Accessing Medical Services and Hospitals

Information about hospitals and finding an English-speaking doctor in Costa Rica..


Many doctors in Costa Rica did their training or residency in English-speaking countries, so it is fairly common to find an English-speaking doctor, especially in major hospitals.

The US Embassy in Costa Rica maintains a list of English-speaking doctors and medical service providers according to their speciality.

See the Business Directory for English-speaking doctors in Costa Rica, and for a list of Hospitals and Health centers with English-speaking staff.

In the event of a medical emergency go to the nearest hospital or call 911 or 128.


Currently, there are about 30 public hospitals and five private hospitals in Costa Rica. The majority of private hospitals are located in San José.


Pharmacies (farmacias) in Costa Rica tend to be well-stocked with a wide range of medicines (both generics and brands), many of which are available without a prescription. Some antibiotics are available without prescription as well. Pharmacists can diagnose minor ailments and provide appropriate treatments, for example for stomach ailments and minor infections.

24-hour pharmacies are only found in San José.