Doctors in San Jose

The Ultimate Guide to Doctors in San Jose

Do you want to get some plastic surgery done? In San Jose, Costa Rica, you’ll find affordable options and surgical expertise that will make a trip here more than worthwhile. Find out how with Medical Departures.

An overview of San Jose

San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica and its largest city. It is the center for commerce and financial activities, and for tourists it is also a gateway to many of the country’s tourist attractions, both nearby and farther afield. It is the most populated city in the country and sometimes it seems as though the majority of the population live here! The downtown area can get quite crowded, but it is also a vibrant hub of activity.

Costa Rica is easily accessible from the U.S. and Canada. The flights are convenient and cheap and don’t take too long, which is important post-surgery when you are still healing. The city has many old, historic buildings that have now been converted to house modern shops, department stores, art galleries and restaurants. Chepe, as the city is popularly called, also has museums, parks and a pedestrian-only Central Avenue. It has many places that host street acts and you can watch jugglers in action or check out live music.

The city has many cosmetic clinics and hospitals that cater to locals and, even more importantly, to medical tourists who flock there from the U.S. and Canada for cheap and affordable treatments and surgeries.

Where is San Jose?

San Jose is in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica. The Talamanca Mountains are to its south and volcanoes to the north of the city.

Why choose San Jose for Plastic Surgery?

Some of the reasons you should get plastic surgery done in San Jose are listed below:


Since cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery are not covered by any form of medical insurance, you have to pay for the procedures. The rates for most procedures are high in western countries and can be quite unaffordable to the majority of the population. However, the same surgery or treatment done at a medical tourism destination like San Jose becomes affordable as rates can be between 50 and 80 percent cheaper than at home. Even taking into account travel and accommodation costs this can prove to be a significant saving - and who wouldn’t want an enjoyable and relaxing holiday for, essentially, free?

Some examples of the cost savings for plastic surgery in San Jose:

  • Breast Enlargement in San Jose average cost USD 3,000 as against USD 7,500-12,000 in the US and CAD 15,000 in Canada.
  • Facelift in San Jose average cost USD 3,500 as against USD10,000 -15,000 in the US and CAD 12,000-15,000 in Canada.
  • Tummy tuck in San Jose average cost USD 4,000 as against USD 7,000-12,000 in the US and CAD 10,000-12,000 in Canada.

Medical Facilities:

You can find state-of-the-art hospitals and clinics in San Jose. These have luxurious amenities, friendly nurses and good facilities and compare with the best in the U.S. and Canada.

Many of the doctors have trained either fully or partly in the U.S. and are likely to be Board certified, or have membership of international professional organizations like ISAPS. They are also comfortable dealing with patients from the U.S. and Canada since there are a great deal of patients visiting from these countries.

Doctor Training and Qualifications:

Costa Rica ensures that doctors are well-trained since medical studies take at least five years to complete. After completing basic medical studies, doctors may go and study for specialties or even sub-specialties in the U.S. or Canada. In fact, Costa Rica has some universities that are accredited in the US.

What kind of plastic surgery procedures can be done in San Jose?

You can find all kinds of of plastic surgery options available in San Jose. Whether you want eye surgery to remove eye bags and wrinkles, improve your vision, hair transplant surgeries, breast surgeries, mommy makeover, tummy tuck, facelift or even weight loss surgery and esthetic skin treatments are done in San Jose.

Tourist Locations for pre and post-op recovery:

You can stay in top end luxury hotels that offer the best of facilities for a lot less than you would at home. You can also check into recovery retreats where the staff is trained to deal with medical patients, particularly if you need special post surgery care. If chain hotels are what you prefer you can find Marriot, Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Radisson, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Sheraton and Best Western among others in San Jose, as well as plenty of other options to suit all budgets.

You can also find Apartment hotels, which are more like a home from home and have kitchen facilities if you want to do your own cooking. Overall, San Jose has plenty of options according to your budget and the accommodation amenities you're after.

How safe is San Jose?

San Jose is as safe as any city that hosts a vast number of tourists. You have to be careful of random and petty crimes that can take place in congested areas like pick pocketing. You should also avoid going out to deserted areas at night. San Jose is safe and the crime rate is low. Keep valuables in the hotel, carrying a copy of your passport with you. Avoid using credit and debit cards except at bank ATMS and change your money at the airport, bank or a large money-changer shop. Don’t carry too much cash and don’t flaunt valuables. These are only normal precautions you should take, just as you would at home if you are in a strange town or city.

How can I be sure the quality of care is the same as back home?

All surgery carries an element of risk, no matter who performs it, or where. Unforeseen complication can and do arise, and although rare they can happen in the best of facilities to highly experienced and skilled doctors. That said, you will minimize any risk by choosing surgeons and facilities with good credentials.

At Medical Departures we carry out our own investigations into the background and education of the doctors, look into their qualifications, accreditations and training. We also make sure that the clinics and hospitals meet international standards in every aspect that is important to conduct successful surgeries, and we publish real patient testimonials online for you to read. There is no foolproof way of guaranteeing success, but by cross-checking a number of criteria you can maximize the chances.

What happens if something goes wrong? Do San Jose doctors have warranties or guarantees?

Despite the entire precautions taken by Medical Departures, you as the concerned patient and the doctors and hospitals, sometimes things can go wrong. Everybody is unique with a different medical history and the human body can react to something even if it has never previously faced any problems.

At Medical Departures we are always on hand to address any problems, and will do our utmost to see things are put right in the rare event that thing haven’t gone according to plan. Just so that you have peace of mind as far as extra expense goes, we recommend everyone purchases additional insurance for medical complications, which will at least cover the extra costs for travel and accommodation should you need to travel back to see your surgeon.

Do doctors speak English?

While Spanish is the first language of Costa Rica, English is largely spoken by everyone, so no need to worry about communication problems if you don’t speak Spanish.

What payment methods are accepted in San Jose?

If you have international debit and credit cards, they will be freely accepted in San Jose. In case you want to use other payment methods like wire transfer, you will have to check with the clinic or hospitals. However, most places in Costa Rica also accept American dollars, though you are advised to keep some local currency for making small payments.

When is the best time to visit for plastic surgery in San Jose?

While medical facilities are open through the year as a visitor, especially one who wants plastic surgery done, you should be visiting in the dry season, from November to April. From before Christmas to New Year, lights are on in San Jose, giving it a very festive look. From May to November it is wet and raining. During this time of the year, not only will it be wet, it will also be cloudy and if you want to visit volcanoes or other attractions, you may find it difficult to get clear views. However, the green areas are lush during this period.

From November to early December, you can get the best of both worlds – some rain and yet cool weather, so you can enjoy waterfalls and greenery along with temperatures that are cooling down. Keep in mind that Christmas is peak season so rates of flights and hotels will be higher and places will be crowded.

What is the downside? What should I know about getting plastic surgery in San Jose?

Even if you face any surgery in a matter of fact manner, when you are going to a foreign country, you may still feel somewhat apprehensive because you are not in familiar surroundings or among familiar people. If you stay in a good hotel for a few days pre-surgery, you will get used to the place. If you take someone with you, your apprehensions will be much less.

Do think of the positives as well – you save a great deal of money, yet get treated by experienced doctors. When you stay at a hotel, you are away from the cares of your normal daily life and your routines. You can actually have time to relax and recuperate.

After a major procedure, if you stay at a recovery retreat – of which there are many - you will be taken care of very well, without any problems. Or you can book a hotel which offers all the amenities you want.

What else is there to do in San Jose?

San Jose has many rich cultural and historic museums. For instance, there is The Gold Museum that has pre-Colombian gold works and artifacts; the Jade Museum has attractions made of jade and even a museum with exhibits concentrated just on insects.

You can go for bird walking tours, a day of golf, check out a butterfly farm, visit a coffee plantation, and discover hidden waterfalls, hot springs and white water rafting in Costa Rica’s countryside. Back in the city, sample the vibrant night life at the clubs and bars, have a flutter at one of the many casinos or dine out at a myriad of restaurants.

San Jose is a great city to use as a base to get around different parts of the country seeing the natural wonders or to go diving and snorkeling at a beach resort.

San Jose – Getting There

San Jose is accessible from most international destinations thanks to the fact that the Juan Santamaria Airport is 27 kilometers away. It is a large airport and is the third best in Central America.

Flight times (approx.) from other destinations to San Jose:

Los Angeles – 5.6 hours
New York – 6 hours 35 minutes
Toronto – 5.2 hours
Ottawa – 6 hours
London – 13 hours

Flight times will vary and depend on the airlines, the number of stopovers and the waiting time to catch another flight (or even the same one).

Local transport:

Private buses are available very easily and are reasonably priced. You can also get taxis to take you wherever you want to go. However, taxis can be quite expensive and you should take only licensed taxis and not private ones. You can also get luxury transportation in the form of chauffeur driven cars.

Visa Requirements:

If you reside in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Schengen area or an EU country, you can get an entry permit in San Jose, valid for 30 days. Citizens of Britain can stay for three months visa-free. For other countries, you need to check online whether you need a visa or not.

What now?

You can book at one of the clinics listed on the website of Medical Departures. Look below for easy ways to contact us. Our customer care team will help you with the booking process and clear your doubts.

Plastic surgery in San Jose is the solution for affordable cosmetic surgery at a great destination.

(Main Image by: Arturo Saltillo)