Costa Rica has some of the best health care in Latin America. In addition, the country’s public and private health systems are constantly being upgraded—new hospitals, new equipment, and improvements in staff training.

With a government-sponsored network of more than 30 hospitals and more than 250 clinics throughout the country, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has primary responsibility for providing low-cost health care services to the Costa Rican populace. This system has worked well for Costa Ricans for the past 60 or so years. Foreigners living in Costa Rica – legal residents only – can join the CCSS and get free treatment (everything from check ups to prescription drugs to major surgeries) by paying a small monthly fee–based on income. Tourists and visitors can use Caja facilities only in emergencies. LEARN MORE »



Many of the country’s highly trained physicians and some dentists work in the mornings for the CCSS and operate their own offices and clinics in the afternoons and evenings. While private health care in Costa Rica is more expensive than that offered by the same doctors and surgeons through the CCSS, the price is still far below that of the average office visit in the U.S. Continued treatments for diagnosed problems will vary, but will almost always be considerably less than comparable treatment in the United States. Dental work, too, is provided at a much lower cost than in the U.S.– prompting a phenomenon known as “medical tourism.”

Three well-known private hospitals, Clinica Biblica, Hospital CIMA, and Hospital La Catolica, where many CCSS doctors practice in the afternoons and evenings, offer first-class, ultra-modern services. Affiliated with U.S. hospitals, these three private providers have costs somewhat higher than the public providers but still considerably below anything found in the U.S.

Many expats elect to use a mix of public and private care due to the wait times for certain procedures and treatments in the public system.




The 62-bed CIMA San José was the first Costa Rican hospital to be accredited by the Costa Rica Ministry of Health and is the only hospital in Central America accredited by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. CIMA San José is also the first hospital in Latin America to receive accreditation under JCI’s the new patient safety standards, scoring a 99.5 percent, one of the highest scores in Latin America.

Located in the elegant San José suburb of Escazú, CIMA boasts more than 170 physicians representing over 60 specialties; a complete imaging department, including open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), x-ray, ultrasound, and endoscopy; a full-service laboratory; and a 24-hour pharmacy.

CIMA’s specialties include cardiology, orthopedic surgery, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, laparoscopic surgery, neurology, urology, ophthalmology, and otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat). More than 400 breast augmentations and 500 arthroscopic procedures are performed annually at CIMA.

International patients contribute to more than 25% of CIMA’s occupancy. Health travelers most often visit CIMA for cosmetic, eye, hip, and knee surgery, for which it reports some of the lowest prices in the country. The hospital received JCI accreditation in 2008 and was reaccredited in 2011. This American-owned hospital network also operated facilities throughout Mexico and Brazil. LEARN MORE »



Clínica Bíblica boasts a $50-million infrastructure (including a new $35-million hospital building) for 200 physicians who specialize in cardiology, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and preventive medicine.

Doctors there also perform a large number of minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures, such as bariatric surgery, arthroscopy, hernia repair, prostatectomy, gall bladder removal, hernia repair, and colonoscopy. Many of the physicians are bilingual and US- or European trained. More than 20 percent of Clínica Bíblica’s patients are international travelers. LEARN MORE »



Hospital La Catolica is a Costa Rican medical facility and health care center, where private, general, and integrated health services are provided, contributing to maintaining, reestablishing, and rehabilitating the health of our national and international patients, by providing them with highly qualified professionals and high technology in a courteous and trustworthy environment; under the principles of respect, commitment, comprehension, professionalism, expertise, solidarity, and honesty towards the community.