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The phenomenon of medical tourism in Costa Rica is very simple and can be summed up in 3 points:


+ Costa Rica has an excellent level of medical care for only 1/3 the cost of the same service in the United States.

+ In the US (and other developed countries) good medical care carries a high cost. Although, the new health care reform tax credit seems like a good deal for most folks in the States, Costa Rica is still a cheaper option for many USA and European citizens. 

+ Along with medical services comparable in quality to the US and recognized by their insurance companies, Costa Rica offers an ideal environment for the recovery of patients and the enjoyment of their companions.


The numbers speak for themselves:  The same surgery or treatment that in the US would cost US$15,000, in Costa Rica costs around US$5,000.  That is, this US$10,000 difference is more than enough for the airline tickets, hotels and as many tours as you wish to take - not only for the patient but also for one or several companions.


Everyone in the country is aware of the large price differences and the potential it carries it with it.    The prospects and opportunities are immense and there is a consensus as much on the part of the government as of the private sector that promoting the development of medical tourism in Costa Rica will bring a long list of benefits to the country.


As a sign of this commitment, in 2009 the Ministries of Foreign Commerce, of Tourism, of Competitiveness and of Health of Costa Rica, signed a joint decree declaring medical tourism to be “a matter of national interest”. To promote its development, PROMED(Council for the International Promotion of Medicine in Costa Rica) was founded. PROMED is a private, not for profit entity dedicated to promoting the development of the industry in the country and coordinating actions between the private and public sectors.


But the parties interested in this are not only domiciled in Costa Rica.    Large companies in other countries as well as foreign insurance companies have their eyes set on this phenomenon.  This further opens the possibility to drastically reduce the cost of surgical interventions or medical treatments for employees and/or insurance holders by sending them to be treated in Costa Rica.

Did you know?

At the present time 49 million people in the United States have no medical insurance and 108 million lack dental coverage.   Source: US Census Bureau.


It is important to note as well that this is not strictly a matter of cost. Another key factor is the high standards of quality of medicine and care in this country.  According to the last world ranking by the W.H.O., the health system of Costa Rica occupies the 36th world ranking, even higher than the US which ranks 37th. This ranking, counts not only the private sector but also considers the quality of public health care, one of the strong basis of national medicine.

As a added value, patients in Costa Rica are protected by very comprehensive and favorable legislation, another critical factor taken in consideration for its high score on an international level.


In the meantime Mexico and Brazil, 2 other Latin American countries that are betting heavily on medical tourism, lag far behind in ranks at 61 and 125 respectively.


Although in recent times the country has been receiving about 30,000 patient-tourists annually, everyone knows that this is only the beginning and the time has come to get well organized and reinvigorate the initial surge that began in 2009, which was partially slowed down by the international economic crisis.


Today, this sector is once again seeing a high level of renewed activity.

The boom of medical tourism in Costa Rica appears to be just around the corner…


May 2011 will provide an opportunity for the institutions and medical centers of Latin America to meet with buyers of medical services and related institutions from the principal countries providing the patients.


On May 2nd and 3rd in San Jose (at Hotel Ramada Herradura) and on May 4th in Guanacaste (at Hilton Papagayo), the 2nd Medical Travel International Summit will take place.  Numerous institutions will come together with 75 medical companies of Costa Rica and Latin America, over 50 foreign buyers (Insurance companies, self-insured companies and benefit consultants) along with medical facilitators and global certifying entities (Companion Global Healthcare, Global Medical Connections, Costa Rican Medical Care, Health Choices International and International Healthcare Access).


Did you know?

Medical tourism generates some $60,000 million annually around the world and is projected to reach $100,000 million during 2011.

Source: Deloitte


The event promises to make history as the definitive moment that tightens the bonds and establishes alliances that will define the future of the medical tourism industry in Latin America.

Organized by PROMED with the backing of ICT (Costa Rican Tourism Institute) and PROCOMER, the event has over 500 participants already confirmed from 10 countries.

 35 speakers, 75 stands, training sessions, negotiating tables, certification services, workshops and tours to familiarize visitors with the country are just some of the elements of the event that will provide the optimum conditions to conduct business and promote the advantages of Costa Rica as a medical-tourism destination.       

Following the activities in San Jose, the participants will travel to Guanacaste to experience the last session of the event in which the visitors will be given a presentation of several medical tourism projects in the province and the convenient conditions that Guanacaste offers for patients recovery. In this last day, there will also be workshops and negotiation tables, closing the activity with a carnival on the beach.


More Information:

+ About the Summit:


+ About medical tourism in Guanacaste:




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