Costa Rica bugs and snakes–how many are there? Should I be worried?
Of course there are bugs in Costa Rica. There are bugs everywhere in the world, and especially where it is hot. But the nice thing about the Papagayo area is that we are the driest part of the entire country. Most areas in Costa Rica are technically rain forests; they receive an unbelievable amount of rain. Most communities, even just one hour from Playas del Coco or Playa Hermosa, get 3 to 10 times as much annual rainfall as we do. We are the only area in the country that experiences a dry season. From December to April we get absolutely ZERO rain. Not ONE SINGLE DROP. It is awesome. There is almost no humidity and it is a perfect 90 degrees every day and 70 degrees at night. Then from May to November we get very little precipitation, just a few hours every week and usually just in the afternoon from 3 to 5 pm. Because we have a dry season, we have no standing water, which is the breeding ground for mosquitoes and other small flying creatures. Because there are no mosquitoes, there are no bigger bugs that eat them and the food chain is stopped and you very rarely see anyone with mosquito bites. Like every beach in the world, at dusk comes the invisible sand fleas, or Noseeums (You can’t see em). So if you are going to be having a cocktail and watching the sunset you might want to put on a little repellent on your feet and legs. In most parts of the world, as you drive your vehicle your windshield is bombarded with bugs. Not here and that is one of the main reasons I live here. I hate bugs and I especially hate spiders, I am like a little girl, and I could not live somewhere that I had to constantly deal with them on a daily basis. Trust me; in the Papagayo Region of Costa Rica bugs are practically nonexistent.
The only creature that you might get is scorpions, but unlike Arizona or Texas, they are not very common and not poisonous. Although they do hurt when or if they sting you, they will not kill you or cause any serious harm. It is like getting stung by a bee. You scream, yell and curse, but it is over very quickly, and the scorpion usually gets the worst of it as most of the time you stepped on it with your foot and killed it. I have lived here since 2003 and I have only been nailed once. Believe me, it hurt, but the pain was over in a few minutes and I was just left with a welt for about a day. They tend to hide in very dark places, like the back of cabinet below your sink or under a crate you had stacked up in the corner. They do not run very fast, so it is easy to smash them before they slip into a crack beneath the wall. There are precautions that you can take to minimize your encounters with these very small but ugly creatures. First off, you should have your home fumigated once every few months, just like you do anywhere back home. Maids are very inexpensive here too, so having her come once or twice a week to clean eliminates your odds as well. Always shake your shoes and wet towels or bathing suits, before you put them on, and don’t reach into dark corners or cabinets without taking a peak first. You might want to keep a couple Benadryl around just in case, as just like a bee sting, some people have had allergic reactions to them and feel their lips getting numb after a sting.
I laugh when people ask me if they are going to see a snake. NO, I tell them, probably NEVER. Snakes tend to MOVE when development happens. With new homes and condos, the snakes head to the hills where there is no one to disturb their surroundings. Also most of the snakes are in the jungle, not at the beach. Costa Rican has dozens of species of snakes, some of them poisonous. But they are in places like Arenal, Dominical, Manual Antonio, Nosara, Osa and the Caribbean Coast, not in Playas del Coco in Guanacaste at the beach. RELAX. Just like living anywhere though, use common sense. Don’t walk in really high brush with open toe sandals and don’t stick your arms into piles of rocks. Most snakes are nocturnal so pay attention if you are walking in a rural area at night. To be honest with you, the only time I ever see snakes are when they are road kill on the highway.
One of the main reasons I live here is because of the beauty. There is so much nature and so many gorgeous flowers and trees. In Costa Rica bugs might cross your path once in a while, but most likely you will see a flying creature that will impress you and make you go WOW; like hummingbirds and butterflies.
Hope to see you down here soon. Just to be safe, bring some OFF.
We have 2 great Exterminators here at the beach.
MR. SOLUTION SERVICES
Rafael Montano Chavarria
COME ON DOWN BABY!