While keeping your passport on you at all times puts you at risk of theft, not keeping it puts you at risk of arrest by the police. Of course, having crack rocks or marijuana on you might lead to an extended sojourn in the land of volcanoes.
During sweeps in Tamarindo, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, last weekend, police apprehended 40 foreigners without their passports and confiscated crack rocks and marijuana.
Immigration Police Chief Francisco Castaing said it is important for tourist businesses to inform their customers of the passport requirement.
He said a photocopy, including one of your valid visa, is an acceptable compromise.
The 40 foreigners included Israelis, Germans, Brazilians, U.S. citizens, Nicaraguans, Panamanians, Koreans and Colombians. Immigration police kept four foreigners in custody but did not identify their nationalities.