Any advice on having a baby in Costa Rica?  Is this a crazy idea?

Congratulations!  You’re thinking about having a baby in Costa Rica.  Below I have compiled a bunch of recommendations and explanations of procedures (to the best of my recollection:)  Please feel free to use us as a resource if you have additional questions.  Good luck on your voyage to parenthood!


Dr. Adam Paer Singer
2201-7601 for appointments

Dr. Paer Singer works at CIMA hospital.  His office is located on the second floor of MediPlaza Escazu, just a short drive past the large shopping mall Multiplaza Escazu.  Dr. Paer offers a 3D ultrasound, with a few printed photos and a burned DVD disk at each appointment.  Appointment cost ~$120 (so much cheaper than in the US, but probably more than in Canada!).   He has many clients from Nosara, and is very understanding to the difficulties in distance from San Jose- he will accommodate your appointments as needed.  He will deliver in the hospital of your choice (he may even attend a home birth- I’m not sure), and recommends CIMA (close proximity for him, and best technology and services).  He will perform C-Sections, and like many doctors here, will perform them even when they are not medically necessary.  You can choose.  If you have certain expectations/hopes about the birth of your baby, he is very open and willing to discuss them (we went so far as to have a written ‘birth plan’.)  He has more of a ‘hand’s-off’ approach to delivery- if you need support beyond your spouse and the staff nurses, I would recommend hiring a birthing coach or a doula.


Dra. Liana Castro Poll
2208-1412 for appointments

Dra. Castro will attend your child’s birth, and continue as their pediatrician.  Her office is located on the fourth floor of the building next to CIMA hospital.  She is easy to communicate with via email or phone, and is fluent in English and Spanish.  She travels often to Miami and New York, keeping current in her field at conferences of pediatric medicine.  She is warm and receptive to the kids.

Passport Services:

You will want to consult with your embassy in San Jose to learn the required documents and procedures.

A few additional points about applying for the baby’s passport.

  • We had to provide a written statement from the physician who attended the baby’s birth, to include date/time/location/etc. of the birth, as well as a list of the people who witnessed the birth (perhaps this fulfills proof of identity?).
  • We had to show our passports, as well as our marriage certificate (original or notarized copy, I believe)
  • The most difficult document for the passport is waiting for the baby’s birth certificate.  A day or two after the birth, the handwritten birth certificate will be transported to the Nacional Registry for input into the database (Registro Nacional).  Once the handwritten certificate is received at the Registro Nacional, you can petition for an expedited birth certificate (which will shorten your wait from three months, down to 15 days or so).  As with national custom, they will ask you for a second last name (apellido) for your child.  Traditionally, the father’s last name is first, and the mother’s second.  When the birth certificate is ready, order several at one time so that you don’t have to go back!!  They stamps cost pocket change, it is worth getting 12 at once.
  • I cannot remember the procedure exactly, but you may need to apply at the embassy for the Consular Report of Birth Abroad prior to the passport application*  Please confirm with your embassy.

After you have the baby’s passport in hand, and before you leave the country, you must visit the Migration office(where locals apply for their CR passports.)  They will direct you to a tiny office in the back, where you must sign receive a stamp in his/her passport allowing the baby to leave the country.  Make sure to bring all of the paperwork that you have: birth certificates, copies of your passports, etc.  They will ask you to grant permission to who can leave the country with the baby (mother alone, father alone, always traveling together)- they take child welfare very seriously in CR.  We granted permanent permission for either parent to leave with the children.

Now, lucky you, each time you go to the airport to leave the country with the baby, you get to take an extra step.  After you pay the exit tax, you must bring your little airport payment receipt (that you fill out and give to the airline) and the baby down to Migration Services (to the left of the airline counters).  They will check the baby’s passport for the stamp from Migration, check your documents, and give you a special stamp on the receipt.  You cannot leave the country without their stamped approval.  Then, at least, you get to use the shorter ‘traveling with minors’ line at customs:)

Since you have a tico child, you can also apply for permanent residency…..but that is a conversation for another day!!!!

Have a nice afternoon, hope that this information helps.

p.s.  When it comes to simple symptoms, rashes, etc. you can just visit a pharmacy and the attending doctor will make a recommendation to you.  You don’t necessarily need to visit a private doctor, if you don’t want to…FYI:)
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