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Medical Tourism in Costa Rica: A New Reason to Holiday

Costa Rica’s economy has long benefitted from the medical tourism industry and this number has grown in recent years, thanks largely to the high quality service and the relatively low costs of procedures.

Studies conducted by the Costa Rican Health Chamber (Promed) show that nearly 45% of medical tourism in the country is for seeking quality dental care.  I was personally impressed with the speed and quality of the service that I received, from getting an appointment straight away to after care messages asking how my recovery is going.

There are a number of reasons that people from all over the world are visiting Costa Rica for medical tourism in general, and dental tourism especially.  In my experience, the main reason that I would choose to recommend is because of the significantly cheaper cost of medical procedures in Costa Rica.

I recently had to have emergency dental surgery here in Costa Rica.  Aside from the unbearable pain in my mouth, I knew that I wouldn’t have to worry about unbearable pain in my wallet.  Removing two impacted teeth in New Zealand cost me nearly $1500 USD, and here it cost me 1/4 of that.  In the US, the same procedure would have cost me double the price that I paid here. 

The dental office that I chose in Uvita offers a variety of dental vacation packages, clearly indicating that this is a popular option for not only part-time expats saving their dental and/or medical visits for their time in Costa Rica, but also tourists from around the world choosing to maximize their vacation time by getting a procedure done in a beautiful holiday spot.

For those who pay into the Costa Rican Caja health care system, they would have the opportunity to have my same procedure for free through making an appointment with a local Ebais service provider.  Expats who obtain their Costa Rican residency are automatically opted in to the system, which generally costs less than $100 a month to expats with a standard pension, and covers any and all medical procedures.  There are no restrictions for preexisting conditions in the system.

Medical tourism is growing

Statistics show that the majority of medical tourists into Costa Rica are over 45 years of age, predominantly arriving from North America.  Costa Rica is a short flight away and filled with numerous attractions, and people are choosing to save on their procedures while also enjoying a tropical getaway.

According to the Central Bank, medical tourism in Costa Rica has grown 33% in the last five years, ranking it amongst other top medical tourism destinations like Mexico, Colombia, Thailand and Malaysia.

Foreigners are learning that they are able to find excellent medical professionals in the private clinics that speak English (and/or perhaps German or another language) and they have studied both in Costa Rica and abroad.  Private dental and medical clinics all over Costa Rica are filled with highly-qualified professionals that specialize in different fields and stay current with the latest technologies and techniques.  Couple this with the fact that treatments in Costa Rica can be as much as 75% cheaper than many first world nations, and it’s easy to understand this significant growth.