Your safety is of utmost importance to us at Casa Roja. The remoteness of our location and proximity to a wild environment are some of the most special qualities of the property, but they also require each guest to be aware of potential safety hazards and how to avoid them. Casa Roja is best suited for visitors in good health with an adventurous streak, who understand that immersing in nature comes with potential risks and discomforts. Here we describe some of the hazards you may encounter on the property and elsewhere on the Osa Peninsula. Using precautions and common sense can help ensure a safe and enjoyable stay in this stunning location.
A safe trip is an enjoyable trip
Swimming and Water Safety
Casa Roja’s location at the mouth of the Sierpe River means our local beaches are strongly influenced by the tides, and we will provide you tidal information during your stay. Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is known for its strong rip currents – do not swim at the river mouth, as there are strong currents and possibly boat traffic. Exercise caution when swimming, kayaking, or otherwise enjoying our beautiful beachfront, and check the tide information or ask for help from our staff. Don’t swim alone or intoxicated, be careful around rocks, and never try to swim across a large river. Be aware that crocodiles live in the river.
With our location at the very edge of the jungle, both moderate and adventurous guided rainforest hikes are available at Casa Roja. Never hike into the jungle without a guide, and always stay on the trails. Using a walking stick can help with balance as a precaution against slipping and falling. Be careful when climbing over logs and crossing streams, especially in the rainy season. It is better to avoid holding on to a branch or a tree, because, while rare, a snake could be hiding there! We recommend carrying water and wearing the knee-high boots that we provide to protect against snakebites and scratches. Please also take care when walking up and down the path and stairs to Casa Roja, which can be slippery especially after rain.
Insects & Others
With Casa Roja’s open air design, insects and other critters are one aspect of nature you are bound to encounter both inside and outside the house. Upon close inspection with open mind, you may find many of the bugs are interesting and incredibly stunning. Most are harmless, including spiders, which are frequently spotted in all sizes in Casa Roja. In terms of safety, mosquitoes, sand flies, and scorpions are the ones to watch for. Let us know if you have allergies, and if so, please take medical precautions for allergic reactions. Mosquitoes are more problematic at the Casa Roja beach, while tiny biting sand flies (no-see-ums) are more frequently encountered at the house. Some diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes in Costa Rica, such as chikungunya, dengue fever, and Zika virus. You can help avoid mosquito bites by staying covered, using repellent, and closing the house screens. Occasionally, you may encounter a scorpion, but while their sting is painful, it is not life-threatening (unless you have an allergy). A good precaution is to always check and shake your shoes or clothes before putting them on. You will likely also encounter geckos and bats, which are mostly harmless and eat lots of insects, or (in the case of bats) may be fruit eaters or important plant pollinators.
Costa Rica is home to several species of venomous snakes, including the fleur-de-lance, which has been observed on the Casa Roja property. Snakes are masters at blending in to their environment, so be very careful where you step, grab, sit, or lay down when outdoors. Wear tall boots that cover your ankles (which we provide) when walking in the forest. Flip-flops are not recommended at the property except for in the house or at the beach. Our caretakers at Casa Roja are experienced in dealing with local snakes, so call them if you encounter one on the property.
Crocodiles are known to inhabit the freshwater lake near the Casa Roja palm grove, and have even been observed on the beach. While the river and ocean beaches are popular with local guides who bring clients on “boca tours” to swim and enjoy the beach on a daily basis, it is wise to exercise caution on the property and beaches. While fascinating to observe, these animals can become aggressive when threatened, especially during the breeding season (September for American Crocodiles), and attacks in Costa Rica have increased in recent years. Check the beach for a crocodile trail to the water before swimming, and remain vigilant when in the water. Never approach or feed a crocodile.
In the Event of an Emergency
Our caretakers are trained in CPR and emergency first aid. We stock a first-aid kit and several medications at the house. Transportation to local medical facilities is possible, but challenging and time-consuming, given our remote location. The nearest medical clinic is located in Drake Bay, a 45-minute boat ride from Casa Roja: Ebais. Medical Center in Agujitas de Drake is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Phone: +506-2775-1975).
There is also hospital located just over an hour away from Casa Roja via riverboat and car or ambulance in Ciudad Cortes: Hospital Tomás Casas Casajús (500 norte de la Ecuela Ojo de Agua) is open 24 hours for emergency services. Being informed and aware of your safety can help you enjoy a safe and relaxing stay at unforgettable Casa Roja.