Rodgers H. Bestgen Jr

Health Check Costa Rica


The days of emergency medical airlifts from Guanacaste to San Jose for top medical care will soon be gone. Sources within the hospital have informed Health Check Costa Rica that the Hospital Cima project in Liberia Guanacaste plans to open their doors in February 2012. Construction of the first phase of the hospital project is all but complete and the hospital is in the process of moving in equipment for a February opening. The hospital will be beginning with only around ten beds but will be the first Joint Commission International Hospital to open their doors in Guanacaste which is a region known mostly for pristine beaches, and a tourism dependent economy. Repercussions of this will reverberate throughout the region as Guanacaste begins the transformation from a primarily tourist oriented economy to a broader based retirement and full time residential destination.

The project includes a new CIMA Hospital, a building with medical practice offices, a commercial section with restaurants and an apartment hotel building specifically targeting retirees and Medical Travel patients. The hospital, as well as the other buildings, would be located next to the Do-it Center in the canton of Carrillo, on the road between Liberia International Airport and the region’s seaside resort areas, and purposely close to the international Airport which has become the hub of Guanacaste’s amazing growth as a tourist destination in the last ten years. This private hospital not only would serve the local residents of Guanacaste but the growing foreign clientele seeking high-quality care. “The number of patients may vary due to the fact that these facilities may not only serve patients from around the province, but also may serve foreigners visiting for ‘medical tourism’ purposes.

Guanacaste has undergone major transformations in recent years as the Government of Costa Rica has wisely been paying attention to major infrastructure projects including road ways and telecommunication infrastructure both of which have seen monumental leaps forward in recent years. Previously inaccessible beaches now boast beautifully paved roads complete with reflectors, painted lines and street lights; something old hands will remember did not exist on any roads only a few short years ago.

In addition, through numerous private investors Guanacaste has seen the expansion and creation of everything from International American Schools to private surgery clinics, orthopedic centers, cosmetic surgery spas, and a variety of spas, mental health retreats, recovery centers, and more. The major private investment dollars flowing into major medical facilities in Liberia to the tune of almost half a billion dollars is having a ripple effect across Guanacaste as people follow the smart money into niche areas of the booming Medical Tourism industry. With increasing debate and spiraling costs of Health Care in the United States, the ever increasing wait times in the socialized world of Canadian Health care coupled with the expansion of direct flights into the region from both countries, Medical Tourism in Guanacaste is poised for a boom, and the opening of the long awaited CIMA branch in Liberia represents the first major stride in this direction.

Internationally accredited medical care really is the final piece of the puzzle for Guanacaste and defines a giant leap in the marketability of the region both as a Medical Travel and retirement destination but more importantly as a true long term alternative life style choice for many North Americans. Low crime beautiful weather and now excellent medical care, quality accredited education, and all the wonderful things that have driven tourists here in droves is complemented by the development of the regions first Internationally accredited hospital. Really the best is yet to come.