IF YOU VALUE YOUR FAMILY'S SAFETY THEN PLEASE READ!!! My family and I just returned from a 2 week vacation (Aug 13-27 2009) at Casa Don Tomas in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. The location although very nice (beachfront) is both very insecure and potentially dangerous. On two separate occasions thieves broke into the property while my family members were inside. A total of $5000+ in computer and camera equipment was stolen. The first violation occurred on our second night staying at the property. My pregnant wife heard a loud crack in the middle of the night. Moments later she saw a person peak through our bedroom door. In the morning we realized that one of the sliding glass doors had been forced open and the laptop and video camera located in the living room had been stolen. Ironically, the door that was forced open was the only one for which we were not supplied a board to secure the base of the sliding door. In the morning we promptly alerted both the police and the property owner (who lives away from the property in San Jose). The police arrived and commented that the house is very insecure and that it appears that all of the windows and doors have been tampered with at some time. The property only has aluminum sliding glass doors for entry which as we discovered were very easy to compromise. The maid / property manager "Chepita" was no where in sight when the police arrived. Later she mentioned that as a Nicaraguan she is in the country illegally and therefore does not want to be near the police. Needless to say all of my family were uneasy after the break in and it became very difficult for us to rest easy at night. We requested that owner provide a security guard to patrol the property at night. He promptly dismissed the idea based on the cost and difficulty of acquiring such a service. Although seemingly friendly the owner appears to consider the size of his wallet more important than the safety of his guests. Determined to put my family at ease I easily contracted a guard on my own to give everyone a sense of safety.
After 10 days passed everyone seemed to be getting back into the vacation mode that we had intended. Our guard was in place at night and we were taking all of the extra precautions we could think of. The house has and alarm system which did not work so we requested that the owner instruct us on how to operate it. The alarm never worked as the owner was not paid up on his contract. On our final day we decided to head up the beach a bit to check out the tidepools. The maid / manager "Chepita" inquired as to where we were going. When we returned that afternoon we discovered that the the window air conditioning in our bedroom had been removed to allow entry for the thieves and our bags ransacked. We were robbed AGAIN! This time a second laptop, 3 ipods and some of my wife's makeup and clothing was stolen. After the shock died down a bit we became very suspicious that some of the circumstances were just too convenient to have occurred randomly. I'm not one to pass blame without proof but for the sake of other families that may be considering this property beware. The house is very insecure, we believe that the maid / manager "Chepita" is providing information to thieves in the area about the movement of the guests and the location of the property. Curiously, none of the valuable items that belong to the house were removed. After discussing the thefts with area residents we learned that it is common that these thefts occur based on inside information from those who work the property (maids, gardeners, etc). We were able to get over the loss of our material things but what if one of us had met face to face with the robbers? What if your family members were injured or god forbid one of your children was kidnapped? I hope that this comment helps you reconsider the property you choose on your next vacation. Robbery and theft is rampant in this area. Ask the owner detailed information about the security of the property. From my assessment there are many other options in Santa Teresa that have greater security measures and are run more professionally than Casa Don Tomas. If you want any further information then please feel free to contact me.