Medical Tourism in Colombia

medical tourism in colombia

Colombia has rapidly gained popularity in the medical tourism industry. The reason for this is because Colombia has one of the best destinations for patients seeking quality medical facilities and healthcare at an affordable price. Colombia comprises glistening beaches against crystal white sands and several national parks. Often recognized as one of the most popular countries in Latin America, this country is definitely worthy of being a holiday destination. In the past few years, medical tourism in Colombia has increased by more than 60%, simple because prices are around 40% lower than the rates in the US. Initially the country was famous for breast implants, facelifts, tummy tucks, botox, and Brazilian butt lifts (BBL), and other cosmetic surgery procedures, but today, Colombia can be relied upon for any medical procedure. The country is also known for dentistry, laser treatments, and stem cell therapy. Additionally, the country may very well be matchless in making healthcare tourist feel good, either from a cost savings point of view, or through the countries entertainment and natural beauty.

Why Choose Colombia?

Known for its incredibly beautiful eco-tourism locations as well as exceptional human beauty, Colombia has become one of the most popular medical tourism spots in the world. This is due to the promotion of the country as a healthcare travel destination that offers affordable medical treatment.

Medical tourism in Colombia started out as a hub for those seeking various types of cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery at a much lower price. It has now grown to offer cardiology, fertility treatments, neurology and many other treatments.

Colombia’s medical tourism has received fame and recognition because the set standards are above par and affordable. Here are some statistics and examples: a bypass surgery would cost around $80,000 in the US, whereas in Colombia, only $26,000 would be spent on the operation. Similarly, knee replacement in the US would cost around $40,000, but in Colombia, it would cost only $15,000. Keep in mind that the local currency, peso, depreciates against US dollars, meaning that the costs will likely be on the lower side. And it is because of this affordability that around 61% of people prefer medical treatment overseas.

Colombia has 5 JCI accredited hospitals. Other awards and accreditations include Planetree Certification for Excellence in Person-Centered Care, and The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Bogota is preferred for cardiologic procedures, while Medellin is known for cosmetic surgery, eye surgery and dentistry.  In fact, Medellin is home to 8 of the top 42 hospitals in Latin America. The doctors are held in high regard and skilled at carrying complex medical procedures which are priced economically.

Healthcare and Medical Tourism in Colombia

Healthcare has improved in the country ever since the 1980s due to various reforms and newer technology. The healthcare system of Colombia now occupies the 22nd slot on the world’s best healthcare systems. The country is home to bilingual doctors, and some of the best hospitals and clinics across the globe. Colombia has 3,600 medical establishments of which, 57% are private.

Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are well developed and the most popular medical treatments in Colombia because of exceptionally high standards, modern facilities and experienced surgeons. Breast enhancement surgery, liposuction, blepharoplasty, mommy makeover, lip injection or eyelid surgery and rhinoplasty or nose surgery are some of the most widely accessible procedures. The Wellness Tourism sector is still developing, but it is growing rapidly. More spas and leisure facilities are being set up near thermal springs and other scenic natural landscapes.

Colombia is located near the US, which is another advantage. More than 600 flights travel between Colombia, Europe and America and 30% of these arrive at cities that offer the best medical facilities. Colombia is only 3 hours away if one travels from Miami and 6 hours away when travelling from Washington, New York or Houston.

Lodging and Hotels

Colombia has 32 states of which Bogota, Medellin, Santa Marta and Cartagena are the most popular choices for medical travelers. Bogota is the capital and the largest city and most of the population lives here. Accommodations are affordable and many dining options are available, ranging from casual to exclusive. Medellin, famous as the city of flowers, is one of the most beautiful places on earth and is known for its ambiance, elegance and culture.

In terms of costs, a typical room at a hostel or guesthouse starts from $15 USD per night. If you choose a more luxurious accommodation, costs would increase to $30 per night. Bogota is more expensive with average rates between $90 and $180 per night. Accommodation rates in Cartagena are also on the higher side with a 5 star hotels starting from $120 per night.

Overview of Colombia:

Capital of Colombia: Bogotá

 Languages: Spanish and English

Currency: Pesos

Suggested Vaccines: Typhoid and Hepatitis A and B

Time Zones: GMT-5

Country Code for Telephone Calls: +57

Airlines that fly from United States to Colombia

  • United
  • Delta
  • Spirit Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • jetBlue
  • LATAM Airlines Group
  • VivaColombia
  • Avianca

Other airlines that fly to Colombia 

  • Copa
  • KLM
  • Air Europa
  • Aeromexico
  • Iberia
  • TACA
  • Air Canada
  • Lufthansa
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Interjet
  • Avianca Brasil
  • Avior Airlines
  • Air France
  • LATAM Airlines Brasil

Climate and Weather

Colombia has a warm climate in most of the regions, with May and November being the rainiest months. Since the country is close to the Equator, temperatures don’t vary too much throughout the year in a particular region, but they do change in terms of the altitude. The mountainous areas are cooler, especially at nighttime. On the other hand, Bogota has a spring like season for most of the year. Days are mostly cool, but sometimes, the sun can get hot. The Amazon Region stays wet, but it is warm.

Entrance Requirements and Visa

Canadian and United States citizens can enter Colombia without applying for a visa and can stay in the country for up to 90 days. If you live elsewhere, you will probably have to apply before the visit. Please check your embassy for visa requirements for your particular country.

Languages and Culture

Colombia has a diverse culture. Most of the locals are Roman Catholics and give importance to the Church for all personal affairs. Families support, offer advice and are loyal to one another. Most middle class families enjoy Spanish meals that generally comprise of rice and beans. Dishes for the holidays are prepared especially, such as pasteles and Aguardiente.

Entertainment and Tourist Attractions

Popular Colombian festivals include the Semana Santa, World Salsa Festival and the Black and White Festival. The Semana Santa takes place in Popayán and is regarded to the second largest Easter celebration. Cali hosts the World Salsa Festival in August and September, attracting salsa dances from the best schools. The Black and White festival is a tribute to the Moon Goddess with its root set in traditional Agrarian Indian culture. Over time, it has taken on Spanish influences as well. Celebrations include floats, street parades and talcum powder activities.

Colombia offers many attractions near Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena. Santa Clara, featuring an extravagantly decorated interior, is one of the oldest churches. Comuna 13 has pretty graffiti streets and Media Luna is the place to be for a thriving party filled with drinks, dances and girls.

Tayrona National Natural Park is another popular attraction in the country and is home to palm shaded coves and sparkling coastal lagoons.  The hike to the Lost City is 44 km long, and takes around four days. The site is one of the oldest and largest historical settlements, mostly buried underneath the jungle. Caño Cristales is one of the most incredible rivers in the world, bursting into an array of pretty colors from July to November due to growth of special plant species on the riverbed.

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