While Puerto Viejo has gained a reputation as a dangerous spot, locals claim this reputation is unwarranted. Crime statistics appear to back them up.
According a 2008 preliminary survey completed by the Costa Rican Justice Ministry comparing the number of rapes and attempted rapes in different parts of the country, the Caribbean coast’s numbers
were not out of the ordinary.
Alajuela, northwest of San José, ranked number one in the country with just under 200 rapes and attempted rapes, while San Carlos, a canton in north-central Costa Rica and the Puntarenas, the principal central Pacific city, were both just below 150 for year 2008. Limón had 78 rapes or attempted rapes the same year.
“Anyone could go to any community in this country and make a sensational story out of crime,” said Colin Brownlee, who owns the Hotel Banana Azul in Playa Negra, near Puerto Viejo.
– Meagan Robertson