HEALTH & SAFETY
Our Team's experience and training will help to minimize the chances of any serious illness or injuries occurring, but it is important to understand that there are certain inherent risks when traveling overseas and certain risks associated with travel in Latin America and the tropics. Costa Rica has one of the highest standards of health care and hygiene in Latin America and even the world, but we encourage all of our visitors to carefully research and consider possible risks before visiting. Below, we provide some resources to help you investigate and make an informed decision before you travel.
HEALTH CARE & ACCESS
Costa Rica has an excellent and well-regarded healthcare system, although access to healthcare is much greater in the urban areas compared to rural regions. Costa Rica consistently ranks at the top of the Americas for the quality of healthcare, often even beating the USA. You can read more about Costa Rica's health care here: PAHO Health in the Americas
EATING & DRINKING
According to the CDC, "Food and water standards in Costa Rica are similar to those in the United States. Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. However, travelers visiting rural or remote areas that are served by unregulated water sources such as private wells should take special precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water." Potable water is available in over 90% of the country.
Costa Rica is prone to several natural disasters including floods, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanic ash eruptions. It is important to be aware of these risks and prepared in case of an unexpected disaster. Hurricanes have only made landfall on Costa Rica twice in recorded history (1851 and 2016).
According to the government of Costa Rica, petty crime affected just 0.02% of international visitors in 2019. The homicide rate in Costa Rica in 2019 was 11 per 100,000 inhabitants. As when traveling to any foreign country, visitors should assume that they are at risk of being targeted for crime and should take precautions to conceal valuables and money.
Costa Rica is considered progressive for its LQBTQ+ rights and tolerance. You can read more about LGBT rights in Costa Rica on Equaldex.
Your chance of contracting any serious tropical disease in Costa Rica is low, especially in areas we visit for our programs. However, malaria, dengue fever, and Zika all exist in Costa Rica. Visit the CDC web page for suggestions and recommended vaccines and medications.
DISABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY
Costa Rica Law 7600 (The Equal Opportunities Law for Persons with Disabilities) ensures that public buses have doors and ramps that accommodate wheelchairs, schools must identify the needs of students and make recommendations to improve accessibility for people with disabilities and new buildings, streets and public spaces must conform to standards of accessibility. However, people with disabilities might find it more challenging to navigate Costa Rica than in the US, Canada, or Europe. You can read more here.