13th Clowning & Caring in Costa Rica!

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September 2021 | San José, Costa Rica

Costa Rica 2015


Clowning & Caring

Patch Adams MD and the School for Designing a Society invite you to Clowning & Caring in Costa Rica. Since 2009 over 200 clown activists have done wonderful work in San Jose with local healthcare institutions and communities.

Join us in an intense week during which we’ll explore our ways to care in hospitals, nursing homes, endangered communities, public parks and streets; and will learn how to bring joy and imagine a desirable society using clowning, performance, music, humor and play. This experience will change your life!

The trip is for both beginning clowns and performers, and the more advanced ones. You are all invited to open your hearts and celebrate love and change! Everyone is welcome, no experience is necessary.

In addition to performing in clinical settings, there will be daily practical workshops in clown technique, song, poetry, improvisation, along with composing in small groups. Besides, clowns will contribute to La Carpio Festival with clown parades and presentations on stage for the community. Patch Adams will offer two workshops and lead the trip for two days.

Clowning & Caring is a unique program combining Gesundheit clowning experience with the educational tools offered by the teachers/activists of the School for Designing a Society. Don’t miss your chance to make big changes!


  • Introduction to humanitarian clowning — a way to bring love close.
  • A moment with Patch, presenting: a) The Gesundheit project; b) Humor and health; c) Living joyfully
  • “Care”: a 5-hour workshop with Patch on care — of self and others. All exercises. Sweetly intense.
  • Clown techniques: Workshops in play and imagination. Role play with performers workshop. The art of engaging people through humor and performance techniques.
  • Where are we? Local activists in Global Peace and Justice movements offer background on unique aspects of Costa Rican society. Clowning not only as action but as curiosity and observing.
  • Synthesis of our week’s experience: Talk-back sessions: Have I changed? What’s my next step?


Patch Adams — entered medical school in 1967 to use medicine as a vehicle for social change; promotes and practices living a life of public joy as a revolutionary act; fount of ideas for avoiding burn-out in long-term social justice and health. Enthusiator.

Susan Parenti — composer, tap dancer, accordionist, activist. Familiar with the words “idealist’, ‘romantic’, ‘unrealistic’. Writes theater plays on how she wishes people would speak, rather than how they do actually speak.

Mark Enslin — composer, actor, bassoonist, guitarist, oud player, apprentice tabla player, listener, teaching composition facing the power of the respondent, assignment as an art form.

Dario Solina —composer, performer, storyteller, writer, videomaker, communication designer, since 2010 performs his clown everywhere, every second; Vulnerability for Revolutionaries, teaches the art of Emphasis, MetaClowning maestro.

  • “Change” – a short documentary about how clowning and this very clown trip changed Dario’s life, and how strong an impact it could make on your life.

Further playful readings on clowning:





The detailed day-to-day itinerary of the trip will be available when we get closer to the event, but this is what a typical day looks like:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Travel by bus to clown at orphanage, nursing home or prison
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon activity (workshop, reflection, lecture)
  • Dinner
  • After dinner group activity


La Carpio Festival

La Carpio is surrounded by the Virilla River, the Torres River, the country’s most polluted river, a gravel pit, and the largest landfill servicing the entire central valley area. Here is where thousands of refugees from Nicaragua have settled. They arrived through the years for a variety of reasons including, the devastation of a civil war, the destruction of natural disasters and the desperation of poverty that led to hunger.
The community counts around 35,000 residents, living conditions are hard, violence, drug abuse and alcoholism are daily challenges, and – although a lot has been done by humanitarian organisations – there is still a lot to do to provide adequate health care education and employment. But the people who made it to La Carpio are resilient, strong and resourceful.

In 2008, Gesundheit! Patch CarpioInstitute started Clowning & Caring in Costa Rica and has brought clown activists on the streets of La Carpio ever since. The most beautiful and powerful connections have been ma
de with the residents through play, love and care.

And over the years a desire to deepen those connections arose and became more concrete in 2014, when for the first time, in addition to the clown visits, we brought teachers to offer free daily workshops to the people in La Carpio throughout the week of the clown trip. For three years now, children, teenagers and women have engaged storytelling, percussions, clowning and theater, and at the end of the program have performed in front of the community and the clowns, in an exchange of creativity, stories and care that made all the ones involved dream bigger.

Here is how one of the experiences was described by Gail Nystrom, founder of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (www.crhf.org), our extraordinary link to La Carpio throughout all these years:
“The day wound up with nearly 40 bizarrely dressed clowns from around the world in the Patch Adams group sitting in our Montessori classroom to watch a presentation by the Carpio residents. The “poorest” people in Central America. First, the children of the Model Education Center did a little play and song. Then, the recycling group of entrepreneurs recited a play about their pride in being recyclers accompanied by the life-size recycled doll we had created. Then, the women from las Gradas presented their family tree and talked about their lives, including the shoes they chose to represent their lives. Next, the preteen girls presented a rousing drum dance. Then, the one “boy from the corner” who actually showed up, bravely recited their poem with Steven, their clown guide. As a final show, the Grandmother’s group presented their play about the story of their lives. At the end, everyone stood together to sing the famous Love Grows song. It all ended with a hug for all the clowns from everyone there. This is what was done. What really happened was a shift in the spiral of development. An upward movement for all of us and maybe all of humanity. Many of the clowns and a lot of the Carpianos understood this and were very moved. Conscious evolution. Sacred. Journey. Happening right now, today.”

The dream continues!

In 2016 we brought a whole team of people to La Carpio, to offer more workshops, practical and healthcare activities to support the community and artistic events every day during the clown trip, creating the La Carpio Festival, modelled on projects we already successfully brought to other countries.
We have been experimenting with big and small interventions, and once again will bring new ideas and activities this year, of course along with two wonderful loving clown parades on the streets joined by local clowns and activists!

All the work we have been doing has been giving beautiful fruits, and you’ll be a fundamental part of a group of extraordinary activists bringing this exciting change to La Carpio!

Carpio 2015

Learn more about La Carpio through the voices of who lives there: Village of Hope: La Carpio

A loving testimony

The experience with some of the words from Suzanne, a wonderful and committed human being, who came to Costa Rica as her first clown trip, and keeps on coming back:
“Since my first clown trip, my life changed completely because I met LOVE, the real one, the one from soul to soul, the one with no expectation. I’m a touched soul and I’m grateful.
Thank you for letting me live to my highest potential, thank you for this clown trip that awakens my one hundred percent human fibre. I knew this experience would be the beginning of something great… and it is, one day at a time.”


Want to Participate?

Cost: $1475 covers food, lodging, all educational and clowning events, and transportation within the country. This fee does not include your transportation to Costa Rica. Space on this trip is limited. We register participants on a first come first serve basis.

-> Participantes de Costa Rica residentes en el país, hay un precio especial para ustedes!
Escriban a

1) Download and read the C&C in Costa Rica 2020 Info Pack 1 >

2) Pay Deposit or Full Tuition and Register through the Electronic Registration Form >

Please do not fill out the form unless you are prepared to make your deposit. 

Not ready to book yet? Write to dario@patchadams.org

3) Your Deposit is Non-Refundable. Please have your final payment made by August 6th, 2020. Thanks!

Flights: Please arrive to San José Juan Santamaría International Airport by the evening of September 1st, depart any time on September 8th.

Passports: No visa is required, check this link for any exception related to your country. Passports can be expedited by your local post office. Please bring two color photocopies of your passport with you. Please check the expiration date of your document, passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of travel.

Vaccines: The following vaccines are recommended: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B (in some cases), Typhoid, Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) and Tetanus-diphtheria. More info here. Please talk to your doctor about the recommended vaccinations for travel to Costa Rica. We will not be in any areas of the country where Malaria is a possibility.

For more information:
Dario Solina
Clowning & Caring in Costa Rica Tour Coordinator

Downloadable Forms

We ask you to read/fill out the following forms:

  1.  C&C in Costa Rica 2020 Info Pack 1 
  2.  Gesundheit-Institute-Internation-Release-Form (aquí en español)
  3.  Parental-Authorization-for-International-Travel


Patch Adams MD & Gesundheit Institute, P.O. Box 307, Urbana, IL 61803

© Copyright 2021 Gesundheit! Institute