Food and Water Safety in Costa Rica

If you have a fear of food-poisoning from eating somewhere unfamiliar while traveling, or of being sickened by the local tap water, you’re certainly not alone. Many travelers research their destinations in advance to choose where to eat ahead of time so they can avoid disreputable spots and take their trip without fear of the toilet. But is this practical? More importantly, is it the best way to enjoy your holiday when you go to Costa Rica

While copious research could help, the best way to stay healthy while traveling is by picking up a few rules and tools to spot situations that could be sketchy, and go for the food that is fresh, first. You’re in the right place for that information – read on!

What to know about the food in Costa Rica:

  • Street food: You don’t want to miss this stuff, really. Street food is always great, especially in Costa Rica. You get to watch it be cooked before your eyes so you can be less concerned about whether or not it’s fresh, and you can ask them to cook something fresh for you if you’re ever unsure!
  • If it looks sketchy, stay away. You gotta know when to trust your gut. Does it look old? Has it been sitting in the sun for a while? Is the salad not at the *peak* of freshness? Best to walk the other way. 
  • Go for crowded joints. When there are many people eating at a restaurant, the odds are excellent that they’re eating there for a reason. Good patronage=good food. 
  • Limit the fruit. Fiber is good for you – in moderation. Many people make the mistake of overdoing it with the delicious, tropical fruit that are in abundance in the markets. But, do yourself a favor – set a limit, or it will come back to haunt you. 

Can you drink the water in Costa Rica? 

Overall, yes you can. The water in the bigger cities will be safe and potable, and to many people is considered delicious. That said, there are a few places to watch out for, where drinking the tap water would not be prudent: beach destinations and rural countrysides are not known for their sparkling-clean pipes. You can always drink bottled water, or (to be more eco-friendly) try a purification option with your own reusable water bottle. Invest in some water purification tablets, or carry a UV pen, and you’ll be just fine. 

Cover photo source:

Looking for more information? 

Check out the following articles below for more tips on safety in Costa Rica: 

Safety in Costa Rica

Scams in Costa Rica

Getting around: Buses and Taxis in Costa Rica

Solo Travel in Costa Rica

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