Most people visit Costa Rica or even move there for the tropical weather, nice beaches, and laid-back, sunny lifestyle. But there's another compelling reason to head down south to the land of pura vida: healthcare.
In fact, Costa Rica has a fantastic healthcare system that's accessible to locals and foreigners alike (in part). And more and more people are going down to Costa Rica just to get a procedure or surgery, which would cost them way too much or be impossible to get in the U.S. (Canadians have that covered!)
Here is what you need to know about medical procedures in Costa Rica:
Medical tourism in Costa Rica:
More and more people are visiting Costa Rica for elective surgeries, including cosmetic procedures. In fact, last year it’s estimated that more than 100,000 foreigners visited Costa Rica for medical procedures.
Costa Rica is most popular among medical tourists for cosmetic surgeries, knee and hip replacements, heart surgeries, and cosmetic dentistry, among others.
There are a host of clinics and options, but you’ll probably want to stick to the well-established bigger medical facilities in or around San José. When it comes to plastic and cosmetic surgery, you’ll find that Costa Rican doctors are world-class, with the latest laser technology and skilled in the newest procedures and treatments.
Prices for cosmetic surgery are probably 1⁄2 or even 1/3 what you’d find in the United States.
If you’re heading to Costa Rica for a procedure, remember to leave a couple of days before the surgery to relax and get acclimated, and book a week or two (whatever the doctor recommends) at a nice resort or hotel to recover afterward before you have to fly home. It will still cost far less than in the U.S., all travel expenses included!
Typical Costa Rican Medical Costs
Here are some estimates for typical medical costs in Costa Rica, compared to U.S. prices and with the percentage savings. These are only estimates, and you can get more accurate pricing by contacting the appropriate hospital in Costa Rica.
Procedure/Cost in U.S./Cost in Costa Rica/% savings:
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery:
General and Cosmetic Dentistry:
Visiting the dentist in Costa Rica:
Dental procedures are covered by Caja, but for those visitors or expats who don’t yet have residency and access to the nation’s nearly free healthcare network, there are still plenty of great options for dental work.
In fact, dental clinics and small offices are abundant, especially in cities and communities that have a large foreigner, tourist or expat population.
Some of these clinics may not look like anything fancy from the outside. However, you’ll usually find that they are spotlessly clean and up to date on modern technology and equipment. It’s also easy to get an appointment as a walk-in, and they’re often more thorough than U.S. dentists because they’re not as pressured to keep an eye on the bottom line in Costa Rica.
I used to coordinate my biannual cleanings with trips to Playa Coco, where I found a great dentist and got a filling and crown there for about 1/10 the cost of what it would be in the U.S. Even dental lab work and dental surgeries are high quality and cost effective; another reason Costa Rica is an increasingly popular destination for medical tourists from up north.
More questions about medical care, moving to Costa Rica, or anything else?
I've got you covered with the #1 resource in the WORLD!
The Official Expat,
Don't miss the #1 resource for moving to Costa Rica and living the dream here.
Download for free here.