San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Medical tourists to spend some $300 million in Costa Rica this year

Data released this week by the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED) indicate that 2012 will close with a figure of 45,000 foreign tourists who chose the country for some type of medical procedure.

Medical tourists, according to the report, pay some $7,000 for an average stay of 15 days, which represents an income of $300 million annually for the country. These tourists usually travel accompanied by at least one person, which increases travel expenses.

Regular tourists on average spend some $1,200 per visit, the report said.

PROMED said that 90 percent of medical tourism visitors come from the United States and Canada, attracted mainly by lower rates on services such as dentistry, plastic surgery and orthopedics.

These procedures can reach an average cost of $30,000, to which must be added additional costs, such as recovery therapies, nursing, food and others.

It is projected that by 2015, the U.S. will spend more than 20 percent of its annual gross domestic product on medical services.

Contact L. Arias at

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