Malaria Free Rainforest Destinations

Do all rainforest regions of Latin America have malaria?  Which regions of rainforest can be visited that don’t have malaria?  These questions are particularly relevant to: pregnant women (can’t take malaria pills, except apparently mefloquine, which may or may not be effective in any one malaria region);  people travelling with infants or very young children (if you’re sensible, you won’t take them to a malaria area); people who want to visit the rainforest and not get bitten to hell; and the overly cautious who don’t want a Cheryl Cole like malaria experience!

Mosquitoes love rainforests, but some rainforests have far more mosquitoes than others. More importantly, some rainforest don’t (or hardly ever) contain the particular type of mosquito that carries the malaria virus.  Which rainforests can be visited that are malaria free?  All of the followed advice is based on the Fit For Travel comprehensive advice on malaria regions.

Costa Rica - most parts of Costa Rica aren’t malaria regions (just the Southern half of the Eastern coast has malaria).  As most of the country is full of National Parks and rainforest, there’s a lot of malaria free rainforest destinations in Costa Rica. Monteverde and Corcovado are two highly regarded such destinations.

Colombia - there’s a lot of malaria in the Colombian lowlands, but there’s one great place where the rainforest can be experienced without even receiving a single bite. It’s called Rio Claro - a private nature reserve between Medellin and Bogota.  Because of the limestone topography, there’s no mosquitoes whatsoever, at any time of the year.  Rooms are open air - a wall is missing on many of the rooms to give a feeling of being in the jungle. You don’t even need repellent - there’s just no mosquitoes here.

Ecuador - much of Ecuador is a malaria region, while much isn’t (it’s about 50/50 nationally).  To avoid the malaria, try Tena or Puyo (both in Ecuador’s Amazon) or try a place like the community ecotourism project at Piedra Blanca, which is on the West side of the Andes mountain range.

Bolivia - there’s large parts of Bolivian rainforest that are rainforest free, probably the most convenient part to visit would be the area around Rurrenabaque, which is part of the Amazon basin.

As for the countries I haven’t mentioned - Brazil, Argentina, Peru and much of Central America - pretty much all of the rainforest regions in these countries are malaria zones, and best avoided if you’re pregnant, travelling with young children or otherwise fearful of the potentially fatal malaria virus.    


4 Responses to “Malaria Free Rainforest Destinations”

  1. Are you sure the information provided by this website is accurate?
    I am asking this question because two years ago I contracted a tropical disease in the Bolivian jungle (near Rurrenabaque) which, according to Dutch medics, was supposed to be uncontractable for at least another 500 kilometers. As I grew suspicious I compared other Dutch-Bolivian maps (that display the spread of tropical diseases like malaria and dengue) and found them all to be quite different.

  2. Hester - no I’m not sure, but I do my best! As I said, I take the info from the Fit For Travel NHS website. As their site points out, some areas are deemed “very low risk - malaria pills usually not advised”, but that’s different from saying an area is totally malaria free….. so good point you make!

  3. I don’t think any hilly area can be totally malaria free. So the pills to avoid having risks of Malaria should be taken.

  4. Malaria is such a problem for families with young children and finding useful information like this is quite difficult. My young son had been taking mefloquine, on our last trip but it got increasingly more difficult to get him to take it on a regular basis to the point that he wouldn’t have it at all in the 4 weeks after returning home. Such a worry!

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