Juan Santamaria airport in San Jose, CR
Just though I would post this for anyone traveling to CR.
Security has always been a hassle departing Santamaria airport - security at check in just like the USA with scanners, etc. and then a 2nd security check at your gate which tends to be more detailed.
However on this last trip to CR we experienced much more aggressive security - not at check in, that was pretty much the same as usual, but the security check at your departure gate was very aggressive, especially for the men. Men had to take off their shoes and belts, get a pat down and the security guys dumped everything out of their carryons. I saw guys get their electric razors, toothbrushes (why this?), small tubes of toothpaste, bic lighters taken. One poor old man with a walker had his walker taken away from him and he was not even allowed to sit down to take his shoes off, so he was trying to hold up his pants since they made him take his belt off, and take his shoes off one handed - when he almost fell over, they finally let him sit down but gave him an especially aggressive pat down. Women did not have to take their shoes off - very inconsistent here, but had to take belts off. I had an aggressive pat down and then the woman security person opened my carry on bag and did not really take anything out except for my clear plastic TSA approved quart bag which held 1 tube of lipstick, a powder compact, small eye drops and a mini hand sanitizer and hand cream - well she tried to tell me these items were all TSA banned and she would have to take them all - I told her I don't think so and mentioned we may want to get a supervisor involved - I just kept staring her right in the eye and she finally gave them back - I think she just wanted to steal them since she seemed to really admire the lipstick. They also claimed they were TSA agents and that the TSA just passed new rules banning all this stuff - I just said "you are not TSA agents since you do not work for the USA federal government and we could print the list from the TSA web site saying what is banned - they kind of kept quiet after that. Some of these security folks were pretty young - I'd say maybe mid 20s and I think the power went to their heads. They also kept asking everyone how much money they had with them - when they asked me, I just replied "well under the 10,000 limit so it is really none of your business" They did open my husbands wallet and it looked like they were counting his money.
The hubby and I are pretty savy so we had nothing major taken, however, some other folks just kept quiet and let the security folks take whatever they wanted.
There was also a couple with 2 small children (around 3-4 yrs) and the kids were separated from their parents and given a very aggressive pat down - well into their crotch areas - the little girl was crying and there was nothing the parents could do.
Also noticed they were less aggressive with locals departing for the US or anyone that did not look American or European. Maybe some discrimination against western looking folks going on here.