Top 6 Medical Tourism Destinations

For health & wellness travelers, what stands out most are these countries’ premier hospitals – specifically, the array of Joint Commission International (JCI)-accredited hospitals.

Most Americans and Canadians know a fair bit about holiday destinations south of their borders. For decades they’ve been visiting not only Mexico, but beautiful Caribbean islands, ancient Central American ruins, and exotic South America landscapes for all types of tourism.
Lately, they’ve become intimately familiar with what these places deliver in medical tourism, too. And what they deliver is affordability and world-class healthcare facilities wedded with the amazing vacations that made them popular destinations in the first place.

For health & wellness travelers, what stands out most are these countries’ premier hospitals – specifically, the array of Joint Commission International (JCI)-accredited hospitals.

JCI certification is so important for medical tourists because it’s a sign of high standards, specialized programs, and excellence in patient care. And it’s something you should consider when planning your medical holiday.

Here’s a look at the longest-serving JCI-accredited facilities in 6 health-travel hotspots popular with North American medical tourists.


With 52 of them in total, Brazil is South America’s leader in terms of JCI-accredited facilities. The one that has been recognized the longest is the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, certified since 1999 and specializing in stroke treatment, oncology, and bariatric surgery.


There are 9 JCI-accredited hospitals in Mexico, a country that’s popular with medical tourists because of the state-of-the-art eye treatments, less-expensive dental care, and expert weight-loss procedures. The Clinica Cumbres in Chihuahua has been certified since 2008 and is recognized for excellence in orthopedics and ophthalmology.


Colombia is an amazingly diverse vacation destination and a serious player in medical tourism now, too. The Fundación Cardiovascular de Colombia – Heart Institute is one of 3 JCI hospitals there and has been certified since 2009 for its Hospital Program’s high quality of cardiovascular care and patient safety.


Medical tourism in Panama is all about medical expertise from Western-trained physicians and significant savings. The country’s capital, Panama City, has 2 JCI-accredited facilities – which on a per capita business is no mean feat – and the Clinica Hospital San Fernando has been recognized since 2011 for its Hospital Program’s hi-tech Radiology and Imaging Department.

Costa Rica

Panama’s neighbor Costa Rica is the more famous of the two among medical tourists, and this tiny beach paradise is also home to 2 JCI-accredited facilities. The Hospital Clínica Bíblica in San José has been delivering “more than 60 medical specialties and their respective sub-specialties” to patients from overseas for years, and has had JCI’s seal of approval since 2007.


Barbados’s lone JCI facility is a modern IVF clinic called Barbados Fertility Centre. It attracts hopeful parents-to-be from the US, Canada, and the UK because of its high success rates and much lower prices. It earned JCI accreditation in 2007 and promises “fertility treatment in paradise with less stress.”

People in the know go to Mexico, Central America, and South America for vacations; patients in the know visit for health and wellness, and they’ve got scores of high-quality, internationally recognized hospitals to choose from.