Conducting Surveillance in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Private InvestigatorConducting surveillance in Costa Rica presents challenges not faced by private investigators in the United States. When a client calls and wants a surveillance here in Costa Rica I try to give them reasonable expectations on the results of such a surveillance. Unlike the United States where private investigators can have sufficient time to capture indiscretions, here we usually have less than a week. In some instances even less time.

Surveillance is being in the right place at the right time and to discreetly capture the indiscretion on video. That means that the target cannot know they are being watch or their activities are being recorded. Many of the venues in Costa Rica have ramped up security in the form of CCTV and guards. They are sensitive to videoing and will not hesitate to ask what you are doing. Thus not only does the PI need to be discreet with respect to the target, they must also be discreet and vigilant as to their surroundings.

For this reason we use teams of investigators usually comprised of two or three to carry out a surveillance. There are some PI’s that are on the web that use just one person that they subcontract the surveillance. I know of one PI that was deported from Costa Rica and is advertising services here and he can’t even enter the country. Thus it pays to vet the PI and make sure he has the experience and resources to carry out the surveillance.

Recently we had a surveillance in a resort that has extremely tight security. Many of the places that people rent are in private residences within the resort and are only accessible though a guarded gate. If you are not a guest you are denied entry. The resort is patrolled by security guards who check visitors and routinely ask them their purpose for being there. Fortunately the resort rents carts which don’t draw the attention of a roaming car. Use of the cart helps but if you remain stationary for any length of time a guard will approach you. This means that you have to be on the constant move.

Targets that are involved in an affair are sensitive to seeing the same person or car more than once. This requires that you change personnel frequently. Through diligence and perseverance usually enjoy success. Many of our clients think that capturing public displays of affection are common place. Here again targets do not perform on cue. You have to be in the right place at the right time to capture PDA’s. Investigators cannot manufacture or script such activities.

All in all if you have reasonable expectations you will not be disappointed in the results. If your expectations are those that are shown on TV programs such as “Cheaters” you will be disappointed in the results. Make sure you discuss expectations and results with you private investigator in order to make your surveillance successful.