Table of Contents
Below are the chapters of the destination guide. Click on any of the buttons below scroll to the actual chapter.
About the Author
Founder and the President of the Medical Tourism Association™
Renée-Marie Stephano is a Founder and the President of the Medical Tourism Association™, an international non-profit trade association dedicated to transparency in the quality and pricing of healthcare services, education and communication. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Tourism Magazine and Health Tourism Magazine. Ms. Stephano and her organization have helped thousands of patients travel to other countries and within countries to receive alternative high quality healthcare and medical treatment.
A graduate of University of Villanova School of Law, Renée-Marie is a strong advocate in the importance of educating patients and providing patients options based upon quality, cost, affordability and accessibility. She has a strong passion for the health and wellness industry and believes in the integration of wellness into traditional medicine.
Ms. Stephano spends most of her time traveling the world meeting with hospitals and governments and helping them create initiatives to support medical tourism and to increase the healthcare infrastructure and quality of healthcare in that location. She works with Ministries and tourism boards to create healthcare clusters bringing countries long term goals and visions to fruition. Renée-Marie’s hobbies are hiking, scuba diving, dancing, reading and anything associated with the outdoors and wildlife.
Having visited hundreds of healthcare facilities around the globe, Renée- Marie strives to deliver one simple message to providers of patient care in the delivery of healthcare services: It’s all about the patient experience. Through the best practices, protocols and certification programs of the MTA, the seamless transition of a patient from one destination to another and back again is based upon the integration of healthcare, tourism and hospitality to deliver this experience.
Ms. Stephano also is the author of four books: “Developing an International Patient Center: A Guide to Creating the Best Patient Experience”, “The Medical Tourism Facilitator: A Best Practices Guide to Healthcare Facilitation for International Patients,” “Medical Tourism~ An International Healthcare Guide For Insurers, Employers and Governments,” and the “Las Vegas Health and Wellness Destination Guide.”
About the Medical Tourism Association™
The Medical Tourism Association™ also referred to as Medical Travel Association and Global Healthcare Association, is the first membership based international non-profit trade association for the medical tourism and global healthcare industry made up of the top international hospitals, healthcare providers, medical travel facilitators, insurance companies, and other affiliated companies and members with the common goal of promoting the highest level of quality of healthcare to patients in a global environment. Our Association promotes the interests of its healthcare provider and medical tourism facilitator members. The Medical Tourism Association™ has three tenets: Transparency in Quality and Pricing, Communication and Education.
About the Medical Tourism Association™ Destination Guides
For decades, travelers have trusted destination guides for information such as culture, language, gastronomy, tourism activities, currency and a highlight of things to do in the destination they visit. Currently, as a result of the high cost of healthcare, limited access to high technology and specialized surgical technique among other factors, patients are finding themselves looking for alternative options for treatment, many times, outside of their local community, state and even country.
As nearly 100 countries around the world embrace the medical tourism industry, the Medical Tourism Association™ has launched its Destination Guides program as a commitment to education, with a focus on consumer awareness. The Medical Tourism Association™ Destination Guides provide an exclusive focus on a destination, country or city with detailed information about the quality of healthcare in the destination and the healthcare infrastructure found in that region, including wellness and preventative healthcare options as well. The key function of the Destination Guides is to empower medical travelers with knowledge on the industry and provide a step by step, set of guidelines to take into consideration when traveling for healthcare and/or wellness.
The Destination Guides are structured to educate consumers and take them through their medical tourism decision making process; from the moment they begin to research a destination, they will know what to look for. The key function of the Destination Guides is to empower medical travelers with knowledge on the industry and provide a step by step, set of guidelines to take into consideration when traveling for healthcare and/ or wellness.
Additional features of the Destination Guide include instant free access for prospective medical tourism patients. Patients can download our destination guides from MedicalTourism.com (one of the highest rated websites for medical tourism on the internet), MedicalTourismMag.com, and/or MedicalTourismAssociation.com. The print edition of the guides may be available through Amazon.com™, iTunes, and/or other merchants for worldwide distribution. The guide is also available for download on to your Nook or Kindle eReader.
A recent Medical Tourism Association™ survey found that almost 73% of medical tourists researched their information on medical tourism online. The guide will include information on hospitals, clinics, medical spas, wellness centers, hotels and tour operators for patients. The Medical Tourism Association™ Destination Guides also feature tourism information for patients with full color photos to go along with the tourism information to help establish expectations and includes helpful tips for patients and their companions during their medical stay.
What you Need to Know About Medical Tourism
What is Medical Tourism?
Medical tourism (also known as medical travel or global healthcare) is the process in which patients travel to other destinations for medical or health and wellness services. Oftentimes these services can take the form of a dental treatment, knee surgery, health check-up or even a trip to a wellness spa.
The term medical tourism may sound strange and exotic to some people; but in fact it is a rapidly growing phenomenon spurred on by an increasingly empowered patient base searching for quality, affordability, availability, and accessibility in healthcare.
Some people have the erroneous impression that patients are flying for open heart surgery to a dilapidated jungle clinic in some third world country – followed by bungee jumping. The opposite is true. Most patients are receiving care in high-end hospitals or clinics located in major urban centers, and will plan their trip to allow enough time for a prudent recuperation period before heading home.
Regardless of the reason, the common denominator in all medical tourism related activities is that patients are traveling away from their home region to access these services.
”Whether it is affordability, accessibility, availability or better quality, in the final analysis, patients are searching for better value.”
Why is Medical Tourism Growing?
Why are more and more people around the world bypassing their local medical providers and, instead, choosing to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles for medical care? Is it a subliminal yearning for some type of masochistic medical adventure or the lure of super economical airfare? In reality there are a number of factors that are contributing directly or indirectly to medical tourism’s explosive growth, these include:
- A trend towards globalization of services including healthcare
- A growing population of baby boomers in need of care for degenerative conditions such as a failing heart and joints
- Healthcare costs continually rising, which motivates people to look for innovative solutions
- Millions of uninsured or underinsured people are being forced to look outside traditional healthcare options
- People have better access to information than they did fifteen or twenty years ago, particularly through the Internet
- Hospitals, clinics, doctors, and medical tourism facilitators are increasingly and enticingly advertising their services
- State-of-the-art procedures are not available in many locations
- Patients cannot access procedures due to long wait times and religious or cultural reasons
- People searching for non FDA approved procedures
- People searching for higher quality medical care wherever it may be
Whether the prime motivator is affordability, accessibility, availability or better quality, medical tourism’s popularity is being fueled by a rapidly growing market of potential customers who, in many cases, are being forced to look outside traditional healthcare models for solutions to their healthcare needs. In sum, it is a movement of patients in search of value.
When Did Medical Tourism Begin?
You might be surprised to know that medical tourism is not a new phenomenon. In fact, archaeological evidence from the third millennium B.C. suggests that ancient Mesopotamians traveled to the temple of a healing god or goddess at Tell Brak, Syria, in search of a cure for eye disorders. A few thousand years later the Greeks and Romans would travel by foot or ship to spas and cult centers all around the Mediterranean. The Asclepia Temples, dedicated in honor of the Greek god of medicine, were some of the world’s first health centers. Pilgrims would sometimes spend several nights in the temple, hoping Asclepios would appear in a dream and suggest a diagnosis or treatment.
Later in the 16th and 17th centuries, spa towns such as St. Moritz and Bath became prime destinations for the European upper classes looking to soothe their ills. More recently, the wealthier citizens of underdeveloped nations have begun traveling to renowned medical institutions in the United States or Europe, usually for invasive medical procedures such as open heart surgery or cancer treatments that require a high degree of specialization and experience.
Over the last fifteen years, however, the trend has reversed itself as increasing numbers of patients have begun traveling from developed nations such as the United States and Canada to so-called “underdeveloped” nations in search of affordable medical care or treatment options not available at home. Most media attention has focused – often in a negative light – on patients traveling for what are referred to as “elective” procedures such as plastic surgery or dental. However, a growing number of patients are traveling for more acute care procedures such as open heart surgery, spinal procedures or hip and knee replacements.
In 2009, The Deloitte Center for Health Care Solutions, a U.S. based consulting company, predicted a 35 percent increase in medical travel over the next several years, including an expected 1.6 million Americans traveling for medical care in 2012. A rapidly aging U.S. population coupled with escalating healthcare costs and the uncertainty of healthcare reform are expected to increase medical tourism’s appeal even further.
“Archaeological evidence from the third millennium B.C. suggests that ancient Mesopotamians traveled to the temple of a healing god or goddess at Tell Brak, Syria, in search of a cure for eye disorders.”
Who Travels for Medical Care?
When you think of a medical tourist you might be tempted to picture a khaki-clad adventurer – a la Indiana Jones or Lara Croft – macheteing a path through the jungle in search of a long lost elixir. Romanticism aside, medical tourists are just like you and me; they have simply made an educated (and usually thoroughly researched decision) to travel to greener healthcare pastures .
Patients from all walks of life and from many regions in the U.S. and abroad are currently traveling for medical care. In the United States, medical tourism patients can be grouped into three broad categories:
- Self-Pay Patients
- Uninsured or Underinsured
- Corporate Insured Market
Self-Pay Patients are those patients who are paying out-of-pocket for their medical procedure or treatment. Currently much of the outbound medical tourism (from the U.S. abroad) is made up of self-pay patients. The majority of these patients are uninsured or underinsured, or seeking elective procedure options usually not covered by insurance. Underinsured patients are those who have health insurance coverage, however, their policies may high deductibles or high co-insurance.
The Corporate Insured Market on the other hand, is made up of individuals who have access to healthcare options through their employer. In some instances, for example, an employer might send high level employees to a Jordan hospital for executive physical exams. In other instances, a company that self-funds its employees’ medical plan will outsource healthcare services to hospitals out of state or even out of country, for the same reasons. The motivation for the employer in both examples is to lower healthcare costs and provide better value.
Patients traveling for medical care may not be searching for a magical elixir; however, they are looking to improve or maintain their quality of life through procedures such as executive health check-ups, fertility treatments, weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery, cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery and dental treatments.
What Kind of Savings are We Talking About?
One of the prime forces behind medical tourism is the low cost of medical procedures compared to the United States and many European countries.
The fact that you can save anywhere from fifty to eighty percent on medical procedure costs is extremely alluring regardless of whether you are a patient, business owner, or decision maker at an insurance company.
Do you have a bad knee? A total knee replacement procedure in Jordan will cost you approximately $9,000 USD (€6.690 Euros) compared to approximately $40,000 USD (€29.733 Euros) in the U.S. A heart bypass will cost approximately $11,000 USD (€8.176 Euros) compared to approximately $100,000 USD (€74.333 Euros) in the U.S.
As you can see, even with travel expenses considered, the savings available are quite impressive.
Why is Medical Care More Affordable?
Most popular medical tourism destinations are so-called developing nations. Wages are lower, infrastructure costs are less, and physicians don’t normally pay exorbitant amounts for liability or malpractice insurance. And while the term “developing nation” may bring up negative connotations of a “banana republic” or dilapidated infrastructure, most medical tourism destinations boast urban areas and healthcare infrastructure every bit as advanced as North America and Europe. Healthcare in the United States and Europe, for example is often more expensive due to a number of factors including the higher cost of salaries, supplies, medications and hospital fixed costs among others. It is important to note that in the U.S, particularly, insurance and administrative costs take up much of the healthcare budget.
Is Medical Tourism Safe
You may have heard stories on the six o’clock news of offshore surgeries gone bad or patients returning with medical complications that their local doctors refused treat. While some of these stories may be true, it is important to point out that millions of patients are traveling for medical care and the vast majority are having very positive experiences and excellent procedure outcomes.
Can something go wrong? Yes. Medical complications or even botched surgeries are possible in New York as well as in New Delhi. However, medical tourism is generally very safe if you carefully research your options and follow your doctor’s recommendations. Consider the following when doing your research:
Does the Hospital Specialize in the Procedure or Does it Boast a Center of excellence?
There is no substitute for experience. This translates into lower mortality rates and complications, which means a greater chance for your procedure to be a success! It’s also no secret that top hospitals attract top physicians – another compelling reason to choose a great hospital.
Look for experience.
Does the hospital specialize in the procedure you are interested in or does it boast a Center of Excellence? Ask the hospital or facilitator you are contacting to provide you with procedure volume and outcome data both for the hospital as well as for particular surgeons. There is no substitute for experience. This translates into lower mortality rates and complications, which means a greater chance for your procedure to be a success! It’s also no secret that top hospitals attract top physicians – another compelling reason to choose a great hospital.
Choose a great Doctor.
Although the likelihood of your doctor being a quack is slim if you are dealing with a well-known medical institution, it is still prudent to verify your doctor’s credentials before traveling anywhere for surgery – especially if you are considering a smaller clinic or overseas hospital. Not only do you want to be certain that a particular doctor is really a doctor, but you also want to make sure he or she has the necessary background, skills and experience to successfully treat your condition.
When checking the credentials of offshore physicians you have several options:
- Check and see if the offshore physician is affiliated to U.S. or international professional societies. Organizations such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offer international membership status for non-resident physicians with the appropriate qualifications.
- Request physician credentials from internationally accredited facilities as they have a very high stake in making sure that their medical staff’s qualifications are in order.
- Contact Jordan’s ministry of health or physician licensing board to ensure a particular doctor is properly licensed. Many of Jordan’s physicians have been trained in North America and Europe and have professional affiliations or memberships in these areas.
While none of these measures are full-proof, they will significantly reduce the likelihood of you choosing an unqualified physician for your treatment.
Consider a Medical Provider’s Accreditations and Affiliations.
Is the hospital certified by a recognized accrediting body such as the Joint Commission or the Health Care Accreditation Council? Although accreditation does not guarantee a perfect medical experience, it does signal that a particular hospital or clinic has invested significant time and resources in perfecting quality of care processes and patient safety protocols that over time will promote successful surgical outcomes. For patients it is an assurance that high standards of safety and quality of care are in place, and that the medical provider cares about delivering quality services to its customers.
It is also wise to look for hospitals that are affiliated to recognized national or international healthcare organizations. Although, again, this is no guarantee that something can’t go wrong, it does show that a particular hospital has met high quality standards in order to be associated to an outside credible source.
Looking at a Typical Medical Travel Process
Congratulations! You’ve passed medical tourism 101. But what, you may ask, is a typical medical travel experience to Jordan like? Well, let’s take a look.
- Debbie Johnson is interested in a hip replacement for her husband Bob. She searches the internet and finds a hospital in Amman, Jordan that specializes in this procedure.
- Debbie fills out an inquiry form on the hospital website requesting information about the procedure.
- Amir, from the hospital’s international office, responds to Debbie with a price range for the procedure and information about the hospital and the recommended orthopedic surgeon. Amir will also request x-rays of Bob’s knee and ask that he fill out a comprehensive medical history questionnaire.
- Dr. Mohammed, the orthopedic surgeon, reviews the information and determines that Bob is an ideal candidate for the hip replacement procedure. Amir coordinates a conference call between Dr. Mohammed and the Johnsons so that both parties can ask questions and get to know each other.
- Amir sends Debbie and Bob a more precise price quote and the surgery is scheduled in the next three weeks. Flights are arranged by the patient and Amir coordinates their lodging at a nice hotel located ten minutes from the hospital. Amir then sends the patient a detailed itinerary, recommended packing list and pre-operative instructions.
- Bob and Debbie arrive in Amman and are met outside the airport by a smiling hospital representative named Ali. They are then taken to their 5-star hotel to relax.
- The next day Ali picks up the couple and takes them to the hospital. There they are warmly greeted by Amir who takes them to a wellappointed lounge to begin the pre-admission process. Bob is then taken to his private room to relax while nurses take care of his blood work and coordinate an x-ray of his hip. In the afternoon he is visited by an internist and then his surgeon, Dr. Mohammed.
- Early the next morning Bob is taken to the pre-surgery area to get prepped for the procedure. Less than an hour later he is unconscious and under the expert care of Dr. Mohammed who deftly makes incisions, measurements and inserts the titanium hip prosthesis. After recuperating in an adjoining area, Bob is taken back to his private room to rejoin Debbie and to begin the rehabilitation process.
- After four days of recovery and intense rehabilitation in the hospital, Bob is discharged to a hotel to recuperate for the remainder of his stay.
- Seven to 10 days (and many rehabilitation sessions) later, Bob returns to the hospital (walking with crutches) for a final evaluation with Dr. Mohammed to confirm that his hip is healing correctly, and that he is fit to travel home.
The Importance of Prevention
Most of us avoid doctor visits like the plague. If we do schedule a visit it’s at death’s door or when we wake up feeling like we were just hit by an 18-wheeler. Anything less (pick-up truck or SUV) usually merits little more than an aspirin before we drag ourselves off to work. It probably has something to do with our genetic make-up, but very few of us are willing to go to the hospital and submit our bodies to a battery of exams if we are feeling fine and dandy. We prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of what could be going on inside our bodies even if this lack of knowledge has the potential to lead us to an early grave.
Fortunately, in the last decade preventive medicine initiatives such as corporate wellness programs have gained ground as businesses have learned that it is much less costly to keep people healthy, than it is to treat the debilitating consequences of diseases later on.
High-tech equipment such as MRI’s and CT scanners have become commonplace, allowing doctors to literally look inside our bodies and detect potentially harmful threats before they become untreatable. Gastroenterologists use probes with cameras to travel deep inside our rectum in search of unwelcome visitors such as polyps or tumors. In the lab, blood and urine tests are used to diagnose disorders such as anemia, high blood sugar and high cholesterol, as well as diseases such as cancer, diabetes and early Parkinson’s disease.
It is hardly surprising then that a growing number of companies are now using corporate wellness programs to lower their healthcare costs while at the same time nipping incipient enemies such as stress, heart disease, and cancer right in the bud.
“A yearly visit to the doctor is a great way to keep our health on track and to prevent future complications.”
Corporate wellness can be defined as an employer led initiative to promote the health and wellbeing of its employees. The goal is to lower employee healthcare costs through programs that help prevent accidents and the development and/or progression of diseases.
If you arrived at the office this morning to find your boss on the carpet in a lotus position and the vending machine dispensing Kashi bars instead of Cheetos then you may be the latest “victim” of a corporate wellness takeover. No need to fear, however, as it can actually be good for you (or your employees if you are the boss).
Altruistic motives aside, the cold truth is that your employer is betting that a healthier you will be a more productive you and save them money; specifically by reducing your days of sick leave and the money they pay out for medical and disability costs. Corporate wellness stems from a philosophy of prevention – it is cheaper to keep employees healthy than to make them healthy again. The importance of this for any business (regardless of whether you are an employer or employee) cannot be understated. But is there really any hard data to prove that wellness programs help a businesses’ bottom line?
First, it is important to understand that not all corporate wellness programs are created equal. A good corporate wellness program must promote change at the individual level as well as at the operational and corporate level. Participants must be engaged through education, effective communication and follow-up on topics such as nutrition, stress management, and fitness and exercise.
This requires an organizational culture of wellness with programs tailormade to each employee’s particular needs and circumstances. If not, don’t be surprised to see some of your co-workers head out the service entrance, scramble over the 12 foot razor-tipped containment fence, and sprint across the four-lane highway to the nearest convenience store for their Cheetos.
Multiple studies have shown a relationship between employee health and business productivity. One six year study by Goetzel RZ, Anderson DR, Whitmer W, Ozminkowski RJ, Dunn RL found that risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and stress were responsible for 25 percent of a organization’s employee healthcare costs.1 Through the implementation of effective wellness programs, Dow Chemical Company reported savings of more than $3 million USD (approx. €2.3 million Euros) in 2008, in the United States alone.2
Is it any wonder then that businesses are wising up to the fact that they must take their employee’s wellbeing seriously if they expect to remain competitive well into the 21st century? Testament to this awakening is the increasing acceptance of wellness programs by CEO’s and business leaders looking to maximize employee efficiency and lower business costs. A 2010 global survey by Towers Watson concludes that “Wellness will be a major focus for employers and insurers in the future as a vital tool to mitigate medical trend increases.” 3
So if your next business meeting starts with pretzel-like yoga stretches, oriental wind chimes and a steaming cup of green tea, don’t fret it; you are contributing to your company’s bottom line and becoming healthier to boot (at least until your chiropractor unravels you)!
“A good corporate wellness program must promote change at the individual level as well as at the operational and corporate level. Participants must be engaged through education, effective ommunication and followup on topics such as nutrition, stress management, and fitness and exercise.”
Medical Tourism Facilitators
If you have spent any time researching medical tourism then you have probably stumbled upon fancy websites that claim to arrange all the details of your medical trip. Typically, they will have a list of hospitals and doctors in several destinations along with information about the various medical procedures they promote. These companies are usually referred to as “medical tourism facilitators” or “healthcare facilitators,” and they function as intermediaries or liaisons between patients and medical care providers.
Medical tourism facilitators can be found all over the Internet; however, it is advisable that patients work with companies that are certified by organizations such as the Medical Tourism Association™ or rated by the Better Business Bureau.
The Role of a Medical Tourism facilitator is Two-Fold:
- To educate potential patients about the various medical facilities and physicians they are promoting
- To manage the flow of information and coordination of services between patients and providers
What Services Do Medical tourism Facilitators Provide?
The services they provide are designed to facilitate a smooth medical tourism process for both patients and medical providers and usually include:
- Providing price quotes
- Arranging the transfer of medical records
- Coordinating video conference calls between patient and surgeon
- Collecting payment (not all facilitators do this)
- Arranging travel logistic services such as passports, flights, lodging and transportation
- Providing a main point of contact while the patient is at the hospital
- Following up with patients after they return home
Advantages of Using a Facilitator
- one Stop Shopping
The convenience of being able to choose and access information about a variety of destinations, hospitals, procedures, and services at one location, instead of having to contact each hospital iecemeal. Patients can visit a medical tourism facilitator’s website and request a price estimate for a particular procedure from several different hospitals or clinics, and then choose which provider better serves their needs and budget. In addition, once they have made a decision on where to travel, the medical tourism facilitator can usually take care of all their travel logistics such as flights, lodging, and transportation.
- Established relationships with International Hospitals
Medical tourism facilitators (at least in theory) have already done the groundwork to make sure a patient’s chosen hospital and doctor are duly accredited and licensed. Although not always the case, many have visited the hospitals and physicians they are promoting and already have a system in place to make the medical tourism process safe and smooth.
- Language and Cultural Barriers are Minimized
If you are traveling from overseas, contacting some hospitals can be challenging due to time zone differences, language barriers, and cultural differences. As shown above, medical tourism facilitators already have the right contacts and a tried and true process in place with their network of hospitals. Additionally, patients can often choose facilitators located in their own country, assuring them that they will be dealing with people who speak their own language and have a better understanding of the obstacles they face in order to get from point A to point B.
- Convenient transfer of Medical Information
As relationships and systems are already in place, most medical tourism facilitators have the ability to quickly transfer a patient’s medical information including large image files such as CT’s and MRI’s.
Disadvantages of Using a Facilitator
- Quality of Service May Vary Significantly from one Medical tourism Facilitator to Another
Medical tourism facilitators are popping up all over the Internet these days with flashy websites promising they offer the best of everything.
And even though people may know that a beautiful website does not guarantee quality service, the Internet has promoted a level playing field for a wide range of facilitator options that may not always be in the patient’s best interest. Some facilitators simply do not have the skill, experience, resources or relationships to provide a quality medical tourism experience. Unfortunately, this is not always easily discernable to a patient looking at a website or speaking to someone on the phone.
- There May Be a Bias towards Certain Hospitals or Destinations
Obviously medical tourism facilitators do not have the time or resources to visit every destination or work with thirty different international hospitals. They must choose wisely from a limited number – always described as “the best”. Naturally, patients will be directed to these hospitals and not others – even if they aren’t necessarily the best hospitals for their particular needs.
- Using an Intermediary Increases the Possibility of Miscommunication or errors
Though perhaps not a big concern in most people’s minds, using an intermediary will always increase the risk of an error or misinformation occurring between the patient and the hospital. Something as seemingly innocuous as mistaking kilos for pounds in a medical tourism patient’s weight information, could lead to the surgery being postponed or even cancelled.
- The Potential for Paying a Higher Price
Medical tourism facilitators offer a lot of convenience but do need to make their money somewhere. This will usually come from a hospital commission, service charge (concierge fee), or both. One way or another, these fees do have a way of trickling down to the patient no matter what the medical tourism facilitator or hospital may say.
In the final analysis each patient will have to weigh the pros and cons of working with a facilitator. If you have an independent streak and are an experienced traveler then you may do well coordinating your care on your own. If, on the contrary, you need some hand-holding or are rushed for time, then you will probably want the help of a facilitator
Visa to Travel to Jordan
The cost of one entry visa for all nationalities is approximately $30 USD (€21 Euros) obtained upon arrival at the airport; for multiple entries for all nationalities it is approximately $85 USD (€60 Euros) and can be obtained at the nearest embassy/consulate.
Groups of five persons or more arriving through a designated Jordanian tour operator are exempt from all visa charges, provided the group arrives and departs together as well as stay a minimum of 2 nights in Jordan.
Certain nationalities require an entry visa to be obtained prior to travel.
But most of the nationalities especially USA, Canada, EU countries, Arab Countries can obtain the visa upon arrival at any border point or airports in Amman and Aqaba. For more details about nationalities who require visas from Jordanian Embassies or consulates please check:
Jordan boasts almost year-round sunshine with temperate, comfortable weather. Spring and autumn are fresh and crisp with rain being more common in the spring. This is a wonderful time to visit as the wildflowers in their myriad of colors – are in full bloom. The long summer days are sunny with cool evenings-perfect for roof top sunsets and outdoor activities.
Wintertime can be cold in the desert, but is pleasantly moderate in most of the country. This is an especially good time for a trip to Aqaba, a coastal city in the South of Jordan.
However, the weather can be quite varied depending on the time of year and your location within the country. An example of this diversity in climate can be witnessed during the winter in Amman where – due to differences in elevation (from 750 – 1300 m) – one can experience snow on the western side of the city while rain falls in the center of town.
In general, Amman is sunny and cloudless from May to October, with average temperatures around 23’C (73’F). July and August are hot and dry – sometimes extremely so, but summer days are usually tempered by cool breezes and extremely low humidity. April, May and September and October are especially nice times to visit as temperatures are mild and even somewhat cool in the evenings (it can also rain occasionally so come prepared with an umbrella). Winter usually runs from December to the end of March; during this time temperatures can get quite cool if not downright cold. Aqaba and the Jordan Valley are ideal winter resorts, with temperatures averaging 16-22’C (61-72’F) between November and April.
Medical tourists should take the following precautions, particularly during the summer months:
Drink Lots of Water
If you visit Jordan in summer then you will need to drink more water than you are used to at home – even if you don´t feel thirsty. The low humidity will temper the heat, however, you will still get dehydrated rapidly if you don´t drink liquids frequently. Dehydration is a serious concern for anyone, but it is especially dangerous for someone who has had a recent surgery as it will hinder the healing process.
Use Saline nasal Spray
Summers are not only hot, but they are extremely dry. If you are traveling between June and September make sure to pack some saline nasal spray to keep your airways moist. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but you will protect your nasal passages from potential nose bleeds.
Marveling at an ancient amphitheater or Roman aqueduct is apt to make you forget about the time or the sun’s strong rays. Protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. This is particularly important for patients who have undergone plastic surgery as the sun can hinder healing and promote unattractive scarring.
To keep yourself protected:
- Avoid exposure between 10 am and 4 pm
- Use a sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or greater
- (higher if you are fair skinned)
- Use a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation
- Use sunglasses that offer UVA protection
- Wear a hat
Whether hot or cold, Jordan’s dry windy conditions can dehydrate your skin. Put on a good moisturizing cream in the morning and before you go to bed to keep your skin nicely hydrated.
Attractions and Activities
This is, without a doubt, one of the world’s truly unique sites. The Jordan Rift Valley is a dramatic beautiful landscape, which at the Dead Sea, is over 400m (1,312 ft.) below sea level. At the lowest point on the face of the earth, this vast stretch of water receives a number of incoming rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products.
The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west, giving it an almost other-worldly beauty. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela).
One of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world, the Jordanian east coast of the Dead Sea has evolved into a major hub of both religious and health and wellness tourism in the region. A series of good roads, excellent hotels with spa and fitness facilities, as well as archaeological and spiritual discoveries make this region as enticing to today’s international visitors as it was to kings, emperors, traders, prophets and pilgrims in antiquity.
The leading attraction at the Dead Sea is the warm, soothing, water itself – some ten times saltier than sea water, and rich in chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, bromine and several others. The unusually warm, incredibly buoyant and mineral-rich waters have attracted visitors since ancient times, including King Herod the Great and the beautiful Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra. All of whom have luxuriated in the Dead Sea’s rich, black, stimulating mud and floated effortlessly on their backs while soaking up the water’s healthy minerals along with the gently diffused rays of the Jordanian sun.
Petra – World Wonder
The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race have nothing in common with modern civilization, and ask nothing of it except to be appreciated at their true value – as one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by nature and man.
Although much has been written about Petra, nothing prepares you for its awe-inspiring grandeur. It has to be seen to be believed.
Petra, the world wonder, is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1km in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colors and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury).
This is an unforgettable experience. A massive façade, 30m wide and 43m high, carved out of the sheer, dusky pink rock-face and dwarfing everything around it. It was carved in the early 1st century as the tomb of an important Nabataean king and represents the engineering genius of these ancient people.
Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley.
In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans’ workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city’s much older past.
Due to the city’s modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half of Jordan’s population is concentrated in the Amman area. The residential suburbs consist of mainly tree-lined streets and avenues flanked by elegant, almost uniformly white houses in accordance with a municipal law, which states that all buildings must be faced with local stone.
The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing and selling everything from fabulous jewelry to everyday household items.
The people of Amman are multi-cultural, multi-denominational, welleducated and extremely hospitable. They welcome visitors and take pride in showing them around their fascinating and vibrant city.
According to the final chapter of Deuteronomy, Mount Nebo is where the Hebrew prophet Moses was given a view of the Promised Land that God was giving to the Hebrews. “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho.” (Deuteronomy 34:1).
According to Jewish and Christian tradition, Moses was buried on this mountain by God himself, and his final resting place is unknown. Scholars continue to dispute whether the mountain currently known as Nebo is the same as the mountain referred to in the Torah. Islamic belief holds that Musa (Moses) was buried not on the mountain but a few kilometers to the west, somewhere beyond the River Jordan.
On the highest point of the mountain, Syagha, the remains of a church and monastery have been uncovered. The church, discovered in 1933, was constructed in the second half of the 4th century to commemorate the place of Moses’ death. The church design follows a typical basilica pattern. It was enlarged in the late 5th century AD and rebuilt in 597 AD.
The church is first mentioned in an account of a pilgrimage made by a lady Aetheria in 394 AD.
Six tombs have been found hollowed from the natural rock beneath the mosaic-covered floor of the church. In the present presbytery you can see remnants of mosaic floors from different periods. The earliest of these is a panel with a braided cross presently placed on the east end of the south wall.
The site of John the Baptist’s settlement at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was baptized, has long been known from the Bible (John 1:28 and 10:40) and from the Byzantine and medieval texts.
The site has now been identified on the east bank of the Jordan River, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and is being systematically surveyed, excavated, restored, and prepared to receive pilgrims and visitors. Bethany Beyond the Jordan is located half an hour by car from Amman. The Bethany area sites formed part of the early Christian pilgrimage route between Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and Mount Nebo.
The area is also associated with the biblical account of how the Prophet Elijah (Mar Elias in Arabic) ascended to heaven in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire.
A close second to Petra on the list of favorite destinations in Jordan is the ancient city of Jerash, which boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years.
Jerash lies on a plain surrounded by hilly wooded areas and fertile basins.
Conquered by General Pompey in 63 BC, it came under Roman rule and was one of the ten great Roman cities of the Decapolis League.
The city’s golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known as Gerasa, and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.
Beneath its external Graeco – Roman veneer, Jerash also preserves a subtle blend of east and west. Its architecture, religion and languages reflect a process by which two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted – The Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the traditions of the Arab Orient.
The modern city of Jerash can be found to the east of the ruins. While the old and new share a city wall, careful preservation and planning has seen the city itself develop well away from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites of old.
Visitors to the Dead Sea should also take advantage of another nearby wonder, Hammamat Ma’in (Ma’in Hot Springs). Popular with both locals and tourists alike, the springs are located 264m below sea level in one of the most breathtaking desert oases in the world. Thousands of visiting bathers come each year to enjoy the mineral-rich waters of these hyperthermal waterfalls. These falls originate from winter rainfalls in the highland plains of Jordan and eventually feed the hundred and nine hot and cold springs in the valley. This water is heated to temperatures of up to 63° Celsius by underground lava fissures as it makes its way through the valley before emptying into the Zarqa River.
Situated in this exquisite spot is the 97 room Evason Ma’in Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa offering a wide variety of professional services including mud wraps, hydro-jet baths and showers, underwater massages, mud facials, electrotherapy and cosmetology treatments.
This is a stupendous, timeless place, virtually untouched by humanity and its destructive forces. Here, it is the weather and winds that have carved the imposing, towering skyscrapers, so elegantly described by T.E. Lawrence as “vast, echoing and God-like…”
A maze of monolithic rocks capes rises up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750m creating a natural challenge for serious mountaineers. Hikers can enjoy the tranquility of the boundless empty spaces and explore the canyons and water holes to discover 4000-year-old rock drawings and the many other spectacular treasures this vast wilderness holds in store.
There are several options for exploring Wadi Rum. Visitors should head for the Visitors’ Centre where, apart from visitors’ facilities, they can hire a 4×4 vehicle, together with driver/guide, and then drive for two or three hours into the Wadi system to explore some of the best known sites.
Alternatively they can hire a camel and guide. The duration of the trip can be arranged beforehand through the Visitors’ Centre, as can a stay under the stars in a Bedouin tent, where they can enjoy a traditional campfire meal accompanied by Arabic music.
Once transport has been arranged, there are various excursions available – for example, a trip to Burdah Rock Bridge, the highest in Wadi Rum, via the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and many other interesting sights, is a full day by car or an overnight trip by camel. There are many alternative routes and information on these is available from your tour operator or from the Visitors’ Centre on-site.
The Bedouin people that inhabit the area still maintain their semi-nomadic lifestyle. They are hospitable and offer a friendly welcome to visitors, often inviting them to sit and enjoy a coffee or even a meal.
With its wealth of other attractions, Jordan’s splendid Red Sea resort is often overlooked by modern-day visitors. But apart from being a delightful place for discerning holidaymakers, this is actually a great base from which to explore various places of interest in southern Jordan.
Aqaba is a fun place. It is a microcosm of all the good things Jordan has to offer, including a fascinating history with some outstanding sites, excellent hotels and activities, superb visitor facilities, good shopping, and welcoming, friendly people, who enjoy nothing more than making sure their visitors, have a good time.
But perhaps Aqaba’s greatest asset is the Red Sea itself. Here you can experience some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. The temperate climate and gentle water currents have created a perfect environment for the growth of corals and a teeming plethora of marine life. Here you can swim with friendly sea turtles and dolphins as they dart amongst the schools of multi-colored fish. Night dives reveal the nocturnal sea creatures, crabs, lobsters and shrimp, as they search for a midnight snack.
There are several dive centers in Aqaba. All offer well-maintained diving equipment, professional instructors, and transport by boat to a variety of dive sites.
For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, all the deep sea wonders can be viewed through a glass-bottomed boat or by submarine, or you can just relax under the sun on the resort’s sandy beaches. Plus, of course, there are plenty of other water-sport activities available, as well as an extensive and interesting Marine Park.
From as far back as five and a half thousand years ago Aqaba has played an important role in the economy of the region. It was a prime junction for land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe, a role it still plays today. Because of this vital function, there are many historic sites to be explored within the area, including what is believed to be the oldest purpose-built church in the world.
Aqaba International Airport is situated just 20 minutes from the town center and services regular flights from Amman as well as from several European cities.
For more information about places to go in Jordan please visit www.visitjordan.com
Dining/Restaurants and Chefs
Jordanian cities are bustling cosmopolitan centers that offer an extensive range of restaurants serving most popular international cuisines. From Italian to Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian, and just about anything under the sun, Jordan is a culinary paradise. Visitors should be sure to try the local food, and there are a lot of good traditional restaurants to choose from, many of which also provide live entertainment.
Coffee shops, both traditional and modern, are popular meeting places, and they seem to appear on almost every street. Also, because the Jordanian people are particularly fond of sweet things, there are many excellent patisseries. Several international fast food chains are represented in Amman and other cities in Jordan.
Wherever you go in Jordan you will find plenty of opportunities to shop. For visitors there is a wide range of locally made handicrafts and other goods available at all the popular sites, as well as within the boutiques of the leading hotels and at the various visitors’ centers. There you will find handwoven rugs and cushions, beautifully embroidered items and clothing, traditional pottery, glassware, silver jewelry embedded with semi-precious stones, Bedouin knives, coffee pots, narghiles (Hubble bubble), marquetry work, antiques and other artifacts.
Take time to visit the souks (bazaars) in Jordan’s larger towns and cities.
These are treasure troves for those seeking something a little bit out of the ordinary. Within the souks there are also excellent gold and silver outlets, where some great bargains can be found. Also worth visiting are the busy market shops, especially for exotic spices, herbs and seasonings.
Both Amman and Aqaba offer sophisticated shops and boutiques selling the very latest fashions in jewelry, clothing, accessories, leather and electronic goods.
When in Amman, don’t forget to visit Al-Wakalat Street to find all European and North American brand stores lining the streets and offering their latest collections, as well as in the many malls available throughout the city. Also, Rainbow Street is a great tourist area, where many handicraft stores, coffee shops, and lounges overlook the paved lanes.
Almost everywhere in Jordan you can find the world-famous Dead Sea spa products. All are of excellent quality and produced under strict clinical conditions. They are also very reasonably priced.
In all cases, the shopkeepers are helpful and friendly. Most speak at least a little English but even if they don’t, there is usually someone around who will only be very willing to assist you.
As with any destination, it is important to check with your government to see if there are travel warnings or advisories. U.S. citizens can visit http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1149.html#safety for the latest news and safety information.
Although serious crime is relatively rare in Jordan, you should always use common sense and be aware of your surroundings. Crowded areas such as bus terminals and malls are sometimes frequented by pick pockets and purse snatchers, so avoid keeping your wallet in your back pocket or wearing ostentatious jewelry.
Amman and the surrounding cities are relatively small and most places of interest – hotels and restaurants – are well-known. Street addresses are rarely used – mail is delivered only to post office boxes located at neighborhood post office centers, while only the larger street names are commonly known. When giving directions, therefore, people will usually tell you the area or a nearby landmark (a large hotel, ministry building or supermarket, for example) and specific instructions from there.
Amman itself is built on seven hills, or “Jabals,” each of which more or less defines a neighborhood. Many Jabals once had a traffic circle (roundabout) at their peak and, although most of the circles have now been replaced by traffic lights, the junctions are still known as 1st Circle, 2nd Circle… 8th Circle. Other Amman neighborhoods were once separate villages, now swallowed up by the expanding city.One final word…If you’re having trouble finding your way, don’t hesitate to ask a passerby, as most people will be delighted to help.
Healthcare in the Destination
Name any FDA approved medical procedure or treatment and chances are good that you will find it being performed at one of Jordan’s state-of-the-art hospitals. From spinal surgeries to cardiovascular procedures, Jordan has rapidly gained a reputation as a top quality medical tourism destination, attracting medical tourists seeking quality and affordably priced medical care. The following pages will provide you with an overview of some of the many procedures and treatment options available in Jordan
An executive physical is a series of health exams tailored towards businessmen and businesswomen in order to determine their overall health. It tends to be focused on conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, often caused by stress, unhealthy habits or long work hours. To give you a better idea of the entire process, think of the last time you visited a museum. Typically you probably spent most of your time walking from room to room viewing art exhibits or ancient artifacts. Well it’s not much different during an executive physical except that here you are the exhibit and you might be prodded and poked a few times.
Executive physicals can vary from basic to comprehensive and often include some combination of the following diagnostic tests:
- General blood work including advanced lab screening
- Diagnostic imaging (X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s)
- Cardiovascular tests (EKG, stress test, echocardiogram)
- Nutritional counseling
Granted, guzzling the ingestible version of Drano while you contemplate the specter of a tube being inserted in your backside may not be your idea of a great time. The truth, however, is that most tests – including the colonoscopy – are virtually painless and have been designed to cause patients little if any discomfort.
Most executive physicals can be custom-made to your company’s specifications, oftentimes with results provided on the same day.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, infertility can be defined as “the diminished ability or the inability to conceive and have offspring.” Infertility is also defined in specific terms as “the failure to conceive after a year of regular intercourse without contraception.” Over the last ten years, the number of couples seeking fertility treatments has risen dramatically. This phenomenon can be attributed not only to increased fertility issues, due in part to later childbearing, but also to improving techniques, technology and results.
Treatment options include:
- Fertility Drugs
- Artificial Insemination
- In Vitro Fertilization
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI
Several Amman hospitals and clinics offer the latest fertility treatments customized to each patient’s unique condition. For hospitals and clinics specializing in fertility treatments see page 82 of this guide.
Bariatric surgery (also known as weight loss surgery) is a series of procedures designed to encourage rapid weight loss in patients that are obese. Depending on the procedure, weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach or by resecting and re-routing the small intestines to a small stomach pouch. The amount of excess weight lost ranges from 25%-80% of body weight (one year after surgery), and will depend upon the patient following the doctor’s indications.
Popular bariatric procedures include:
- Biliopancreatic Diversion
- Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
- Sleeve Gastrectomy
- Adjustable Gastric Banding
Bariatric procedures usually last anywhere from one to three hours and in most cases will require between one and two nights in the hospital or clinic (the adjustable gastric banding may be an outpatient procedure).
If you are coming to Jordan for a weight loss procedure, you will likely need to spend between seven and ten days in the area. Details of your itinerary will depend on your hospital’s particular protocols, but in general, you will start with your preoperative exams on the day after your arrival, have surgery on the following day, then get discharged from the hospital a day or two later. Your doctor will evaluate you five to seven days later to ensure that you are in good shape to travel home.
Orthopedic surgery is concerned with conditions associated to the musculoskeletal system. Some of the more well-known procedures are total knee replacement, partial knee replacement, total hip replacement, total shoulder replacement, hip resurfacing, anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, arthroscopy, meniscal repair, and spinal surgeries.
The number of patients traveling for orthopedic procedures has increased dramatically over the past several years due to an increasingly older population in many developed nations and the significant cost savings available.
If you are coming to Jordan for an orthopedic procedure, you will need to spend between seven and twenty-one days in the area, depending on the type of procedure. Details of your itinerary will depend on your hospital’s particular protocols, but in general, you will start with your preoperative exams on the day after your arrival, have surgery on the following day, then get discharged from the hospital a day or two later. You will then need seven to fourteen days to recuperate and undergo rehabilitation therapy before traveling home.
Cardiovascular interventions encompass the entire field of interventional cardiovascular medicine, including cardiac (coronary and non-coronary) peripheral and cerebrovascular interventions. Common treatments sought by medical tourism patients include coronary artery bypass graft, heart valve replacement, coronary angiography and angioplasty.
Recovery time before travelling home varies depending on the procedure.
Patients undergoing a Coronary Angiogram without intervention will usually be able to travel home 48 hours after discharge. Patients undergoing Coronary Angioplasty with or without stents may fly home 7 to 10 days after discharge. Patients having a coronary artery bypass graft, on the other hand, will usually spend 15-21 days in country.
Oncology treatments are those that strive to cure or slow the progression of cancer. Several hospitals in Jordan are well-known for their expertise and the advanced cancer treatment options they provide. Whether you require chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or a combination of different modalities, Jordan’s oncology specialists will work with you to customize a treatment plan that provides the best opportunity for success.
Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the body’s nervous system. Some common procedures include:
- Brain tumor surgery
- Spine surgery
These procedures will require at least a one week stay in the hospital followed by rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine specializing in the anatomy, function and diseases of the eye. Some common procedures include:
- Cataract surgery
- Retina and vitreous surgeries
- Refractive surgery
- Pediatric eye surgery
- Corneal surgery
Jordan offers patients many high quality ophthalmology centers where most procedures are performed as out-patient surgeries, with follow-up appointments scheduled approximately four days later.
Organ transplant (Kidney, Liver)
A transplant is a surgical procedure performed to replace a diseased organ with a healthy organ from another person or a cadaver. Patients seeking organ transplants must consider patient survival rates, procedure experience, and credentials of medical team before choosing an organ transplant hospital and surgeon.
Only living related kidney and liver transplants of living relations such as (parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles) are allowed in Jordan. Donation between spouses is also permitted. The age of the donor should be between 18 and 65 years old. No commercial transplantation is permitted.
Immunosuppressant transplant protocols are followed when treating all patients.
Length of Stay at the hospital:
Donor: 4 days Recipient: 7 days
The recipient should stay in Amman for nearly two weeks after discharge from the hospital for follow up.
Donor: 7-10 days Recipient: 3-4 weeks
The recipient should stay in Amman for nearly four weeks after discharge from the hospital for follow up.
Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Procedures
As the name suggests, ENT procedures are those dealing with the surgical treatment of diseases, injuries, or deformations of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck areas. Common procedures include:
- Myringotomy & insert of tube through tympanic membrane (bilateral)
- Endoscopic sinus surgery (functional surgery)
- Endoscopic cordectomy
Most of these procedures require between one and two days in the hospital.
Also referred to as plastic or aesthetic surgery, cosmetic surgery encompasses a long list of procedures or treatments that are performed to enhance a person’s appearance or, in some cases, to reconstruct areas of the body that are deformed at birth or marred due to injury. Popular procedures include:
Cosmetic procedures can last anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours and, in many cases, may be treated as outpatient procedures.
If you are coming to Jordan for cosmetic surgery, you will likely need to spend between seven and fourteen days in the area. Details of your itinerary will depend on your hospital’s particular protocols, but in general you will begin your preoperative exams on the day after your arrival, have surgery on the following day, then get discharged from the facility a few hours later. Depending on your procedure, you may also spend a night or two in the hospital or clinic. You will then require several days to recuperate in your hotel before traveling home.
If you are having a non-surgical procedure, your time spent in-hospital will be minimal. In most instances you should be able to travel home 24-48 hours after your treatment.
Jordan is home to some of the region’s top cosmetic surgeons as well as superb medical facilities.
Over the last few years Jordan has consolidated its reputation as an attractive and affordable dental destination. The country offers a wide range of specialties including endodontics, oral & maxillofacial surgery (oral surgeon), orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics. Some of the more sought after procedures include:
- Porcelain Veneers
- Dental Bonding
- White Fillings
- Dental Implants
- Dental Crowns
- Porcelain Onlays
If you are considering Jordan for your dental needs, keep in mind that many dental treatments can be completed in a matter of days and with very little discomfort. For more complex work you may have to stay a little longer or return to finish the procedure on a second trip. Before you travel, your Jordan dental professional will make sure to explain the details of your treatment in advance so you can plan the appropriate amount of time for your trip.
Planing Your Trip
How Much Should I Budget for My Trip to Jordan
The amount of money you will need to budget on your medical trip to Jordan will depend on factors such as flights, length of stay, accommodation choice and lifestyle preferences. Most facilitators and some hospitals offer procedure packages that include the cost of the procedure, hotel, and transportation. To calculate potential expenses, try breaking down your trip into its principal elements and then adding up the costs.
Let’s take as an example a patient traveling from New York to Jordan for a hip replacement procedure (staying in country 16 days). The approximate costs including a companion would be as follows:
- Surgical procedure package including surgery, lodging and on the ground transportation: $10,500 USD (€7.930 Euros)
- Flights: $2,400 USD (€1.813 Euros)
- Meals: $1,200 USD ($75 USD per day), €906 Euros (€57 Euros per day)
- Tours and sightseeing: $300 – $600 USD (€227- €453 Euros)
- Shopping and souvenirs: $200 USD (€151 Euros)
Approximate total: $14,900 USD (€11.253 euros)
As shown in the above example, most of these elements can be calculated with a fairly high degree of accuracy. For example, flights from New York to Amman average roughly about $1,200 USD (€906 Euros) per person round trip (though this can vary depending on the season and how far in advance you book your flight).
Jordan is a very tourism oriented destination with a wide range of lodging options available from low budget to 5 star-hotels. If lodging is not included in your medical travel package then expect to pay between $125-$200 USD (€94-€151 Euros) for a moderately priced double room with breakfast.
Food in Jordan is very affordable, street snacks like a Felafel or Shwarma sandwiches are inexpensive and you can usually get a decent budget meal for 1 Jordanian Dinar to 3 Jordanian Dinar ($1-$5 USD) (€0.75-€3.78 Euros) in any midrange restaurant, but if you’re splashing out at one of Amman’s better or western restaurants, 15JD ($22 USD) (€17 Euros) would be an average cost per person. Plan on budgeting at least $75 USD (€57 Euros) per day for two (this assumes a complimentary hotel breakfast).
Public transport is very inexpensive in Jordan. Most taxi rides around town will cost 2 JD ($2.8 USD) (€2 Euros), and the four-hour JETT bus between Aqaba and Amman, about as far as you can go in Jordan, costs 7 JD ($9.80 USD) (€7.40 Euros).
Tours and sightseeing are a must in Jordan where cultural and historical attractions abound. You cannot leave Jordan without at least visiting Petra or the Dead Sea (with your doctor’s permission of course). So expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars delving into Jordan’s rich cultural heritage.
Shopping expenses are never easy to predict. You’ll likely want to take back an oriental carpet or some souvenirs to your kids or grandkids, so put aside a little cash for these expenditures.
When is the Best Time to Go
Jordan is a great time to visit any time of year, however, like most destinations there are certain times or seasons that may be better than others due to weather or lower air fares and lodging costs. If you are seeking pleasant weather then try planning your trip during the spring (April/May) and fall September/October when spring-like temperatures make it particularly attractive for patients. Unfortunately this is also the most popular time to visit so tourist spots will be crowded and flights and hotels tend to be at their most expensive.
Another good time to visit is between November and March. The weather can be cold – even wet at times (especially during the middle of this period), however, travel and lodging is relatively inexpensive and there are fewer visitors. The least expensive time to visit Jordan is during July and August; however, the trade-off is the extremely high heat which can make for uncomfortable outings.
When planning your surgery dates it is important to be aware of local holidays or festivities that could affect your stay. The most important Islamic celebration is the holy month of Ramadan, which falls on the 9th month in the Muslim lunar calendar (the Islamic lunar calendar year is 10-11 days shorter than our Gregorian calendar so exact months will vary). During this period, Muslims will not eat, drink or smoke in public, and many businesses are closed or operate shorter hours. And while most Muslims understand that non-Muslims are not under the same obligation to observe these practices, they will appreciate your considerateness.
The observance of Ramadan will not affect the quality of your medical care; however, it may make it more difficult to get around and will probably put limits on your sightseeing activities and restaurant choices. At the same time, some people will appreciate the opportunity Ramadan offers to witness a unique spiritual event characterized by mysticism and celebration.
What to Pack
As your medical procedure date approaches you will want to make a list of the items you will need to take on your trip. The last thing you want is to arrive in Jordan without important medical records, medications or your trusty walking shoes. Therefore it is prudent to take into consideration the expected climate conditions to allow you to dress appropriately for the weather.
Jordan is characterized by dry, hot summers with amazingly cool and breezy evenings and cold winter weather. During summer avoid risking being sunburned by wearing light weight cotton clothes, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses with headscarves for females. Safari clothes and comfortable hiking shoes are essential if you’re moving around to sunnier regions such as Wadi Rum and Petra or castles. You will also need swimming gear for the coastal regions you visit such as Dead Sea and Aqaba.
The following check-list will help you get organized:
- For medical treatment: Medical history file and relevant medical reports, contact information for your hospital representative, prescription medication, your medical travel itinerary, and a digital or hard copy of correspondence between you and the hospital/ facilitator.
- Must have: Passport, driver’s license, credit cards, and cash (some Jordanian businesses do not accept credit cards).
- Clothing: Comfortable walking shoes or sandals. Head scarf/ shawl. Loose fitting cotton clothing is best (think kahkis). It is best to wear long pants, slacks, dresses, or long skirts. Dress in layers (jacket over a shirt) as temperature changes can be drastic from day to night. Shorts are not uncommon among tourists, but most Jordanians wear long pants in the city.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, lip balm, moist towels or facial wipes.
- Medical Supplies: Medications for diarrhea or upset stomach.
- Photo Equipment: Digital camera, spare card, PC cable, spare rechargeable batteries, battery recharger, case.
- Miscellaneous: Knapsack or fanny pack, sun glasses, water bottle, hat or cap to protect your head from the sun, Zip lock bags, snacks, antiseptic gel, maps.
More than 20 international air carriers fly into Queen Alia International Airport, located 35km south of Amman. These include: Royal Jordanian, United Airlines Continental, U.S. Airways, American Airlines, Air France, Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia, KLM, British Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Lufthansa, Qatar Airlines, Tarom, Thai Airways, and Turkish Airlines.
A direct flight from the United States to Amman runs between ten and fourteen hours depending on where you are located (the east coast being the shortest time), while flying time from most major European cities is about four hours.
Most medical trip packages will include airport pick-ups and transfers. If this is not the case, then the easiest way to get to downtown Amman from the airport is by taxi; the trip takes approximately 35 minutes and the fare is about 15 JODs (equivalent to around $22 USD or €17 Euros). There are also shuttle buses to the city center bus station leaving the airport every half-hour.
Once in Amman, you will find traveling around to be safe, speedy and simple by using transportation such as taxis, rental cars, tour buses and the public bus system.
Taxis are the easiest and most convenient way to get around Amman and other areas in Jordan. They are also relatively inexpensive, even over substantial distances such as the trip between Amman and Aqaba. To stop a taxi, simply hail it in the street as Jordanians do. Be aware that white taxis travel fixed routes and are shared; so unless you are okay with stopping every few blocks for other riders you will want to look for the yellow and grey cabs (many of which are parked outside major hotels). Make sure that your driver is using a meter – although taxis in Jordan are required by law to use meters, they are not always used at night, so it is advisable to agree on the cost before heading to your destination. Tipping is not compulsory, but it is an unwritten custom to pay drivers 10 to 20 piasters above the quoted meter fare.
Public bus service is available in Amman and between most of Jordan’s major towns and cities. Service is not always punctual, however, and buses can be very crowded at certain times of the day. Medical tourists are better served by using private companies that offer charter bus and regular tours. The following companies have been recommended by Jordan’s tourism board:
- Jordan Express Tourist Transport (Jett)
- Jordan Investment and Tourism Transport
- Sahara Kirresh Transport
- Rum Group for Transportation & Tourism Investment P.S.C.
- Sultan Tourist Transport
- Philadelphai Tourist Transport Co.
- Sindband / Marine Transportation
- Mesk Tourist Transport
- Smart Way Tourist Bus
Renting a Car
Most medical travelers to Jordan will prefer the comfort and convenience of prearranged private transportation or getting around in taxis. If you like more flexibility and freedom – and are physically able to, then you may want to rent a car. Jordan has excellent roads with English and Arabic road signs so it is relatively easy to get around (brown signs are specifically for tourists), particularly if you are traveling outside the city. If you plan to drive within Amman or other large cities, then you will need an adventurous spirit and an extra dose of patience as streets can follow labyrinthine paths and local drivers tend towards a loco style of driving (at least from a Westerner’s point of view). Happily most rental car companies offer the option of renting the car with a chauffeur at reasonably priced rates.
To rent a car you will need a driver’s license valid in your country of origin, provided you have held it for at least one year.
Whether you are building a house, buying a car or traveling for a medical treatment, chances are good that you will run into some unexpected costs. That is a fact of life. The important thing is to try to anticipate these situations so you are not caught unprepared.
Some common culprits are:
- Extra airline luggage fees
- Additional rental-car fees for insurance coverage or for extra perks such as a child seat or a GPS navigation system
- Unexpected medical costs
Let us take a more detailed look at this last one.
Every surgical intervention in the world – no matter how small, has the potential to end in a medical complication. Fortunately, medical complications tend to be rare for most procedures. However, it is important to keep in mind that if one occurs, you might be responsible for paying additional medical costs. It all depends on your health plan, insurance coverage, or the type of medical procedure package you purchased.
If you do not have insurance coverage, then it is advisable to purchase a medical complication insurance to protect yourself against these types of situations. Additionally, you should educate yourself about the potential risks and complications associated with your particular procedure, and try to lower your risk for complications by following your doctor’s instructions.
Longer Hospital Stay
There may be circumstances when your doctor will recommend a longer hospital stay than was originally anticipated. This could be due to a medical complication or simply because you are not healing as quickly as expected. In other instances your physician may ask you to spend a few extra days in your hotel recuperating. In either case it is important to be prepared to pay additional charges, especially if you do not have insurance coverage.
Will the Hospital Assist with the Coordination of My Trip
Most of the hospitals in Jordan that serve foreign patients usually offer a full package including airline booking, accommodation, visa assistance, and airport pickup for patients and their companions. They will also assist you with:
- Sending price quotes
- Coordinating conference calls with doctors
- Insurance billing
- Arranging transfer of medical records
- Arranging tourism and leisure activities
- Providing personalized assistance for patients while they are at the hospital
Patients who require assistance with travel and accommodation services can ask the hospital to arrange their trip to Jordan with excellent and competitive prices.
Some patients may prefer the assistance of a medical travel facilitator. For more information on medical travel facilitators, please refer to the chapter of this guide on Facilitators.
Just because your procedure is over does not mean that you are ready to pack your bags and head back home. Your doctor will recommend several days of monitored rest in order to ensure an optimal recovery and the best possible outcome to your surgery or treatment. This process is often referred to as aftercare. In more technical terms it can be defined as “the process of maintaining the integrity and quality of a patient’s care as he or she transitions from one setting (or set of circumstances) to another.”
The actual aftercare process occurs in several different phases. It will also differ significantly from patient to patient depending on the nature of the treatment and the patient´s condition and needs. A patient who has undergone a hip replacement, for example, will require much more follow-up and assistance than a patient who is in Jordan for a dental treatment or an executive physical.
Where surgery is involved, phase one of the aftercare process begins the moment you leave the treatment center. If you are staying at an area hotel then you may need to return to the medical facility for rehabilitation therapy, removal of stitches, nutritional counseling or simply for general monitoring of your post-procedure progress. Phase two begins once you return home. Here it is important to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to ensure that your recovery is headed in the right direction.
Are You Allowing enough time for Your recuperation Before traveling Home?
The best advice is to talk to your doctor before traveling for any medical treatment in order to understand the potential risks involved, not only in traveling for healthcare, but also to assess any risks particular to your own personal health condition. Patients should consider a health evaluation before any planned healthcare trip.
Surgery is stressful enough regardless of your location. For an optimal recovery allow sufficient rest time before your departure home. This is particularly important if you are flying long distances where there is a risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism.
DVT may be defined as a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. If the blood clot breaks off and travels through the blood stream to the lungs, a pulmonary embolism may occur which is potentially fatal. Although rare, there are effective measures that traveling patients can use to reduce the risk of DVT.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:
- Getting up and walking around every 2 to 3 hours
- Exercise your legs while you’re sitting
- Drink plenty of water, and avoid drinking anything with alcohol or caffeine in it
Additionally, there are medical protocols that doctors will use to reduce a patient’s risk of DVT. These include prescribing medical compression stockings and anti-clotting medications such as Warfarin and Heparin for surgical patients.
The key factor to take into consideration is communication with your physician and understanding the protocol you are given.
TIPS FOR AN OPTIMAL AFTERCARE PROCESS
- Make scheduled appointments before and after treatment with your local doctor. Also make sure your doctor knows that you are traveling and that he or she is aware of the details of your procedure or treatment.
- Before traveling, find out if a companion is recommended for the aftercare process.
- Find out about the type and extent of the aftercare provided by the hospital.
- Contact the hotel you will be staying at to inform them about your procedure and your needs after surgery.
- Don’t leave the hospital without your complete medical records and a doctor’s report that details the procedures performed and specifies recommendations for an optimal recovery process.
It is important for both patients and providers to be proactive with the aftercare process as it is an integral part of a successful procedure outcome and promotes a positive medical tourism experience.
Make Sure Your Primary Care Practitioner Sees You once You return Home.
Inform your doctor about your medical trip, and make sure to schedule a post surgery appointment shortly after you return home. Regardless of how good you feel, it is important for a physician to monitor your recovery during the weeks and months following your surgery.
Although Jordan has much to offer visitors as a tourism destination, it is important to remember that your primary reason for visiting the country is to correct a medical condition or to renew your health. Therefore it is extremely important that you follow your doctor’s advice regarding rest and leisure activities. If you’ve undergone a triple heart bypass in the last week, don’t expect your doctor to allow you to engage in any strenuous activities or to stay out long in the heat. Refusing to follow your doctor’s indications even in the smallest detail could lead to a slower healing process or even a medical complication. Don’t take any chances with your health!
Every surgical procedure has inherent risks. Often those risks are minimal, but you should be aware of them. Every patient has his or her own set of risks and these should be discussed with the surgeon and your personal physician at length before the surgery. The risks associated with anesthesia are mainly related to allergic reactions to medications used for this purpose.
Even after a successful surgery, you might experience complications such as blood clots or an infection. You need to discuss with your surgeon the specific risks for your case. Your surgical team is trained in how to deal with and lessen the chance of complications occurring right after the surgery. If complications do occur, they could necessitate the patient a second surgery in order to correct the problem. Your surgeon will inform you regarding the treatment options available if you suffer a complication.
Contact your Surgeon if:
- You develop a fever.
- Your wound feels hot or your wound is oozing.
- The problems for which you are having the surgery get worse.
- You have severe pain at the incision site.
- You are having pain or a burning sensation when passing urine.
Tips for Medical Travel
As we come to the end of this guide, it is our hope that your eyes have been opened to the exciting world of Health and Wellness opportunities available for you or your employees in Jordan. Below are some final tips that will make for a safer and more pleasant medical trip.
Do Your research when Choosing a Medical Provider
Jordan has been blessed with excellent medical professionals and a large number of quality hospitals and clinics. Even so, as a potential patient and traveler it is important that you take the necessary time to research your options in order to choose a doctor and medical facility that fits your needs and budget. Failure to do so could lead to an unpleasant medical tourism experience if not a sub-par procedure outcome. Please refer to page 82 of this guide for a list of recommended medical facilities in Jordan.
Don’t be Shy
When researching your options, don’t be afraid to ask for information such as doctor’s profiles/curriculums, medical outcomes or hospital performance indicators that will help in your decision making process. Most hospitals will be happy to provide this information. As a traveling patient, it is important that you have as much information as possible in order to make a decision that will be in your best interest.
Bring a Companion
Bringing along a companion is always recommended, particularly if you will be undergoing a procedure that will leave you debilitated for any length of time. Companions can provide much needed physical and emotional support that can make your medical tourism experience much less stressful.
Travel Comfortably After Surgery
Depending on the type of surgery you have undergone, it may be wise to purchase tickets in first or business class. This is especially true for orthopedic procedures such as hip and knee replacements, cardiac surgery, and neurosurgery – where space and the possibility to stretch your legs will reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis and allow for a much more comfortable flight. It is also advisable to travel light, particularly if you are traveling alone. You don’t want to be dragging a heavy suitcase after a delicate surgery.
Give Yourself Extra Time
Plan your trip so that you have a few extra days to rest before going back to work or your regular routine. Not only will this give you time to fully recover, but it will provide you with a little buffer time in case you must spend more time in the hospital than you originally planned for. This is your unique opportunity to dedicate time to yourself and your healing process. Remember, mind, body and soul is important for a full recovery.
Keep Your Medical Records and Important Contact Information in your Purse or Hand Luggage
Make sure to keep important information handy at all times. Be especially careful not to pack medical records, prescriptions or important contact information in checked baggage as these can be lost or temporarily delayed.
Network with other Patients who have already been to Jordan for Medical Tourism
One of the best ways to prepare for your medical trip to Jordan is to speak with past patients about their experience. What was their recuperation like? What restaurants do they recommend? Nothing beats listening to someone who has already been there and done that. Talk to your Jordan hospital contact and request to speak to past patients. Most hospitals will be more than happy to provide you with the contact information of patients who have agreed to talk about their experiences. This information is invaluable for selecting your destination for medical or wellness care.
Get as Much Information about the Medical Procedure Process as Possible
- How much will the surgery or treatment cost?
- Who will pick you up at the airport?
- Who will be your main contact at the hospital or clinic?
- How many appointments you will need?
- How long you will be in the hospital?
- How will you get from the hospital to your hotel?
- How long is the post procedure recuperation period
- Ask for a detailed schedule of tests and appointments etc...
Looking to the Future
Healthcare is now a global commodity with patients from around the world choosing their medical providers based on accessibility, availability and affordability, oftentimes regardless of geographical location. Old barriers are crumbling down as individuals and companies alike discover the high quality of care and ultra-modern facilities available at a premier medical tourism destination such as Jordan.
As a country invested in attracting patients from around the world, Jordan welcomes you to research our medical facilities and take the next step to improving your health and wellbeing. You can do so by contacting any of the facilities listed in this guide or by getting in touch with the Private Hospitals Association of Jordan or the Medical Tourism Association using the information below:
Medical Tourism AssociationTM USA 001-561-791-2000 10130 Northlake Blvd Suite 214-315 West Palm Beach, Florida, USA 33412 [email protected]
The Jordan Health and Wellness Destination guide can also be accessed at www.medicaltourism.com
Jordan healthcare services are gaining recognition the world over for high quality and affordability. As a world leader in medical tourism we encourage you to explore the many healthcare options available for medical travelers in Jordan. Regardless of the medical services you seek, it is our goal to make your medical travel experience an outstanding one.
To your health!