Costa Rica: A Magnificent Place to Undergo Medical Tourism


The Republic of Costa Rica is located in Central America, connecting North and South America; Costa Rica means "Rich Coast" in Spanish, the primary and official language of the country. Costa Rica is a rather small country and its size is compared to the state of West Virgina in the United States and the European state of Denmark. This Central American paradise is neighbored by Nicaragua (North), Panama (South), the Caribbean Sea (East) and the Pacific Ocean (West). Their flag represents the country with the two blues on either side for the two oceans on each coast, white for peace and red for blood shed for freedom.

Black Ctenosaur

Costa Rica is a rugged country with the world’s most complex living community. It has smoking volcanoes, abundant exotic wildlife, thermal hot springs, cloud forest and tropical beaches in the Caribbean as well as Pacific coasts. Costa Rica is one of youngest emerging lands in the Americas (~3,000,000 years). Costa Rica lies on the Caribbean Tectonic Plate and on the boundary where it meets the Pacific’s Cocos Tectonic Plate. Cocos Plate (the Pacific Ocean’s floor) is being pushed under the less dense overriding Caribbean Plate (Subduction). Since Costa Rica is in the center of Rim of fire, it is susceptible to earthquakes.

Located between 8 and 12 degrees north of the Equator, Costa Rica’s climate is tropical year round with year-round sunshine. There are only two seasons in Costa Rica: the rainy season from May to November and the dry season from December to April. Costa Rica has incredibly diverse microclimates and weather changes abruptly from cold to warm to rain.

List of provinces:

  1. Alajuela (9,757 km2) is becoming the second biggest city after San Jose. Juan Santamaria International airport (SJO), primary airport serving San Jose, is in Alajuela.
  2. Cartago 3,124 km2
  3. Guanacaste 10,141 km2
  4. Heredia 2,657 km2
  5. Limón 9,189 km2
  6. Puntarenas 11,266 km2
  7. San Jose (4,966 km2) is the capital and the biggest city in Costa Rica.

"Pura Vida", Spanish word “Pure Life,” is the Costa Rican way of life - similar to "Hakuna Matata," translated "No worries". People in Costa Rica appreciate life and have a positive attitude toward life. They walk around and use this expression, “Pura Vida”, meaning everything is good.

When you are in Costa Rica, you are surrounded by nature, educated people, peace, quality products, talent, innovation, and dreams. You are free to do whatever you want and experience a different lifestyle: rafting wild river, feeding & rescuing baby sloths, off-roading, scuba diving with hammerhead sharks, surfing, sleeping in a shack.

The currency of this country is Costa Rican Colón (CRC). One U.S Dollar (USD) is roughly 540 CRC. The religion of Costa Rica is Christianity with Roman Catholicism in the majority. The Catholicism was brought by Spanish settlers ‘conquistadores’ and accepted first by Indians living in Nicoya Peninsula off of Pacific Coast.

Indigenous (Native) people lived in Costa Rica about 10,000 years before European (Spanish) arrival. The first visit to this region was made by Christopher Columbus in 1502 on the Caribbean Sea. In 1524, the natives were conquered, and Costa Rica was added to the Captaincy General of Guatemala as a province of New Spain. After the Mexican War of Independence (1810–1821) Costa Rica gained full independence in 1838. Indigenous people are sparse in Costa Rica at present and strive to keep their cultural traditions and language alive. Costa Ricans, also called Ticos, are a real melting pot of Europeans, Afro-Caribbeans and South Americans.

Costa Rica maintains no military and has dedicated its budget to education and culture. That is why 96% of the population is literate. The universities in Costa Rica is among the most prestigious in Latin America. Costa Rica is the third city after Paris and New York to have electricity. Most roads in Costa Rica are in poor shape with potholes. The rural roads are long, curvy, unpaved, and two lanes often narrow into single lane over bridges. The bumpy roads are worse after the rainy season, and it is referred to Free Costa Rican Massage!

Costa Rica's Nature

Eyelash Viper Snake
Poisonous Eyelash Viper Snake
Grown Spider Monkey

Costa Rica has abundance biodiversity, protected jungles and rich wildlife including Red-Eye Tree Frog, Eyelash Viper Snake, Monkeys, Montezuma Oropendola (Yellow Tail), Toucans, Spiders (most poisonous), Hummingbirds and Quetzal bird. Blue-jeans Frog and Strawberry Poison-dart Frog are two poisonous amphibians in Costa Rica. Native used Blue-jeans Frog poison for blowgun weapons.

You can find Mantled Howler monkeys and Spider Monkeys. Toucan is one of the most colorful and majestic bird in the world. There are six species of Toucans (and the smaller Toucanets and Aracaris) found in Costa Rica: Keel-Billed (Ramphastos Sulfuratus), Chestnut-Mandibled (Ramphastos Swansonii), Emerald (Blue-Throated) Toucanet, Yellow-Eared Toucanet, Collared Aracari and Fiery-Billed Aracari. Three-Toed Sloth, one of the unique animals in the world, live in jungle canopy.

There is a vast array of flowers, plants and trees all adapted to the ecosystem they are in. Flowering plants like Heliconia with red or yellow. Epiphytes or “air plants,” like orchids, mosses, lichens, ferns and bromeliads. Epiphytes root themselves on other plants but they are not parasitic, and they do not kill the host like Parasites. There are many different variety of Ficus Trees (Figs) found in Costa Rica, including the strangle ficus. Pacaya (palm) plants with Chamaedorea seed can be found in the forest.

Costa Rica Volcanos

Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

Costa Rica has a great number of volcanoes among which six are active. Arenal is one of the country’s best-known and most-visited volcano. This volcano belongs to ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. Arenal volcano started eruptions in 1968 and is in resting phase since 2010. The burst started with three new craters, crater A, B and C in addition to the existing one, crater D. Locals did not know this was a volcano and thought are a mountain. Therefore, the eruption came as a surprise and was costly and deadly to the villages nearby. It killed 87 people (confirmed), livestock and buried 3 villages: Tabacón, Pueblo Nuevo and San Luís.

The Poás Volcano (Volcán Poás) is an active volcano in central Costa Rica that has erupted 39 times since 1828. It has two summit crater lakes with one of the most breathtaking sites in Costa Rica. Its eruptions is geyser-like ejections of water from the lake.

Costa Rica Waterfalls, Lakes, Etc.

La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall

Tourists enjoy the stunning waterfalls (Fortune in Spanish) in Costa Rica. There are 4 major waterfalls: La Fortuna Waterfall, Rio Celeste Waterfall in Guanacaste, La Paz Waterfall in Cloud Forest near San Jose, and Bajos del Toro Waterfall. The largest waterfall, La Fortuna waterfall is located near the Arenal Volcano in the Alajuela Province. La Fortuna Waterfall drops a total height of 70-75 m at the base of the dormant Chato volcano. It takes 500 plus steps to get to the base where people can enjoy swimming. Its watercourse is Tenorio River.

Thanks to the geothermal activity in the volcanic areas like Arenal, there are many natural hot springs. Warm and soothing hot springs offer visitors relaxing spa-like experience after a day of exploration. The best hot springs in the Arenal area are Baldi, Ecotermales and Tabacon. Some of the hotels like Tabacon and Kioro have their own hot springs.

Costa Rica has some of the world's finest descents & whitewaters. Whitewater rafting adventure opportunities are ample and a must for vacationnaires. La Fortuna de San Carlos in Arenal Volcano National Park is one of the best whitewater rafting in Costa Rica.

Horseback riding excursion is another popular activity for visitors. Well-trained horses in spectacular locations from pristine beaches of Caribbean and Pacific to volcanic mountains of Arenal and Monteverde make horseback riding in Costa Rica a great pleasure.

Lake Arenal
Man-made Lake Arenal

Sitting at the base of the Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal is a man-made lake near the city of La Fortuna. In 1973, as part of the hydroelectric project the dam was made and increased this lake three times its size. At present, Lake Arenal is the largest lake in Costa Rica and is very important as nearly 12% of country’s electric power is produced by this dam. The lake is also a short cut for travelers between Arenal and Monteverde. The boat ride on this lake is very scenic.

Costa Rica Coffee, Sugar and Flower...

Agriculture in Costa Rica counts for 6.5% of its GDP. Rainfall & constant mist, mild temperatures, and fertile soil fed by volcanoes has made Costa Rica ideal for growing agricultural products like vegetables, fruits, flowers, coffee, and sugar cane.

Flower Growing
Ornamental Plants & Flower Growing for Export

Coffee - Costa Rica has ideal soil and climate conditions for coffee plantations, and coffee production is an important part of history and economy of this country. The coffee beans from Costa Rica, Arabica, is considered one of the best in the world. Costa Rica is not competing in the quantity but quality as it exports about 1% of the world harvest.

Sugar Cane - Sugar cane industry in Costa Rica is a vital part of its economy. Sugar cane planted and harvested in Costa Rica is used mainly for granulated sugars (sugar cane based beverage Agua Dulce), alcoholic beverages like Guaro & Rum, and ethanol production. Main workers during sugar cane harvest are migrant from Nicaragua.

Costa Rica’s Green Forest

Tree with Aerial Roots
Forest Tree with Aerial Roots

The beautiful and unique Costa Rican’s Cloud Forest (Bosque Nuboso) is located in Monteverde, near Santa Elena. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is an attraction for tourists and specially eco-tourists. The slope of the mountains forces the Trade Wind from the Caribbean Sea upwards. As the warm moist air rises, it expands and cools. Because cold air holds less moisture the excess humidity forms tiny droplets, mist, clouds and rainfall. This cloud forest gets about 2.5 m precipitation per year. The rainy season is only September and October. The Quetzalcoatl, barbets, black-faced solitaire, are common birds in this area. Suspension bridges and zip lines are popular activities in Monteverde.

Zip-lines in Costa Rica were first developed as means of climbing into and moving through the rainforest canopy by scientists and researchers. Zip-lines are in many ways synonymous with Costa Rica and have developed into one of the country’s most popular and widespread activities. Some of the best zip lines are found in Monteverde, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio. Composed of steel cables and platforms from one tree to another at an angle, you can slide people or things down the cable on a pulley. Boosting the adrenalin, enabling riders ways of accessing beautiful and remote natural areas as well as educating them on ecology, botany, and reforestation practices.

Beaches in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s Caribbean shoreline is like a jewel and it is much less touristy than the pacific side. The Caribbean Sea is an open tropical sea in the Atlantic Ocean, and everything is green all the time. Coral reef. Cahuita and Manzanillo Beach areas with their translucent blue-green water just south of the province of Limon host great coral reefs and snorkeling or scuba diving. Approximately one-third of the population in this region is black, primarily of Jamaican descent.

Sunset of Tamarindo Beach
Sunset on Tamarindo Beach - Pacific Ocean

The Pacific coast beaches in the province of Guanacaste offers spectacular ocean views, dramatic sunsets, world class surfing, opportunities for fishing, swimming, golfing, yachting and horseback riding.

Tamarindo (means long-lived tropical evergreen tree) is one of the most popular destination for travelers to enjoy almost year-round sunshine and beaches to relax and enjoy. Tamarindo is truly a paradise with beautiful sand beaches and blue glass-like water. The waves near the beach has made this place the surfer mecca.

Pacific Ocean Beach
Pacific Ocean Beach

Pavones is a small town located along the southern Pacific Coast. Pavonas offers unique beaches specially to surfers as is home of the world longest left-hand surf break. Tourists can sign up for surfing lessons.

Conchal beach in the province of Guanacaste with white sand, tiny shell particles and clear water is one of the most beautiful beaches in Central America. This beach is ideal for swimming & snorkeling and is one of the hottest destination spot in Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica to visit. It consists of rugged rainforest with white-sand beaches, coral reefs, tropical plants and wildlife. You can find three-toed sloths, white-faced capuchin monkeys and vast variety of bird species.

City of Jaco is located in province of Puntarenas. The area beaches are hideaway for sun seekers and surfers visiting Jaco. It is a day trip from San Jose and quite a bit of high-class people from there are visiting.

Bahia Drake (Brake Bay) is a remote area on the south foot-shape part of Costa Rica. The only way to get there is by plane. This secret remote area is becoming one of the 7 wonders of the world. The forest hosts all five types of Toucans and all species of monkeys.

Costa Rica Major Cities

National Football Stadium
National Football Stadium - la Sabana, San Jose

San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is nation’s largest city and educational hub inspired by Spanish colonial architecture. There are several museums in San Jose allowing visitors to view Costa Rican history, scientific discoveries, pre-Columbian era culture & art, and modern Costa Rican art. San José places to visit are the skyline, Chinatown, La Avenida Central (Central Avenue), Herdocia Building, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the Juan Mora Fernández statue, the Garabito, the Costa Rican Center of Science & Culture, the Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, and the ornate neoclassical National Theatre of Costa Rica.

Liberia, the capital of Guanacaste province, is a major center for the country's tourism industry. Liberia is nicknamed La Ciudad Blanca (the white city) because of white gravel once used to make the city’s roads and the whitewashed colonial houses. Places to visit in Liberia are Immaculate Church of Concepcion de Maria, Central Park, Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, the Chorotega, and Mario Cañas Ruiz Park Monument.

Costa Rica Medical Tourism - Top Surgical Vacation in Latin America

CIMA - JCI Hospital in Escazu San Jose

Just 2.5 hours flight from Miami, Costa Rica is an ideal location for medical tourism for U.S. patients seeking services abroad. There are also frequent flights from important cities in Canada and European countries to Costa Rica.

Clinica Biblica
Clinica Biblica - JCI Hospital in San Jose

The procedures such as bariatrics, plastics, and dental are normally about half price with no wait time. The top physicians and JCI private hospitals make this destination a prime choice for medical tourists. Considering the beautiful nature of Costa Rica, patients can combine a vacation with a medical trip. Costa Rica is politically stable and has a stable economy. Costa Ricans are happy people and are very friendly towards visitors from other countries. Costa Rica has a special police force (in white uniform) for tourists called, Policía Turistica.

Medical Tourism in Costa Rica is involved mostly with plastic surgery, as the country has talented, surgeons capable for giving patients an aesthetically pleasing makeover. Most medical tourists will fly directly into San Jose, Costa Rica, to explore the beautiful lush lands and the modern city.

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Last revised Feb 7, 2016 & Mar 9, 2016 by Admin