Food Poisoning in Costa Rica

Traveler advisories and reported cases of food poisoning and foodborne illness in Costa Rica.

Have you fallen ill from food or drink, had food poisoning in Costa Rica, or know the details of another traveler who has? Please submit information about what was consumed, where, or what others should avoid consuming.

True food poisoning occurs when a person ingests a contaminating chemical or a natural toxin, while most cases of foodborne illness are caused by a variety of foodborne pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food. Such contamination usually arises from improper handling, preparation, or food storage.

Symptoms typically begin several hours to several days after ingestion and can include one or more of the following: nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, or fatigue. In most cases the body is able to permanently recover after a short period of acute discomfort and illness. However, foodborne illness can result in permanent health problems or even death, especially in babies, young children, pregnant women (and their fetuses), elderly people, sick people and others with weak immune systems.

It's typically in the best interest of a business to keep their customers healthy, but is there a particular restaurant or market in Costa Rica that you know of which consistently has problems with health and hygiene? Are there any food or drink items that travelers should exercise extreme caution with while visiting Costa Rica?

Further reading about foodborne illness

Related Catagories: Costa Rica, Food Poisoning

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T Jones

January 26th, 2011

We just got back from Costa Rica on a Caravan tour where we started out in San Jose at the Barcelo Palacio where two of our group got very ill on Jan, 16, 2011. We then went to Laguna Lodge where at least 10 - 12 more got violently ill. All had every indication that it was food poisoning. I was so sick I passed out and got a black eye from falling. It seemed to get better after we left but then two more got sick at the J.W. Marriott in Guanacaste. In total we had about 20 out of 40 people get sick within 8 days.

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Kate

April 22nd, 2011

I went to Costa Rica last June. We went to San Jose, Moteverde & Guanacaste. The last day we were in Guanacaste I became disoriented, very nauseous/sick and had hallucinations. I did not think I was going to be able to get on the plane to go home. It lasted for about a week after I got home. I couldn't eat and was completely lethargic with chills. While in Costa Rica I only drank bottled water (even to brush my teeth), consumed no fish and very little meat. My doctor said that I may have contracted the food poisoning by eating off a plate that had just been washed and still had some residual tap water on it. If you go to Costa Rica DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! I have never been so miserable in my entire life.

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emerick mathews

February 2nd, 2012

We ate breakfast at Mall San Pedro in San Jose this morning and several of our group became very ill. Be careful of eating buffet style where the food is not served at the proper tempature.

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Barbara

August 31st, 2012

I just returned from CR after falling ill on Friday 8/24/12. I ate ceviche in a place called Jettsy's in San Jose. It was awful. Someone saved my life by taking me to a farmacia for emergency treatment. I recieved two shots, drank electrolytes, and took antibiotics. THe pharmacist/MD told me I could die and that I was gravely ill. I really thought that had a stranger not knocked on my door after hearing me wretching all day, I would not be here. THe whole treatment costs $50.00 and when I got home, I took the empty pill packages to my MD and she convinced me I was treated appropriately. I have a headache now and cannot think straight, yet but I am alive. My MD told me that before I travel next, she will prescribe an antibiotic and benadryl to take along. I also broke out in hives during an earlier part of the trip. Frightening. I never fear that sort of thing.

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Seabone

April 13th, 2013

I am recovering from a severe case of food poisoning on Wednesday night/ Thursday morning & I am still weak. Upon arrival, I ate a fish cassado and the fish was undercooked. The next day, I ate salad, fruit & a tuna stuffed avocado from the Walmart deli @ Curridubat. Within an hour, I had projectile vomiting & foul smelling watery diarrhea. This continued off & on for 6 hours - until I called a cab & went to Hospital Biblica in San Jose where I was given 4 I've bags of fluid & medication. I was violently ill. I am still not well with chest soreness, raw esophagus & throat & headache.

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JULIANA GOMES

July 10th, 2013

14 years old son got food poisoning at the Windham hotel in San Jose. (burger)
besides being extremely expensive the burger was bad.
3 kids ate it and all got sick however my oldest (14) had to be sent to emergency room.

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Kristy

April 13th, 2015

Both my granddaughter and I ate Red Snapper and Maxi's in Manzanillo and became very ill in about 10 hours. With diarrhea and vomiting. It has been 4 weeks and my intestinal tract is still not well. When we returned to the house we were staying at the caretaker said Maxi's has had several cases of food poisoning in recent months.

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