Some advice to help you stay healthy, safe and happy while in Costa Rica PDF Print E-mail
Travel to Costa Rica is a wonderful chance to experience a stunning array of cultures, landscapes, ecosystems and activities. At the heart of this experience are the differences between our ways of life. You should understand that this means that standards of health and safety will not be the same as the USA or Europe, and may often be lower

Fire Safety
When you arrive in a hotel, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the fire procedures and your escape routes and nearest fire exit. Be especially careful about this if you are staying in a hotel that is more than two stories high. Take a torch with you and have it within reach by your bedside.

Balconies
Balcony heights and distance between the rungs can vary considerably from country to country. Do take care around balconies, particularly if you are traveling with children. If you are unhappy with the balcony height, or any other aspect of it, you should request a suitable alternative room.

Hotel Lifts
Lift safety regulations also vary from country to country. Be aware that safeguards required may not be present.

Trips and Slips
Guards and warnings of wet floors, uneven steps, holes, or other trip hazards are often not provided. Watch your step!

Plate Glass
Be aware that plate glass windows are not usually provided with safety markings to warn against walking into them and may shatter dangerously.

Swimming Pools
The vast majority of pools will not have lifeguards, depth markings or non-slip surfaces around them. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the layout and depth of the pool. Be aware of any hidden and/or submerged objects. In the event of an emergency, know how to get help. Avoid using the pool when alone, at night and after consuming alcohol.

Beach Safety
Again, you are unlikely to see any lifeguards on beaches in Costa Rica. Take time to familiarize yourself with the beach and also take local advice particularly regarding swell and currents. On sandy beaches one way you may be able to identify strong currents is by looking out for distinct sandy patches in the face of breaking waves – avoid these stretches. If you are caught in a ‘rip’ current, do not panic, swim sideways out of the current – do not swim back against it. Take great care in areas where there are motorized craft of any sort sharing the water with swimmers. If in doubt, don’t bathe.

Gas Safety
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a chemical compound of carbon and oxygen. It has no color, taste or smell and is extremely poisonous. Gas stoves, fires and boilers, gas powered water heaters, paraffin heaters, solid fuel powered stoves, boilers and room heaters are all capable of producing CO if not appropriately installed and maintained. You can tell if a gas appliance is working correctly by observing the flame. A yellow/orange flame is evidence of possible CO presence. A ‘healthy’ flame should be crisp, vibrant and blue.
Symptoms of CO poisoning can easily be confused with flu, severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, general lethargy. Severe CO poisoning makes the body turn a cherry-red color. If you suspect CO poisoning get out into fresh air as quickly as possible and call for medical help. If you can, open doors and windows.
Electrical Appliances
Please exercise caution when using electrical appliances. When using your own appliances be sure to use relevant adapters and converters.

Vaccinations
You should always seek immunization advice from a trained medical professional at least 6 weeks prior to travel. Make sure you take medication appropriate to your destination.

Sun Safety
The sun in Costa Rica is stronger than we are used to in Europe. Be aware that the effects of sun are even stronger at altitude and in the south of the continent (Patagonia and Antarctica) where the ozone layer is thinner. Use a high factor sunscreen; avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun in the middle of the day. Take a broad-brimmed sun hat, a baseball cap is rarely sufficient. Cover up with appropriate clothing. Drink bottled water. Stay in the shade.

Food and Drink
Use your common sense when selecting where and what to eat. Ask your guides for advice. Drink bottled water. Always wash your hands before eating. Anti-bacterial hand wash is worth having.

General Safety
Take note of what is going on around you and keep away from any situations where you do not feel comfortable. Keep up to date with local and regional events in the media. Leave your jewelry and valuables at home if you can. Only carry as much money as you need for the day. Respect local customs particularly when visiting religious sites, markets and rural communities. It is hard to generalize but you should at least be prepared to cover shoulders and knees when visiting churches.

Activities and Excursions
Among the great appeals of travel to Costa Rica are the extraordinary experiences you can enjoy from riding through caiman filled lagoons in the Pantanal to walking on top of a glacier in Patagonia. Local safety standards that apply to these activities will not be the same as in Europe and may be significantly lower. For instance, you will normally not be offered a helmet when riding horses or bikes. Before you go you might like to check such details with your tour operator and, if necessary, take appropriate equipment with you. Whilst on holiday you should use your common sense. Always follow the guides’ instructions. If you ever have cause to feel nervous about the safety of an activity or excursion then do not go. Report your concerns to your guide, local contact and/or tour operator at the earliest opportunity.
Remember that if you choose to take an excursion or activity on holiday which is not arranged as part of your package, your tour operator will not accept any responsibility.
Getting Around
When traveling by foot, be careful crossing roads in Costa Rica, particularly in cities. When traveling by taxi, make sure it is licensed, ideally you should ask your hotel or restaurant to call one for you. When traveling by coach or minibus, we recommend that you use seat belts when they are provided. If there are no seat belts then try to avoid the front seats, seats by emergency exits and seats in the middle of the back row. When traveling by train familiarize yourself with safety procedures on board and locate your emergency exit route. When traveling by hire car, familiarize yourself with local regulations and laws before setting off. Check all tires for tread and air pressure, including the spare. Check oil, water and petrol. Always obey speed limits, never drink and drive. Drive in the daytime whenever possible and be aware of distances between petrol stations. Drive defensively and be aware that pot holes and random speed bumps are common.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions and Disabilities
Please make sure that your tour operator is aware of any pre-existing medical conditions or disabilities which could affect your holiday. Please ensure that you travel with sufficient supplies of medication. When flying always pack enough medication in your hand luggage to tide you over should flights be delayed or your hold luggage go missing.

Access to Medical Facilities
During your holiday you are likely to be traveling in areas well away from medical facilities such as doctors, pharmacists and accident and emergency units. Your travel insurance must include sufficient cover for emergency medical evacuation, by air if necessary.

Travel Insurance
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your holiday. Take time to confirm that all activities, excursions and destinations are included. Be particularly careful of any altitude exclusions. Ideally your cover would include, but not be limited to adequate: medical, legal, cancellation, delay and personal possession cover.

Letting us know
You should always use your common sense whilst on holiday. If you ever have cause to feel nervous about the safety of an activity, excursion, mode of transport or hotel then please report this immediately.

Report your concerns to the supplier on the ground (this could be your hotel, bus driver or activity leader for instance). You should also inform your guide, local contact and/or tour operator at the earliest opportunity.
Comments
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Drinking Water
Tim 2009-08-13 14:31:30

I spent over a month in Quepos and never once drank bottled water, nor did any of my friends and we had no problems. Actually, the local water tasted better than the bottled water.
Dr. Nicole Sundene 2009-08-19 13:48:07

Thanks! Have been researching Costa Rica for weeks and have finally found all the right info on your site. Really appreciate your info and writing style. :D Nicole
info
Janine Richard 2009-10-19 11:12:04

please give me some informations in the area of Guanacastle, Tamarindo

We are unable to get any informations
from our AAA in Texas

Thanks
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