Welcome to the Quarterly U.S. Citizen newsletter! February 2024 Edition

Welcome to the Quarterly U.S. Citizen newsletter! Stay up to date on key topics important to the U.S. Citizen community in Costa Rica February 2024 Edition

Welcome to the Quarterly U.S. Citizen newsletter!

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

February 2024 Edition


Adult Passport Renewals:

Renew your passport through the mail! Be sure to take advantage of the DS-82 passport application mail-in program where you can pay the DS-82 passport renewal fee online and save time by skipping a trip to the consular office. For more information follow these easy steps.


Voting Abroad

Whether you’re a first-time voter or have already received ballots and voted absentee in past elections, you must complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) each year to participate in elections as an overseas absentee voter.
U.S. Citizens abroad can receive an absentee ballot by email, fax, or internet download, depending on the state in which they are eligible to vote in. For more information about how to vote abroad please visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program  website: (https://www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter).  The U.S. Embassy in San Jose can assist with mailing your ballot to the United States. For more information, please visit our website: (https://cr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/voting/)


 Beach Safety

Swimming areas at some popular beaches around Costa Rica can have dangerous rip currents. Many beaches lack lifeguards or warnings of unsafe conditions and unfortunately, several U.S. Citizens have died due to these dangers. Check the Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT) website, or with your hotel or relevant tour operator to request current information on local swimming and surf conditions.  ICT’s information includes details about the trained lifeguards at the following beaches:
Pacific Coast:  
  • Manuel Antonio Beach Caldera Beach
  • Esterillos Oeste Beach
  • Bahia Ballena Beach
  • Ventanas Beach
  • Tamarindo Beach
Caribbean Coast:
  • Cocles Beach
  • Manzanillo Beach
  • Negra Beach (Limon)

Crime & Security – Airbnb

A helpful reminder for U.S. Citizen travelers—when booking Airbnb accommodations, exercise extra caution to safeguard your belongings. Recent reports have highlighted a surge in break-ins and burglaries at Airbnb properties, where thieves target travelers and make off with valuable possessions. This trend is more prevalent in Airbnb rentals compared to traditional lodging options like hotels and eco lodges.
Furthermore, be wary of potential scams associated with Airbnb bookings. Some listings may be deceptive, leading to scams that put travelers at risk of being robbed.
Particular attention should be paid to popular tourist destinations, such as La Fortuna, where incidents of Airbnb break-ins have been on the rise. To enhance your safety, consider alternative lodging options or take additional security measures when choosing Airbnb rentals. Stay vigilant, secure your belongings, and prioritize your safety while enjoying your travels.


Crime & Security – Car Break-ins

In recent months, there has been an uptick in vehicle break-ins, attributed in part to an overreliance on electronic car keys or beepers for security. U.S. Citizens should consider manually locking their car in place of using electronic car keys which at times have been shown to be unreliable. Electronic car key signals can also be blocked or exploited by criminals.


Key Safety Measures:

  • Manual Locking: Ensure your vehicle is manually locked before leaving it unattended. Relying solely on electronic devices may expose your car to unnecessary vulnerabilities.
  • Valuables Concealment: Store valuables out of sight to deter potential thieves. An unattended vehicle with visible belongings is an attractive target.
  • Vigilance in High-Risk Areas: Exercise extra caution in designated high-risk areas. Be mindful of your surroundings and take extra precautions when parking in less secure locations.
Spread awareness by sharing this information with your fellow travelers, family, and friends. Encourage a collective commitment to responsible car ownership and security practices.