We returned from Costa Rica a week ago, and before we get completely caught up in the day-to-day life of our own business again, I decided to write about our trip and pay tribute to some of the people who were so helpful to us on our adventure.

In November 2010 my dentist told me of some major dental work I needed to have done. It amounted to over $19,000. I went home to ‘think about it’, as I told him. Inside, my mind said “Gulp!” That was a shocker!

This is my story of how I went from ‘Gulp’ to ‘Wow’ and how I saved over US$8,100!

Plus, we got a pretty cool vacation, too!

The headliner here is that I not only saved a lot of money, but my wife and I had a wonderful vacation to beautiful Costa Rica, met some really nice people and all for less than had I stayed here and swallowed the $19,000 “Gulp!”

The end of the story is that I changed my dentist and ended up with a Costa Rica dental vacation. Reading this, you may be as shocked as I was when I first pondered the idea of going out of country for dental work. That was something that seemed very foreign to me at the time.

Here is how I got there:

“After 39 Years With The Same Dentist In Tennessee
It Took Some Self-Convincing For Me To Make That Leap…”

After 39 years with the same dentist (1972-2011) here in Tennessee, it took some self-convincing for me to make that leap.

After being told about the need for all this dental work, I spent the next 6 months looking for a solution. It was a lot of money and I wanted to find a solution I could live with.

When some close friends heard that I was needing dental work and how much money I was going to have to spend, they told me of a friend of theirs who went to Costa Rica for dental work to save money and asked if I would like to speak with him. It sounded odd, but I was open to it and said ok.

At first I was apprehensive about going to Costa Rica for dental work. It was a strange idea to me at the time, but I spoke with my friend’s friend and he was glad he did it.

He and I talked and that started me on a long online search for facts. I looked at websites and enrolled on forums about dental vacations in Costa Rica, and long story short, I ended up selecting my dentist, a graduate of the University of Miami and a dental implant specialist.

I had narrowed my search to two dentists. The one I finally chose is a specialist in dental implants and the fact that he graduated from the University of Miami in Florida helped ease my concerns, too, but he had something I didn’t find anyone else had.

This dentist had a “dental coordinator” who handled all the questions, trip arrangements, etc.

His name is Charlie Dennard, he’s in the middle of the photo with me and my wife, Martha at the Escazu B&B.

“While Doing My Research, Charlie Was A Big Help In
Easing My Mind About My Concerns And
Answering My Questions…”

In fact, he is what made me decide to try what I came to learn is called Costa Rica dental tourism.

Charlie is from the USA and now lives in Escazu, Costa Rica and he knew the information I wanted to know. He knew about the area, travel there, the dental procedure, etc. He was of immense help and is what made my decision a slam dunk.

Having been a patient himself of this same dentist, he knew the concerns, procedure of the dental work, the local customs, the ins and outs – everything I wanted to know.

Charlie put us in touch with a B&B called Casa Laurin in Escazu which is just west of San Jose, Costa Rica in a nice part of the city. And Ginette, the owner of the B&B, has been more than anyone could ask for. Some wonderful breakfasts came out of her kitchen, shown here:

Ginette’s travel tips for getting around in Costa Rica were priceless, not to mention the wonderful fruit filled, made-to-order, full breakfasts each morning. What a great way to start a day, “Pura Vida” as the say in Costa Rica, which means ‘pure living’. Whatever we wanted to eat, she prepared for us and the breakfasts for both of us were included with the room.

And the setting outside Casa Laurin was gorgeous with all the tropical plants, flowers and birds that surrounded us at the B&B.

“Between Ginette and Charlie, It Was Like Having
Our Own Personal Travel Guides At Our Beck And Call
Anytime We Needed It.”

While there, between dental appointments, we were able to visit the pacific coast. Ginette booked us into a nice place just outside the Manuel Antonio National Park. The jungle was full of wild life, like sloths, birds and monkeys.

On the beach there, we were visited by several monkeys, which we learned the easy way, will take your things you leave unattended up into a tree and then proceed to go through them, one at a time, tossing each to you on the beach below. But they are so cute, who could mind. It’s funny to watch, so long as it’s not your stuff!

The next day, we booked a sailing and snorkeling tour through our hotel staff. It was great. Fresh air and sailing and snorkeling off the pacific coast was absolutely great. It was probably my favorite part of the trip.

The next day we went to the beach and then returned for another dental appointment in San Jose. Charlie showed up for that next appointment, too. I never expected such service and I can’t say enough good things about how great he was for us the whole time.

After a short stay back at our ‘home-away-from-home’ at Casa Laurin, we travelled north to the Arenal Volcano area. The resort we stayed at was like a fairy tale place, only it was real. The view from our room was of the Arenal Volcano.

On the grounds were so many places to visit and things to do like horseback riding, zip lines, hot pools fed by the hot water from the Arenal Volcano, a 2 kilometer hike to the observatory, butterfly farm, crocodile pools, frog sanctuary, spa, shopping, restaurant, gazebo out in the middle of a lake and other things as well.

Their are many pools at the resort. It’s a great example of how “shangrila” this place really is.

The room was reasonably priced and included a breakfast buffet that was delicious including fresh fruits and locally grown coffee and everything you could want. Most meals were ‘tico’ style which means they included rice and beans. All in all, great food!

I wish I were a better writer so I could maybe do justice to the help that Charlie and Ginette were to us. They made this a trip that not only saved me over $8,100 including airfare and the lodging, but we also had a dream vacation to a beautiful country as well.

“The Professionalism Was Above My Expectations.”

I can’t repay them enough with words for all they did for us but hopefully this testimonial will help them and others connect so they too can have the great time and save money like we did.

They certainly made our Costa Rica dental vacation much more enjoyable. The security of knowing there were there for us allowed us to enjoy the trip to the pacific coast and to the Arenal Volcano more than might otherwise have been had we had to go it all on our own as to where to stay, how to get there, etc.

Of course, dental work is never fun, but even that has been excellent and as pleasant as could be expected. The professionalism of the staff at the dental clinic was above my expectations.

As for Charlie, the dental coordinator, he even showed up the day we left the B&B for the airport, so see us off. He was over the top, for sure and an already good trip that much better.

And with Ginette at the B&B, things were about as perfect as a vacation could be.

If anyone would like to talk with me about our experiences, I would be glad to do that. My friend’s friend shared with me and that allowed me to overcome my concerns so the least I can do is to pay that forward to others. I am in the Eastern time zone and you are welcome to call me between 11am and 11pm, just ask Charlie for my contact information.

Enjoy the journey, for that is remembered more than the arrival.

Life’s journey continues . . .

Written by Kurt R. Gross from Tennessee in the USA.

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