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blearynet Feb 18th, 2005 04:12 PM

Safe to eat salad and fruit in CR?
Do we have to go by the rule of boil it, peel it, cook it, or forget it in Costa Rica, or is it okay to eat salad and fruit? We are very experienced Mexico travelers, and have learned to be very cautious there. Same problem in CR?

murphy451 Feb 18th, 2005 05:38 PM

Ate and drank everything down there with no problem. Even ate Cehechi(spelled wrong) and it was great. Enjoy.

shillmac Feb 18th, 2005 09:22 PM

Ceviche--wish I had some right now! You won't have to give a second thought to what you are eating. Just enjoy and chow down!

hopabout Feb 18th, 2005 11:45 PM

I have lived in Peru, Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica for many years now. Everywhere, including the states says peel the fruit, wash this and that... etc. Between the pesticides, waters, fertilizers, etc. who knows?

Many salads here are actually veggies that are cooked a little. Like, brocolli, cauliflour, carrots, etc. in a cold salad. The word salad here actually means vegetables to the Costa Ricans.

You will find that the primary salad in Costa Rica consists of raw cabbage with limon and a slice of tomato on it.

One very good Costa Rica doctor told me not to eat anything that was not cooked. Then , he put me on salads!

Think of it this way.... what you buy from the tropics comes from here, anyway.

I do buy bottled water, however.


gannetmusic Feb 19th, 2005 07:13 AM

We've stayed mostly in mid-range accomodations in Costa Rica, eaten in all sorts of restaurants and never had any problem with food [including plenty of fresh salads] or water.

The only problems I've ever had with travel-related stomach ailments were in Mexico and Detroit.


tully Feb 19th, 2005 07:56 AM

I filled my water bottle every day from the tap, ate salads, fruit, etc & had no problems (this was in Alajuela & Manuel Antonio).

CiCi Feb 19th, 2005 05:25 PM

I think the only thing you really have to be careful with is the lettuce (particularly in May--more or less when the rainy season starts. That is why it is called "mal de mayo")

Just got back for CR Monday and the local family we were with always soaked their lettuce in a clorox solution for 5 minutes. You can buy the plastic bag full of clorox with instructions on how long to soak lettuce, etc.

RHR Feb 21st, 2005 11:02 AM

You can eat almost anything and drink water from most taps. However, at a $1.00 for a bottle of water, it a little price to pay for peace of mind.

Fruits were great.
Fish was great.

If your ever in doubt go with the rice and beans.

RufusTFirefly Feb 21st, 2005 07:58 PM

While most people do not experience any provlems, there is a somewhat higher rate of Hep A and gastro-intestinal infections in CR than in Canada and the USA. CR is better than most of Central America in this regard.

It partly depends on where you are dining.

miguelgcuadra Feb 22nd, 2005 06:10 AM

Ceviche is safe, the lime juice kills all bacterias.
I would stay away from lettuces.

Melissa5 Feb 24th, 2005 10:06 PM

I read that lime juice doesn't kill everything, it just makes it taste limey!

As far as eating raw salads and unpealed fruits, here's what my husband told me. He's a biologist. He says that, if you have a sensitive system, you shouldn't eat raw unpeeled fruits and raw salads when travelling anywhere, for the reason that when you are in a new area, the flora and fauna is different, and whatever might be on the raw fruit and salad is something your body isn't accostomed to, and it might give you digestive problems even though it doesn't cause the locals problems.

If you have a sensitive digestive system, as I do, you're better off eating only cooked or pealed foods while traveling.

dariow Feb 25th, 2005 09:59 AM

I normally eat a lot of salads. What specific salad dishes would you recommend?

Vet Feb 25th, 2005 03:10 PM

We just arrived back from Arenal, Monteverde and Ocotal and we ate salad everywhere! No problems for us. We did however drink bottled water.

RBCal Feb 28th, 2005 08:20 AM

All members of our party became sick in Costa Rica. I think it is almost impossible to avoid uncooked vegetables, ice in drinks, etc. You can buy Cipro and Lomotil over the counter in CR. Take either of these and you should be fine by the next day.

shillmac Feb 28th, 2005 08:38 AM

Becoming sick in Costa Rica from food is much like becoming sick in the U.S. from food. It can happen. In many visits (some extended) to many parts of the country, staying in hotels, living in homes of familias costariccense, eating at roadside stands,etc. we have never been sick and have eaten everything available, drank tap water, etc. If we were ever to become ill there, we would assume the same thing we assumed when my husband became very ill after eating at a very nice restaurant in Newport Beach, California last August--food poisoning.

gannetmusic Feb 28th, 2005 09:21 AM

Shillmac - you more-or-less said what I said ....but you expressed it so much better! [as usual.....]


RBCal Feb 28th, 2005 10:47 AM

To compare sanitation standards in Newport Beach to Costa Rica is ludicrous. Costa Rica has sewage running in the gutters next to the sidewalks. The sewage runs directly into the ocean. When was the last time you saw this in Newport Beach?
Montezuma's revenge is due to variant strains of E. Coli due to poor sanitation and unwashed hands. This is much more prevalent in Costa Rica and it pays to be cautious, unless you have travelled extensively and already have immunity to the variant E. Coli strains.

Ally Feb 28th, 2005 11:05 AM

Wow. In 15 trips to Costa Rica, from Tamarindo all the way to Povones and in-between, I have never seen sewage running in the gutters. Where have you seen this? Has anyone else seen or even heard about this???

RBCal Feb 28th, 2005 11:06 AM

Did you walk around downtown Quepos? I have pictures if you want.

dariow Feb 28th, 2005 01:51 PM

Have you seen this problem in Arenal, Monteverde or Manuel Antonio?

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