Popular medical tourism destinations in Latin America


Traffic is on the increase in countries like Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama, for heart procedures and cosmetic surgery, at half the price and greater personal attention. With the specialists being trained in the advanced countries, and the latest of equipment available, all these countries offer excellent services. All these countries have successfully established themselves as providers of quality treatment, at lower costs, which seems to be the rule for all medical tourism destinations. Let us look at them individually and alphabetically.


Hard on the heels of its neighbours Colombia and Brazil, Argentina has invested heavily in the medical tourism industry to offer cosmetic treatments (popular at one-third cost) and dental care and health spas (growing).

There are great locations on the varied terrain for recuperation, but surgical patients should avoid going higher than 2000 meters.


The country has one of the largest Health Systems in the world – an estimated 16,000 facilities staffed by more than 200,000 qualified support staff, and treatment is among the cheapest.

Popular treatments are Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery procedures. Majority of the hospitals have JCI accreditation, more than any other country outside the US, and the rates are among the lowest in Latin America.


It made a concerted effort to generate revenue through medical tourism and laid the infrastructure for it. While the US citizens require no visa, the procedure for others is simple. Popular for their proficiency in plastic surgery, with Breast Augmentation, Face and Body Lifts and Tummy Tucks attracting the majority of the traffic.


Health services here are at par with those in the Western practices. To make matters simpler, there are over 200 medical tour operators dedicated to finding the best options available for its clients. They can be reached from the country of origin and all the arrangements can be made.

Costa Rica

San Jose has some centres that rate higher than parallel counterparts in the US. The speciality is plastic surgery and dentistry, recent medical advancement have expanded this to take in heart, liver, kidney and bone marrow transplants. The WHO rates them highly. In the early 1990’s an estimated 15% of visitors were there for medical treatments.


While the best may not be affordable by the common citizen, the Medical Tourism is booming with visitors primarily from North America.

Retinitis Pigmentosa or Night Blindness treatment attracts the maximum visitors from Europe and the US. A large number come for treating neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis as also for orthopaedic treatments. Not far behind are procedures for Cosmetic Surgery, Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation.

The generated revenues are around $40 million a year, which the Government hopes to increase by 20% each year.


The most favoured treatments are for Cosmetic Surgery, Dental procedures and Eye surgery, though almost any medical procedure is available. The Spa treatments offered are of high quality for non-surgical treatments. Post Treatment locations are ideally suited to relax the patient and speed the recovery.