Recently, the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Facilities (AAAASF) have granted three Costa Rican clinics certification which places them on equal footing with U.S. medical centers.

The three clinics, Clinica UNIBE, Dental Sonrisa Para Todos and Cirugia Plastica Pino, were subjected to a six-month review process and their accreditation is hoped to boost Costa Rica’s reputation as a center for medical tourism.

Dr. Jorge Cortés, president of the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rican Medicine (PROMED), “The international accreditation of health services allows us to position ourselves among countries such as the United States, where patients are looking for certified qualified.”

The reduced cost of health care as compared to the United States, where the majority of the medical tourist originate from, is the major draw due to the fact that many U.S. citizens lack affordable health care.

Nearly 13 percent of the medical tourists who visit Costa Rica seek cosmetic surgery procedures, while another 35 percent come for dental work, according to a study by the Competitiveness Ministry. In the U.S., insurance companies are beginning to catch on, offering to chip in for travel packages to this Central American country.