Investment in healthcare and medical tourism


According to Coldwell Banker Peninsula Trading Co. there is a rapidly growing trend in Costa Rica in real estate investments in property developments planned for health care facilities, recovery centres, hospice homes and wellness retreats.

As travel to foreign countries for both alternative and traditional medical care has grown in acceptance during the past decade, Costa Rica emerged as one of the most accessible, secure, innovative and price-competitive destinations for travellers from the US and Canada seeking  heath care. Costa Rica's medical system is actually rated better than the United States' by the World Health Organization. Costa Rica offers the climate and conditions for a healthy lifestyle, quality care and quick recovery. This also makes it attractive for those seeking holiday or retirement homes.

Health care costs in the United States have exploded in the last few years, but the same procedures are very affordable in Costa Rica and can save people 30% to 70%. Several American medical tourism agencies see increasing opportunities in Costa Rica, while it is notable that the only three dental clinics in the Companion Global Dental network are all in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula lies in the centre of one of the largest Blue Zones of the world. Blue Zones are those areas of the world where people live the longest and have the highest quality of life. In the Nicoya Blue Zone, adults have the longest life expectancy in the world due to water quality, a healthful diet and a slower pace. Wellness retreats on the Nicoya offer opportunities for meditation, yoga, massage etc. that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and recovery from major illnesses.

While wellness, dentistry were the original draws, people now go to Costa for treatment on diabetes, cardiology, urology, fertility, orthopaedics and neurology. A main attraction for medical visitors continues to be cosmetic surgery. There are two major recovery centres, mostly used by wealthy Americans.    

One of the benefits of seeking care in Costa Rica is its proximity to the U.S. All major carriers, as well as discount airlines Frontier, Spirit and JetBlue, have convenient direct service to San Jose, Costa Rica. The only two JCI accredited hospitals in the country are in San Jose; Hospital Clinica Biblica, and Hospital CIMA, as is one awaiting JCI status, Hospital La Católica. 

Costa Rica is home to 30 hospitals and 250 clinics. Most of Costa Rica’s modern medical clinics are located in the Central Valley, either in the capital city of San Jose, or in nearby Heredia and Alejuela, near Juan Santamaria International Airport. Pharmacies in Costa Rica can deliver basic diagnostics and medications, including birth control and painkillers, without the doctor's visits and prescriptions required in the US. Medical tourism has a very positive impact on the economy of this destination country. Highly skilled medical professionals, often U.S. trained and fluent in English, are moving there, as are major international pharmaceutical and medical supply companies.

An estimated 20,000 health travellers sought treatment here last year, although no official count is available, says Dr. Alfredo Lopez, for the Council of International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine, (Promed)



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