Do I Need To Take Malaria Pills Or Get Certain Vaccinations for my trip to Costa Rica?

Information about malaria changes from year to year. Currently the CDC does not recommend a malaria vaccine before you travel to Costa Rica. No immunizations, shots or vaccinations are required to enter Costa Rica from North America or Europe. You must, however, have a yellow fever vaccination if you arrive from Sub-Saharan Africa or South America, or if you have recently traveled to any of those places.

Check with your doctor for and individualized vaccination recommendation. Depending on what you might plan to do while you're there, your doctor might recommend a vaccine.

Your risk for contracting malaria varies greatly depending on the region. You are at the highest risk for contracting malaria in the Alajuela and Limón provinces, and especially in remote parts of the Caribbean coast. There is not a significant risk of contracting either malaria or dengue in any of Costa Rica's major cities. Most tourist destinations do not come with a high risk of dengue or malaria. Destinations in the highlands have a greatly reduced risk of malarial mosquitoes. This includes places like Monteverde in the Central Highlands, Arenal, Poás, and Irazú.

It’s also more likely that you will be bitten in the early evening, around sunset. Make sure to avoid mosquitoes as much as possible, wear clothing that covers your skin in the evening, and wear bug spray with DEET.

The CDC recommends that you be up to date with the following vaccines:

  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)

  • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis

  • Varicella (chickenpox)

  • Polio

  • Annual flu shot

They also recommend that most travelers get vaccinated for the following:

  • Hepatitis A

  • Typhoid

For an updated health information about travel to Costa Rica please visit the CDC website.

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