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What do you do when you have a medical emergency in Playa Tamarindo or Playa Flamingo

Courtney Borquet

Nurse with an older patient in Costa RicaMedical emergencies are scary when you are in your home country, but when you are on vacation it can be even more challenging. When you are traveling, you should always have basic information ready and have an understanding of the medical options in the area.

It is always recommended to travel with a basic first aid emergency kit. Suggested items would include scissors, gloves, tweezers, thermometers, a variety of bandages, cold compress, first aid tape, gauze pads and rolls, aspirin, antibiotic ointment and cleaning spray. You should also make sure that you have a sufficient supply of prescription medication on hand. Many doctors in Costa Rica speak English but if someone has a particular health condition, it might be helpful to keep a brief medical history translated into the language of the country where you are traveling. 

In the area of Tamarindo and Flamingo, there are a number of excellent doctors that have 24-hour clinics. Many offer a variety of medical services as well as emergency care. In Playa Tamarindo, Dr. Roberto Piloto Soriano is located in the center of Tamarindo. He can be reached at 2653-1974 and for emergencies calls at 8835-8074. Beachside Clinic is another option located just a short drive from Tamarindo in Huacas. You can contact the 24-hour clinic at 2653-9911. There are additional medical clinics available in the town of Villareal, only a five-minute drive from Tamarindo. The resort where you are staying might have an onsite clinic. In both gated communities of Hacienda Pinilla and Reserva Conchal, there are medical services directly at the resort.

Nurse comforting a patient

Most people will dial 911 when they have an emergency in their home country, and there is also a 911 system in Costa Rica. When called, an emergency dispatcher will answer the phone and send an ambulance to your location. Unfortunately, sometimes, the ambulances from the Red Cross can take a while to get to the location, especially depending on the number of calls they have at the time and the city where you are located. Ambulance transport can be found with the above-mentioned doctors as well as Medi Red: www.mediredcr.com.

There are public hospitals in the towns of Nicoya and Liberia. Many residents and visitors consult to the private hospitals located less than an hour from Tamarindo, including Hospital San Rafael Arcangel (2690-5500) and CIMA Guanacaste (2690-8500). There are world class services at a fraction of the price many people will pay in their home country. 

You might not be able to predict medical emergencies, but it is important to be prepared as possible, especially when traveling in another country.

Courtney Borquet, Owner/Broker