I’m planning a three week trip to the northwestern side of Costa Rica and there are a few things I’m curious about. What is the likelihood of actually getting sick from bacteria-infected food/drink, and is it almost entirely avoidable if you are cautious about what you consume? I’m generally curious as to how common this is, and how it is dealt with if one does become sick. People have brought to my attention the possibility of contracting a fever or other symptoms from mosquitos, as well as the Zika virus, and I am unsure in who to listen to so i figured I’d ask someone who actually has experience!Basically, is it likely that a common visitor will contract some type of sickness and if so, what are some steps to avoid this? Thanks for all the help, much appreciated.
Food safety practices are pretty good in Costa Rica so we’d say you are about as likely to get sick as you would be in the US (not very likely). There are no warnings about eating fresh food like in some countries and we have had few problems. The water is treated and safe to drink just about everywhere but in a few of the beach towns it’s better to drink bottled. During certain times of year, the water in Guanacaste isn’t great because they’re in a drought. Restaurants and hotels are usually good about providing filtered water when this happens but if you have a sensitive stomach, go with bottled just to be safe. They also make those water bottles that filter as you go, which are a good option. In the unlikely event that you do get sick, there are clinics throughout Guanacaste if it isn’t major and also a good private hospital in Liberia (as well as several in San Jose).
Mosquitoes are more of a concern but there are easy ways to prevent bites. We have tips for which repellents work best and other ways to protect yourself in our Mosquitoes post. The odds of contracting Zika or anything else during a short visit are slim though, especially if you’re taking precautions. We have been here for more than three years, thankfully without getting anything! Hope that puts some of your concerns at ease and you have a great trip.