Costa Rica Health and Safety - The Traveller


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Monday, July 2, 2012

Costa Rica Health and Safety

The health status of Costa Rica is quite correct. No specific vaccination is mandatory to enter Costa Rica. Though tap water is generally safe, you'll want as much as possible mineral water and it is very easy to find. Similarly, raw fruits and vegetables are eaten cooked or pre-rinsed. Insects are obviously many, especially in the jungle. It is therefore essential to provide the usual protection: anti-mosquito (day and night) and mosquito nets.

It is reported in fall 2009 an upsurge of dengue cases, disease against which there is no vaccine. Do not forget your travel insurance.

Recommended vaccinations

- Update of universal vaccinations: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B.
- Vaccinations against hepatitis A and typhoid are also recommended for long stays.
- Malaria is rare in Costa Rica (ranked in Zone 1), but it may be present in the province of Limon (Matina Town), as well as in rural areas below 500 m altitude. If you plan to travel to those regions, anti-malarial treatment is needed, and there, a repellent cream and body-covering clothing are recommended.
- Dengue: many cases have been recorded in tourist provinces of Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limon.
- If you have gone through a country affected by yellow fever, an international certificate of vaccination against the disease prompted.


A phone call to the consulate will give you information on doctors. You will have the most current contact information, the fairest and most accurate.


Costa Rica is pretty safe and security conditions are suitable, but some common sense rules must be followed.

- Do not walk alone at night in public parks in San Jose, or beaches. Crossing a number of attacks is listed on the streets of San Jose, but also the sights of the Pacific coast of Tamarindo, Jaco, Quepos and Manuel Antonio, on the sites of the Atlantic Coast, Puerto Viejo and Puerto Limon.
- Beware of pickpockets in bus terminals, including one called "Coca Cola" in San Jose.
- Be careful on the Atlantic coast and particularly in the city of Puerto Limon, where problems related to drug trafficking are increasing.
- Keep out documents or personal belongings in vehicles.
- Because of the risk of pick pocketing, maintain increased vigilance in buses, on beaches, the San Jose International Airport and the capital itself, as in all other world capitals. Tourists traveling by rental car are prime targets. They are supposed to travel with large sums of money in cash and valuables.


During the rainy season, storms are frequent and violent. The risk of flooding and landslides in mountainous areas are important (Cordillera Central and Caribbean zone mainly). Of major roads can be cut. River floods are spectacular and bring to evacuate the populations concerned. It is therefore recommended for travelers and lovers of mountain sports to learn on-site weather conditions of the regions covered and the road conditions. The weather conditions can change very quickly indeed.


The Arenal Volcano continuously maintains an activity that can escalate quickly. Eruptions are not predictable and solid and gaseous flows may extend over a radius of 5 km around the volcano. Local authorities regulate access around the site and are well fed, if necessary, to prohibit access to hotels and nearby villages. It is recommended to inquire about the possibility of some roads and respect the safety barriers in place. It's the same for the Turrialba volcano. You can also check Volcanic and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica.

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