If you've searched the web for private medical insurance that covers expats in Costa Rica then you are probably for looking for trusted UK based health insurance providers that can cover your medical costs in Costa Rica.
Living as an expat in Costa Rica you want to avoid any unwanted and unexpected medical costs. In some countries these can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds for very serious medical conditions.
Our advice when looking for health insurance that covers expatriates living in Costa Rica is to speak to a health insurance broker. Health insurance is very complicated and if you want absolute certainty that Costa Rica is covered you should talk with a broker who can explain which providers will cover medical expenses for expatriates in Costa Rica and which will not.
There are many advantages to using a broker but the largest by far is that you're using their insurance training at no cost. They are paid by the insurer (Aviva or Bupa etc) rather than you so it costs you no extra to use their brokering services.
- Do you reside in many different postcodes? Some will give you a lower policy premium than offers. A broker will be able to advise whats best.
- Do you have a hobby that may invalidate your insurance policy? A broker will know this vital information.
- If you are a couple and one of you has claimed on your insurance policy this year would it be cheaper to separate you both onto two different policies?
- You've lean't you're at risk of developing a certain medical condition and want to know which policy provider offers the biggest amount of cover for it. A broker will know this instantly saving you so much time and effort.
You can call around every health insurance provider on the market and ask if they provider cover for expats in Costa Rica, however this will be a very time consuming process. Each insurer will ask for your medical history because its not normally a simple yes or not if a medical condition is covered or not.
Its far far quicker to speak to one health insurance broker which will know which policy providers on the market offer cover for expats in Costa Rica and under what conditions they do or don't cover it.
Costa Rica Information
Tourism in Costa Rica has been one of the fastest growing economic sectors of the country and by 1995 became the largest foreign exchange earner. Since 1999, tourism has earned more foreign exchange than bananas, pineapples and coffee exports combined. The tourism boom began in 1987, with the number of visitors up from 329,000 in 1988, through 1.03 million in 1999, over 2 million in 2008, to a historical record of 2.66 million foreign visitors in 2015. In 2012, tourism contributed with 12.5% of the country's GDP and it was responsible for 11.7% of direct and indirect employment. In 2009, tourism attracted 17% of foreign direct investment inflows, and 13% in average between 2000 and 2009. In 2010, the tourism industry was responsible for 21.2% of foreign exchange generated by all exports. According to a 2007 report by ECLAC, tourism contributed to a reduction in poverty of 3% in the country.
Since the late 1980s, Costa Rica became a popular nature travel destination, and its main competitive advantage is its well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering around 23.4% of the country's land area, the largest in the world as a percentage of the country's territory, and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, in a country that has only 0.03% of the world's landmass, but that is estimated to contain 5% of the world's biodiversity. The country also has plenty of beaches, both in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, within short travel distances, and also several volcanoes that can be visited with safety. By the early 1990s, Costa Rica became known as the poster child of ecotourism, with tourist arrivals reaching an average annual growth rate of 14% between 1986 and 1994.
According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board, 47% of international tourists visiting the country in 2009 engaged in activities related to ecotourism, which includes trekking, flora, fauna, and bird watching, and visits to rural communities. However, most visitors look for adventure activities.
Costa Rica stands as the most visited nation in the Central American region, with 3.0 million foreign visitors in 2018. During the same year, Panama was ranked second in the region with 2.5 million, followed by Guatemala with 2.4 million visitors.
The number of tourists visiting Costa Rica surpassed the 2 million milestone in 2008, and tourist-related income reached US$2.1 billion that year. As a result of the Great Recession, international arrivals began falling since August 2008, as the number of U.S. citizens visiting the country shrank, and this market segment represented 54% of all foreign tourists visiting Costa Rica.
The combined effect of the global economic crisis and the 2009 flu pandemic resulted in a reduction of tourists arrivals in 2009 to 1.9 million visitors, an 8% reduction as compared to 2008. In 2010, the number of visitors rose to 2.1 million, barely exceeding the 2008 peak, and a record was reached in 2012 with 2.34 million visitors, a 6.9% increase over 2011.
A historical record of 2.5 million international visitors arrived in the country in 2014, up 4.1% year-on-year, and the corresponding receipts rose to US$2.636 billion in 2014, up 8.3% from the previous year. In addition, the average expenditure per tourist increased from US$1,171 in 2010 to US$1,431 in 2014, and the average stay increased from 11 days in 2010 to 13.4 in 2014. Costa Rica achieved new records in 2016 with 2.93 million visitors and total earnings of US$3.716 billion. The country finally reached the 3 million tourists' milestone in 2018.
In terms of the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), Costa Rica reached the 38th place in the world ranking, classified as the fourth most competitive among Latin American countries after Mexico (22), Brazil (27) and Panama (35), and ranking sixth in the Americas. Just considering the subindex measuring natural resources, Costa Rica ranks in the 3rd place at a worldwide level, 21st in the world when considering international openness criteria, and 24th worldwide when considering the subindex measuring prioritization of travel and tourism. The 2017 TTCI report also notes Costa Rica's main weaknesses are price competitiveness (108th) and ground and port infrastructure (99th), with quality of the roads ranking 123th and ground transport efficiency 108th between 138 countries analyzed.
In 2012, most visitors came from the United States (39.3%), Nicaragua (20.2%), Canada (6.5%), Panama (3.9%), and Mexico (2.9%). Tourists from North America and European countries made up 60.8% of all international visitors, and visitors from Central America represented 30.8%. According to a 2006 survey, visitors from the Caribbean Basin and South America travel to Costa Rica mainly for business or professional purposes, while a majority of Americans, Canadians and Europeans visit the country for leisure. Word of mouth from friends and family, with an average of 58%, was the leading reason for visiting Costa Rica for vacations and leisure. The main visitor's complaint is the poor condition of the roads.