Can you drink water from Costa Rica?
Health in Costa Rica
As already mentioned with the topic of security, Costa Rica is a notable exception in Central America when it comes to health. There are a few hospitals and many health stations in the country. Medical care in Costa Rica is therefore relatively good. In the case of minor problems, a pharmacy can also help. In Costa Rica they can also prescribe medication and possibly give injections.
Most health problems are related to diarrhea that results from inappropriately clean water or food.
General health information
Water: The tap water is often drinkable in the Central Valley, but less so in the rest of the country. It is best to only drink packaged water and also to use it to brush your teeth. That may sound a little exaggerated and better safe than sorry. You don't want to ruin your vacation with prolonged diarrhea or other problems.
Be careful with other foods and ice cream as well. It is best to eat everything boiled or freshly peeled. If the fresh fruit is then washed again with unclean water, this can also cause problems. This shouldn't be a problem with good restaurants and hotels. Maybe with the street vendor.
My own experience has shown that the situation is not that extreme. Many people who live in Costa Rica, including foreigners, also drink the water from the tap. In the end, we also scaled down our requirements and enjoyed ice cubes in drinks and also used the water from the tap to brush our teeth. Nothing happened, but we didn't drink it.
Pay attention to the sun. Solar radiation is very high in Costa Rica. Always use the high sun protection factor of the sun cream, preferably with a T-shirt (also keep this in mind when snorkeling), even better with long sleeves, use it during the day.
Insects can represent one of the greatest health problems. In addition to sand fleas, predatory bugs (Chagas disease), ticks and, of course, mosquitoes must be observed.
We didn't see any ticks ourselves. But we were practically everywhere in long trousers and a long top. But then we were mostly the only ones. Lots of people were everywhere in shorts and t-shirts. You don't have to complain about many mosquito bites.
With us, the mosquito bites were very limited. In the area of Cahuita and Tortuguero it was a bit worse, because the mosquitoes stung some of the shirt. But that was all still possible. We had repelente for repelling mosquitoes with us, but rarely used them.
Information on poisonous animals, snakes, spiders and scorpions can be found under the link.
Malaria in Costa Rica
One of the diseases that mosquitoes can transmit is malaria. Malaria is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito which is nocturnal. Malaria occurs mainly in the lower humid areas and practically not in the central mountainous region.
In the hotel or accommodation, the air conditioning or a fan will help. The mosquitoes don't like drafts. You should also have mosquito screens on the window and over the bed.
There is prophylaxis against malaria. However, this is usually not necessary for vacation.
It is recommended to take a so-called emergency prophylaxis with you. However, this should definitely be discussed with a tropical doctor or other qualified doctor, as these drugs are also only available on prescription.
Another disease that is transmitted by the diurnal mosquito Aedes aegypti (tiger mosquito) is dengue fever. It is characterized by a high fever, which is reminiscent of the flu. Dengle cases have increased dramatically in recent years.
That is why you should be prepared for this on tours in the rainforest in particularly endangered areas (the northern Caribbean coast and central Pacific coast), i.e. it is best to wear light-colored long pants and a long T-shirt and use the appropriate anti-mosquito spray. Tests have shown that mosquito repellants with the active ingredient DEET are the best. However, these are not recommended for children from a concentration of more than 20%. Autan turned out to be the best with the active ingredient Bayrepel.
Other diseases are leishmaniasis and filariasis
I don't want to trivialize anything and you should definitely heed the advice, but the situation is not as blatant as it is shown on some websites. I've spoken to a lot of people, locals and emigrants, and everyone has told me that the risk of malaria or dengue is relatively low. So that shouldn't prevent anyone from going to Costa Rica.
Medicines to take with you
Means against diarrhea are important, insect repellent is very important, otherwise medication against fever and motion sickness.
Vaccinations in Costa Rica
No vaccinations are required by the authorities if you come to Costa Rica as a holidaymaker. The only exception is for people entering areas at risk of yellow fever. These must show a vaccination. This case does not occur with normal direct travelers from Germany or Europe. The problem is more likely with world travelers or vacationers who have previously been to other South American countries (within the last 6 days before entry) and want to enter Costa Rica directly from there.
These are the following countries:
Angola Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Benin Bolivia Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi Ecuador Ivory Coast French Guiana Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Cameroon Kenya Colombia Congo, Rep. Congo, Dem. Rep. Liberia Mali Mauritania Niger Nigeria Paraguay Peru Rwanda Senegal Sierra Leone Sudan Suriname Togo Chad Uganda Venezuela Central Afr. republic
However, the following vaccinations are recommended when going on vacation to Costa Rica. You should contact a doctor about the vaccination about 4-6 weeks in advance.
Vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A.
For longer stays in the country.
Hepatitis B, typhoid and also rabies.
Even after the vacation, illnesses that one caught on vacation in Costa Rica can still occur. For example, malaria can also take weeks to break out. So if you still have gastrointestinal or fever problems for some time after your vacation, you should see your doctor and advise them about your stay in Costa Rica.
Below are two addresses on the Internet where you can find a list of doctors and pharmacies who deal with the topic of tropical medicine.
What there is to say about poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders and scorpions can be found under the links.
This information is only a brief overview of the problems that can arise during a stay in Costa Rica. They are in no way a substitute for a visit to your family doctor, tropical doctor or pharmacy, which is urgently recommended. You should also consider taking out health insurance abroad.
More information at
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Edificio "Torre La Sabana", 8 ° piso, 300 mts east of the ICE, Sabana Norte San José
Tel .: (00506) 2290 90 91
Fax: (00506) 2231 64 03
Email: [email protected]
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