A woman in a large floppy hat walking across a wood plank bridge over a bright blue river in a rainforest.

Where in the World is Kristen and Her CPAP? Part One: Costa Rica

Kristen Cascio is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine user from the United States who has a never-ending sense of wanderlust. In this series, Kristen will share her experiences traveling the world while managing her obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): 1 destination at a time.

An unexpected opportunity for traveling abroad with CPAP

In late summer 2021, I found myself laid off with a few months at my disposal. Of course, I knew I’d need to find a new job, but I also wondered if this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “Lean into the unknown,” I told myself. Ever since I graduated with a master’s in social work, I worked in the “real world,” with the limited vacation time that accompanies it. How did the travel influencers I saw on social media find the time to travel? Maybe they got laid off too…

I decided to travel for a few weeks, but I wanted a home base and an activity to ground me. After much google-searching, I decided to take Spanish lessons in Costa Rica. So off I went to the Tico Lingo Spanish School in Heredia, Costa Rica. How do you say obstructive sleep apnea in Spanish?

Preparing for and managing my CPAP for traveling

I previously took my CPAP internationally on a couple of short trips, but this was the longest time that I would be away from home with my CPAP. My love of travel always outweighs any anxiety that I have about using my CPAP abroad. However, I always research the voltage and power outlet situation of a destination beforehand. Luckily, Costa Rica’s outlet design and voltage strength are the same as in the U.S., so I didn’t have to worry about power issues.

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As part of my enrollment at the Spanish-language school, I was set up with a lovely host family to stay with. Before arriving, I filled out an informational form about myself, including my preferences and needs regarding a place to stay. On that form, I indicated that I utilize a CPAP to sleep, and requested a room with an outlet nearby the bed.

Photo of a bed with medical equipment on top of it

Because I would be away for a few weeks, I packed 2 to 3 travel-sized bottles of distilled water in my suitcase to cover the trip. I also brought a small bottle of dishwater liquid for cleaning my supplies. This would be easy enough to accomplish in the sink of the home. Even if I couldn’t soak the supplies, I knew that I could wash them with soap and hot water.

Highlights of the trip

Costa Rica is a beautiful destination, known for breathtaking natural attractions, wildlife, and outdoor adventures. From Monday to Friday, I took Spanish classes through the Tico Lingo Spanish School. This small school is skilled at creating a community between the staff and fellow students. As soon as you walk in the door, you feel like part of their family. Tico Lingo arranges a variety of activities during the week, such as yoga classes or cooking classes where students can practice their Spanish-language skills and bond with other students.

Photo of an indoor sign that says

On the weekends I took off, either on my own or with classmates, to destinations around Costa Rica. I ziplined through the rainforest, hiked to waterfalls in the pouring rain, saw monkeys, sloths, and rare birds, and enjoyed street art in the capital of San Jose. I even took Spin classes at the local gym!

Kristen’s Costa Rica "FAVE" list

While I have many memories from my trip, I’d like to share my “FAVE” list: standing for “food, activity, view, and experience.”


The coffee was the culinary highlight of my trip! Costa Rica is known for growing and exporting some of the world’s finest coffee beans. The town of Heredia is home to Café Britt’s coffee plantation. Many afternoons I would enjoy a coffee in their café while trying to memorize Spanish vocabulary. I highly recommend the “Monteverde” roast.


Soaking in natural mineral hot springs is a must when visiting Costa Rica!


One Saturday morning, I hiked Arenal Volcano National Park, located outside of the town of La Fortuna. This park, which offers incredible views of the still-active volcano, also touts hills of fossilized lava rocks.

 Selfie of a woman in front of nature


Costa Rica is the first destination where I drove internationally. I was determined to get to a town 2 to 3 hours away from Heredia. However, I was in Costa Rica during the off-season, and I could not find any tours or bus routes to take me there. I was nervous to drive but I told myself “If you’re scared, do it scared.” Everything turned out fine!

Continuing my travels abroad with my CPAP!

My sleep apnea and my CPAP did not disrupt my time in Costa Rica in any way. Preparation is the key to traveling with a CPAP! I hope you continue following my series; I’m just getting started!

Photo of various buildings in a tropical setting

Tell us about traveling with your CPAP. Please share your sleep apnea story or comment below.

This article is the first in a series: Traveling Abroad With CPAP.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SleepApnea.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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