Tropical Paradise + Medical Training

Courses include all transport to and from San Jose, meals, Eco Camp lodging, and certification with Wilderness Medical Associates.

Get wilderness medical training and certification in Costa Rica. Enjoy living and learning surrounded by the rich beauty of tropical nature. Stay at an Eco Camp in the rainforest on the banks of the Pacuare River.

All of our Costa Rica courses are taught in English and Spanish.  You'll be sure to pick up some Spanish or practice and improve if you already speak Spanish.

Courses

October 2015 dates coming soon

Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) - 40 hours

  • Prerequisites: 18 years of age (or 16 accompanied by parent / guardian)
  • Includes: rafting a section of the spectacular Pacuare River into the camp + a canopy zip-line adventure on the last day.
  • See WAFA course description, topics, curriculum, etc.

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) – 80 hours

  • Prerequisites: 18 years of age (or 16 accompanied by parent / guardian)
  • Includes: rafting a section of the spectacular Pacuare River into the camp + a canopy zip-line adventure on our day off.
  • See WFR course description, topics, curriculum, etc.

WFR-Bridge (upgrade from WAFA to WFR) – 40 hours

  • Prerequisites: 18 years of age (or 16 accompanied by parent / guardian); current WAFA certification from WMA or another approved provider; and completion of pre-course written assignment
  • See WFR-Bridge course description, topics, curriculum, etc.

WFR-Recert – 40 hours

  • Prerequisites: 18 years of age (or 16 accompanied by parent / guardian); current WFR certification from WMA or another approved provider; and completion of pre-course written assignment
  • See WFR-Recert course description, topics, curriculum, etc.

Details

What’s included?

  • Transport from San Jose to Pacuare River Camp and return to San Jose on last day
  • Jungle Camp lodging in a tent (includes bedding and pillow)
  • All delicious meals from first day lunch to last day lunch.  Feast on tropical fruit and local dishes like ‘Casados’ and ‘Gallo Pinto’
  • Professional guide and camp staff always available
  • Certification from Wilderness Medical Associates valid for 3 years
  • CPR certification (Level A for WAFA, Level C for WFR) valid for 3 years
  • WMA curriculum materials including Text Book, Lecture Notes, SOAP notes, and Waterproof Field Guide
  • Medical and rescue training equipment

What's not included?

  • Flights to and from Costa Rica
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Personal items such as outdoor clothing and day pack

Wilderness Medical Associates InternationalWilderness Medical Associates International is dedicated to the development of remote and practical medicine around the globe. We are medical rescue professionals, researchers, experienced educators, and advocates for healthcare in wilderness contexts. Our curriculum, overseen and continually revised by a committee of medical practitioners and academics, has been taught on all seven continents.

The core curriculum is designed to provide the skills and insight needed to improvise, adapt, and exercise reasonable judgment at any level of medical training. Although the company's roots are in the mountains, deserts, and oceans as the name implies, the training philosophy has proven effective in any setting where access to definitive care is delayed or impossible. The term wilderness context applies just as well to a city whose infrastructure has been destroyed as to a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska.​

Wilderness Medical Associates International annually trains over 8,000 medically and non-medically trained students around the world. Our participants include colleges and universities, medical schools, camps, outdoor adventure companies, rural ambulance services, private industry, and government entities. Wilderness Medical Associates International will train the responders and practitioners needed for medical care in low resource settings, anywhere in the world.

Source: Wilderness Medical Associates International website

Staying at the Pacuare River Camp - "El Nido Del Tigre" - is sure to be one of the highlights of your experience in Costa Rica.

From your comfortable tent, you can listen to the river and see the morning mist rising through lush tropical greenery. Outside of class time, enjoy relaxing in the 'Rancho' or lying in a hammock.

Watch toucans glide between rain forest trees and spot giant blue butterflies, sloths, and a myriad of beautiful flowers.

Camp Facilities

  • Riverside locations
  • Delicious home-cooked meals
  • 14 hectares of Rainforest
  • Spacious platformed tents
  • Ropes course
  • Rainforest trails
  • Lawned recreation area
  • Nearby waterfalls and natural swimming holes
  • Fully managed by local staff

Description

El Nido del Tigre or The Tiger's Nest, is an evolving dream for Coast to Coast Adventures. Its name comes from the giant patches of ginger plants which fall and create the shape of a tiger’s nest. From the center of the nest, trails radiate throughout the rainforest and along the river.

Our camp has a dual personality. At times it is a hive of activity perhaps with a soccer or Frisbee game, or teams frantically hurrying into the camp to record their finish time in a racing challenge. While at other times it is a peaceful, tranquil and relaxing environment following a day on the rapids.

Sustainability is a key word at El Nido del Tigre as we strive to achieve the perfect harmony between rainforest and tourism. The camp has captured the imagination of the local people, many of whom we thank for their assistance and patience in building this unusual environment and a number of them who remain with us on our continuing journey to develop the dream.

Spacious tents on fixed platforms co-mingle with the forest and border the river. Our team love to welcome clients – a stay at El Nido del Tigre promises a unique experience - so come and join us!

Description from Coast to Coast Adventures website

Photos

WAFA Sample Itinerary

Day 1 - San Jose Pick-up, scenic drive, and raft into Pacuare River Camp

  • 8:30am (0830hrs) pick up at the Gran Hotel in central San Jose by our professional driver in a passenger van.
  • Beautiful 2.5 hour drive past volcanoes, coffee and sugar cane plantations, and small towns.
  • Drive down a dirt road in to Pacuare River valley
  • Safety briefing and whitewater raft (class II – III) a section of the spectacular Pacuare River and have a riverside lunch along the way.
  • Arrive at camp and get shown around by staff and explore your lodgings.
  • Depending on timing, a group can go for an optional hike to swimming hole or just relax, enjoy the surroundings, and settle in for your first night in the jungle.
  • Welcome dinner and introductions

Day 2 to 5 – Wilderness Medical Training

  • Sleep until breakfast or get up early to watch the birdlife and the river valley awake.
  • Coffee, Tea, and hearty breakfast
  • Class will generally start at 8:00am
  • Combination of practical drills, presentations, discussions, review exercises, and simulations
  • Lunch
  • More course content
  • Finish class by 5pm
  • Supper

Day 6 – Canopy Zip-Lines & Return Drive to San Jose

  • Finish class with ‘graduation’ and goodbyes.
  • Hike 20 minutes to canopy zip-line and rapelling adventure
  • Lunch at camp
  • Walk up path to passenger van.
  • Drive 2.5 hours back to San Jose – we can make a quick stop for some ‘bocas’ (appetizers) on the way.
  • Drop-off at Gran Hotel in San Jose
  • Continue with your adventure

WFR Sample Itinerary

Day 1 - San Jose Pick-up, scenic drive, and raft into Pacuare River Camp

  • 8:30am (0830hrs) pick up at the Gran Hotel in central San Jose by our professional driver in a passenger van.
  • Beautiful 2.5 hour drive past volcanoes, coffee and sugar cane plantations, and small towns.
  • Drive down a dirt road in to Pacuare River valley
  • Safety briefing and whitewater raft (class II – III) a section of the spectacular Pacuare River and have a riverside lunch along the way.
  • Arrive at camp and get shown around by staff and explore your lodgings.
  • Depending on timing, a group can go for an optional hike to swimming hole or just relax, enjoy the surroundings, and settle in for your first night in the jungle.
  • Welcome dinner and introductions

Day 2 to 9 – Wilderness Medical Training

  • Sleep until breakfast or get up early to watch the birdlife and the river valley awake.
  • Coffee, Tea, and hearty breakfast
  • Class will generally start at 8:00am
  • Combination of practical drills, presentations, discussions, review exercises, and simulations
  • Lunch
  • More course content
  • Finish class by 5pm
  • Supper

Day 6 – Zipline canopy adventure and a day off from the course to enjoy the jungle, the camp, the river, and surroundings. 

Day 10 – Continue with WFR training and return drive to San Jose

  • Finish class at 4pm with ‘graduation’ and goodbyes.
  • Snack
  • Walk up path to passenger van.
  • Drive 2.5 hours back to San Jose – we can make a quick stop for some ‘bocas’ (appetizers) on the way.
  • Drop-off at Gran Hotel in San Jose
  • Continue with your adventure

WFR-Bridge and WFR-Recert Sample Itinerary

Day 1 - San Jose Pick-up, scenic drive, and walk in to Pacuare River Camp

  • 8:30am (0830hrs) pick up at the Gran Hotel in central San Jose by our professional driver in a passenger van.
  • Beautiful 2.5 hour drive past volcanoes, coffee and sugar cane plantations, and small towns.
  • Drive down a dirt road in to Pacuare River valley
  • The camp is accessible by a 4 x 4-only ‘road’, hiking trails, or the river.  The 45-minute walk is beautiful and not technical.  Your luggage will be brought in by 4 x 4, horseback, or raft.
  • Arrive at camp in time for a delicious homemade lunch.
  • Get shown around by staff and explore your lodgings.
  • Depending on timing, a group can go for an optional hike to swimming hole or just relax, enjoy the surroundings, and settle in for your first night in the jungle.
  • Welcome dinner and introductions

Day 2 to 4 – Wilderness First Responder Training

  • Sleep until breakfast or get up early to watch the birdlife and the river valley awake.
  • Coffee, Tea, and hearty breakfast
  • Class will generally start at 8:00am
  • Combination of practical drills, presentations, discussions, review exercises, and simulations
  • Lunch
  • More course content
  • Finish class by 5pm
  • Supper

Day 5 – Wilderness First Responder Training & Return Drive to San Jose

  • Finish class at 4pm with ‘graduation’ and goodbyes.
  • Snack
  • Walk up path to passenger van.
  • Drive 2.5 hours back to San Jose – we can make a quick stop for some ‘bocas’ (appetizers) on the way.
  • Drop-off at Gran Hotel in San Jose.
  • Continue with your adventure.

NOTE: A packing list is included with your 'Student Information Package'

The Pacuare River Camp is in the tropical rain forest on the Caribbean side of the continental divide. Being so close to the equator, temperatures don't fluctuate too much throughout the year.  In September and October, average daily high is 28°C / 82.4°F and average nightly low is 19°C / 66.2°F.

Synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, and fleece are great as they dry quickly - a must for Costa Rica. Remember to avoid cotton as it dries very slowly and doesn't insulate.

Clothing

  • Undergarments and sports bra
  • Socks
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Shirts: short sleeve and long sleeve quick drying
  • Lightweight comfortable pants
  • Shorts
  • Medium weight wool or fleece over-sweater
  • Lightweight rain jacket and rain pants
  • Sun hat, visor, or baseball cap
  • Swimwear - Great swimming holes nearby
  • A set of clothing that can be stained and cut during simulations (expect to throw these away)
  • Optional: Sandals
  • Optional: Sarong

Course Items

  • A backpack that you can carry during simulations to carry extra food, water, clothing, equipment, etc.
  • A stuff sac, book bag, or drybag for you to store your books
  • Something to sit and lie on outside such as an insulate pad or crazy creek chair
  • Watch (for taking vital signs)
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen, 30+ SPF
  • Lip protection
  • Bug repellent
  • Sunglasses (UVA and UVB resistant) with 'keeper' strap
  • Optional: Any outdoor equipment that you normally have with you in the backcountry that you would like to practice with or try out for improvised splinting, patient packaging, patient carries, shelter, etc.
  • Optional: Waterproof paper and 'space pen' or grease pencil

Personal and Travel Items

  • Passport and travel documents
  • Duffel bag
  • Camp towel (quick drying)
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Personal medications
  • Prescription glasses or contacts (bring an extra pair of
  • Glasses & a copy of your eyeglass prescription)
  • Headlamp
  • Extra batteries for headlamp, camera, etc.
  • Large ziploc bags
  • Optional: Binoculars / journal / books
  • Optional: Camera

We will provide

  • Tent
  • Mattress
  • Bedding
  • Pillow

Costa Rica 2013 – Student Comments

Rachel, Registered Nurse, Texas – Costa Rica Wilderness First Responder course 
“The instructor was great – approachable, informed, more than friendly. Natural instructor. He is always positive and in high spirits.”

Candace, Teacher, California – Costa Rica Whitewater Rescue Technician and Wilderness First Responder courses
“I wasn’t expecting such amazing care and transport to each location. The meals provided were fantastic, the facilities well maintained, and the staff really put in a great effort to make sure that we were all comfortable.”

John Paul, Program coordinator, SCUBA instructor, and outdoor educator, - Bermuda – Costa Rica WFR-Recertification course
“I was hoping for a thorough review of WFR skills + knowledge as well as the interest + enjoyment of a wilderness setting. The course definitely met these expectations: there was plenty of time for thorough review; and the setting and facilities were great. Coast 2 Coast camp is beautiful.

Simulations on the hike were great and felt very realistic. I really like the requirement to repeat practicing various skills. This really helped me to reinforce the techniques. The excursions (river swimming etc.) were great! Thank you!

Danny was an excellent instructor, very knowledgeable, professional, and motivating. He maintained a good level of energy for the course by balancing classroom sessions, skills practice, and simulations. Also a great balance of fun “lightheartedness” and a necessary level of seriousness as required for the material.”

Combining Wilderness Medical and Whitewater Rescue

Q. If I join both the Wilderness Medical and Whitewater Rescue Courses in Costa Rica, is there a discount?

A. Yes. You will receive $75 off if you combine Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) with Whitewater Rescue Technician (WRT).

  • Wilderness First Responder(WFR) + Whitewater Rescue Technician (14 days - all inclusive) - September 27th to October 10th - $2,365
  • Wilderness Advanced First Aid +  Whitewater Rescue Technician (10 days - all inclusive) - September 27th to October 6th - $1,615

Q. What if I am currently certified in Swiftwater or Whitewater Rescue?

A. If you are currently certified by Boreal River Rescue or another approved provider, you will be recertified by taking the 4-day course.  We run 2-day Whitewater Rescue Technician-Recertification courses at other times and locations throughout the year, but this course in Costa Rica is a comprehensive, 4-day program.

WMA Training

Q. What is the daily schedule like on a WMA course in Costa Rica?

A. Typically class starts at 8:00am and goes to 5:00pm. Evenings are reserved for homework assignments and practicing skills with other students. Courses that are 4-days or longer usually include an evening session that will be scheduled by the instructor on the first day.

Q. What is a typical day on a WMA course like?

A. Mornings usually begin with review as we take up questions from homework, go over case studies, or write a quiz. Days include a mixture of classroom sessions, skill workshops, and small group drills and scenarios.

We will have large simulations with makeup and stage blood that are video taped for enhanced learning.

You can expect intense days and you will need evenings to focus on course material and rest. Don’t plan on being involved with other work or school during the duration of your WMA program.

Q. Are there any prerequisites?

A. For Costa Rica courses, students must be 18 years of age. 16 and 17 year olds can join if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

There are no prerequisites for Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA).

For Wilderness First Responder-Bridge (WFR-Bridge) courses students need valid Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) certification from WMA or another approved provider. You will also need to complete a pre-course reading and assignment package that will be due on the morning of day 1 of the WFR-Bridge course.

For Wilderness First Responder Recertification (WFR Re-Cert) courses students need valid Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification from WMA or another approved provider. You will also need to complete a pre-course reading and assignment package that will be due on the morning of day 1 of the WFR Re-Cert course.

Q. How are students assessed and evaluated for certification?

A. Practical assessment is ongoing. There will be a written test on the last day of the course on which students must receive a grade of 80% or higher.

Instructors will do everything they can to accommodate students with different learning styles and needs. Please let us know what we can do to help you succeed.

Q. Is attendance mandatory?

A. Attendance for 100% of class time is mandatory. If you cannot make a session you must get permission from the instructor in advance. Students who miss a section of the course without pre-approval may be asked to leave the course for the sake and safety of the other students.

Q. How long is certification valid for?

A. Your certification is valid for three years from the date of issue.

Q. Is CPR certification included in the course?

A. Yes, students on all courses will receive CPR-A (adult) certification from WMA. Students on WFR, WFR-Bridge, and WFR Re-Cert courses receive CPR-C (adult, child, infant) certification from WMA.

Q. How do I recertify my Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

A. You can recertify your Wilderness First Responder (WFR) by taking a 3-day WFR Re-Cert or 4-day WFR Re-Cert course within three years of your last certification.

You must complete a pre-course reading and assignment package that you will hand in on the first morning of your WFR Re-Cert course. Please bring your current certification card with you to your course.

Q. How do I recertify my Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA)

A. You should consider upgrading from WAFA to WFR by taking the WFR-Bridge course (40 hours) within three years of your WAFA course

You can recertify your WAFA by retaking the course or by attending a 3-day Recertification course within three years of your original certification.

Q. Can I take the WFR Bridge course or the WFR Recertification course if my current certification is through another provider and not WMA?

A. Yes. Please contact the office for approval.

 

1Costa Rica Wilderness First Responder Certification Training Course with Wilderness Medical Associates and Boreal River Rescue

Our Jungle Lodgings

Coast to Coast Adventures - Eco Camp

For this program, Boreal River Rescue partners with Coast to Coast Adventures, a Costa Rican Company with 17 years of experience organizing travel, adventure races, and experiential education programs in Costa Rica.

With a team of 20 Costa Rican guides, logistics coordinators, and administrators, Coast to Coast operates an office in San Jose and two camps on the Pacuare River. Coast to Coast has a reputation for running excellent programs and endeavors to deliver sustainable and ethical adventures. Many of their staff have been with them for over a decade, giving them a depth of knowledge and experience that is essential for the delivery of memorable programs with the highest levels of security and organization.


"Excellent simulations, great presentation skills, lots of hands on learning. The instructor was fantastic! Really enthusiastic, inventive and energetic. He made the learning very fun! Lots of emphasis on the Patient Assessment System made it easy to learn from one’s mistakes and have an opportunity to practice and experience the theory skills learned in the classroom. This course exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed learning all the material and while I expected to learn I can’t believe how much fun we had at the same time."

- Helen H.

Coast Guard Search and Rescue
WFR-Bridge course


Costa Rica Wilderness First Responder Certification Training Course with Wilderness Medical Associates and Boreal River Rescue