Different people have different levels of comfort as far as venturing out - hence the varying comments in our port review. As I recall the robbery f-mattox mentioned was a tour bus where the fool was tackled and choked to death by a retired U.S. Marine who happened to be one of the tourists.
That robbery story was quite a tale and that old retired Marine was a real hero. But, I believe it happened in Lima, Peru which is not the same place as Limon, Costa Rica. As to Limon, its a pretty dumpy town but we never had any safety concerns. In fact, my wife and I had no problem having a driver take us over an hour from Limon to a jungle resort called Almonds and Corals where we did some ziplining. Probably the only safety concern we had was slipping on a banana peel (they grow lots of bananas in this region).
We were there a few years ago, it was pretty dumpy at the dock. There was a make-shift flea market with everyone wanting you to buy something and I don't remember any shops at all there at that location. I did buy several bags of the Costa Rican coffee at this flea market. It was only $2 a bag and was packaged and sealed as it would be in the U.S. Seemed safe. It was the BEST coffee. Wish I had bought more.
Went on a private tour to a banana plantation and around the area. Was good.
We were there last year, our third time in fact, and we ventured out of the gates and across the street into the shops, where aren't much better than the flea market they have set up. Anyway, as we were looking thru a store, a local man came over to DH and told him to take his jewelry off, because there were some "men" outisde looking him up and down and it has happened before where people were robbed. We are retirees so that wasthe last time we will venture past the gates unless on a ships tour. As stated the flea market does have great coffe and rpices. We bought some lovely hand made things also at very reasonable prices. Just take your time looking around first and then make your decision otherwise you'll have the sellers getting a little pushy.