Mosquitoes in Costa Rica – Watch Out

Mosquitoes are small, can fly really fast, and breed like there’s no tomorrow. They are a massive problem worldwide and way too many are affected by them. The main problem is the female mosquitoes with their long and sharp mouthpiece, which they can use to suck blood.

Mosquitoes bites may cause several diseases that could be fatal to certain people in certain areas of the world. Malaria is the biggest human-killing disease that came from mosquitoes’ bites, which killed millions of people annually.

Are there lots of mosquitoes in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is unfortunately not an exception to this problem. Especially since Costa Rica is a tropical country, a place that mosquitoes love to be. But not all Costa Rica is equal in terms of the mosquito population.

Places like Poas Volcano, San Gerardo de Dota, Monteverde, and other high-altitude areas do not have a mosquito problem. Mosquitoes can’t strive on high or mountainous areas due to cool temperatures.

On the contrary, beaches, jungles, and cities are loved by mosquitoes. And mosquitoes are the most active during dusk and dawn. This is why experts recommend everyone to close their unprotected doors and windows starting from 4 pm until 8 am. And don’t forget to always have an insect repellent around, with 30 50% DEET.

If you’re planning to go outside and explore Costa Rica at any time of the day, please wear long pants, a shirt with long sleeves, a hat, shoes, and socks. And of course, bring a bug repellent with you just in case.

Are mosquitoes dangerous in Costa Rica?

Mosquitoes aren’t considered to be dangerous in Costa Rica, especially when compared to certain parts of the world. But there are some mosquito-borne diseases in Costa Rica that you must know just to be safe.

A little bit of knowledge wouldn’t hurt anybody, besides the Costa Rican government have been very active at helping its citizens staying healthy. Eradicating mosquitoes and any diseases that come from them are on top of their list.

Those common diseases are:

  • Zika virus: the virus causes a mild fever, skin rash, and conjunctivitis and can last up to a week. But the biggest danger is that the virus could affect the baby of a pregnant woman. Affected by the virus, the baby could be born with birth defects.
  • Dengue fever: this disease has been around for a very long time. The diseases may cause mild to high fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, joint problems, rash, and muscle pain. In rare cases, dengue fever may even cause death.
  • Chikungunya: this disease is not as much of a threat as the other two. The disease is relatively new as well. The symptoms are joint and muscle pain, headache, fatigue, rash, and nausea. The joint pain could be severe and last up to a few weeks.

The Costa Rican government has done a good job of preventing mosquito-borne diseases. They usually go door to door in places where mosquitoes are common and give away tools and pamphlets to every household.

If you’re well-equipped, you should not be worried about mosquitoes in Costa Rica. Just make sure that you have everything you need before traveling.

How do you keep mosquitoes from biting you in Costa Rica?

All right let’s talk about what you need to bring or wear to be safe from mosquito bites. Keep in mind that Costa Rica is a tropical country where mosquitoes are almost everywhere. Here are our tips for you.

Insect repellent

First is the trusty and easy to get, insect repellent. Do not leave without an insect repellent with you. Exploring Costa Rica would be less fun if the mosquitoes keep biting you.

The CDC has mentioned before that an insect repellent with 20% DEET is ideal. This kind of insect repellent is unfortunately not widely available at grocery stores in Costa Rica.

Most insect repellents contain only 15% DEET and are sold at around $10 a can. Not only an insect repellent is expensive, 15% DEET insect repellents would only last for a short amount of time.

Therefore, preparation before traveling is important. It’d be best to bring your own supply insect repellent to Costa Rica. People who are serious about hiking usually bring insect repellents with 30%-98% DEET.

Remember that strong insect repellents have to be washed within a few hours after being applied. If you think you can’t do that or are too afraid of strong insect repellents, use 30% DEET.

The most common types of insect repellent are spray, wipe, band, and lotion. Many sprays contain 10% to 30% DEET and small enough to be carried around. Wipes are effective for your face and neck since they’re easy to apply. They’re also easy to carry around. Most people who love hiking generally prefer wipes to sprays.

Lotion usually comes with a sponge. Use the sponge to rub in the lotion and spread it on your arms and legs.

Insect repellent bands are probably the best type for people who don’t like using chemicals. Bands or insect bands use a plant-based material like Geraniol to repel insects. Put them on your wrists and feet and that’s it. You can use each band for a few days before replacing it.

Alternative to insect repellent

Some people don’t want to use any insect repellent. If you’re among those people, you can use a natural alternative such as essential oil. Essential oils are not widely available in Costa Rica, so you should bring them from home.

Remember the place and time

Mosquitoes aren’t exactly everywhere in Costa Rica. There are some places where they won’t bother you. Mosquitoes love shades, so if you’re resting under the shade, mosquitoes will come and bite you. But, if you’re sunbathing, for example, mosquitoes will leave you alone.

Mosquitoes love it when you’re resting in a cool area, like a restaurant or pond. They are also active during the rainy season, which starts from May until November.

If you want to avoid this, plan your travel outside of rainy months, and stay away from rivers and muddy areas. 

Mosquitoes generally live below 6,500 feet or 2,000 meters. That’s why you’ll see many of them in places like the Caribbean, Nicoya Peninsula, Osa Peninsula, beaches, and rainforests.

The cities aren’t safe from mosquitoes either, San Jose, Alajuela, Grecia, San Ramon, and Heredia, among many others, have a high population of mosquitoes.

Also, be careful of swimming pools at your hotel. Always check if the water is clean or not. Mosquitoes love swimming pools and untreated water.

Dress properly

This is probably the easiest way to keep the mosquitoes away. Covering up your body is a great way to prevent mosquito bites. And with the right apparel, you won’t have to deal with insect repellent.

The key is to choose the right type of clothing. Mosquitoes can easily bite through many fabrics, so if you’re wondering why you still get bitten even though you’re covered up, you probably wear the wrong type of clothing.

The best type of clothing is made of nylon or polyester. This type of fabric is strong and tight enough to keep mosquitoes from biting you. Safety aside, comfort is something that you should be worrying about. It can get very hot in Costa Rica. So, the downside is that you’ll feel hotter, and to combat this, make sure the sleeves can be rolled up or the shirt can be unbuttoned.

Don’t wear something too tight, like yoga pants for example. Remember that mosquitoes can bite through the fabric. So loose clothing is the best option here. Color is also important. Choose clothing with a light color, not too bright and not too dark.

Don’t forget your shoes and socks. Mosquitoes love to bite your ankles and legs. Boots would be the safest option and would be great to wear when you’re hiking.

If you come prepared mosquitoes aren’t a problem

Mosquitoes can be really scary for sure. But if you come prepared, they aren’t a problem at all. With some good planning, your trip to Costa Rica will be the best and you’ll enjoy it to the fullest. Don’t let mosquitoes disturb your vacation in Costa Rica!

Recent Posts