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  • A House of Sparrows

Best mosquito repellents for Costa Rica

Living in the rainforests of Costa Rica has been full of amazing adventures for our family. Toucans, sloths, monkeys and giant insects surround our little casita which is fully covered by the forest.

However, one part of living in the rainforest we can't stand are the mosquitos and no-see-ums! They are relentless and magically appear out of nowhere. Our dining room table and office are all on our front porch so we are in constant threat of being swarmed by these annoying insects.

Costa Rica is a safe country, but there are some mosquito-borne illnesses that you and your family need to protect yourself from. These illnesses are rare but zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya have all been found in Costa Rica. While the land of pura vida is mostly all fun and games, make sure you use proper protection from mosquito bites during your travels.

After calling Costa Rica home for several months now, we have been able to test out several different mosquito repellents and have a few favorite sprays that we feel work the best.

Our family's top rated mosquito repellents for Costa Rica

Off! Deep Woods

This spray is serous business.

The CDC recommends an effective insect repellent contains at least 20% DEET. Off!'s Deep Woods contains 25% DEET and the company boasts that it will provide up to 8 hours of protection. This spray is my husband's go to repellent. He is a magnet for mosquitos and so far this brand has been the most effective.

The aerosol spray allows you to have an easy application and it doesn't feel sticky or heavy on your skin. Also, the smell isn't too strong.

Another DEET brand is Repel 100. This spray is nearly 100% DEET and can provide up to 10 hours of protection! However, this stuff is pretty darn strong. Unless we are going to be doing some heavy hiking or watching the sunset on the beach, I don't prefer to use it just because of the strong odor and how much DEET is actually in the product.


Repel Mosquito Wipes

There are also great if you plan on only bringing a carry on for your trip to Costa Rica. You won't have to worry about the fluid ounces when going through TSA like you would with the sprays.


Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent

If you prefer to use DEET-free products, there are several natural options you can choose from. What I used during our time in Costa Ria is Repel's lemon eucalpytus spray. The smell is mild and I have found it works just as well as any DEET product. Plus, it generally is a cheaper option. It does wear off quicker so make sure you apply after about 2 hours and pack enough for your trip.

Another natural option is Greenerways Organic Insect Repellent. I have personal never used this brand but they have great reviews from fellow travelers and is 100% USDA organic.


Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil

I'm all about natural so when I've read how lemon-eucalyptus essential oil can help ward off mosquitos, I bought several bottles to bring with us to Costa Rica.

I do most of my work on our porch so I set up my diffuser on our table and mix a few drops of the essential oil with water. While I still use my natural insect repellent, I feel the diffuser helps create a barrier between our yard and our porch.

When I have the diffuser on, I notice less mosquitos and flies. It keeps my mind at peace knowing if my repellent wears off, I still have another protection from those little suckers.


For our family, we prefer the strong stuff for our adventurous days out in the rainforest, and the natural repellents if we are at home. While I prefer to use as natural products on our family as I can, I'd rather use DEET than risk any of us contracting any diseases.


More tips

  • Mosquitos are more prevalent during the rainy season which runs from May to November.

  • Cover up bare skin with light weight clothing.

  • Avoid wearing perfume, cologne or heavily scented lotions which attract mosquitos and other insects.

  • Bring cortizone or other anti-itch creams just in case you do get bit. There is nothing more annoying then dealing with itchy bites during your vacation.

  • Its important to know that insect repellents are very expensive in Costa Rica, over 50% more! So before you take your trip, stock up on your preferred bug spray to bring with you. If you end up forgetting it or need more you an easily find them in almost any grocery store.

Happy traveling!

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