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    Medical Tourism and Healthcare in Costa Rica: Part I

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    “The closest thing to heaven on earth.”

    That is how the National Geographic Channel rated Costa Rica in 2008.

    With its beautiful beaches, numerous volcanoes, and vast tropical jungles among its many natural treasures, Costa Rica has long been considered a paradise. Year after year, tourists from all over the world have flocked to Costa Rica to enjoy its beautiful diversity of nature including wildlife like crocodiles, quetzals, and monkeys as well as to enjoy its numerous and diverse beaches. They also come for adventure trips like trekking volcanoes, whitewater rafting, deep-sea fishing and zip-lining under the jungle canopies, just to name a few.

    Well, now there is a new reason to come to Costa Rica…Healthcare! That’s right, Healthcare.

    Global competition is on the rise in the healthcare industry and Medical Tourism is one of the fastest growing fields in this sector. Medical Tourism (also known as Medical Travel, Health Travel, and Global Health) is simply defined as the process wherein an individual travels to another country for medical care.

    What’s New; What’s Not

    This is not new concept as that many wealthy patients from developing countries have long-traveled to developed countries for modern high-quality medical care. For example, many affluent Central and South Americans have traveled to renowned U.S. medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and the Cleveland Clinic (just to name a few) because of their exceptional reputations.

    What is new in medical tourism is that individuals from developed countries, such as the U.S., Canada, and those of Western Europe are now traveling to developing countries to receive the same modern high-quality medical care but at a fraction of the cost.

    What is also new is that Costa Rica, in addition to already being a top-vacation destination, is also one of the top medical tourism destinations in the world. While that may come as a surprise to some, those of us in the field here in Costa Rica find it to be a point of pride that we are a leader in this sector.

    About the Series

    In this column during the weeks to come, we will investigate medical tourism and what it means to Costa Rica. We will explore questions like, “why would someone from a developed country like the U.S. or Canada come to Costa Rica for medical care?” or “what is the quality of healthcare in Costa Rica?” Additionally, we will be discussing medical tourism with those already in the field here in Costa Rica. So please join us in the weeks to come as we explore the latest reason to visit Costa Rica – Quality Healthcare.

    Should you have any questions that you would like to ask about medical tourism here in Costa Rica or in general, please don’t hesitate to use the contact form found here.

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