Prices in Peru, Medical Tourism and Chifa!

February 10th, 2010

‘Carguy’ recently visited Peru from the United States and was shocked by how affordable everything was… even unexpected emergency health care! Not only were the prices low, but the quality and service, from the assistance at pharmacy, to the quality of the soda, to the nutritiousness of the food, was far above what he was used to. Suffice it to say, Carguy loved Peru!

Cien Nuevos Soles (Photo: Ryan McFarland)

“I was in Peru for about 10 days. As I was at the airport on the way to Peru, I started coming down with something. 3 hours into the flight there, I was having very bad fevers on the plane. I was sick the whole time I was there. The fevers would come and go. I went to the hospital in Pueblo Libre. When I left that place, I was so angry. Not angry at Peru… Angry at the USA!! In Pueblo Libre we went right to the E.R. I walked in. They asked for our I.D. to put our names in the computer. Within 3 minutes I was sent back to see a doctor. THREE MINUTES (NOT HOURS like in the USA!!!!!)

Right away a doctor on staff came to talk to me and ask me what was going on. After a few minutes, they came with an IV to break my fever. They also put me on a nebulizer and gave me 3 treatments. The staff was prompt and courteous.

What would the bill be if I did this in Miami without health insurance? And how many hours would I sit in a waiting room until somebody would even talk to me?

When I left, I got the bill. I was on the FLOOR! s/ 192!! (i.e. $67 bucks USD!) OMG! That was sooooooooooooooooooo cheap!!!!

I asked many friends in the US if I did this there how much I would pay. Several replied, “No less than $1500 to 3000″.

That just makes my blood BOIL living in the US… paying all of these ridiculous taxes and getting such inferior health care and getting a HUGE bill on top of it!

The fever broke and never came back after they gave me the IV. We later went back again 2 days later as my wife had the same problem and we had to get her an IV, the Nebulizer treatment and I also went back for 3 more treatments. For both of us, the bill was s/ 400. They also gave me a steroid injection to try to get the congestion to go away since the nebulizer treatments were not working.

I went to Fasa to get the medication that the doctor prescribed. One again, I was FLOORED. Unlike going to a CVS or Walgreens and have them say, “Come back in about 45 minutes to an hour and we’ll have this ready for you.” Instead the cashier at Fasa IMMEDIATELY took the prescription, looked up everything in the computer and said, “Yes, we have it. It’s x amount of dollars. Do you want it?” And WHAM! She instantly went to all of the shelves and gave us all of the medicine. I was in shock from getting such amazing service and no wait time. It was like $52 or something for the antibiotics, inhaler, anti-inflammatory bills and a couple of other things.

On top of this… my brother-in-law was with us for the trip. He has had bad eyesight his entire life and wears very thick glasses. He ended up getting LASIK surgery to correct his eyes. In the US, you’re looking at $3,000 to $4,000 for many of the doctors. He did it for $550! WOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO! He’s walking around today with no glasses or contacts and is loving it!

Anyway… we started to get better. My wife and two of her friends went out to dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant. We all had Chifa and many cokes. The bill was only s/ 56 ($19 USD!) Talk about C-H-E-A-P!! Many times me and my wife will go to a restaurant in the US and the bill is $40-50 for 2 people! $19 for 4… AMAZING!!!

Also… I found a nice little place to rent in Pueblo Libre (if I wanted to live there) for only $70/mo!!!! (USD)

WOW! Talk about C-H-E-A-P!!

If we were to live in Peru for the long haul, our standard of living would be AWESOME! I absolutely LOVE the currency conversion. Since we have an account with Bank of America, we would use Scotia Bank ATM’s and there was no charge. I took out 300 nuevo soles and it was $105. So that comes out to about 2.85 soles for every $1 USD. Not too bad.

We used our debit card at the hospital and each time we did, they charged us $2 additional every time the card was hit. So it’s much better to keep hitting the Scotia Bank ATM’s. I am thinking of opening a local account down there and just transfer money.

We were sick pretty much the entire time we were there, but we had lots of fun. I think we spent no more than $600-650 USD the entire time. The hospital visits and medications took a lot.

One thing I also noticed that got me mad is the price of Pepsi. In Miami most of the stores all charge $1.79 for a 2 liter. At the Metro store in Pueblo Libre, it’s s/ 4.50 for a 3 liter. If you break it down per liter, it’s almost $.89 cents per liter in the US. In Pueblo Libre… 4.50 / 2.85 = $1.57 USD for a 3 liter bottle or $.52 cents per liter.

All of the soda in Peru seems to use “REAL” sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. If you want the movie, “King Corn” from Netflix, it will explain how very bad high fructose is and why the US has the diabetes epidemic. Went I went to Peru, we drank nothing but Pepsi and Coke and I LOST WEIGHT!!

The food in Peru seems to be so much more healthier and natural. I can’t wait to go back.

I will have to upload some photos and post them from our trip. Over all despite the problems, we had a great time. We’ll have to save up another $1200 or so for the air fare and come back.

One thing we were miffed about is that when you leave the Jorge Chavez airport, they charge a $31 airport fee per person and they stick this to you right after you have paid for your ticket and checked in. You don’t find out about this until you are almost to your terminal. When we left, we didn’t have a dime in our pockets and had to borrow cash from somebody to pay these fees.”

Do you think Peru is affordable to foreign visitors? Is it likely to stay that way? Share your thoughts in the comments…

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