While you are traveling in Costa Rica, you are subject to its laws and regulations even if you are a U.S. citizen. Some laws in Costa Rica differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Costa Rica’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. The law permits pre-trial detention of persons accused of serious crimes. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Costa Rica are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with minors or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. It is also a crime in Costa Rica. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could land you immediately in jail. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. If you break local laws in Costa Rica, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not where you are going.
If you are arrested in Costa Rica, authorities are required to notify the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. embassy of your arrest.
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.