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Mosquitoes in Costa Rica, should I worry?

Costa Rica is a tropical country, and it is no surprise that there are some mosquitoes here. Don’t worry, there is no plague, but anyways there are some mosquitoes that can transmit diseases, so you should know about to protect yourself. 

In this blog, I will tell you about the disease that can be transmitted through mosquitoes in Costa Rica, how you recognize them, what the symptoms are, how to prevent infections, and how to cure them.

Three diseases can be transmitted through mosquitoes in Costa Rica: Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya. All of them are transmitted through mosquitoes of the Aedes species, which you can identify by the white points on their legs. Another important fact is that the Aedes mosquitoes are diurnal.


Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquito. They live mostly in cities, and the larvae develop in puddles that are, for example, in flowerpots, empty cans, and car tires. This is the reason why there is a higher risk of an infection during the rainy season in Costa Rica.

So, if you are in the Central Valley during this time (San José, Heredia, or Alajuela), avoid sitting in gardens without mosquito repellent. 

There are different types of Dengue. The first one causes symptoms that are similar to the flu, together with a headache, bone, and limb pain and occur three to ten days after the infection. The symptoms hold on for some days, sometimes even weeks, but heal without further consequences. 

The other type causes a dangerous shock, resulting in high fever, anxiety, cold sweat, palpitations, platelet, and blood clotting disorders, which can be life-threatening. With treatment, the survival rate is 99%.

Unfortunately, up to September 2020, 9´008 cases have been reported all over the country, which represents an increase of 114% compared to the same period in 2019, and 518% compared to 2018. (source: Ministerio de Salud

There is no vaccine to prevent an infection. With the right precautions like a good mosquito repellent, you can enjoy your vacation without any worries.


The Zika Virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is mostly diurnal. The virus is especially dangerous for unborn children as it causes malformations on the fetus, for example, a smaller head than a non-infected child. Symptoms are fever, skin rash, joint pain, and sometimes headaches, which occur 3 to 7 days after the infection.

Comparing to 295 cases until July 2018, there have been 89 infections with Zika at the same time in 2019 in Costa Rica, which is a great decrease.

There is no vaccine to protect yourself from Zika, in case of an infection, the symptoms hold on around one week and subside by themselves. But if you use mosquito repellent, there is no need to worry. As it can be transmitted from the mother to the unborn child, so pregnant women and people who are planning to get pregnant soon should consider travelling to a later date.  


Chikungunya is transmitted by the Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti and also develops its larvae in puddles like in flower pots, empty cans, and car tires. It takes 2-12 days after the infection until a patient feels limb pain, fever, and skin rash. The symptoms hold on about 10 days, subside by themselves, and result in immunity against Chikungunya. 

Comparing to 2018, the reported cases of Chikungunya have decreased in 2019. Until July 2019 there have been 60 cases in Costa Rica, while there have been 87 cases at the same time in 2018.

There are no vaccinations to prevent infection neither is there a treatment. In case of an infection, the specific symptoms are going to get treated. As you can see, the symptoms of Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue are very similar and have to be diagnosed through a blood test to get the right treatment. 

Yellow Fever

Costa Rica is not affected by yellow fever. If you have visited a country affected by yellow fever, you should keep in mind that everyone older than 9 months of age has to present the International Certificate of Vaccine against Yellow Fever when entering Costa Rica.

Since October 29th, 2007, it is mandatory to have a yellow fever vaccination when entering Costa Rica from a country declared a risk country for yellow fever by the World Health Organization (WHO). If the traveller has been in such a risk country in the last 6 days, it has to be proven that she/he has the vaccination. 6 days because this is the incubation time for yellow fever.

On the list of the WHO there are the following countries:

  • Afrika: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Kamerun, Democratic Republic of Kongo, Gabun, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Sudan
  • South America: Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador
  • Caribbean: French Guyana

If you did not visit one of the mentioned risk countries in the last 6 days before entering Costa Rica, you are not affected.

Panama is also on the list of the WHO, as a risk country for yellow fever, but Costa Rica does not classify its neighbour as one. Therefore, the Costa Rican government does not consider tourists entering Costa Rica from Panama as a risk.

If you arrive in Costa Rica after a stopover from Venezuela or Colombia, you do not need to prove a yellow fever vaccination. If you pass migration, that means you enter the country officially, it needs to be proven that you have a yellow fever vaccination.

The yellow fever vaccination has to be done at least 10 days before entering Costa Rica to provide full protection. If the time is less than that, entering the country will not be granted.

On the website of the World Health Organization WHO, you can find a list of countries that are defined as Yellow Fever Transmitters. 


Luckily, Malaria is no big problem in Costa Rica. The Costa Rican Health Ministry (Ministerio de Salud) reported that there have been many reported cases between 1957 until the 2000s, which is probably why you might have heard there would be Malaria in Costa Rica, but there have been just 8 reported cases in 2012 and 5 reported cases in Limón in 2019. 

There is Malaria prophylaxis to prevent an infection, but it is really strong and not necessary for travelling to Costa Rica. 

What can I do to protect myself from mosquito bites?

Mosquitoes live in low areas, which means coast regions. Their biotope is close to water, so if you are staying close to water areas, take extra care and reapply mosquito repellent after some hours. The larvae don’t survive in pools with chlorine.

I recommend using a repellent that contains 20%-30% diethyltoluamide (DEET) or 20% Picaridin, which has shown to be very effective. I had good experiences with mosquito repellents as a lotion. Especially when you are visiting a National Park, you should use repellent. If you wanted you could wear long clothes, use light colours and wide pants and shirts instead of skinny ones. This special clothing could protect you from mosquitoes and bugs, anyway I want to recommend you to use a repellent under it as well. Hotels have usually mosquito nets in their windows. If you want to use mosquito repellent and sunblock together, apply the sunblock first and around 20 minutes later the repellent. 

What do I have to do when I get infected?

If you get one of the mentioned symptoms and you get worried you might have one of the diseases, go to a doctor and tell them that you have visited a tropical country so they can do a blood test and don’t think it is just flu. In a blood test, a doctor can see if you are infected with Zika, Dengue, or Chikungunya and give you the right treatment.

Now you know which precautions you have to take. As I said, there is no plague, so no reason to worry. I’m living in Costa Rica for years, and I´m often visiting National Parks and beaches and never got sick. Just use a repellent and watch out for the mosquitoes with the white points, and you will be fine. The mosquitoes should not hold you back from visiting Costa Rica! And if you have any doubt, it is always better to ask a doctor for advice and do a blood test! 

I hope this information is useful and if you have more questions or if you need help to plan your trip, feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Greetings from Costa Rica!

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  • Janaina & Dieter, Brazil

    The trip was wonderful! Your help was invaluable and without your choices it would not have been so good! I am very very satisfied and very happy with the choices you made!

    Thank you very much for everything!

    Janaina & Dieter, Brazil
  • Kathrin, Ines, Matthias & Ingo, Germany

    Hello dear Aline, many thanks to you for the great compilation and organization of the trip. We were able to spend eventful, interesting and wonderful days in Costa Rica and will keep them in good memory. A thank you also goes to the ARA Tours team, which was available 24/7 for problems and questions, which were solved and answered quickly and reliably. The punctuality of the transfers offered should also be emphasized. In summary, it was a wonderful holiday.

    Kind regards

    Kathrin, Ines, Matthias & Ingo, Germany
  • Carina & Thomas, Germany

    Hello dear Aline,
    Now we have arrived back at San Jose Airport after a great trip. Everything worked out great and the tour was just perfectly planned and organized. Thank you very much. We take a lot of positive memories with us.
    Best regards.

    Carina & Thomas, Germany
  • Yvonne, Switzerland

    The Costa Rica trip together with my family is already behind us - it was wonderful!!! Everything went smoothly from A to Z, we had a wonderful time, no incidents and wonderful experiences.
    We all enjoyed it very much; the nature is enormous, but also the warm-hearted people, the cleanliness, the food - we are very enthusiastic!
    At this point I would like to thank you very much for your support in the preparation, for all the bookings, clarifications and enquiries!!!
    We visited the waterfall in La Fortuna and had a great view of the Arenal. In Monteverde we did a Hanging Bridges and Zipline tour and in Nosara a surf course. In Finca Rosa Bianca we did the coffee tour, it was all great, fun and interesting 😊. All in all, we saw lots of animals, always ate well, enjoyed the beaches....even in rainy weather 😊. Often we were even glad that it was overcast, otherwise it would have been almost toouuu hot for us.
    So THANK YOU again so much for everything!!!!

    Yvonne, Switzerland
  • Christina, Switzerland

    Many thanks for the extensive support (before, during and after the trip) and the professional handling of our concerns. With your support we had a smooth and unforgettable vacation in Costa Rica! Our favorite hotels: Hotel Plaza Yara and the Poas Volcano Lodge - a dream!
    All the best

    Christina, Switzerland
  • Jeanne, Bernd & Bill, USA

    Yay! I´m glad we are back on track. Thank you again for helping us with all these changes.
    I´m glad we choose ARA-you are amazing! Thanks for all your help! It made it a very memorable visit!

    Jeanne, Bernd & Bill, USA
  • Janka, The Netherlands

    Hi Eli & ARA Team,
    We have spoken to the guest and they are super enthusiastic about their Costa Rica roundtrip! Everything was well organized, nice hotels, nice mix of activities & beach and they have big compliments for you guys!!
    Many thanks for all the good work!! The guest highly appreciate it!!
    They had lunch nearby in Ara Ambigua Lodge, and they loved this place. Friendly staff and good food!
    Do you work with this accommodation? If so, we would love hear 😊
    Once again, heads off for this amazing trip!
    With warm regards

    Janka, The Netherlands
  • Thomas, Deborah, Eva & Paula, Switzerland

    Dear Priska
    Happily I write some words to you in English, so you can easily forward them also to Ara Tours, please. Thank you all, we spent a magic time in Costa Rica! Baumeler's and Ara Tours organisation and logistics were perfect, everything worked out even better than we expected. The tours were brilliant, we really enjoyed everything very very much!
    All the accomodation was absolutely wonderful... the setting, the quality, the food, with happy helpful friendly staff everywhere. It was a wonderful way to experience this beautiful country the way we did, on a private tour with personal guide and drivers. We saw and learnt sooo much - it would have been impossible to do so on our own.
    Especially we praise our brilliant guide Fernando Perez, we benefited so much from his truly wide knowledge and deep love for his Country which he passed on in lovely encouraging way. We even became friends and we will meet in Switzerland coming September! Also our driver Carlos Sandi was great, not only as a driver but also as a compagnion, animal spotter and photographer. Thank you!
    So.... now we just enjoy our last day...
    Sunny greetings, pura vida

    Thomas, Deborah, Eva & Paula, Switzerland
  • Yvonne & Andrea, Switzerland

    Hello all
    Unfortunately, our wonderful trip is already over and everyday life has caught up with us again. We would like to thank you very much for everything. The trip was planned exactly according to our wishes and we have seen so many beautiful places.
    Thank you Stefanie!
    We have felt completely comfortable and top cared for by you. Via Whats App we got immediate answers to our questions, with the car everything worked out great. In all locations we were treated very warmly and nicely. It was just so indescribably beautiful, we will dream of the beautiful experiences for a long time. In any case, we will warmly recommend you and hope for a next time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Best regards.

    Yvonne & Andrea, Switzerland
  • Anita, Switzerland

    We have arrived safely in Switzerland and have already returned to work.
    It was a wonderful trip you put together for us.
    Your excellent service, as well as the 24 hour support service from ARA Tours, was truly outstanding.
    I have already recommended you several times and would book with you again and again. Thank you very much and keep me informed if there are any interesting offers.
    Best wishes.

    Anita, Switzerland
  • Lukas & Isabelle, Switzerland

    Hello Pedro, our time in CR is coming to an end and we wanted to say "thank you very much for organizing a phenomenal week". Everything has been well organized and we have seen many beauties of nature. Thanks!

    Lukas & Isabelle, Switzerland
  • Reinout & Yvonne, The Netherlands

    Thanks Jenny for the clear answer. We will make an appointment via the link you gave us.
    Today we visited National Parc Cabo Blanco. What an amazing park, so quiet for tourists, so full of animals, really lovely and therefore together with Monte Verde, Cahuita and Corcovado the park today, Cabo Blanco, scores high in our ranking of most beautiful parks of CR.These parks give us reason, together with the Pura Vida in CR, to come back soon. We'll keep in contact.

    Reinout & Yvonne, The Netherlands
  • Dominik, Germany

    Good day Jennifer
    As we have already told Simone, the stay at Lapa Rios is extremely enriching, thanks to the well planned planting and the untouched environment we see a lot of animals. Contrary to the plans before the stay, we do not want to visit more animals in captivity at the end. We will have a look at the few hours before we leave.
    We thank you and your team very much for the excellent advice and the permanent support! We can only recommend Ara Tours.
    Best regards.

    Dominik, Germany
  • Daniel, Jana & Theo, Germany

    A big thank to you, you saved our vacation!
    Communication already worked very well in Germany. The help from you, especially through Aline, should be mentioned here. This was fantastic from the first WhatsApp message to the last. We already know Costa Rica, so we knew what we wanted and what not. Ara Tours was an important point of contact for us. We are very grateful to Aline precisely because our actual travel agent cancelled our trip 36 hours before departure. She immediately organized everything for us. Whether the hotel in beautiful Punta Leona, the tours to the national parks, even the shuttle service with the great driver Guillerno Ortega has to be mentioned here. We are very grateful to you, dear Aline, but also to the entire Ara Tours team. You too made our almost 3-week trip to Costa Rica unforgettable again. We would love to come back and of course we will book through Ara Tours again.

    Daniel, Jana & Theo, Germany
  • Alexander & family, Switzerland

    Thank you, everything really worked out great. Super organization and at any time quick info / help / support from you!
    We liked it very much. The conclusion in Quepos was crowning. We liked the beach in the National Park Manuel Antonio very much. We would have liked to stay longer, but we take home many wonderful, unforgettable impressions. PURA VIDA!
    Many thanks to you Aline! We will gladly recommend you to others.

    Alexander & family, Switzerland
  • Neumann Family, Germany

    - The route was super planned, first on the beach time to arrive and then only from Monteverde with excursions inland etc. and at the end again beach - perfect!
    - Support from Ara Tours was VERY good!!! Through Whatsapp reachability the service was great, very quick answers / very flexible, good suggestions etc. Also with the doctor Ara Tours helped with translations by phone - that was really very, very good!
    - The home stay day was an absolute highlight - very authentic - so we got to know the locals REAL, the family was super friendly and very open and have talked about everything. Not at all touristy perceived.

    Neumann Family, Germany
  • Marine & Bruno, France

    We would like to thank you personally for this beautiful trip that you organised for us and for the follow-up that you did throughout the stay. A big thank you also to Jennifer d'Ara tours! Thank you again and have a great week!

    Marine & Bruno, France
  • Walter, Switzerland

    We really appreciated your (almost) daily updates from Costa Rica on Covid and related issues. That was a highlight compared to other incoming agents worldwide! We thank you for your effort and wish you that you manage the coming time well and stay healthy.

    Walter, Switzerland
  • Ronald, Germany

    Our great compliments for keeping us informed every day on the developments. We wish you all the best and keep yourself and families in good health and mood during this unprecedented period!

    Ronald, Germany
  • Kathrin, Germany

    You are really super! It is impressive how you manage the crisis with your super flow of information and the great reversal. Hats off!

    Kathrin, Germany
  • Michael, Germany

    Hello, we were on a round trip in Costa Rica from 27.11., which was booked through BigXtra and organised by them. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much. The tour was simply amazing! The support by Carlos was just great. We have done many trips before, but this one was an unforgettable experience thanks to Carlos. Carlos speaks very good German and was able to sensitively introduce us to Costa Rica, its incomparable nature and its great, friendly inhabitants. Pura Vida became for us a term for the attitude towards life in Costa Rica. Please say hello to Carlos from us and once again a huge thank you to him in the name of the whole group of 8. We wish him only the best for his future.

    Michael, Germany
  • Evelyne, Switzerland

    Wie just did a 4 week trip in Costa Rica which was organised from ARA tours and we really liked it - well done Ara Tours! We also had a guide - his name is Enrique. His German is really good and he knows a lot about Costa Rica and he showed us a lot of animals. We had a wonderful time with hime - thank you so much Enrique!

    Evelyne, Switzerland
  • Tanja, Germany

    perfect tour perfect tour guide pablo, everything very well organised 👍👍👍👍🇨🇷🇨🇨🇷 were thrilled

    Tanja, Germany
  • Ines, Germany

    Many thanks and great praise to our tour guide Mauricio and our bus driver Adrian! We felt very comfortable during the 2 weeks in Costa Rica. The wide-ranging knowledge of Mauricio and the super driving skills of Adrian were particularly admirable. Thanks to the eagle eyes of both of them, we had the opportunity to observe a variety of animals in Costa Rica. Thank you for everything!

    Ines, Germany
  • Sabine, Germany

    I can only recommend ARA Tours. Thanks again to Nicole for the great planning of the tour and the support. Our tour guide Peter Käser was simply incredible (a walking encyclopaedia) and always had an answer to all my questions about the flora and fauna and the history of CR. Our driver Julio carried my father on his hands, for which I am very grateful. CR is also worth a trip for wheelchair users at any time (with ARA Tours, of course).

    Sabine, Germany
  • Thieme Family, Germany

    We would like to thank you once again for organizing our trip [...] through the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Our special thanks go to our tour guide Enrique, who with his extensive knowledge of flora and fauna about his country brought it very close to us and made us want to come even a second time. We were very glad and happy to travel with him, as he was also very committed to our problems on site, in addition to his competent function as a tour guide.

    Thieme Family, Germany
  • Antonia-Maria & Boris, Austria

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sensational effort! I do not know such a competent tour guide as with you really from nowhere else... and we have already traveled a lot... 🙏🏻🍀

    Antonia-Maria & Boris, Austria
  • Katja, Germany

    I wanted to thank you again for the great Costa Rica trip. We flew back home very happy and with many great impressions. A compliment for the super organisation. Everything worked out perfectly (except for the handover of the rental car, which was force majeure...). So thank you again and I have already recommended you to friends:-)!

    Katja, Germany
  • Denise & Alain, Switzerland

    Thank you very much for your email and the tickets. We really appreciate how quickly and efficiently you deal with our requests each time!

    Denise & Alain, Switzerland
  • Philippe, Switzerland

    Hello Christine Thank you very much for this information. The support is super👍 many thanks Gruss

    Philippe, Switzerland
  • Marianne & Stefan Gräub, Switzerland

    Otherwise, the planned trip was a complete success. Everything went well and the visits you organised were all very interesting. The visits you organised were all very interesting and gave us a great insight into the respective topics. The fact that the Ticos are very friendly and always ready to help was fully confirmed.

    Marianne & Stefan Gräub, Switzerland

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