Considered the jewel of Central America, Costa Rica is an oasis of serenity. With its pristine beaches and lush rainforests, it is a perennial favorite among the ecotourism crowd and, more recently, the medical tourism-inclined travelers.
Costa Rica as a Medical Tourism Destination: Essential Spot for Surgery
Touting the tagline ‘Essential Costa Rica’, the beautiful Central American country is earning a reputation as an excellent destination for medical care — especially for Americans, thanks to its proximity to the United States, the affordable prices, and its world-class hospitals, plastic surgery clinics, and dental clinics.
Cosmetic surgery and cosmetic dentistry are the most popular draws for medical travelers in Costa Rica as patients can get treatments done with as high as 60% savings. Bariatric and orthopedic procedures are also increasingly being sought by patients, especially at the world-class JCI-accredited hospitals. The gorgeous country boasts a cadre of internationally trained and board-certified surgeons, many of whom are bilingual. Many of its hospitals and clinics are state-of-the-art facilities that use the latest medical equipment and technology.
Staffed with bilingual, board-certified surgeons and medical professionals, Costa Rica’s hospitals can readily cater to international patients and assist with planning. A host of recovery retreats featuring 24/7 nursing care and homey rooms add to the attraction. Costa Rica welcomes and treats thousands of foreign patients each year. For more information on the clinics and medical treatments in Costa Rica, browse through our medical tourism directory.
Costa Rica for Travelers and Medical Tourists
Pura vida! Costa Rica truly is “full of life” as it brims with adventure and leisure options, making it one of the best spots for all travelers. Medical tourists, in particular can choose to take in all the action before having their procedures done, and opt for the more laidback activities during recuperation.
The rugged Central American country is famous for its volcanoes, rainforests and amazing biodiversity. The curious can feast their eyes on spider monkeys, quetzal birds and many other indigenous animals, as well as plants. Travelers can opt to go wildlife-watching, fishing, hiking, white-water rafting and kayaking. Beach bums will be especially happy with its beautiful coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific, perfect for relaxing and surfing.
Medical tourists can opt to turn down the adrenaline with visits to Arenal Volcano hot springs and luxury spas. Travelers can visit the many sanctuaries and reserves, as well as opt for their coffee and museum tours as San Jose features the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. Another great experience is ending the day’s activities by recharging at any of their fantastic ecolodges.
If you’re considering a medical trip, make sure to check with your doctor and plan accordingly.
Costa Rica Travel Notes
There are sights to see and things to do for everybody in Costa Rica, whether your vacation is medically-oriented or otherwise. Here are some things to remember as you plan your medical trip to Costa Rica.
Traveling to and around Costa Rica
- Costa Rican Embassies: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/costa-rica
- Foreign Embassies in Costa Rica: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/costa-rica
- Official Costa Rica tourism website: http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/home.asp?ididioma=2
- Local News (in English)
- “The Tico Times”: http://www.ticotimes.net/
- Visa: Not required (for stays of up to 90 days) for nationals with passports from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, South Africa, the US and most Western European countries
- Immunizations required: Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for those traveling from Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador as well as the Republic of Guyana
- Public health considerations: Avoid drinking tap water, and avoid raw fruits and vegetables unless you peel them. In light of the Zika virus, pregnant women are advised to delay travel plans to the country.
- International Airport: Juan Santamaría Airport in Alajuela, Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, Tobías Bolaños International Airport in San José, and the Limón International Airport.
- Transportation modes: public bus (schedule and route here), shared van shuttles, private transfers, car rental, and taxi.
- Languages spoken: Spanish (official language), but English is widely spoken
- People: European, mestizo, African, and indigenous; Costa Ricans call themselves “ticos”
- Infrastructure: First World
- Currency: Colón
- Time zone: GMT-6
- Country phone code: 506
- Electricity: 110V, 60Hz
- Weights and measures: Metric system
- Elevation concerns: None
- Climate: The climate in Costa Rica is tropical and subtropical, with a dry season (December to April) and a rainy season (May to November). The temperature in San José ranges from a high of 73 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, to a low of 59 to 62 degrees. The hottest months are March, April, and May.
- Clothing: Casual clothing is acceptable, but conservative dress is customary in big cities. Shorts are acceptable only in beach areas.
- Getting online: Fax, Internet, and e-mail services typically are available in all major hotels and in cybercafés.
Local Etiquette, Cultural and Travel Tips
- Learn some basic Spanish phrases.
- Do your exploring with a friend or companion, not alone.
- Make a copy of your passport to carry with you (picture page and entry stamp).
- Do your research so you know what to expect.
- Bring mosquito repellant.
- Don’t litter or take things away from the rainforests and beaches.
- Don’t expect flawless and swift service.
- Don’t get in a taxi without agreeing on the fare prior to accepting a ride.
- Don’t bring expensive jewelry.
- Don’t travel to Costa Rica during Semana Santa (Easter week), when most businesses close.