Costa Rica Healthcare – Public Clinics

While traveling we all worry about not getting sick for two reasons. No one wants to spend their vacations lying on a hotel bed and because we don’t always trust the doctors of the place we want to visit. I was one of those people but all of a sudden, in the middle of our trip in Cahuita, Costa Rica, my son became sick. Should I trust the Costa Rica healthcare system?

This is how we discovered what Costa Rica Healthcare is really like:

My son’s sickness really put me in a lot of trouble and proved once again that nothing is perfect. He was burning up and waking up in the middle of the night crying from a sore throat.

Costa Rica Healthcare

So I started to look for a private clinic or a doctor in Costa Rica, because of the horrible stories I had heard about public clinics in Costa Rica. But after running around looking for a private solution, I had to accept the fact that they were all closed and resigned to take my son to the public clinic.

The clinic was about 15 minutes from Cahuita and was squeaky clean. They requested for my paper works and since I’m not a resident and I do not have any formal documentation, they treated me as a tourist. They hurried let us see the next available doctor. Our experience there was awesome. The doctor was very good with kids, was fluent in English and extremely professional. We didn’t have to pay for anything, not even medicine.

travel safety tips

Great medical service and medication for free? I was amazed at this and compared that with the situation in United States, you can easily understand our surprise and absolute gratefulness for their generosity. After this lovely experience, how I felt about the public hospitals has changed and filled my heart with great appreciation.

What I’m trying to say is if you do get sick and have to visit a public clinic in Costa Rica, know that you are in good hands!


About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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