Prices and competition reduce flow to Costa Rica


Most of the medical tourism to Costa Rica is Americans seeking cosmetic and dental surgery. The economic uncertainty in the country however means that relative prices have increased, and Costa Rica now is losing out to competitors offering similar quality treatment at lower prices.

Competitors include Mexico, India, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Costa Rica’s main difficulty in competing with these markets is its high operating cost.

Widespread media coverage in the USA of the real risks of undergoing treatment in some Central and South American countries has made Americans more cautious of going to Costa Rica for medical care.

The average stay of a medical tourist in Costa Rica is between 10 to 15 nights, while the approximate cost ranges from US$5,000 to US$15,000, which can include surgery, surgeon’s fee, pre and post-op appointments, medications, transportation to/from the airport and to/from the surgery and primary doctor’s appointments, room, meals and nursing assistance.

Promed hopes that it can source international patients from other markets such as China, but has not provided details about how they would do this.  The competition for Chinese business is also significant.

Earlier this year, James Madigan, CEO of, an online dental tourism guide in Costa Rica, said that approximately 15,000 dental tourism patients from the USA and Canada were expected to arrive in Costa Rica in 2019.

Overall tourism to Costa Rica has increase, however there is little recent evidence of the government actively promoting medical tourism.

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