Country: Costa Rica, officially known as the Republic of Costa Rica (República de Costa Rica) is a land of pristine beaches, perfect waves, and peaceful serenity. In Spanish, the name Costa Rica means “rich coast.” Located on the isthmus of Central America, its neighbors include Nicaragua to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Panama to the southeast, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
The capital city is San José. The country is home to 4.5 million people and Spanish is the official language. Mekatelyu, Bribri, and Patois are officially recognized regional languages.
To access emergency services: Dial 911
Currency: Costa Rican colón (CRC)
Recommended immunizations and vaccines for travelers: Before traveling to Costa Rica, ask your doctor what vaccines are recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excellent resources as well.
Insurance: Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
It is also worth ensuring your travel insurance will cover ambulances or transport either home or to more advanced medical facilities, if needed. Not all insurance covers emergency medical evacuation home or to a hospital in a major city, which may be the only way to receive medical attention in a serious emergency.
Source: International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.
What to expect in a Costa Rican hospital: Hospital care is good in the major cities, while it is often limited in remote and rural areas. Costa Rica promotes medical tourism, but it is important that visiting patients confirm the medical providers and facilities offer an acceptable and appropriate level of care.
Many doctors in Costa Rica were educated in the United States and speak English. Both hospitals and doctors will likely expect payment in cash at the time the medical services are performed.
Contact your embassy/consulate: When in doubt, your country’s embassy is a good resource to turn to for medical assistance guidance.
JCI-accredited hospitals/clinics in Costa Rica: To read about specific facilities which are JCI-accredited, visit the Hospital Search section.
Costa Rica - specific helpful health resources:
Travel health notices: Visit the CDC or WHO for up-to-date travel notices.