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Beach Safety in Costa Rica

Hot 6Viewed 166 times19-1-2022 12:47 AM |Personal category:Environment

Beaches are without a doubt one of the main reasons most people travel to countries like Costa Rica, where the coast provides plenty of opportunity to swim, sunbathe, or let the children play. Although, whether you have children or not, one thing that many people forget is that beaches are different all around the world. Countless accidents occur at beaches due to a variety of reasons, but more often than not it’s because those involved didn’t adhere to the local beach safety rules.

Being safe at the beach takes some basic knowledge of the potential dangers, and as with anything it’s always better to be preventive rather than relying on lifeguards. The dangers aren’t only in the water either, we should also be mindful of getting sunburned or robbed. Before you even book your stay at that Costa Rican beach front resort, I highly recommend you read the following, especially if you’re planning on taking your kids there.

Here are some tips for beach safety in Costa Rica.

General Beach Safety

First and foremost, there are some general safety rules which can apply to beaches anywhere in the world. These rules are put in place not to restrict the fun people can have, or limit their freedoms, rather to try and protect those who do go swimming or surfing. On top of the safety of the individual, countless people drown each year attempting rescues, so preventing yourself from needing rescuing could save your and someone else’s life.

Only Swim if You Know How

Most people are taught how to swim nowadays, although if you weren’t it’s not the hardest thing to pick up. When traveling in other countries we don’t know how the currents or wave breaks differ to that which we’re used to, so it’s not advised to try and learn by yourself in a foreign environment. If you have a partner that can swim, then you could learn with them, or alternatively you may even be able to find a swim instructor, or a surf instructor who will give you a lesson.

Never Go Swimming Alone

Even if you’re traveling alone it’s wise to inform staff or other guests at your Costa Rican beach front resort (or wherever you’re staying) that you’re going out. Swimming alone may not seem dangerous, but the ocean is a wildly unpredictable place and it doesn’t take much of a distraction to suddenly be swept out in a current.

Stick to Your Abilities

If you’re keen to challenge yourself with your swimming or surfing abilities in Costa Rica, you should have people with you or at least do so on a beach with plenty of lifeguards. Otherwise it might be wise to stick to what you’re comfortable with, as overextending yourself can lead to injury and worse.

Costa Rica Beach Safety

As previously stated, there are specifics concerns in different places. The beaches in Costa Rica are all considered relatively safe, and offer the opportunity to surf and swim. Although there are some things you need to consider.


With the recent proliferation of eco-tourism, the wildlife of Costa Rica is thriving. So much so, in fact, that one should always be weary of signs warning about sharks or crocodiles at the beach. Bull and Tiger Sharks are known to frequent the waters, and there are even indications that Great Whites may use the coast as a hunting ground. There are also minor threats such as Sting Rays to be mindful of, so shuffle your feet when walking around at the beach.

The easiest way to avoid dangerous wildlife is by sticking to the more popular tourist beaches, or even in front of your own Costa Rican beach front resort.

No Lifeguards at Some Beaches

You will undoubtedly come across some beautiful beaches if you go exploring, and while it may be tempting to swim, unless you’re very experienced and with other people you should stick to the beaches with lifeguards. With such a reliance on their tourism, Costa Rica has become safer in recent years due to developments in infrastructure, so one should feel more than safe to swim at any beach with lifeguards present.

Don’t Drink and Swim

As with any tourist destination, near most beaches you’ll find a place to get a cheap drink, or even a cocktail. While it may be tempting to jump in the water after an afternoon of sitting in the sun drinking, you should always avoid swimming while intoxicated. 

Protect your Belongings

Finally, like other tourist destinations, Costa Rica has plenty of opportunists who will be more than happy to relieve you of any possessions you don’t hide or protect from them. Leaving your belongings on the beach while going for a swim is always a bad idea.

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