cousin went down there with his grandmother and was killed when he resisted the robbers. He was 27 years old
If you are going to Costa Rica, just be careful.
For further information please go to the following sites if you are considering a trip to the land of crime, Costa Rica.
United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security Crime in Costa Rica 2011
British Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice
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