There is no doubt that Costa Rica is a small country, especially compared to its neighbors Mexico, Colombia and the US. However, Costa Rica is a popular destination for dental services and cosmetic surgery and has hosted over 65000 medical tourists in 2014. Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, is extremely close to the Caribbean and the Pacific coast and the incredible national parks featuring cloud forests and volcanoes are a mere hour away.
Nearly a quarter of Costa Rica is covered in national parks, making it very popular with eco-toursts as well as leisure and health oriented medical tourists. The Pacific coast and the Caribbean feature around 300 beaches, many of which are extremely peaceful and ideal for swimming, while others, like the Dominical on the Pacific, are famous around the world as the ideal surfing destinations. Fans of nature will enjoy the Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge, the Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Preserve and the Tabacon Hot Springs.
Costa Rica’s beaches and national parks are perfect for anyone who enjoys hiking, camping or just simply relaxing in the warm sun.
The bad news for medical tourists is that, depending on their procedure, patients are often told to keep their wounds out of the sun for at least two weeks after the surgery, making beachgoing difficult and even dangeour.
While Costa Rica welcomes people from North America, its affordable and superb healthcare draws in Spanish-speaking patients from all over Latin America, from places such as Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize, whose medical services, hospitals and clinics aren’t as high quality. Furthermore, Spanish-speaking patients from the US often visit Costa Rica over Mexico as its noticably closer and safer.
Some of the high-end multidisciplinary facilities in Costa Rica include the Clinica Biblica, a JCI-accredited hospital that offers over 60 specialties and subspecialties, including dentistry and cardiology. Another prominent Costa Rican hospital is the Hospital Catolica, offering a great number of specialties such as cardiovascular diagnostics and treatment, ear, nose and throat care and orthopedics.
Even though the most common specialties in Costa Rica are dentistry and cosmetic surgery, hospitals like Biblica and Catolica have an ever increasing offer that covers successful orthopedics and hearth procedures. Costa Rica is also notable for oncology and fertility. Medical offerings of Costa Rica have grown significantly in the last couple of years and now include eye surgery as well as other elective treatments such as weight loss programs and even bariatric surgery.
The nation’s capital is also where you can find one of the region’s top plastic surgery clinics, the Rosenstock-Lieberman Center for Cosmetic Surgery. This center, having catered to the luxury visitors for a long time, is now becoming more affordable for everyone. Costa Rica’s top dental facilities can be found in Escazu, a fairly upscale suburb of San Jose.
It is also important to note that Costa Rica often ranks higher in healthcare quality compared to several other countries in the developed world, including Canada and the US. The World Health Organization has ranked Costa Rica in the top three in Latin America in terms of healthcare system quality. Roughly 5% of all visitors to Costa Rica from other countries travel here for medical reasons.
It is also interesting to note a rather unique feature of Costa Rican medical tourism – hotel and ranch-style accomodations for recovering patients. These accomodations, which have been springing up more and more in recent years are known as recovery retreats and are located near clinics. They offer the convenience of a standard hotel but are staffed with medical personnel ready to address patients’ requirements following their treatments.
A typical healthcare visitor to Costa Rica will save anywhere between 45 and 65 percent for a typical procedure compared to the United States. People looking for procedures such as breast surgery, reconstructive dentistry or extensive aesthetic abdominal surgeries can save in excess of $10000. Costa Rican investors and government have invested billions into the improvements to the national healthcare system which now caters extremely well to the international medical tourists.