Costa Rica Public Hospital System

The system of public hospitals in Costa Rica falls under control of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) which I will refer to hereafter as CAJA or CCSS. 

While many of these hospitals my not look real pretty from the outside and may seem crowded and disorganized inside, looks are deceiving.  Many of these hospitals provide first rate service at very low cost.  Hospital Mexico has performed heart transplants that the private hospitals cannot or do not perform.  They are also a first rate trauma center and cardiac center.  The Children's Hospital is a truly excellent facility and is certainly the best in Central America for children under 12 with life threatening diseases or injuries.

The physical condition of these building is another matter.  Recently, a fire at Hospital Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia killed 19 people.  There was a total lack of emergency exits, fire extinguishers failed, and not one working smoke detector in the building.  With the exception of the new hospital recently opened CAJA hospital in Alajuela, this tragedy could be repeated at ANY CAJA facility in Costa Rica.  This is not the case at many of the nation's private hospitals.

There are actually 29 CAJA hospitals and 250 clinics in Costa Rica, but finding a list of them has been daunting job and so far I have not been able to do so. I have, however, been able to secure a .PDF file of the locations of many of the public hospitals in Costa Rica.  To see it, click here.  NOTE: Adobe Reader is required.  Get it here.

For now, I can provide a few links:

Hospital Nacional de Niños - San José, Costa Rica

This is a 250 bed hospital for children only. It has private rooms with baths, telephones and space for an extra bed in each room. The equipment operating rooms, and its pediatric specialists are the best in Central America. Only children under the age of 12 should be brought to this facility for life-threatening types of emergencies.


Hospital San Vicente de Paúl - Heredia - Costa Rica


Hospital San Juan de Dios - San José -Costa Rica

This is a 680 bed hospital. The surgical theaters, cardiac care unit and the intensive care unit are well equipped. The different sections within the hospital are known as Pensiones and the Pensiones Echandi. This is also the only hospital in Costa Rica with an adult burn unit.


Hospital Nacional Dr. Max Peralta Jiménez - Cartago - Costa Rica


Hospital Mexico - Uruca, San José - Costa Rica
Barrio La Uruca in front of the Autopista to the Airport.
Telephone: 2232-6122

The hospital has 633 beds. It has many well trained physicians, however it is crowded and there are equipment shortages. (this hospital should be utilized in the cases of a life threatening emergency)


Hospital Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia - San José - Costa Rica

This is a 622 bed hospital. The surgical theaters, cardiac care unit and the intensive care unit are well equipped. This hospital should be utilized in the case of a life-threatening emergency. 



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