There’s a certain amount of risk in any adventure activity, so know your limits. Be prepared for extremes in temperature and rainfall. A sunny morning hike can quickly become a cold and wet ordeal, so it’s usually a good idea to carry along some kind of rain gear, or to have a dry change of clothing waiting at the end of the trail. And if you’re planning a lot of beach time, don’t forget sunscreen. Getting a bad sunburn is one of the easiest ways to ruin a vacation.
Remember that it’s a jungle out there, and venomous snakes are abundant. Avoid touching vegetation as you walk, avoid walking on leafy or brushy ground, and don’t put your hands or feet anywhere you can’t see.
Avoid swimming in rivers unless a guide tells you it’s safe. Most mangrove canals and river mouths in Costa Rica support healthy crocodile and caiman populations.
Bug bites will probably be your greatest health concern in the Costa Rican wilderness, but they aren’t as big of a problem as you might expect. Coastal visitors will have trouble escaping the bites from the purruja sand fleas, especially below the knees. Long pants and sleeves are recommended. Mosquitoes can carry malaria or dengue, but they feed at predictable hours and are easy to guard against with insect repellent. If you are bitten, some cortisone or Benadryl cream will help soothe the itching.
And remember: Whenever you enter and enjoy nature, you should tread lightly and try not to disturb the natural environment. The popular slogan well known to most campers certainly applies here: "Leave nothing but footprints; take nothing but memories." If you must take home a souvenir, take photos. Do not cut or uproot plants or flowers. Pack out everything you pack in, and please do not litter.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.