After spending a month in the Costa Rican jungle, I have emerged with several bug bites. Some have been kinder to my skin than others, but by worst is the acidic spray of the Costa Rican Chinche - pronounced CHEEN-CHE (as in Che Guevara).
It's a green little bugger that wandered onto my laptop without warning while I was working one night.
I thought, oh what a cute little grasshopper. I didn't even try to kill it or get it away from me. I thought, no big deal.
Boy, was I WRONG.
Here's a closer look at this "cute little grasshopper"
I know what you're thinking: Who knew a little bug with such an innocent face could cause such intense anger in this travel blogger?
Well, here's more about this little green freak:
- it's droppings are EXTREMELY ACIDIC. I felt like battery acid was thrown on my leg. That did not feel good AT ALL.
- it causes SEVERE skin irritations that HURT and BLISTER (see photo below)
I KNOW, RIGHT?!! What a damper on my vacay! What the f**8 little insecto verde, couldn't you piss on someone else?
So, here was my experience: the spots first turn red, then bluish the next day, and then all the skin far around the spot gets full of blisters (yucky, yucky, yucky and ouch, ouch, ouch!) and after a week or so, it peels off.
GOOD NEWS though: you will survive! Although its droppings hurt, they are not poisonous. Two weeks after the first signs of my rash, it healed completely without any scarring. Thank goodness. I was contemplating what sort of tribal tattoo design I would get just in the case it did scar horribly.
During my week of agonizing itchiness, I sprayed my blistering skin with vinegar to dry it out and I used this Chinese calamine lotion, Piyan Ping Ointment (see picture below) to soothe the irritation so that I wouldn't scratch.
It's very important that you properly protect yourself from bugs when you travel.
I'm not a big fan of DEET so I use natural methods to ward off bugs. I use anything LEMONGRASS on my body. I really liked this Costa Rican-made eco-friendly Lemongrass Body Butter from Rainforest Solutions (see the leftmost jar in the photo below) that I picked up here. Also if you have any orange or lemon peels, rub them all over yourself. Bugs don't like citrus peels.
Anyway, I hope you learn from my experience and be weary of these green little acid-spraying buggers while traversing Costa Rica. If you have any questions or similar stories to share about this creepy crawly, please feel free to shoot me an email.
And by the way, THIS is what a grasshopper looks like.
Wishing you safe (and fresh) travels! xoxoxo