Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a disease endemic to Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and affects millions of people. As travel to these regions becomes more common, cutaneous leishmaniasis is becoming a disease of increasing importance in the developed world. However, disease recognition and access to appropriate therapy for cutaneous leishmaniasis remains a challenge in North America. The present article reports a case of cutaneous leishmaniasis in a Canadian man following a trip to Costa Rica. Species-specific diagnosis was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction analysis of a skin biopsy, which was positive for Leishmania panamensis. After failing a course of itraconazole, the patient was successfully treated with sodium stibogluconate, despite significant barriers to administering this therapy, and the paucity of data regarding its efficacy and tolerability. The pathophysiology, diagnosis and systemic treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis, as well as its emerging presence in the developed world, are reviewed.