We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

Los Angeles...
4 posts
Save Topic
Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

Hi - My DH, 7 year old son and I are scheduled to fly into SJO on 8/22, just a few days away. We depart on 8/31. It will be our first time in CR. We have traveled alot. I recently learned about the surge in dengue fever in CR (including the more lethal kind), and am quite concerned. The trip was very last minute, so we have not yet finalized our itinerary.

Our tentative itinerary: We were planning on going to Tortuguero for a few days, and then on to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. We planned to stay there for a few days, with ideas of exploring Cahuita and Manzanillo. Beaches were not that key as we have plenty of beaches back home. We were also thinking of adding a day or two in Arenal, or in Puerto Viejo de salpiqui. We selected our itinerary based partially on weather (trying to avoid too much rain), and a desire to see lots of cool indigenous wildlife and plants. Also we want to do some not too intense adventure stuff. (Suitable for a 7 year old boy, and his not super fit parents.)

Amidst all my borderline-obsessive last minute research, I read about the dengue fever outbreak. My brother was bitten by a mosquito as a boy and developed virus encephalitis, leaving him with life long brain damage. So I have a healthy respect for mosquito borne diseases.

I am considering not going at all, which I hate to do. It would mean losing quite a bit of money, and we are not rich. Plus we were really excited to go. So our first choice would be to go, but go to areas where there is no dengue. Are there any such areas? If so, which ones?

I have read some posts saying central highlands Has no dengue. But I have also read a post from a recent visitor who said there were lots of mosquitoes in Arenal/la Fortuna area. So I am confused.

Can a region have lots of mosquitoes but no dengue?

What about Monteverde? I had not planned on going there because it seemed like it would be super rainy. How is dengue risk there? And how rainy is it?

What about Tortuguero? How is the dengue situation there? I really want to at least go there, but it seems there are a lot of mosquitoes. I have thought about wearing long sleeves, pants and socks but fear that will be very unpleasant in the heat and humidity. Also, slathering the DEET on scares me a bit as it is apparently a neurotoxin. Would long sleeves and pants and socks be miserable in Tortuguero this time of year?

Many thanks in advance for any help you can provide. Jessica

Mentioned in this post
Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
Juan Santamaria Intl...
San Jose, Costa Rica
Tortuguero
Tortuguero
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
Cahuita
Cahuita
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
Manzanillo
Manzanillo
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
Arenal Lodge
Arenal Lodge
899 Reviews
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Hotel La Fortuna
Hotel La Fortuna
547 Reviews
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Monteverde
Monteverde
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

Yes, you can experience lots of mosquitoes without dengue mosquitoes. I live near Tenorio Volcano in an area of a large rainforest and there are lots of mosquitoes at my house ...... but..... no dengue in this area.

There really is no choice but to use a good mosquito repellent. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to use something with DEET. Consult your pediatrician about what repellent to use for your son.

You won't find swarms and swarms of mosquitoes either in Tortuguero or the southern Caribbean. I have lived in Costa Rica a long time and hardly ever wear any repellent. I recently spent a few days in Tortuguero and had no problem whatsoever with mosquitoes. The only time it was an issue was at dinner since all the restaurants are open-air. But I just wore long pants, socks and sneakers (they seemed to love my ankles!) and it was no problem.

Keep in mind that dengue mosquitoes are active during the day and like shady areas. For your hotel room, you can buy at any supermarket either mosquito coils or an electric device that is like a plug-in room freshener but has a little cardboard piece impregnated with repellent. It is not obnoxious and doesn't smell bad. I used it once when I stayed in a little cabin in the Puerto Viejo area where you could see the outside through some of the walls and didn't get one mosquito bite.

Bring very lightweight long sleeve shirts and pants (and shorts and short sleeves and tank tops, of course) and if a day is very overcast or drizzly, they won't seem like too much. And you will be glad to have them at night.

The government of Costa Rica has a massive program to combat dengue and there have been major improvements very recently. I would not cancel your trip but just be careful, use a good repellent and the electric "repeller" at night and maybe burn a mosquito coil outside your hotel door to keep any of the pesky devils from coming inside.

Edited: 18 August 2013, 00:29
Mentioned in this post
Tenorio Volcano National Park
Tenorio Volcano National...
Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Tortuguero
Tortuguero
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
Caribbean
Caribbean
North America
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Central America
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
La Fortuna de San...
Level Contributor
2,002 posts
191 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

When in doubt I always check the CDC's government website under "Traveler's Health" for Costa Rica: …cdc.gov/travel/…costa-rica. Right now it says there are no "Travel Health Notices" for Costa Rica. There is, however, a map and most of the malaria issues seem to be on the Caribbean side which would include Tortuguero and Puerto Viejo: …cdc.gov/travel/…seldyfm533

The best thing you can do is to be up to date on your vaccinations and bring lightweight long pants & tops and make sure to bring bug spray/lotion. I find that lotion tends to cover more since you actually have to apply it by hand whereas the spray I tend to miss spots. My favorite is OFF Family as it has a pleasant scent and low Deet content which I find works here (this from somebody who has lived here for 4 years and is a mosquito magnet)! I've traveled all over the world and if I understand being cautious but I'd advise just be informed and ENJOY your time in this beautiful country! :-) Hope this helps!!!

Mentioned in this post
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Central America
Caribbean
Caribbean
North America
Tortuguero
Tortuguero
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Province of Limon, Costa Rica
Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
Level Contributor
2,655 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

Although the Caribbean coast has had Dengue outbreaks in the past, the main focus of this year's is the Pacific and following the excellent advice from Hattie and villa hermosa should prevent problems. Malaria is just about unheard of by the way, before you start worrying about that - in 14 years here, I haven't known anyone who has had it. Have a great trip!

Mentioned in this post
Caribbean
Caribbean
North America
Costa Rica
Level Contributor
25,653 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

Yeah, malaria really not a problem. Last year, there were 12 cases (out of a population over 4 million) and these were in a very remote area of Limon Province.

Mentioned in this post
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
272 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

We just returned from 20 days in CR, our first time there too. We have 2 children ages 10 and 13. I started everyone on vitamin B1 two weeks before we left. I ordered "Skin Armour" soap on-line which is supposed to repel mosquitoes and we took along lots of DEET. The mosquitoes left us pretty much alone, other creepy crawlies still bit us (no-see-ums) but they weren't anything to worry about.

We traveled to 5 different destinations in CR finishing down on the OSA peninsula so we were where the bugs were.

I would take the advice offered above and head on down. We had the time of our lives and I am so glad that we did not cancel out trip due to concerns about dengue.

Mentioned in this post
Osa Peninsula
Osa Peninsula
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Maryland
Level Contributor
111 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

I agree, I think you'd be fine. We used deet lotions and sprays - primarily ultrathon lotion, occasionally touching up with Off. For some added protection we sometimes wore pre-treated long sleeves and pants and treated some clothes ourselves with permethrin spray, but that may have been overkill.

We got a few bites when we ventured out without any protection, but with protection the bugs left us alone.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
49,595 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

Thank you freezi...is so ahrd to proveide aadvice about issues like dengue...some people accuse us natives or nice expats that lives among us...to be at the defensive side...when really all you need is common sense...!

ONCE AGAIN GRACIAS freezinmg

roadadvisor

8. Re: Dengue concerns in Costa Rica. Help!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 21 August 2014, 07:20