1) How to Find a Dentist?
Before planning your trip to Costa Rica, it would be wise to find the right dentist for your dental needs.
To find a dentist, take into consideration the following points:
Can your dental work be performed by a general dentist or do you need a specialist? It is important to check on the dentist’s credentials and experience to make sure you are in good hands.
Finding a good price for dental treatment is important, but it is not everything. Don’t base your decision solely on price, because choosing the cheapest treatment might end up costing you thousands of dollars more later. Remember, no matter which dentist you choose in Costa Rica, you will likely save 50%-70% over prices in the US and Canada. If you find a dentist or dental clinic that you love, don’t pass them by for a less expensive dental clinic because of a few hundred dollars. Much like a pair of pants, it doesn’t matter how cheap they are…if they don’t fit…it’s not a good deal.
The price for your dental care is predicated on many cost variables. Costs depend on the type of materials used, the expertise of the dentist, the cost of the dental laboratory, the location of the dental clinic, the equipment they have and extra services they provide such as conscious sedation, patient transportation from the clinic to your hotel, etc.
Take some time to learn as much as you can about the dental clinic of your choice and the dentist who is performing dental work for you.
Dental clinics are built around a concept; therefore many clinics have a personality of their own. Some dental offices offer the perfect environment for relaxation while getting your dental treatment done; others specialize in fast dental work by using the most technological equipment, many others use techniques as hypnotism for sedation, etc. Find a clinic that suits your needs to ensure that you will have a great dental experience.
Make sure the dentist and staff you choose speaks fluent English. Clear and understandable communication is critical in dental care.
Call past patients and ask them about their experience with the dentist you are considering. Consider referrals and take the time to read reviews and testimonials.
Make sure the dentist is available for you not only to perform your dental work but to have the time to speak with you and pay attention to your case. You should be able to get in contact with your dentist within 24-48 hours. It’s important to understand that good dentists are often very busy and may not be able to take your call immediately. However, if the dentist is too busy to speak with you within 1-2 days, he may be too busy to provide you with good care.
Please use your time with the dentist to discuss any other concerns you might have. Browse this website to learn about specific dental procedures that are performed in Costa Rica.
If you are planning on spending the majority of your vacation at the beach, then it is smart to go to a dental clinic near the beach. However, if you choose a clinic in San Jose, plan your vacation strategically, always prioritizing your dental care.
If you are coming to Costa Rica for significant dental care, please remember that you will spend a large amount of time attending your appointments. Keep in mind that unexpected events may interfere with your plans such as delays in traffic, longer appointments, emergencies, etc. Therefore, it is important to give yourself extra time to make sure you stay on schedule.
Use our directory to narrow down your search by location to help you find a dentist within the area of your convenience.
Transportation to the clinic
Many dental clinics offer transportation from certain hotels to their clinics. Ask your international dental patient coordinator about this service before booking transportation and hotels.
Costa Rica is a small country, but the distances can be deceiving. While the dental clinic you choose does not need to be located next door to your hotel, it is important to choose a hotel that is relatively close to your chosen clinic.
You can choose a clinic in San Jose, and get all of your work done in San Jose…and then drive to the beach the next day for a little sun and fun. Transportation from San Jose to Jaco Beach is only 1.5 hours. Driving from San Jose to the beaches in Guanacaste is approximately 4.5 hours. Another possibility is to take a 45 minute flight from San Jose to Liberia, Guanacaste and a short 35 minute drive to the beach.
2) Book a Flight
Give yourself enough time for transportation to attend your dental appointment, as well as recovery time and further appointments for post-care checkups after your dental treatment is finalized.
Where to Land?
The two main international airports are Juan Santamaria International Airport, located in Alajuela, 20 km west of downtown San José, or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport located in Liberia, Guanacaste.
If you are receiving dental care in the San Jose area, it is recommended that you fly into San Jose…not Liberia. Many patients make the mistake of booking their dental care in San Jose and purchase flights into Liberia. This mistake can add hundreds of dollars in additional transportation costs to your bill and may cause you to miss critical appointments. In short, pay attention to where your dental appointments are and choose to fly into the closest airport to your chosen dental clinic.
3) Should I Book a Hotel or a B&B?
Once you know your landing and departure time, you are ready to book a place to stay. Depending on your needs, you can choose to stay in a hotel or a bed & breakfast.
Why a B&B?
If you are looking for a place where you can feel more at home, in a peaceful, more personal atmosphere, a bed & breakfast might be your first choice. B&B’s are usually cheaper than hotels and they offer personal attention, home-cooked breakfasts and the possibility of meeting other guests.
Why a hotel?
Hotels usually have 24-hour front desk staff and late night room service. This is very important if you arrive or depart Costa Rica at late hours. Most hotels have phone service in every room which is also very useful if you need to communicate with your dentist for any concern. Some hotels offer free or paid transportation to and from the airport as well to other specific destinations. Ask at the front desk about transportation to your dental appointment.
In Costa Rica Dental Guide, we have a directory of hotels you can search.
4) Should I rent a car or should I use public transportation?
Car rentals are popular especially if you are interested in doing some sightseeing and want to control your vacation. However, some dental work, like maxillofacial surgeries, may not allow you to drive on your own.
Consider other options like hiring a private car service, using transportation offered in hotels, or rely on taxis or public bus service.
5) Book Tours and Other Activities
There are plenty of exciting and amazing tourist activities in Costa Rica. Many patients make the mistake of booking tours too close to their dental appointments and for many reasons, they end up missing the appointments, or on the contrary, they miss their tours.
Please book tourism activities only after you have discussed with your dentist about the length of the treatment and the times you will be available to travel. Remember, you are here for serious dental care. Please make your dental care a priority and discuss your tourism plans with your dentist prior to booking any tours.
Make sure to take a look at our “Tours & Attractions” directory for exploring many activities that will make your trip an unforgettable experience. Here are some activities we recommend for your visit in Costa Rica:
Cloud Forest: Visit Monteverde to experience the high cloud forest with thousands of species of birds, plants and flowers, mammals and insects.
Springs and Volcanoes: A popular area is La Fortuna, where the Arenal Volcano is located. There are several hotels that offer the perfect combination of hot springs and the surrounding rain forest. Other volcanoes to visit are Poas and Irazu where you can walk all the way to the crater.
Beaches: Costa Rica is known for its warm-water beautiful beaches, perfect for surfing. Pacific beaches are located in Guanacaste, Puntarenas, Jaco, Manuel Antonio and more. The Caribbean beaches are also beautiful with hundreds of stunning beaches located near Limon and Puerto Viejo.
La Paz Waterfalls: In La Paz you will get the feeling of walking within a rain forest and being inside a zoo. Also you have the opportunity of getting close to 5 beautiful waterfalls and to breathe the pureness of nature.
Why Use Costa Rica Dental Guide?
Costa Rica Dental Guide offers a directory of over 200 leading dentists, dental specialists and dental surgeons. If you want our help to find the best dentist for your needs, just fill out the “Help Me Find a Dentist” form and we will ask our leading dental specialists to contact you and discuss your case.