Zika on the Osa Peninsula?
7 Travel Tips for Costa Rica and Zika.
When planning your vacation it is impossible not to consider Zika and Zika Prevention. Zika is no longer just a third world problem. It is quickly spreading through out the world because the Aedes mosquito, that can carry the virus. seems to be everywhere.
We have historically traveled to areas where there are health risk such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, etc. We do this because we have learned how to protect ourselves from infection. This is also true with zika.
I have been contacted by a number of guest wanting to know what is going on with Zika on the Osa Peninsula, in Costa Rica. What should they consider if they decide to vacation here. I travel a lot. These are 7 quick tips that I think are important if you are considering coming to the Osa Peninsula and are concerned about Zika:
1. So Far The Osa is Zika Free.
The Osa appears to be Zika free. That could change but for right now … we are good!
With over 500 reported cases of Zika in Costa Rica, none were reported for the Osa Peninsula (as of August 17, 2016). The closest cases were 2 cases twelve miles away in Golfito. All other Zika cases were substantially north of the Osa Peninsula.
Like everywhere in the tropics, the Osa Peninsula has the Aedes mosquito. This is the mosquito, once infected with Zika virus, can transmits it to people. At this point it appears the Osa mosquitoes are not infected. But honestly given that we have the mosquito, I think it may be a just matter of time. So plan for Zika.
2. Consult your doctor about your travel plans if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant.
Personally given the grave problems with Zika, I wouldn’t take the chance if my wife was pregnant or we were planning to get pregnant.
3. You can protect yourself: Zika is preventable.
While Zika is nothing but bad news, the good news is that you can prevent it. Such things as a good insect repellent combined with common sense are extremely effective. I am not a DEET fan, so I opt for the natural lemon eucalyptus brands such as Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent.
- Consumer Report has a really good repellent article Mosquito Repellents That Best Protect Against Zika.
- For a good overall article on prevention, I recommend Costa Rica and Mosquitoes: Tips to Prevent Zika, Dengue, and More
4. Choose your hotel carefully
Make sure that the hotel you chose is taking the necessary steps to protect you from mosquitoes and possible exposure to this and other related viruses. I can not speak to other hotels on what they do, but we have a very active program of Mosquito Control and Zika Prevention.
5. Just because the Osa is low risk, other areas of Costa Rica are not.
Many travelers to Costa Rica visit more than one place. Like I said, most of the Zika is north of us, some in heavily touristed areas. Make sure that you really look into each spot and see what the Zika risk is.
6. Don’t count on trip insurance.
In the past we have recommended trip insurance but recently we had a guest who was denied payment. She canceled her trip due to Zika. The trip insurance denied her even though she had a doctor’s order prohibiting her from traveling (she was pregnant). If you plan to purchase trip insurance take the time to contact them and get their written policy on cancellation due to Zika.
7. The Costa Rican Government is very active in fighting Zika.
Costa Rica has rallied to fight Zika. They have been impressively quick with aggressive fumigation, community wide garbage removal – elimination of mosquito breeding grounds, and country wide education and monitoring. I really feel like they are not going to let this get out of hand.
Looking for more information on Zika and traveling to Costa Rica? Check these out…
CDC Center of Disease Control website on Costa Rica. This has the US latest updates on traveling to Costa Rica.
WHO World Health Organizations situation report on Zika. This is a weekly report and is more global.
Costa Rican Health Department – Periodic Zika Reports. These are in Spanish and are periodic reports on Zika in Costa Rica by the Minsterio de Salud.