Is Costa Rica Safe?
Costa Rica is a very clean and safe place to visit. The people are friendly and there aren't major weather events (like earthquakes or hurricanes) that happen here regularly.
There are, however, some concerns that you should be aware of before entering Costa Rica. First of all, countries that are located closer to the equator experience larger amounts of sunlight. The UV light is more intense in this part of the world, so wear sunscreen and remember to drink lots of water. Guanacaste is one of the sunniest regions of Costa Rica. There are lots of places to avoid direct sunlight too, including San Gerardo de Dota.
While swimming in the ocean, be conscious of riptides. If you do get stuck in a riptide, don't swim against the current; rather, swim parallel to the shore. No matter what, don't panic - usually strong currents will bring you to calmer water. Not all beaches, however, have strong currents. Calmer areas include Playa Manzanillo and beaches along the Papagayo Gulf.
Be sure to wash your hands before meals - it's a good idea is to bring a small container of hand sanitizer to kill germs. Additionally, simple first aid kits with band-aids, pain relievers, tape, scissors, bug spray, sunscreen, and diarrhea medicine may come in handy. Very few cases of dengue and malaria have been reported in Costa Rica. These diseases are transmitted by mosquitos. Areas like Monteverde and Arenal lack mosquitos, so travelers will be safe from these diseases while traveling in places set at higher elevations.
You can check with your local physician for the most current requirements, but as of 2014, no inoculations are necessary for North Americans to travel to Costa Rica. If you do become sick, over the counter medicine can be found at a drug store (farmacía) or medical attention can be provided at a clinic (clínica). You will be able to find a hospital in most of the major cities, although in cases of serious emergency, simply dial 911.