Living in Costa Rica for over five years we’ve heard many stories about crimes of varying degrees but if you’re to believe everything you read online, you’d think that there are no good people out there and the entire country is under siege.


Please don’t misunderstand me! We know there is crime out there, we live near a popular tourist area and work in a tourism related industry and sometimes after speaking with a friend of ours who owns a security company, I want to go home and lock all the doors and arm myself.

Crime does exist however, not everyone out there is looking to get something over on the next guy.

Costa Rica Real Estate For Sale At The Beach

Costa Rica Real Estate For Sale At The Beach

I’m writing this because I have a story that had a happy ending and gave me a feeling that not only was I lucky, but that many (I’d say the majority) of people here are good, honest people.

Returning from a short trip from the U.S. on Monday, with my suitcase, duffle bag, backpack and normal sized, wheeled, carry-on bag, I retrieved all my bags and made my way to customs. All my bags went onto the conveyor belt and I went forward to retrieve them when an agent told me to take off my backpack and put it through as well which was done.

I then went to the other side to collect my bags. Not too sure if it was because I was excited to see my wife and two sons waiting for me or just a “stupid” moment, but I got all my bags and walked out without getting my backpack. A porter helped load my stuff on a cart and we went to my wife’s car, loaded up and drove away.

It wasn’t until we got all the way home and were inside giving my kids some gifts their Grandma had bought them that it hit me…

My backpack was still at the airport!

You know that sick-to-my-stomach feeling? Yup! I had that big time because my laptop, business documents, cell phone and other important information was inside that precious backpack. I called the airport and someone in the administration department said nothing was turned in, but advised that we should call back in two hours when the security guys had returned.

I couldn’t wait that long, so I jumped in the car and drove all the way (about 1 hour) back to the Liberia airport. It seemed like the longest drive ever and the airport was practically empty when I arrived. This time of year, after 2pm, the Liberia airport is pretty much a ghost town.

Running up to the baggage area I met a Fuerza Publica officer who looked surprised to see a Gringo running into the building. I speak Spanish and explained to him what happened and then he started asking me more questions about what the backpack looked like and what was in it and then…

Gracias A Dios! (“Thanks to God” is an expression you’ll hear here every day.) He told me that he had my backpack… I wanted to hug him, but didn’t want to get shot doing it so I thanked him over and over.

It was locked in the customs office and after a few phone calls the door was unlocked and I had my backpack and everything inside it. I was thinking: “This is unbelievable” and “I’m so very lucky to have this back”.

I thanked the officer who found it on the ground at the end of the conveyor belt. He said he looked around to try and find the owner and couldn’t so he took it in the office where the head customs official locked it in his office.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

Tamarindo, Costa Rica.

After thanking them for being so honest I told them that I had planned to offer a US$100 reward to the person who found it and felt that they deserved that reward and…, they they told me no!

They said they didn’t want the reward money and that they were just doing their jobs. I was almost speechless and just continued to tell them “thank you” and what good people ‘buena gente’ they were.


I know many people will say; “Yeah! But you were inside the airport and blah, blah, blah…” But there were many opportunities for this bag to never be seen again.

My wife and I have lived in Guanacaste with our small children for over five years now and – knock on wood – we have never been the victim of a crime. Not saying it won’t happen and we know people who have been victims of crime, but this was an experience that just makes me realize that there are good people out there in the world and I was lucky enough to meet a few of them Monday afternoon.

Pura Vida!

Written by Keith Clower (above), husband of our Recommended Realtor Becky Clower (below) who was born in Chicago, grew up in Buffalo, NY and graduated from Arizona State University. Rebecca is fluent in Spanish, thanks to her mother who is “Tica.”



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