Exotic Costa Rica is known for its lush jungles, cool creatures and some of the finest beaches in the world. Visitors to this prosperous Latin country often find themselves awestruck by the friendly locals, pristine coastline, endemic wildlife and great food. While there are plenty of things you certainly should see and do on your visit to this tourist paradise, there are a few things to avoid and be wary of. Here are 20 things you shouldn’t do in Costa Rica.
1. Don’t Feed the Monkeys
The adorable monkeys are a big hit with tourists, but please don’t feed them – for your sake as well as theirs. Conditioning them to expect human handouts diminishes their self-reliant survival instincts. Monkeys usually roam 17 km per day, but if they know people are going to feed them, they get lazy and don’t get the exercise they need. Our food isn’t good for monkeys and, contrary to popular belief, even bananas aren’t the ideal food choice (many are laden with pesticides). Monkeys can pass diseases onto humans and, visa versa, we can pass on bugs to our primate cousins. Furthermore, the monkeys can be rather aggressive. They’ve been known to take swipes, snatch bags and even purposely pee on people standing under them. It’s also against the law, so forget the tempting photo-op and just don’t do it.
2. Don’t Let Your Snake Guard Down
We certainly don’t want to scare you away from Costa Rica, but you should be aware that there are 22 venomous species of snake slithering around the country. This includes the fer-de-lance, eye-lash viper and coral snake. In fact, it is estimated that there are two deadly snakes per hectare there. Rest assured, they’re usually shy try to avoid people, but bites do happen (especially during El Niño cycles). Between 2005 and 2013, 6,424 people sought treatment for snakebites in Costa Rica. The medical system is very good here, so most afflicted people live, but it’s not something you want to experience on your holiday. Be vigilant, stay on marked trails and obey your guide.