The crime rate is a bit lower in Puntarenas and Costa Rica in general than in many other Latin American countries, which should give you a little peace of mind before heading for Puntarenas. But there are some things to be aware of.

First, be careful with your money. There are opportunists just waiting for you to let your guard down here. Tourists are easy to spot and those who are careless with money are likely to be the first victims of a petty theft. Don’t change your money on the streets – use banks. Ideally, don’t use cash if you can avoid it. If you must carry cash, carry very little leaving the bulk in your hotel safe, or use a money belt or fanny pack.

If you rent a car, never leave any belongings in it. Again, rental cars are easy to spot and easy targets for criminals. Always take everything with you when you leave the car; if you have to leave any belongings in the car, try and conceal them as well as you can.

Trust the locals; most are friendly and accommodating. The whole of Costa Rica is a very visitor-friendly environment. Don’t ever feel as if you are unwelcome or really need to fear for your safety. Most Costa Ricans are welcoming and will help you find your way around, but keep your guard up and avoid those petty thieves for the best trip experience.