Medical Tourism in Guanacaste
Costa Rica is internationally recognized as a top-notch medical tourism destination. Every year, some 30,000 tourists take advantage of the country's highly trained medical professionals and affordable healthcare on medical vacations. Whether a life-saving procedure or elective cosmetic surgery, prices average two thirds less than in the United States or Canada, affording patients the added luxury of accommodations, post-operative care, and a few days of sightseeing while in country.
Home to three major private hospitals – CIMA San Jose, Clinica Catolica and Clinica Biblica – as well as several smaller clinics, San Jose has long been Costa Rica's medical tourism hub. In 2011, the sunny northwestern province of Guanacaste will open the region's newest private hospital – a cutting-edge CIMA, with plans to expand in the near future.
Guanacaste's appeal revolves around some of the country's most spectacular beaches, including Tamarindo, Flamingo, Papagayo and Playa Conchal. Located 30-90 minutes outside Liberia, these beach towns draw tourists with gorgeous coastline, adventure activities, and a full range of amenities. Liberia is home to Costa Rica's second international airport, which has recently expanded and boasts nonstop routes to several major U.S. cities. New additions include Frontier Airline's Denver-Liberia nonstop flight and JetBlue's New York (JFK)-Liberia leg, scheduled for November 2011.
The $125-million CIMA hospital offers patients state-of-the-art facilities and convenience; its location guarantees popularity among medical tourists. CIMA joins the Hospital San Rafael Arcangel, which is currently adding a wing designated exclusively for medical tourism. Additionally, a $35-$40-million Guanacaste branch of the JCI-accredited Hospital Clinica Biblica – ranked one of the top five private hospitals in Central America – is being planned for construction within Liberia's Sun Ranch Retirement Community.
Guanacaste's development boom is sure to benefit local residents. As evidenced by CIMA's presence in the ever-growing suburb of Escazu, modern medical facilities can help develop an area. What is today a $100 million annual industry will no doubt see an influx of cosmetic and dental tourism in coming years, and provide more employment opportunities for Guanacaste's residents.