Previously known as the sports and salsa capital of South America, Cali now counts some 50,000 visitors a year who are looking for cheaper and higher-quality medical treatments.
Almost a third of the city’s medical tourists arrive from other countries and, according to Cali’s trading association, the majority are from the U.S. and Spain.
According to the report, many people – predominantly women – travel to the city for plastic surgery treatments.
Cali has become one of the country’s best equipped cities for providing specialized health care. The city has a total of 105 doctors who belong to the Colombian Association for Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Reconstruction, 61 of whom belong to the Ibero-Latin American Foundation for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Proportionately, Cali has the most working plastic surgeons in the country, with five surgeons per 1000 people. Second are Bogota and Barranquilla with four surgeons per 1000 residents.
Cali also offers 40 specialized clinics, second only to Bogota which has 60.
Medical tourism is one of Colombia’s biggest industries and one that continues to grow in strength. Foreigners are increasingly traveling to the country to undergo medical procedures, due to its competitive prices. For example, cosmetic surgery in Colombia costs around one quarter of the price it would cost in the U.S.