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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Costa Rica has wealth of recovery, rehab, wellness centers

With medical tourism big business in Costa Rica, the number of health-oriented facilities throughout the country is growing in tandem. Whether you’re looking for a secluded place to relax and recover after surgery, a treatment facility for drug or alcohol addiction, or a wellness retreat to honor your body’s physical, mental and spiritual needs, Costa Rica is sure to have a place that’s right for you.

The Tico Times compiled the following sampling of recovery, rehab and health and wellness centers around the country.

Recovery Centers

refugio montana

Refugio de Montaña recovery center offers care for the elderly as well as post-surgical patients in a mountain setting. Courtesy of Refugio de Montaña.

Refugio de Montaña in San Pedro de Poás, northwest of the capital in the Alajuela province, provides post-surgery care to medical tourists and also specializes in care for the elderly and for people with temporary or permanent disabilities. The facility is 20 minutes from Juan Santamaría International Airport and the San Rafael de Alajuela Hospital. Services and amenities here include medical care, transportation to and from the airport and medical appointments, all meals, monitoring and supervision of patient health conditions, a gymnasium and doctor office. Refugio de Montaña also can arrange tours, spa and beauty salon services, physical therapy and massage therapy. Prices listed on the website ($110 per person and $60 per companion per night) have been lowered to $90 per person and $40 per companion per night. The facility also offers wireless Internet access, free local calls, private bathrooms, laundry service and cleaning service. For information, visit, e-mail or call 2448-5781.

Paradise Cosmetic Inn, in the hills of San José’s western Escazú suburb, caters especially to surgical patients. The facility, which is part of the Best Western hotel chain, offers on-site nursing care, free 24-hour professional care and recommendations of qualified plastic surgeons in Costa Rica. It works directly with private hospitals CIMA and Clínica Bíblica, both accredited by the Joint Commission International. All-inclusive rates range from $75 for one patient in a standard room to $195 for a patient and a companion in a presidential suite. Prices include transportation to and from the airport and surgery appointment, three meals per day, nursing assistance, wireless Internet, private bathrooms, DirecTV and free calls to the United States and Canada after 5 p.m. Basic rooms without all the services start at $59 per patient per night. For information, see paradisecosmetic, e-mail or call 2252-3530 in Costa Rica or (786) 228-9148 from the U.S.

CheTica Medical Recovery Ranch, in the mountains northeast of San José, is run by husband-and-wife team Lorena and Ruben Martin. Guests stay in independent cottages surrounded by 80 acres of pristine land while they recover from surgery. Patients receive around-the-clock nursing assistance, three home-cooked meals a day, help with doctor’s appointments, travel information and tours, transportation to and from the patient’s main doctor and hospital, and free airport transfers between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. The private cottages have over 450 square feet of living space and come equipped with cable TV and DVD player, private bathroom, stereo system and CD player, bottled water, microwave, refrigerator and wood-burning fireplace. Guests can also take advantage of free Internet and international phone calls. A single surgical guest is charged a flat rate of $85 per day plus tax, with discounts offered for additional guests sharing a cottage. A lowered rate of $75 per night applies for dental guests. For information, visit, e-mail or call 2268-7771.

Villa Le Mas aftercare facility in the mountains of Escazú offers private villas and 24-hour specialized care. Decorative pools and waterfalls surround the premises, which feature a solar-heated swimming pool and a spa offering relaxing massages, manicures, pedicures and hair services. Tours of the area are also offered. Suites and villas include bottled water, cable TV, DVD access, telephone, kitchen appliances, wireless Internet, laundry service and free calls to the United States and Canada. Rates including tax start at $99 per night for a standard villa for surgical guests and $149 per night for a luxury suite. Nonsurgical guests receive a reduced rate. For information, see, e-mail or call 2289-3767.

Rehab Centers

Costa Rica Recovery is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center in the western San José district of Pavas that offers 30-, 60- and 90-day treatment plans for up to 20 patients at a time. Services and amenities include individual and group therapy, daily gym visits and a personal trainer, transportation to 12-step meetings, recreational day trips and three meals a day. The first 30 days of treatment cost $3,500; each additional month costs $2,650. For information, visit or call 2220-1713 or 8348-1369 in Costa Rica or (866) 804-1793 from the U.S. or Canada.

Tropical Oasis offers a traditional and holistic approach to overcoming addiction at its treatment center in Esterillos, a small beach town on the central Pacific coast. The rehab facility provides intervention services, individual and group therapy, educational lectures and medication management. In addition to its 12-step philosophy, the center uses other spiritual approaches and tools such as cognitive-behavioral therapy in its treatment plans. It offers rehabilitation programs for alcohol, drug, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine addiction, as well as dual diagnosis and depression. Rates range from $10,000 – $15,000 depending on length of stay and accomodation type. For details please contact

Costa Rica New Hope treatment center caters to executives and professionals struggling with addiction or emotional problems. The Central Valley facility features a mountain setting and is run by husband-and-wife team Bill Bayless and Dakmare Bolaños Vaglio. The center’s physicians, therapists and activity director help patients design a customized treatment plan using a holistic approach that treats patients physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Plans include drug or alcohol detoxification, individual therapy, education and art therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, relapse-prevention techniques, exercise and on- and off-site activities. The facility features a thermal water pool, fishing pond and walking trails. Four weeks of dual diagnosis treatment normally costs $9,600, but the center is currently offering a discounted price of $8,000. For information, visit, e-mail or call 2213-1954 in Costa Rica or (866) 918-8302 from the U.S. or Canada.

Health & Wellness Retreats


Pool area at Asclepios Wellness and Healing Retreat. Courtesy of Asclepios.

Asclepios Wellness and Healing Retreat, named after the Greek god of medicine and healing, sits on 12,500 acres of land in El Cacao de Alajuela, near Poás Volcano, northwest of San José. Amenities include a regulated ionized swimming pool, amphitheater, fitness center, yoga and meditation pavilion, sauna relaxation room and organic restaurant. The facility also offers naturopathy, detoxification and revitalization programs, stress and weight management techniques, Reiki, acupuncture, floral therapy, shiatsu and homeopathy, among other services. Special programs, such as the Purifying Journey or Anti-Stress Escape, are offered with a minimum one-week stay; shorter programs for two to four nights are also available. High-season rates start at $245 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. For information, visit, e-mail or call 2433-1668.

AmaTierra is a holistic eco-retreat on eight acres of land in the mountains between San José and the central Pacific coast. Owner Jill Ruttenberg, a registered professional herbalist, offers a variety of wellness services such as aromatherapy massage, ear candling, exfoliation scrubs, yoga classes and holistic health guidance. Guests stay in private suites with bathtub, private terrace and garden with outdoor seating, refrigerator, phone and TV with DVD player. Standard high-season rates including breakfast start at $149 double occupancy. Meal-inclusive rates are also offered, as are a variety of wellness, yoga and honeymoon packages. For information, visit, e-mail or call 2419-0110 in Costa Rica or (866) 659-3805 from the U.S. or Canada.

Health Oasis Costa Rica in Manuel Antonio, on the central Pacific coast, is a wellness resort that offers a variety of therapies and programs with a specialization in fasting and colon-cleansing programs. Guests who come for these programs can expect to receive a health assessment and iris analysis upon arrival, one yoga and meditation class daily and a massage course, Reiki circle meditation and a wellness seminar every three days. Rates start at $880 for three days and go up to $1,780 for nine days. Other cleansing programs, such as blood and lymph or lungs ($450 for four days), parasite or kidney ($350 for three days or $680 for seven days) and weight loss ($650 for three days or $2,900 for 14 days), are offered as well. For information, see

Costa Rica Body and Spirit, founded by Costa Ricans Carlos Echeverría and Patricia Howell, offers wellness vacations that involve the healing and creative arts in locations throughout the country. Guests can expect to enjoy activities such as yoga and qigong classes, meditation sessions, rain-forest walks and visits to healing herb gardens and butterfly farms. Upcoming seven-day vacations being offered are a qigong and dolphin package ($1,650 per person) and eco-yoga ($1,750 per person). Prices include all lodging, local transportation, meals, classes and tours, and are based on double occupancy. For information, visit

If you have a health-oriented facility to recommend, post your comments below.

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