Welcome to the December 2022- Quarterly U.S. Citizen newsletter!

Stay up to date on key topics important to the U.S. citizen community in Costa Rica


The U.S. Embassy wishes you and your family a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

 HELP YOUR FELLOW U.S. CITIZENS – Become a Citizen Liaison Volunteer
A Citizen Liaison Volunteer (CLV) is a key component of U.S. Embassy San Jose’s efforts to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Costa Rica.  CLVs have an important role in helping Embassy San Jose keep the U.S. citizen community informed and, in extraordinary circumstances, helping to deliver emergency services to U.S. citizens.  CLVs are residents of Costa Rica who volunteer to assist consular sections in disaster preparedness, welfare and whereabouts cases, and alert U.S. citizens to emergency situations.  Although most CLVs are U.S. citizens, U.S. citizenship is not a requirement for being a CLV.  CLVs are expected to be an active part of the U.S. citizen and CLV communities, maintaining regular communication with Embassy San Jose, as well as other CLVs, working together to continuously identify the needs and vulnerabilities of the U.S. citizen community in Costa Rica.

The U.S. Embassy in San Jose is specifically looking for CLVs in the following areas: Puerto Viejo – Limon, Tortuguero, Guanacaste, and Golfito.  Please contact the U.S. Embassy San Jose at ACSSanJose@state.gov if you live in one of these areas and are interested in being of service to the U.S. citizen community.


Crime in some parts of Costa Rica is increasing, and U.S. citizens can be victims.  While petty theft is the main problem, armed robberies have been known to occur even in broad daylight.  U.S. citizen tourists and residents can also take steps to protect themselves.

We recommend that all tourists download the OIJ CR Safe app (Download for Apple or Google Play), which has information on security tips and information on how to contact the OIJ police*.

Protective measures:

  • When you don’t need it, keep your passport in a safe place, like a hotel safe or your home, and carry only a copy (the photo page and the page containing the Costa Rica entry stamp).
  • Carry on paper the name and phone number of your hotel, as well as the phone number of the U.S. Embassy (2519-2000).
  • Avoid walking around at night.
  • Stay alert: crowded tourist attractions and resort areas popular with foreign tourists are also common venues for criminal activities.
  • Steer clear of deserted properties or undeveloped land.
  • Reduce risk by keeping valuables out of sight, not wearing jewelry, and traveling in groups.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, jewelry, or expensive photographic equipment.
  • Avoid responding in kind to verbal harassment.
  • Do not store valuables in a car’s trunk or glove compartment.
  • Do not engage in a physical confrontation with criminals.
  • No personal property is worth your life – if a criminal is willing to use force to take your property, give it to them.

Immediately report any suspicious activity to police. If you become a victim of sexual assault, please contact the Embassy immediately.


We can help:

  • Replace a stolen passport.
  • Contact family, friends, or employers.
  • Obtain appropriate medical care.
  • Address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime.
  • Explain the local criminal justice process.
  • Obtain information about your case.
  • Connect you to local and U.S.-based resources to assist victims of crime.
  • Obtain information about any local and U.S. victim compensation programs available.
  • Provide a list of local lawyers who speak English.

We cannot:

  • Investigate crimes
  • Provide legal advice or represent you in court.
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators.
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees for you. 

If you become a victim of crime:

Report the crime to the OIJ* police, and if you need victim’s assistance, report to the American Citizens Services (ACS) Section of the U.S. Embassy at 2519-2590 (from the U.S.: 011-506-2519-2590), or by email to: acssanjose@state.gov.

If your U.S. passport is stolen, please call 2519-2000 Monday-Friday 8am to 4:30pm to report it.  You will need to come to the Embassy during business hours to replace your passport.  This allows the Embassy to make the necessary notifications that may help catch criminals, including terrorists, who try to buy or use the passport.  For additional information, visit our website.

*In Costa Rica, there are several kinds of police. Those in uniform are La Fuerza Pública. Their role is crime prevention. OIJ, which are plainclothes police, oversee investigations. We recommend that you file a police report with the OIJ police, as they are the only agency that can take reports and investigate crimes.

BEACH SAFETY – Fun in the Sun
Most visitors safely visit one of Costa Rica’s 640 beaches and leave with nothing but beautiful memories, and maybe a sunburn.  Unfortunately, for a handful each year, the tropical beach paradise turns into tragedy.  Drowning is the primary cause of unintentional deaths in Costa Rica among international visitors.

Recognize and Avoid Rip Currents: Many drownings occur due to rip currents.  Because rip currents move perpendicular to shore and can be very strong, beach swimmers need to be careful. A person caught in a rip current can be swept away from shore very quickly.  If you go swimming in the ocean, stay close to the shore and be careful of strong tides.

What Is a Rip Current?