A Squeamish Girl’s Guide to Surviving Costa Rica



A wolf spider taking a casual evening crawl around the bathroom of our dorm at Santa Rosa.

By Emily Rackers


My name is Emily, and I’m a squeamish girl. If there is a bug, I will jump. If there is a snake, I will scream. Sometimes even dogs scare me. It’s an issue.

That being said, Costa Rica has presented a unique set of challenges for a squeamish girl such as myself. I mean, have you seen the wildlife down here? I’ve seen frogs bigger than cats and spiders that I could take on a walk.

  1. Think of everything as a scene from “A Bug’s Life.” If Disney can make bugs cute, so can you. It also helps to think of everything as part of a family. For example, there’s Don Snako taking a casual evening stroll before having dinner with his family. See? Instantly better.
  1. If you must scream, do it internally. It’s much less alarming to other people and also less embarrassing. I’ve found that smiling really hard muffles external screaming, if necessary.
  1. Closed-toed shoes and long pants are life. Sure, they’re hotter than Georgia in July… but I’ll take wildlife protection over comfort any day. That spider is a lot less scary on your pant leg than when it’s dragging it’s eight legs of hairy horror across your inner thigh.
  1. And in times where scat — like a praying mantis trying to casually hang out on your face — has truly hit the fan, there’s no shame in taking those close-toed shoes and running.



A cane toad carrying on a friendly conversation with a local water pipe in Santa Rosa.


Some sort of over-sized cricket getting in its morning walk.


A large wandering spider, hoping to catch some after-hours drinks at our hotel bar in Rincón de la Vieja.


Wasp Haven Apartments- great view of the Santa Rosa fire station, friendly neighbors, great corner location.

2 thoughts on “A Squeamish Girl’s Guide to Surviving Costa Rica

  1. Debbie Allen says:

    Big smiles here! Clever writing. Photos and captions are fun. Comedy writing seems natural to you.

  2. […] Editor’s note: for an earlier post in the “Squeamish Girl’s Guide” series, click here. […]

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