The capital city of San Jose is the destination of choice for medical tourists to Costa Rica, but other destinations are developing too. Clínica Bíblica’s future Guanacaste hospital is in a region with an expanding airport. The hospital is part of the Sun Ranch development with hotels, a golf course and a retirement community. A new luxury hotel, Sol Meliá Paradisus Resort plans to open in Guanacaste in 2013.
Grupo Do It, Sun Ranch’s development company, has not yet begun heavily promoting the property, as they are waiting for more positive signs from the real estate market. Guanacaste may become the next medical tourism hotspot, as a new $125 million CIMA hospital is opening in the fourth quarter of 2011. CIMA hospitals are international medical facilities built in underserved parts of the world, owned by Dallas based International Hospital Corporation. Both locals and foreigners are treated at these hospitals.
5,000 medical tourists were treated at the CIMA San José hospital in 2009, a hospital built to target Americans. Guanacaste’s new CIMA Hospital, will serve the local residents of Guanacaste and a growing foreign clientele seeking high-quality care. Clínica Bíblica Hospital in San Jose is the largest private hospital in Costa Rica and a popular medical tourism destination. The new $40 million dollar hospital in Guanacaste will be situated on 50 acres and will be a world-class medical institution with state-of-the-art facilities and medical services.
Sun Ranch and Bonzana Management Team (BMT) have a new joint venture focused on bringing top quality and experienced management to the project’s two planned hotels. BMT brings their wealth of knowledge in the hotel management industry and will apply this expertise to the two branded hotels that are planned at the Sun Ranch site. Currently BMT manages 3000 rooms throughout Costa Rica and the USA.The Sun Ranch project is heavily focused on the growing Costa Rica medical tourism industry, a short 2kms from the Liberia International Airport. John Scheman of Grupo Do It, developers of Sun Ranch, says, “We believe our project will provide the perfect companion to the Costa Rica medical tourism industry while also serving as a retirement location in one of the most desirable locations on Earth.”
In 2010 the government estimated 30,000 medical tourists to Cost Rica in 2009, and repeated the figure in 2011 for 2010 but it is only a rough estimate. The medical tourism industry brings in $60 million annually to Costa Rica, and the projected figure for 2011 is $100 million, according to PROMED, promoters of Costa Rican medical tourism. Medical tourists generate four times more revenue than a conventional tourist; between $6,500 and $7,000 per day, far exceeding the $1,600 that a conventional tourist on would spend.
Medical tourism in Costa Rica is growing as dentistry and cosmetic treatment are among the most sought after by foreigners, who pay about 70% less than they would in their home countries. 85% are from the USA, followed by Canada, Europe and the Caribbean. Local estimates are that current numbers in are between 500 and 1000 a week.