Be vigilant in the cities, where gang related crime and robberies do happen. But they are well policed too. Always carry ID, and make copies that you can keep separately at your hotel. In general, most people don’t wander around at night.
There have been some cases of robberies in the mountain areas of Guatemala, so it is advised to travel with a qualified, local expert. And don’t carry all your money or credit/debit cards with you at one time.
Only use licenced taxis. In Costa Rica they are red, with plastic boxes on the roof displaying the taxi company’s name and telephone number. Similarly in Mexico, they are red with a white roof. There are pirate taxis in Mexico, however. The Taxiaviso app is now very popular, as you can check if a licence plate or taxi company is authentic.
Always inform yourself about volcano stability before trekking in these regions in, for example, Costa Rica, Guatemala or Nicaragua. Particularly if you are heading up high, as there might be elevated activity. If there is a risk of eruption the parks around them will be closed, so do keep an eye on local news and websites.
One of the biggest safety issues in Central America, with so many beaches, is riptides. Few beaches have life guards. Never go into the water in areas where there are known to be riptides –If you do find yourself being carried rapidly away from the shore, don’t swim against the current; you won’t beat it. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the rip, or float until the current subsides – then you can swim back onto the beach. Drowning occurs when swimmers exhaust themselves by struggling against the current.
Check safety procedures with any adventure or activity companies and, in particular, with water activities, making sure there is a good instructor to tourist ratio, and that there are life jackets of helmets, in the case of white water, and that they fit children too. A company that doesn’t check if your life jacket is well fitted probably isn’t fit for purpose.
Check the FCO website for safety information and entry requirements