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Dental Tourism In Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country with no army. Instead, it spends funds on education and medical facilities. This country boasts superior dental education programs. Safety and low prices in Costa Rica make it the favorite dental tourism destination in Central America.

costa Rica

World Economic Forum’s report: The literacy rate in Costa Rica at 98%.

Why choose Costa Rica?

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When clinics spend considerably less on salaries, insurance, and dental supplies, the saving allows them to offer rates that are much less than in the USA.

  • Lower Cost: It is much cheaper to get bridges, crowns, and dental implants in Costa Rica than in the United States. Even after spending money on plane tickets and hotel stay, most people still save quite a bit of money.
  • Quality Dentistry: Dentists in Costa Rica are highly educated. As per the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine, PROMED, nearly 80 percent of the physicians have received their education in the US or in Europe.
  • Popular Tourist destination: Costa Rica is a tourist-friendly destination with infrastructure dedicated to travelers.
  • Short & Cheap Flights from North America and Western Europe: Flights from the USA and Western Europe are quite cheap, especially from the East coast areas like Miami, Dallas, and also from EU nations like Portugal.

Are Dentists Cheaper in Costa Rica?

Here is a price comparison and average savings list for common dental procedures.

COST COMPARISON(USD)
PROCEDURE USA COSTA RICA SAVE

Common procedures

Consultation $120 $0 100%
Deep Cleaning $800 $350 56%
Zoom Whitening $900 $300 66%

Restorative procedures

Tooth-colored Filling $165 $85 49%
Tooth-colored Crown $1,500 $375-425 72%
Root Canal treatment $1,000-2,000 $325 67%
Veneers $800-2,000 $425 57%

Implantology

Single Implant + Abutment $4,000 $750 80%

Full Mouth Rehabilitation

Full Removable Denture $2,000 $400 81%
Snap-on Denture System $12,300 $3,000 76%
All on 4 with Acrylic denture $24,000 $8,950 62%
All on 6 with Acrylic denture $29,500 $10,750 64%
All on 8 with Acrylic denture $24,000-31,000 $10,280 67%

Smile Makeover

Including 3 RCTs (if needed), 24-28 Zirconium or porcelain crowns and temporary crowns. $10,500

*Prices may vary with the time duration & complexity of the case.

Popular Dental Procedures in Costa Rica

While the price of a dental implant is around $4,000 in the US, it costs $750 in Costa Rica. You can save approximately 65% – 75% of your spending on dentures, from All on 4, 6, or 8 to Snap-on dentures.

Is Dental Work Safe in Costa Rica?

The World Health Organization ranks Costa Rica as having the best health care system in Central America and 36th best in the world.

We suggest you should do thorough research about the clinic and the treating dentist.

  • Find out the qualifications of the dentist. The dentist could be Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and may have done specialization in any field or a Fellowship program.
  • They should be accredited with Colegio de Dentistas Cirujanos  (similar to ADA membership in the US) and licensed by the Ministry of Health.
  • A bilingual dentist is recommended. If that is not possible, always ask for an interpreter.
  • Check if the clinic has an in-house dental lab. In-house labs quicken the prosthesis turnover and maintain higher quality standards. The dentist can give inputs immediately.
  • Sterilization is of extreme importance. The dental clinic must meet the set international standards.
  • A long experience of dealing with foreign patients and dental work is recommended.

Dental Training in Costa Rica Vs. the USA

Dental Training in the USA Dental Training in Costa Rica
Undergraduate degree + 4 years to get DDS 6 years to get DDS degree
Quicker access to the latest technology Limited access to the latest technology
Less patient exposure Vast patient exposure

Dentists in Costa Rica

Mario Bonilla

MARIO BONILLA ROBERT

Implantologist,  United States at OCO Biomedical Corporate

Member of the American Dental Association (ADA)

ANDREA ROTH EAREY

ANDREA ROTH EAREY

D.D.S.
Specialization in Restorative and Operative

RAQUEL CORDERO MOLINA

RAQUEL CORDERO MOLINA

D.D.S.
Operative Dentistry

Dental Clinic

Dentavacation partner dental clinic covers more than 6460 square feet. It consists of 8 fully equipped treatment rooms, a comfortable waiting area for patients and their travel companions. There is an on-site dental laboratory, 3D advanced dental imaging room, and a dental sterilization area.

The clinic employs:

  • 6 permanent doctors in general dentistry
  • 4 on-demand specialists and surgeons
  • 12 dental assistants

Although Guanacaste is a well-known tourist destination is Costa Rica, but dental clinic options are very limited here. Thus, it is recommended to take a short trip to travel to Guanacaste. It is hardly a 3-hour drive from San Jose.

Medical malpractice in Costa Rica comes under criminal law. (unlike civil law in countries)

Holistic Dentistry

It focuses on using biocompatible (non-toxic) restorative materials and eliminating infections. The most popular procedure for Holistic dentistry in Costa Rica is the removal of Amalgam, Nickel and other heavy metal fillings. These are then filled with composite.

How to reach Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a short flight from major US cities such as Miami, Houston, Orlando, New Orleans, Dallas. Visitors traveling by plane usually arrive at San Jose International Airport (IATA: SJO) 3 km (14 mi) west of downtown, in the city of Alajuela.

You can enjoy a dental vacation in San Jose.

flight to costa rica

Visa for USA, Canada, European Union: Do not require a Visa.

They must have a valid passport. They must arrive in Costa Rica with a return ticket proving they will leave the country within the tourist visa period (usually 90 days). The length of the tourist visa granted is at the discretion of the immigration official at the point of entry to Costa Rica.

Emergency numbers

Emergency number: 911  Police (Fuerza Pública): 117  Fire Fighters (Bomberos): 118

US Embassy: +506 2519 2000  Canadian Embassy: +506 2242-4400

Things to do in Costa Rica

With six percent of the world’s biodiversity concentrated in a minuscule 0.03% of the earth’s surface, nature is at its abundant best in Costa Rica. 27% of Costa Rica is under national parks and reserves. Costa Rica intends to become the first carbon-neutral nation by nurturing its forests. The Costa Rican government is developing plans to begin offsetting all of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.

tourist places in costa rica

Whether your idea of the perfect day involves 18 holes or a few rounds, Costa Rica is rapidly becoming a world-class golf destination. It has several championship courses in the capital city of San Jose and along the tropical Pacific Coast.

Look for the distinctive ‘five leaves’ rating system. It’s a sign that the organization is part of the Government-run CST (Certification for Sustainable Tourism). This is a program that encourages minimizing the impact on the environment.

In a nutshell, the more effort the hotel puts into sustainability, the more leaves it gets.  The number of leaves depends upon:

  • How well the hotel treats nature in surrounding areas.
  • How the hotel impacts local society.
  • How the hotel helps the local economy.

CST

tortuguero

 

Tortuguero can be reached by boat. As there is a lack of modern infrastructure, the region feels wonderfully peaceful. As you float down the river, you can spot manatees, caimans, and crocodiles, as well as sloths and a variety of monkeys. Tortuguero is also one of the best places in the world to view sea turtles. The nearby beaches are key nesting sites.

Costa Rica is home to several volcanoes, including a handful of active ones. The most popular among tourists is the Arenal Volcano. There is a good chance of seeing toucans, parrots, and tanagers.  Costa Rica is one of the best places to see hummingbirds. To date, there have been 57 species recorded in the country.

Cabo-Blanco

Nestled in the extreme southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula is the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, one of the most scenically beautiful areas of Costa Rica. It was the country’s first area that was protected for nature conservation. The abundance of birdlife matches the wildlife found underwater. 1,788 hectares of ocean belong to the Cabo Blanco nature reserve, protecting many species of fish, large quantities of lobster, giant conches and oyster. There are plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving.

sea turtle

Sea Turtle

Toucan

Manta Ray

Top National Parks in Costa Rica

Monteverde Cloud Forest: A paradise for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers.

Tortuguero National Park: Famous for a massive variety of flora and fauna. It has eleven different habitats that rest within its boundaries.

Corcovado National Park: “The most biologically intense place on earth” by National Geographic.

Piedras Blancas National Park: It is home to Jurassic forest. It is one of the few places in Costa Rica where jaguars still thrive.

Arenal Volcano National Park: One of the most recognized attractions in the country.

Palo Verde National Park: The park is flooded by the Tempisque River to create a marshy home for an abundance of wetland bird species such as Roseate Spoonbills, Egrets, Wood Storks, and Herons.

Currency in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s currency is the colon (₡). The exchange rate fluctuates daily but usually works out to between ₡500-550 per US dollar.

In addition to colones, US dollars are widely accepted throughout the country. However, bills larger than $20 may not be taken by some businesses. Also, when paying for goods and services in dollars, you’ll more than likely get your change in colones.

Here is what to do before you travel:

  • Make sure that you have a 4 digit pin number, otherwise, you won’t be able to take money out.
  • Check with your card issuer about the charge for using your credit or debit card while abroad. Expect to pay a flat fee of between $1 and $3 per transaction.
  • Notify your bank and credit card issuer of your travel plans, so your vacation spending isn’t flagged as suspicious activity.
  • Virtually all ATMs “close” at around 10 p.m. When possible, only use ATMs that are marked with ATH. This means a todas horas or “all hours.”

Caribbean Vs. Pacific Coast

Caribbean coast is culturally more diverse with white sand beaches. In the thick forests of the Caribbean Sea coast and Northern Plains, expect high humidity and temperatures ranging between the 70s and high 80s year-round.

Pacific coast is sparsely populated but has splendid beaches, excellent fishing, great water sports, and it gives endless opportunities for getting close to nature.  To the north, you will see a rugged and beautiful shoreline with the surrounding land consisting of fields and low tropical forests. In the south, the lush rainforests meet the ocean.

FAQs

What is the best season to visit Costa Rica?

With numerous microclimatic regions stashed in one country, you can always find a spot that suits your temperature and temperament. Costa Rica has two seasons- dry season (November – April) and wet season (May – November) and temperatures averaging in the 70 degrees. Although the dry season is very popular, the wet season has the following advantages:

  • Nature is lush green.
  • There is no mad holiday rush.
  • Rentals are not overpriced or heavily booked.

What does “Pura Vida” mean?

Pura Vida means pure life. Costa Ricans take every opportunity to enjoy life, and this carefree term expresses general satisfaction. Pura vida is used as greeting or farewell, to express thanks, and as a response to “how are you?”

How to stay safe in Costa Rica?

You will be safe as long as you use common tourist safety precautions and take advice from authorities, hotels, and tour operators. It is important to follow the news on television and radio closely. Be aware of your surroundings at all times like you would in any large city.

Due to crime, exercise increased caution in:

  • Central neighborhood in Limon city.
  • Liberia city.
  • Desamparados neighborhood in San Rafael.
  • Pavas and Hospital neighborhoods San Jose.
  • Avoid Hatillo, a district of San José, especially at night. This is a low-income neighborhood that has one of the worst reputations in Costa Rica. It is home to many low- and mid-level drug dealers.

How safe are the taxis in Costa Rica?

Uber is safe in Costa Rica. It’s especially great to use from SJO Airport to your accommodation.

The color of licensed taxis is red. That’s the legal type and anything else that calls itself a taxi most likely is not.

How expensive is Costa Rica?

For a 2-3 star property, in San Jose, expect to pay around $70- $100. A typical tourist can expect to spend $55 – $60 a day while in Costa Rica. The activities you decide on will effect your daily budget tremendously. For a 2-3 star property, in San Jose, expect to pay around $70- $100.

How safe is street food in Costa Rica?

Street food stands are cheap and amazing. Things are cooked before your very eyes so you won’t have to worry about things sitting in the sun all day. If you’re still worried, don’t be afraid to ask for fresh food (Comida fresca). Eating at a soda (not to be confused with the beverage, it is a local eatery) is usually a good idea. Street food is good and CHEAPER than restaurants.

Common greetings in Costa Rica?

  • How are you? – Como estas?
  • Good Morning – Buenos dias
  • I don’t understand – No entiendo
  • How Much – Cuánto cuesta?
  • Stop here – Te detienes aquí
  • Where are you going? – A donde vas?
  • What Is This? – Que es esto?
  • Sorry – Lo siento
  • Help – Ayudame
  • Cheers – Salud

How can I access the Internet in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has a relatively modern telecommunication infrastructure. All Internet traffic goes through state-owned Grupo ICE and its subsidiary RACSA. Free wireless internet access in popular spots throughout the country, including international airports and shopping malls. Most hotels also provide free wireless access, as well as popular restaurants, such as McDonald’s, Subway, Bagelman’s, Denny’s, etc.

Will my cell phone work in Costa Rica?

  • You can pay for an international plan from your cell phone company. Before traveling, you can ask your cell phone provider how much it will cost for you to get a temporary international plan. Most cell phone companies will provide some type of service like this, but it usually isn’t very cheap.
  • You can buy a prepaid SIM card from Kolbi. You just need a passport to get a sim card. They have a stand at the baggage claim area of the San Jose airport where you can buy a prepaid SIM card for about $4.
  • If you need to call your family or friends back home, it is best to wait until you have wifi and use the free app Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, or Skype.

What are some good apps to use in Costa Rica?

  • Waze: it will notify you of upcoming traffic, road closures, etc.
  • XE Currency Converter:  resource for currency exchange rates from around the globe.
  • Costa Rica Weather: weather forecasts accurate, and adjust your program according to the weather.
  • BirdSounds Costa Rica: collection of songs and calls of birds of Costa Rica. It is the perfect complement to your paper field guide to the birds of Costa Rica.
  • Animals of Costa Rica: field guide of animals of Costa Rica.
  • Costa Rica Travel Guide: contains complete and up to date city guides for travel destinations in Costa Rica. It works offline, you don’t need an internet connection.
  • Magicseaweed: lets you check out the current surf conditions at the beach.
  • GoogleTranslate:  free service instantly translates words, phrases, and web pages between English and over 100 other languages.
  • Google maps: have this feature in which you can download your route ahead of time. It will navigate you via satellite for free and without internet.
  • WhatsApp: you can send text messages, voice recordings, or call someone through your internet.

The ‘rich coast’ has earned its name and stands apart from its Central American neighbors. One of the world’s most biodiverse countries in the world, it is an excellent dental tourism destination.

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