Why are hikers disappearing in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica seems like a tropical paradise with stunning beaches, dense rain forests, and active volcanoes. In recent years, it has become a popular destination for those looking to lounge in luxury as well as adventure travelers looking for an adrenaline rush. But a shadow has fallen across this paradise, as a number of hikers have gone missing in recent months, all under strange circumstances, and that has left some wondering if there is a sinister plot at work.

In August of this year, American David Gimelfarb went to Costa Rica on a vacation, and disappeared while hiking in Parque National Rincon de la Vieja, a thick jungle that is popular amongst backpackers. Gimelfarb’s rented vehicle was found at the trail head, but there has been no trace of the grad student.

One American disappearing in a dense Central American jungle seems tragic, but not necessarily unlikely. After all, this is a remote and rugged place, where one misstep could lead to disaster. But it seems that Gimelfarb isn’t the only person to go missing in that area this year. A British journalist named Michael Dixon recently disappeared without a trace while vacationing in the Guanacaste province, and American Craig Snell went missing there back in February of this year as well. Australian Brendan Robbins also was also mssing in the same region several years back, but was eventually identified by forensic evidence.

Dixon’s recent disappearance has turned a spotlight back on all the cases, and investigators now believe there may be a connection between each of these incidences. They’re not saying exactly why they believe this yet, but they are proceeding as if each of the missing men are still alive.

So, what do you think? Are these disappearances some kind of conspiracy? Are they connected in some way? Or is just a strange coincidence? Are adventure travelers being kidnapped or just being careless while out hiking?