Dental work is not a tremendous amount of fun, even if you choose to go to an exotic destination like Costa Rica to have it done.  That said, many dental tourists enjoy their down time (when they are not in the dental clinic) better than most people who opt for Main St. Dental in their local town or city.  Here are a few things you can consider doing when your Dentist does not require your presence in the dental chair.

  1. Going to the movies

The movies are always a good distraction, be it from your job, your spouse, your children or the Dentist.  Since going to the Doctor can often be a bit of a scary proposition, I suggest you avoid the horror shows and seek out a comedy.  But make sure it’s not too funny, as laughing when you have been in the dental chair with many hands in your mouth for a few hours can put a damper on what otherwise would be an enjoyable thing to do.  If you stay in the Escazu area you will be very close to Multiplex with its large and varied selection of movies, and an IMAX theater. So, make sure you consider this when choosing a dental clinic as nothing is worse than a dental pain than spending an extra $25 on a cab to get to the movies!

  1. Holing up in your hotel

Hotels come in many flavors in Costa Rica, and there are selections for all types of people.  While there are not many notable resorts in the downtown area, there are a few surprisingly nice, upscale, and comfortable hotels in the city center and on the outskirts of San Jose.  And most have room service, which is something you may desire after a session with your Dentist.  Make sure your hotel has the basic amenities you need in the event you do not feel like wandering around.  I suggest you choose one with a restaurant or kitchenette, a gym, internet service and a good-sized television.  The biggest and flashiest hotel may not be the best, even if it is the most expensive, so make sure you consult with your Patient Coordinator about selecting suitable accommodations.  It is also advisable to make sure your chosen hotel has some English-speaking staff on hand to make communications easier and more effective.  Sometimes, there is little more fun than just doing nothing; and few things are more frustrating than when you want to sit around and do nothing, but people cannot understand you (while you are numb, drooling all over yourself, and speaking a foreign language).  Depending upon your treatment plan, rest may very well be the best medicine, and you need a good hotel to get good rest.  Just remember, the people in your hotel may be the closest thing to having friends and family around while overseas, so even if you are suffering a bit from your dental session, be nice and be on your best behavior possible!

  1. Visiting a volcano

Volcanoes come in a few varieties; most notably live or dormant.  Costa Rica has both.  The live ones are great to see when the lava is bubbling down the side of the mountain, especially at night.  But those who get too close may be surprised by the stinging effect of the sulfur and other elements that often make seeing and breathing difficult.  Yes, some things are best experienced from a distance.  The other by-product of some active volcanoes is ash.  There are not any redeeming qualities of ash, though it is interesting to see coming down like snow.  Aside from that, it is just kind of nasty, dirty, smelly and can irritate your skin and eyes.  That said, there are many volcanoes worthy of a visit…some like to see the iconic cone shape (Arenal), others like to visit those which have become home to beautiful lakes (Poas), and others as they are just majestic to see, fun to climb or interesting to ponder – after all, they formed the land on which you will be standing. Yes, a volcano can be a wonderful thing to experience and should help you pass some time by as you are healing up from your dental procedures.

  1. Visiting the jungle or rainforest

Most North Americans have never seen a real jungle.  Except for Hawaii, you would be hard pressed to find one in the States, except perhaps in Florida, and even those are weak when compared to more tropical and undisturbed ones.  Costa Rican jungles are the real deal.  There are lots of poisonous and venomous frogs, snakes, and spiders in all of them.  There are also pumas, monkeys, sloths, insects, and other wild animals and critters so you can easily get your bungle in the jungle if you don’t keep your wits about you.  Rainforests are amazing places, but they are also dangerous.  If you visit one, stay on the beaten trail or pathway, and pay attention to your surroundings.  Bring a poncho.  And if you see a wild boar, python or other intimidating creature…stay calm, make some large human-sounding noise, say a prayer that all will be well, and walk the other way! And remember to look up, frequently.  Birds of all sizes and colors are nesting and taking to the skies year-round.  But don’t forget to look down too as the giant ants may try to carry you away as they work the day away.  There will be plenty of things in the jungle and rainforests to help you forget about your teeth.

  1. Visiting the beach, lakes, rivers and waterfalls

What’s better than visiting a Pacific beach?  Perhaps visiting a Caribbean beach!  Fortunately, in Costa Rica, you can do both unless your Doctor orders otherwise.  The reality is many people who undergo surgery should avoid overexertion, too much heat/direct sunlight, and in general, overdoing it (whatever it is).  But provided your dental work is not too invasive or life threatening, once you are out of the dental clinic if you travel far enough east or west, you are bound to hit the water.  And the good news is Costa Rica has all sorts of water and plenty of it!  There are both populated and desolate beaches, fine white sand beaches, and silky mud beaches.  They also have many that have big waves, small waves and completely calm bays. Most have one thing in common – warm water.  Prefer cold water?  You will need to find a waterfall, underground spring, or a river.  There are plenty of all.  Sports fisherman will be in heaven.  Beach strollers can find long beaches, volleyball players wide beaches, and adventurous people ones that butt up against jungles, mangroves, and even other Central American countries.  If you like sea-turtles, dolphins, whales, etc., you are going to love Costa Rica…once you get out of the dental chair, of course!

Dental Tourism

If you want to discuss dental tourism, or how to relax when you are not in the dental chair, please contact the author at the following email: [email protected]