Safe to eat salad and fruit in CR?

Old Feb 28th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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This thread is good "food" for thought.

I have to say, that both my husband and I got terribly sick from a Fridays Restaurant in Times Square, New York who knows.

I don't think washing lettuce in chlorox is the answer.
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Old Feb 28th, 2005, 02:28 PM
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"Sewage in the gutters" might be the norm in Quepos....but certainly nowhere I've personally visited in Costa Rica.

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Old Feb 28th, 2005, 03:52 PM
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Jerry, you're right--I did repeat you. And certainly didn't say it any better than you. I was just a little over zealous to get the point across--and thought it needed repeating!

As for the sewer in the gutters--hogwash
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Old Feb 28th, 2005, 04:37 PM
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As for the sewer in the gutters--hogwash

Where do you people go in CR, direct to western resorts without stopping in the towns? Do you even see how the locals live in the villages? I'm glad when I travel I am not this oblivious and sheltered.


"In one particular area in Manuel Antonio, from Biblos hotel down to the beach, the sewage water flows into Quebrada Camaronera estero. This pipe runs directly to the National Park entrance. From there the water has no where else to go but to the sea. In this case not only the animals suffer but the humans as well. This a place where many tourists come to swim, but little do they know that the water is polluted with waste. "
Quepos is still far from pristine—"charmingly scuzzy". The waters off the beach in town, however, are contaminated by raw sewage, and should be avoided."
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Old Feb 28th, 2005, 07:20 PM
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RBCal, I am familiar with Paul Glassman and his opinions on Quepos. He has taken a lot of heat for his remarks and has made some apologies since writing them. Or perhaps "concessions" is a better word. That is also about 5 years in the past and hopefully has been resolved by now.

I will be the first to admit that I haven't spent a lot of time in Quepos (don't plan to unless I decide to do some sport fishing). However, I have spent 3-4 weeks at a time traveling through Costa Rica (and no, not at "western resorts"). I have lived in those little villages to which you are referring--with "the locals", many of whom are my friends. I have found the little towns and villages to be for the most part clean and neat, as are the families who inhabit them.

The public restrooms are some of the cleanest I have found traveling anywhere--including on our interstates here in the U.S. Of course their sewage system is not as refined as ours.

I am by no means oblivious and tend to lean more toward the conservative side when it comes to food standards. I stand by my original statement that you can eat and drink when and where you want in Costa Rica and aren't going to have any greater chance of getting sick than you might anywhere here in our country. It's not Mexico, amigo.

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Old Feb 28th, 2005, 09:07 PM
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So my bottom line question is whether Quepos and Manuel Antonio are safe and whether I should take additional precautions to avoid problems during my 3 night stay there.
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Old Mar 1st, 2005, 04:44 AM
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To answer the original question, I was in Costa Rica last week with several friends. We ate fruit and drank tap water. All of us got sick but took Cipro and Lomotil and this resolved it within a day.
The restroom at the bus station in downtown Quepos, was on the par with those in Mexico, not the USA.
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Old Mar 1st, 2005, 05:09 AM
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Also, see the Let's Go (no pun intended) web site on Costa Rica and diet:
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Old Mar 1st, 2005, 05:42 AM
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Well this has turned into a very heated subject!

First, I have no idea if indeed this works...But - I read some years back to eat yogurt before travel. So for a couple of months before we travel, I always eat 2-3 servings of yogurt per day. I have never been sick - knock on wood! And this helps with my weight control issues!

To answer the original post "Do we have to go by the rule of boil it, peel it, cook it, or forget it" and to hopefully eliminate any fear for the average tourist.

When visiting areas of CR that the average tourist on this forum enjoys, you will be staying in hotels that are average to above average. The food prepartion will be safe, but naturally anything can happen.

Now whether or not to go out into a local market and pick up fruits/vegetables and bite in. Well, no probably not a good idea. But this is not advisable here in the states anymore either.

When traveling on our own, throughout CR, we always look for sodas or restaurants that have the most business. Just as you would in the states. If it is noon and there are no vehicles there, would you stop in the US, no probably not.

As for salads in hotel restaurants and touristy restaurants, we have eaten many many salads and love them. We have been to CR 4 times and have never once experienced any unpleasant stomach problems.

Can a problem arrise? Certainly, anytime you are introducing anything new to your system, you can experience problems. Some peoples systems are simply more sensitive than others. Some people tend to drink more alcohol on vacation. And unfortunately MANY people forget to drink enough water. Some of the spices are different. Large amounts of fruits and salads can upset your system. Even the lifestyle change from sitting in front of your TV to being extremely active, jolts the system.

If the thought of eating salads makes you uncomfortable, then avoid them.

Even when using the best of common sense and being as cautious as possible - things do happen, just like they can and do here at home.

Immodium, Cipro are two things to have along.
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Old Mar 1st, 2005, 06:00 AM
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We were in Quepos a couple weeks ago.. walked around several streets... didn't see or smell any sewage... ate at one corner restaurant... certainly consumed a little melted ice from drinks.. ate two more eves in MA.. Drank CR bottled water maybe 85% of the time, and the rest tap water in restaurants.. We were just a little cautious... everything tasted fine... never had any digestive problems at all..
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Old Mar 1st, 2005, 06:31 AM
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Forgive me but I want to add one more thing.

We do not in any way take this subject lightly.

A couple years back, we spent a long weekend in the Dominican Republic, my husband became seriously ill. As a result he ended up in the hospital for 3 days.

Once you have experienced the seriousness of E. Coli, it makes one very cautious. My husband is comfortable in CR, however we never travel now, without a prescription of Cipro, just in case.
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Old Mar 1st, 2005, 06:32 AM
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The reason this topic is heated is that before I went to CR, I took the advice that you don't have to worry about the food or water. If I were to go again, I would not drink tap water but would not worry about the food.
CR's infrastructure is not on a par with the USA. The roads are poor, the bridges are hair-raising to drive over and the "sewage" system is septic tanks at the developed resorts or drains into the ocean in less developed areas.
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Old Mar 1st, 2005, 07:32 AM
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I do not view this as heated. I appreciate all of the information.

This is my summary to avoid getting sick:
1) Drink bottled water
2) Eat at mainstream restaurants
3) Avoid Public bathrooms. (Of course wash hands)
4) If I buy veggies or fruits, was carefully
5) Bring immodium and cipro just in case.

Did I leave anything out?
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Old Mar 1st, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Immodium doesn't work as well as Lomotil, both Cipro and Lomotil can be bought over the counter at almost any Farmacia.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 03:35 PM
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Just returned from CR. The last 2 posts said it all. We drank bottled water or BEEEER.
arbegold is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2005, 07:11 PM
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Wow what a topic.

It is interesting that you can buy Cipro and Lomotil over the counter in Costa Rica !!!

Immodium I can see ,but Lomotil ,hmmmm, this is not a drug to use lightly !

Percy is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 04:38 AM
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We ate and drank no problems, the locals we spent time with all washed the fruits and veggies and were concerned about pesticides as we are. We spent the night in a cave and had organic fruits/veg and drank our organic coffee with water from the falls! We were with a group that was into raw foods diet and the food was great.
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Old Mar 4th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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"We spent the night in a cave and had organic fruits/veg and drank our organic coffee with water from the falls!"

This was not a good idea. See:

""Many people feel that their lives are overly routine, overly bureaucratized, that they're constrained by institutions," said Lori Holyfield, a University of Arkansas sociologist who has studied people who seek ultimate experiences like rock-climbing in remote places. "They don't want real danger, just the feel of flirting with it."

But they often get more than they bargained for. A whitewater rafting expedition in Costa Rica in 1996 gave five rafters leptospirosis, a serious disease that can lead to organ failure. It's caused by rodent urine contaminating water."
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Old Mar 4th, 2005, 09:13 AM
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I guess we have always been lucky ! And thank goodness , no - one wants the "runs" (or worse ) on vacation (we always bring a little pharmacy ). We did drink the tap water ( my husband was the guinea pig for the first day or so ) , basically , we ate , drank , and were merry ! Some people have more sensitive stomachs as well . It is a personal thing and just makes sense that if you have a concern in this area take the obvious precautions .... ( just to be a bit of a firestoker , the worst washroom I have ever seen WAS in the States at a highway Mc'Pigs , UGH !!!! ) A lot of the points brought up here are the obvious to me , Costa Rica is a developing country , still considered third world , comparisons to more developed countries is a mute point .
faithie is offline  
Old Mar 4th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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I am somewhat annoyed by RBCal. Would you call someone from Europe, visiting the US, "oblivious and sheltered" if they chose not to visit Harlem when they were visiting New York City?
Most travellers have money and choose to relax on vacation, rather than make a "peace corps" type experience out of it.
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