Accidents can happen anywhere, but it’s never fun on vacation! We have unwittingly tested out some of the medical emergency options at Peninsula Papagayo for you.
First of all, there is a paramedic on staff with the Peninsula Papagayo fire department. We learned this when our 2 year old fell backwards off the terrace couch one night, directly onto the sliding glass door track, splitting open the back of his head. We called the emergency number at Papagayo, and they immediately dispatched the fire department and ambulance to our condo. They quickly arrived, and our son was completely enamored with the firemen in their full regalia, temporarily forgetting his pain. The paramedic carefully checked and cleaned his wound, made sure that our son was not in shock, and was doing OK. He even made a balloon out of a latex glove, so clearly knows how to deal with kids, and we appreciated his efforts.
While the paramedic could have stitched up our son, we opted to have one of the doctors in Liberia come for a home visit to do the stitches onsite. We just felt a little bit more comfortable with this decision, though I’m sure the paramedic would have done a great job.
So this brings me to another option that you have at Papagayo. In every guest book, we provide the emergency number at Papagayo as well as our preferred doctor who does house calls. He speaks English and Spanish, and has other doctors who can come in his stead. He was handling another patient at the time, so he sent another doctor who came with an assistant. They were an awesome team, and our son (and his parents) felt completely at ease with them, and also with the whole process of getting stitched up! The Doctor followed up the following day to check on the patient. Not everyone will opt to have stitches at home, but for us it was a place that our son felt comfortable, and was a better option than trekking to Liberia.
Since that event, the new CIMA hospital has been built, complete with emergency room service, and is a mere 20 minutes from our villas at Peninsula Papagayo. This is a wonderful option for emergencies.
On a recent stay earlier this month, one of our visiting family members hurt his ribs while stand up paddling. It may have compounded from a previous injury, but regardless, he was having pain when moving and even when breathing. He went to CIMA. Luckily, his ribs were just bruised, no breaks, and he returned with rave reviews about the CIMA staff and facility, from their professionalism to the pristine condition of the spotless and shiny new rooms.
A week later, our kids were enjoying running on the golf course late in the day, when our son fell and broke his arm (see x-ray, above). We made no delay in heading for CIMA. En route, we decided to go to a private hospital in Liberia (Hospital Clinico San Rafael Arcangel), since we heard from a local friend that CIMA had no orthopedists on call. That turned out to be misinformation; however, it worked out fine. The doctor that set our son’s broken arm was terrific, professional, and spoke both Spanish and English. The facilities at the Liberia hospital were clean and the staff was accommodating.
When I followed up with CIMA to check on their emergency room system, they said that we could have come straight to CIMA, as most of the doctors in the area are on call at both of the private hospitals. They would simply have called one of their orthopedists, same as the Liberia hospital did. This would definitely be our preferred choice and recommendation to you, because it is so close (20 min vs. an hour drive).
With any emergency, I suggest that you first call the emergency number at Peninsula Papagayo, and simultaneously call the Doctor on our list so that he can start making the drive, if needed. Call our concierge, so that she can help, whether it is making phone calls or helping with anything specific that you may need.
We hope you have an accident-free holiday and will be comforted in knowing that you aren’t in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle. There are excellent medical facilities and doctors nearby.
– story and photos by Jane Moore of Papagayo Luxury –