I lived in various tropical cities. Some in developed countries, some not. In some cities, even some developed cities, it's almost impossible to find a place to stay that is cockroach free. I admit I almost never stay in hotels that cost more than 60 USD per night. Typically my price range is $20 per night, with an occasional $50 or $60 night to celebrate arriving in a new city or something.

What about Costa Rica? Especially San Jose area. Reading airbnb reviews, looks like most places have a review that mentions cockroaches. And I never trust good reviews, especially if they are less than 100 words. Most are just bots or paid.

As of now, I anticipate cockroaches. I plan to buy cockroach spray from a convenience store. So first, do convenience stores in Costa Rica (looks like they have am/pm and Circle K) typically stock cockroach spray?

But then, am I just choosing the wrong hotels? Is there a better strategy to find a place to stay that is cockroach-free? Is this just wishful thinking for Costa Rica? Or is it pretty easy?

1 Answer 1


I've never been to Costa Rica but speaking from experience as a lifelong Floridian (which has the same cockroach problem).

If you read the reviews for any Airbnb in a place that has native cockroaches, you'll find all travelers from outside of tropical areas tend to complain about them. In many tropical places, there is no such thing as cockroach free, as they can and will get in, especially if it rains.

There is, however, a difference between a visitor seeing a cockroach and a cockroach infestation.

If it ends up raining while you're visiting, you'll probably see a couple of cockroaches in the place you're renting, especially if it's a house vs. a hotel. If you're not on a ground floor and/or away from outside doors and windows, you most likely won't see many, if any, cockroaches even when it rains.

An infestation is entirely different, and that's what many Airbnb reviewers get confused about. An infestation is when many cockroaches live in the house and reproduce inside. Most creepy crawly visitors don't stay for long, and if they do, they tend to die inside. However, if a house gets infested, that's a different story.

It shouldn't be too hard to avoid infested houses -- if it looks like it's clean inside, you should be good. You will though still have to be ready to deal with the lone cockroach transiting through your property.

As for where to buy bug spray -- I've never visited Costa Rica as mentioned, but Costa Rica does have several Super Wal-Mart locations, and their Central American website does show that they sell roach spray.

  • Wait, every place "looks clean" in the pictures.
    – user40636
    Dec 11, 2018 at 20:45
  • I'm a little confused about your main points. As I understand it: a) get a room on a higher floor, b) there will be occasional cockroaches no matter what. But I don't understand the part about infestation. Is that just to reiterate that there will be cockroaches no matter what? If you could clarify that, and add info about getting cockroach spray, I'll accept this as the answer.
    – user40636
    Dec 11, 2018 at 20:54
  • By infestation, I'm just clarifying that there is such a thing as an unacceptable level of cockroaches, but since you're saying they all look clean, it probably won't be a concern. You can generally ignore negative reviews that are solely due to cockroaches, unless they mention seeing 10s of cockroaches, instead of just a couple, as that would be an infestation rather than just some visitors.
    – laken
    Dec 11, 2018 at 20:57
  • Updated to mention where you can possibly find some roach spray.
    – laken
    Dec 11, 2018 at 20:59