When giving orientations and presentations to first-timers, we always emphasize this as the number one key aspect to being safe in Costa Rica. There is so much life in the beautiful land of Pura Vida, Pura Life. With this, there are also many creatures (just to name a few….sloths, monkeys, lizards, alligators) and places to visit where you need to use caution. To do this, the simple teaching is to be aware.
There are many amazing volcanoes and mountains for the hiker, but be sure to plan accordingly. The terrain can be challenging so be sure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re not in good shape, know that there are many 3K and 5K trails that are just as worthy of accomplishment. When you embark on your journey uphill, bring along an ample water supply as the water can be quite hot and humid. Stay in tune with your hydration level to avoid any mishaps. As you trek through rainforests, pay close attention to your map and compass; it’s easy to get lost, so be sure to remain in the moment and be attentive to your surroundings.
Costa Rica has some of Central America’s most poisonous snakes, including the fer-de-lance and the bushmaster. Be aware of each step you take as you venture into wildlife areas so you don’t run into an unfriendly neighbor. Crocodiles are a reality at many estuaries, and bull sharks have been known to hang around the mouth of Río Sirena in Corcovado.
When ocean-side, don’t swim too far or swim away from areas you’ve been told can be dangerous. If you find yourself caught in a rip-tide, stay calm and don’t fight it. Simply float and let the rip-tide carry you beyond the breakers, at which point the rip-tide will dissolve and open access for you to float to shore.
Ultimately, you should walk with mindfulness, touch things with mindfulness, look around with mindfulness. The great thing is, not only will you be safe, but you will also have an opportunity to experience your time to the fullest, experiencing the True Nature of Costa Rica.