The home we're currently renting is an open house - that means no doors, no windows, no screens. It's basically a really nice covered deck.
I was totally convinced that living in an open house is the best option. This was coming from a YouTube vlogger whose advice I really valued (see the video here). If you've done any internet research about travelling or moving to Costa Rica, you are likely familiar with his inspirational and amazing channel.
We've been living in an open house for a month, very close to the location where Ka Sundance was living in Costa Rica and enjoying his open house.
I can't take it anymore!
Honestly I don't know how I will get through another three weeks living in this open house. The bugs aren't completely oppressive, but they do swarm every time we are preparing food or sitting down to eat. Mealtimes have become stressful, and we are all covered head-to-toe with mysterious nasty bug bites.
As a farm girl from the prairies, I should clarify that we have not experienced the swarms of big mosquitoes like we were used to in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. There are some mosquitoes, but I might see two or three per day - not two or three hundred! Could you imagine just opening all your windows on a hot prairie evening, popping all the screens out, and turning all the lights on? It would be madness!
However, there are still a lot of bugs munching on us every night. Tiny red ants march their paths straight through the house, up walls, over countertops. I clean them away, scrub and spray, but the next day they're back following the exact same path. The biting midges (noseeums) and aphids fly right through one of our mosquito nets. (On one of the kids' beds we have a much better net, which working really well and is easier to set up. This is the net that we would recommend purchasing if you can - niceEshop(TM) magic mosquito net 100 * 190CM random color
Termite poop collects in piles in predictable locations throughout the house. I'm constantly cleaning bird poop from tables and counters. Every few days we find a nest of freshly hatched something-or-others, either under a sun hat, behind a book, inside a cupboard, or under the edge of a coffee table.
About once a week I groggily walk through a huge yellow spider web - the giant banana spiders firmly believe that the perfect home is right across a doorway or over 8" above the kitchen table. I love spiders and I know that they are performing a valuable service, but it's quite surprising to find one in my hair at 5:30 am while I'm starting the coffee. (On the positive side, after dancing around trying to get a spider as big as my hand untangled from my bedhead, coffee is unnecessary!)
I have found some excellent Tica cleaners, who come every other day, in an attempt to combat our insect problem. They do a fantastic job, sweeping and scrubbing the entire house from ceilings to floors. Every single surface is scrubbed - they even empty every shelf and cupboard, clean, and then replace everything. It takes two women an entire morning, and costs $10. (We pay them extra!) Within a few hours, the bugs have all returned to stake their rightful claim to our home. And who can blame them - we're in the middle of the jungle for goodness sake!
It's hard to not be able to just sit in the living room and read a book in the evening. We always end up giving up and retreating to the mosquito-netted bed by 8:00 at the latest. (Just so I don't sound like a total baby, I should clarify that by this time of night it's already been fully pitch-black dark outside for over two hours, and we've been shooing away bugs for that length of time.)
We're living at 1800 feet elevation, about 15 minutes from the ocean. Please do let me know if you are having a positive experience in your open house in Costa Rica, and what elevation and area you are at!
I love the whole open house concept... in theory. In practice, I'm tired of all the itching, oozing mystery bug bites!