San Jose, Costa Rica

The Golden Room in the former La Sabana International Airport
newly renovated as the Museo de Arte Costarricense,
the sculpture shows the history of Costa Rica
Arriving in San Jose a few days ago, we headed straight from the airport to the Prisma Dental Clinic. Typically, when we make these trips, we incorporate some vacation days in between or following the dental work.  This time it didn't work out that way.  With only one "down" day from the dental work, our exploring was restricted to walking around San Jose.  Alan had major work completed, including implants, bone grafts and six crowns.  My initiation with Costa Rican dental work consisted of replacing two crowns and a couple of fillings.  Rainy weather through most of the week made it easier to ignore our restriction to the dental chair.

Why go to Costa Rica?  The bottom line is that it is substantially less expensive.  Even when we have incorporated trips to Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde Rain Forest, the Arenal Volcano, the Caribbean surfing beaches, etc, we have always saved several thousands of dollars.  I can hear the questions, what about airfare, hotels?  Yes, the savings are substantial enough that these expenses are not relevant.  What about the competence of the dentist?  Researching online, finding a dentist you feel comfortable with is easy.  Read reviews on the dentists, and then call their office and talk with them about your dental issues.  When you find someone you are totally comfortable with, you can formulate the rest of the plan.  What if you don't speak Spanish?  Find a dentist who speaks English (many do).  Hotel staff and restaurant staff generally speak enough English that you can get by without Spanish, but if you do speak some Spanish, that will make it even easier.

Medical tourism is big business in Costa Rica.  Numerous hotels are competing for your business and offer good deals.  Many offer free transportation to and from the airport (many dentist offer this also), some offer discounts if you are visiting for dental or medical reasons, most offer a full breakfast buffet, and some offer discounts if you pay cash.  Once again, check online, read the reviews, talk with the hotel manager or reservation staff and find out what discounts and/or services they offer.


Street performers
Securing a room with a kitchen means you don't have to eat out all the time, and if you are having dental work done, you may be on soft food or liquids a few days.  It's convenient to have a refrigerator for storing yogurt or ice cream, and a stove for making or heating up soup or other soft foods of choice.  Staying at the Aparthotel Suites Cristina, about two miles from the dentist office, we included walking to and from the dentist office as a bit of exercise each day, but a taxi (they all use meters) would have run only $3-4, depending on the time and traffic.

Airfare, of course, varies depending on where you are flying from, the time of year, the amount of advance time you have to make the purchase and the airline.  Flying with air miles extends your savings a little further, and so far, we have been able to utilize air miles for our trips.  But earning and using air miles is a completely different discussion.  If you are interested in learning more about this area check the blogs for The Points Guy or Johnny Jet.
Stall at the
Central Market

National Stadium of Costa Rica

Starting with Alan's first trip to the Prisma Clinic, the quality of the dentistry, in combination with the savings, made the decision a "no brainer."  We have traveled to Costa Rica four times in the past five years for dental work.  I think that speaks for itself, in terms of our confidence with the services rendered.  If you have substantial work to be done, check it out.  I think you'll be happy you did.
Rainbows in the mountains near San Jose

Juggling machetes at a stop light for tips

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