Costa Rica

Costa Rica, North America and Caribbean

Malaria Risk & Vaccination Information

What is the risk of malaria in Costa Rica?

The risk of malaria in Costa Rica is low.

CDC states rare local cases occasionally occur in Matina Canton in Limón Province, Sarapiquí Canton in Heredia Province, and Pital District in San Carlos Canton in Alajuela Province. UK malaria resources provide similar information.

Please check here to see a malaria map of Costa Rica on TravelHealthPro (an NHS website).

What Malaria prophylaxis do I need to prevent malaria in Costa Rica?

It is the opinion of Travelpharm that malaria tablets are not needed for travel to Costa Rica. Whilst the risk of malaria is low it is still important to ensure that mosquito bite avoidance measures are used.

What else can I do to prevent malaria?

For more information and advice on how to prevent malaria, see our How To Avoid Insect & Mosquito Bites page.

Chikungunya virus infection in the Caribbean islands and the Americas

This is a virus passed on by being bitten by infected mosquitos. The incubation period is typically 3–7 days and symptoms include acute onset of fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, conjunctivitis, nausea/vomiting, or rash. The symptoms usually go within 10 days but in some may last months especially for the elderly and people with underlying health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

As this is a virus, there is no medication to prevent or treat the disease and anti-malarial tablets such as Chloroquine will not have an effect on it.

Bite avoidance measures should be taken and followed firmly to reduce the likelihood of being bitten.

The affected mosquitoes tend to bite during the day so wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers wherever possible and ensure that a strong insect repellent is used and reapplied regularly, especially after swimming.

You should also sleep under a mosquito net and if you are staying for a long time or are unsure of the hotel/hostel, it would be advisable to take a battery-operated or plug-in mosquito killer for your room to kill any lingering mosquitos.

What Vaccines do I need for Costa Rica?

Below is a table designed to show you what vaccines are mandatory, recommended or ones to consider when visiting Costa Rica:

CholeraHepatitis AHepatitis BJapanese EncephalitisMeningitisRabies

Rec Con

TetanusTick Borne EncephalitisTuberculosisTyphoid Yellow Fever Vaccine

Rec Con No, but certificates may be needed depending on which country you arrived from.

Man = Mandatory

Con = Consider

Rec = Recommended

Req = Required if visiting from an area with risk of transmission

Other countries in North America and the Caribbean »

Information Reviewed by Andrew Walton MPharm our Superintendent Pharmacist on: 30/4/2021