Healthcare in Costa Rica

Sometimes you just have to experience it to believe it.  A day and half ago I came down with a stomach virus so bad the hotel had to call a doctor.  I was amazed to understand this doctor was willing to come to the hotel within 45 minutes.  He arrived and asked me many questions about where I’ve been and what I ate, followed by the typical sick visit events, blood pressure, temperature, etc.  He explained the diagnosis and prescribed me medications using only my first name, which I noticed after was misspelled.  He hand wrote the receipt for payment, packed up his medical bag and wished me well.  Professor Lewis was able to fill my prescriptions at the local pharmacy without any issues.

Never would I ever have expected a doctor to still make house calls, prescribe medication with minimal personal information and let a non-family member to pick it up. This is in stark difference to our medical care in the U.S.  If I was in the U.S. this same process of exam, diagnosis, and fill of the prescription would have taken many, many hours whereas my experience in Costa Rica took just 2 hours.

While my experience is admittedly limited it seems from talking to the doctor about it that the red tape and privacy laws are nonexistent which enables a more streamlined healthcare system.

I’m better now, just in time to head home.  I would like to thank all my friends and hotel staff for taking such good care of me.

Looking forward to being on U.S. soil, but will miss my new friends here in CR.



U.S. Companies here in Costa Rica

On our way back from Monteverde yesterday we stopped in at Boston Scientific to see Eric Tagarro and his fellow colleagues. We had an opportunity to meet Eric and others at Prof. Lewis’s house back in April. During our visit he provided us with a very comprehensive view of his company and what the plant here in Costa Rica manufacturers. Boston Scientific is one of the largest medical device companies in the world. They manufacturer products which are used to diagnose or treat various types of medical conditions. The company is currently looking for ways to innovate in areas such as urology, gastroenterology, and pulmonary care by way of extending their products and new technologies into new geographies. This plant in Costa Rica provides the company with $130B in annual sales and has projections of $147B by 2015, with Endoscopy contWributing 103.3B or 71% of the total sales.

We then paid a visit to Irene Barquero at Hologic, another professional we met back in April. Irene is the Process Engineering Manager and one of only two women working in the operations department in Costa Rica.  She, along with Cecilla Monge, the Production Manager, presented us with a quick overview of the company then a tour of the facility. They have two large clean rooms dedicated to their two main product lines, GSS gynecological products and IBS, breast care products.  Both are ISO 7 and ISO 8 certified.

Upon leaving both facilities, we now have a greater understanding of the Costa Rican culture on both the business and personal level along with what it takes to do business in this country. Our hosts provided us with refreshments and a photo op upon our departure.


Riding High on Horseback

Sunday morning dawned beautiful here in Monteverde with a bit of mist coming down from the mountain  In the early morning sunshine, it looked almost magical as it drifted past the lodge.  We had breakfast then headed out for the stable. There we mounted the horses and rode off with our guides, one in the front and one in the rear. The trails were a bit treacherous and horses were working hard to keep pace with one another while managing their riders. Once at the top we dismounted and took in the view while enduring fierce winds sustained at 60+ mph.  The sites were beautiful and looking to the west, we could see the Pacific Ocean in the haze of midday heat.

Our ride ended with a tour of the farm and an egg and tortilla snack handmade by our host, fresh fruit.

Horseback riding


Happening Times in Monteverde

Hello world we’ve landed in Monteverde, St. Elena Costa Rica.  The drive up was the most treacherous I’ve ever been on, but we joked, teased and supported each other along the way.  Snapping pictures occupied our time when we discovered the road was closed and the alternative was muddy.  The driver got us through ok and we arrived in one piece.

We quickly settled and did what most people do, we went to check out the shopping and dining.  Both are more than adequate with many souvenir shops and funky places to eat.  The rain soon started and like San Jose, it rained like I’ve never seen, but only for a short time.  We headed to The Tree House for dinner – a very unusual restaurant that’s build around a tree, we had dinner then listened to live music.  We’re all had a great time.

This area of the world is so beautiful, I never know I could touch the sky, smell clouds, and be one with both.

On Fire in San Jose

Our first stop today was to visit John Hill at Vitec. Hayley and I met John during a dinner at Prof. Lewis’s house back in April.  We had a very lengthy conversation about how a British product manufacturing manager ended up in Costa Rica.  As it turns out he came expecting to be here for a couple of weeks to set up a new facility.  His two weeks turned into 10 years.  We had the opportunity to tour his manufacturing floor where he has an extremely organized workflow that follows the product down the line to shipping.  His technicians are highly skilled in their specific task, which makes crossing functions almost impossible.  All employees showed a deep pride in what they do, what they make and the company.  In return the company provides at terrific place to work, in which they have earned an award in the top companies to work in Costa Rica.  An award the company is clearly proud of.

Our next stop was at Dos Pinos Dairy Manufacturing facility.  Here we took a quick tour in the van since it was raining, then viewed the industrial equipment used to manufacture the milk, milk products and juices.  The public relations employee on spoke only Spanish, but Juan was quick to volunteer to translate for the entire tour.  Thanks Juan!  We ended our visit with a picture and an ice cream.

Dinner this evening was typical Costa Rican (Tico) fare at a local restaurant.  My dish, the Esparada Monteverde was grilled chicken covered with cheese, fried plantain, salsa and tortillas – something I’ve never eaten before, but enjoyed every bite.

Dinner the Tico way 6 5 2014

Until tomorrow….


Visit with Edwin Garro

Edwin founded the Performance Center of Excellence here in Costa Rica, but takes his message of promoting excellence globally.  His presentation consisted of many business related topics surrounding the worlds views and what it means to be global and how we can best relate with one another to understand how do business together.  One issue he seems very passionate about is what he calls “War on Mediocrity.  His company’s promotion of excellence is honing in on this issue and how best to educate people to rise above this self-limiting mindset to excellence in all they do.  Change is hard for many people so approaching this from the top level and give them the tools to promote the message to their to the entire company.

We all enjoyed the visit and would like to thank Edwin and his team again for a very enlightening morning and a very Tico breakfast.



Costa Rica Here We Come!

Buenas Nochas All

I’ve purchased the sunblock, bug spray, walking shoes and assorted variety of what I believe, is essential Costa Rican paraphernalia. I’m ready to pack! I have lists that have lists and in case I forgot anything, I have an emergency list already in my neon orange backpack.  My office knows I’m leaving as well as my family and friends and, yes, they have lists, too.

In researching Costa Rica in an effort to understand their culture and how they live I quickly discovered they are polar opposite of us. They tend to be laid back, take it slow kind of folks and in comparison to us the United States it seems there is a huge disparity in our way of life and how we approach it.  In Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory Costa Rica is largely a feminine, more passive society, whereas the U.S. is more masculine and assertive.  It will be very interesting to see these differences and experience them to understand if the dimensions are accurate.

I’m looking forward to my trip with fellow classmates and the professors. I had a hard time figuring out how to get all my stuff in a carry-on bag knowing that this was the preferred way to travel. I gave up, I’m checking a bag!

See you all at the airport and 0-dark-30.