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30 May 2016
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Any long distance move means leaving your doctor and dentist behind. Starting a new life in Costa Rica also includes find new healthcare providers. While it may seem daunting to find a new doctor in a new country, the process will be much the same as at home: asking acquaintances for recommendations or searching online for providers near you, then making an appointment to meet your new doctor. Your overall health and medical needs are considerations in finding the right physician for you and your family.

Costa Rica’s universal healthcare system, commonly known as the Caja is available to all legal residents, whether or not you are a full-time resident. For a small monthly premium, 8 – 10% of your income, you and your dependents have full access to healthcare services.

If you prefer, you can also go private. Private health insurance through the government-owned INS pays up to 80% for most service, 100% for surgeons, Premiums vary depending on age, gender and other factors, expect to pay $60 – $130 per person. 

Clinics ( there’s a clinic on-site in Los Sueños Resort & Marina) are usually the first port of call for emergency care; while community health centers, known as Ebais, are where you’ll find a general practitioner and pharmacy for most routine visits.

Clinica Herradura is located just inside the main Los Sueños Resort gates. Regular consultations and family medicine are handled by Dr. Erisel Sanabria, who speaks English. Normal hours are from 9 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday, and 9 am – 1 pm on Saturday.

Emergency services at Los Sueños Resort are handled by Soporte Vital, along with off-hour consultations. Clinica Herradura is, however, staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your convenience. The direct telephone number for Clinica Herradura in Los Sueños Resort is 2637-8610. The off-hour emergency contact numbers are 2285-0306, 2285-1911 or 2285-5433. These numbers will reach Soporte Vital’s main switchboard in case of an off hour emergency.

In the future, residents of Los Sueños will be able to schedule specialists services such as gynecology and dermatology, which will be programmed monthly.

Most doctors in Costa Rica were trained in the U.S. and speak English, but you may want to bring a translator to help you fill out the forms. Take a list of any prescriptions you are taking. You’ll also need your passport or residency ID (cedula de residencia). Wait times at Ebais and clinics can be long, if you have asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, are over 65, are pregnant or have a severe problem, let the staff know and they will see you right away.

All properly licensed physicians and surgeons are members of the Colegio de Médicos y Cirujanos. Orthodontists are member of La Academia Costarricense de Ortodoncia; psychologists, the Colegio Profesional de Psicólogos de Costa Rica and dental surgeons, the Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas Costa Rica. 

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of providers, but neither evaluates nor recommends any particular provider. HuliHealth prescreens, rates and provides information about doctors. Other useful tools allow users to ask doctors questions to help narrow their search and rate or comment on the care they received. Costa Rica Medical Guide is another online reference.

Healthcare services in Costa Rica are among the best in the world, regularly outranking the U.S. You can be confident you’ll receive excellent care regardless of your medical needs.