Health Tourism in Cuba

a vibrant pink classic car parked on the streets of Cuba, representing the allure of health tourism in the country

In this article you will find answers for:

  • Medical tourism in Cuba.

  • Hospital certification in Cuba.

  • Available medical treatments in Cuba.

  • Tourist destinations in Cuba. 

  • Is Cuba safe?

The combination of vivid history and beautiful landscapes is what makes this island special, but Cuba can also surprise with high technology in the medical field.

Why Cuba for Medical Tourism?

After the Cuban revolution, the country has made health care and education systems the priorities of its government. Cubans that have a higher education have the opportunity to study abroad, disseminate research widely and present their work experience to future students. Today, Cuban doctors have distinct curriculum vitae and are continuing to improve in the research field. Consequently to this investment, the country offers almost exclusive treatments. One of the best examples is the successful medical care for retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease causing deterioration of vision which leads to blindness. Patients from more than 35 countries have benefited from receiving this treatment in Cuba.

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Around 80% of medical tourists seeking care in Cuba come from Latin American and Caribbean countries, highlighting the region's strong appeal. The country's medical expertise has even attracted patients from distant places like Japan, while Finnish patients have also chosen Cuba for medical care. Despite travel restrictions for Americans, some still opt for Cuba due to its proximity and cost-effectiveness in medical treatments. Moreover, Cuba's efforts in promoting health tourism have led to an influx of patients from various countries worldwide.

In 2021, Cuba welcomed a significant number of travelers, with the majority arriving from Russia (146,151), followed by Canada (68,944), and the Cuban diaspora (52,804). However, the number of U.S. visitors declined considerably, reaching only 7,039 compared to 58,147 in 2020, as reported by the agency.

Oncology in Cuba

The study of oncology is also advancing in Cuba. The most recent discovery in the genetic engineering area is the lung cancer vaccine, which is a continuous treatment to improve the patient’s quality of life. It is called a vaccine, however, is administered as medication for a period of over a year. 
Oncology in Cuba is a well-established field, offering comprehensive treatment programs and services. Key points based on the search results include the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology (INOR) in Havana, the main national institution for cancer treatment and research, with a history of more than fifty years dedicated to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Cuba has gained recognition as a leader in healthcare and oncology, known for expertise and advancements in cancer treatment. Common causes of cancer death in Cuba include lung, prostate, and colon cancers in men, and lung, breast, and colon cancers in women. The country provides a range of oncology treatment programs, including surgeries, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and specialized treatments. Medical tourism in Cuba includes cancer surgeries and treatment, attracting patients from countries like Canada. The National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology (INOR) is dedicated to providing diagnosis, treatment, and research in the field of oncology.
Cuba has made significant advancements in oncology, with a focus on developing new cancer treatments and therapies. Notable advancements in cancer treatments in Cuba include immunotherapy, with the development of the cancer vaccine Cimavax, a promising immunotherapy approach that activates the body's immune system to fight the disease. Additionally, Cuban researchers in biotechnology have made important strides in the development of new cancer treatments, as recognized by the World Health Organization. The country has also seen substantial progress in cardio-oncology, which addresses cardiovascular disease in cancer patients. With dedicated efforts spanning several decades, Cuban researchers continue to work on pioneering new cancer treatments and therapies, with the National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology at the forefront of diagnosis, treatment, and research in the field of oncology.

Cuba has become a sought-after destination for medical tourism, especially for cancer treatment, as it offers accessible and comprehensive oncology treatment programs. Canadian patients, benefiting from no travel restrictions to Cuba, frequently choose the country for healthcare, including cancer treatment. The range of oncology treatments available in Cuba includes surgeries, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and other specialized therapies. Despite the US embargo, Cuba has made significant strides in oncology, developing new cancer treatments and therapies. The affordability of cancer treatment in Cuba compared to other countries makes it an appealing option for foreign patients. As a leader in healthcare and medicine, Cuba has gained recognition for its high-quality medical care, with oncology being no exception.

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Hospital Accreditation in Cuba

Medical tourism in Cuba offers patients the opportunity to seek surgery or medical treatment abroad, attracted by the advantages of lower costs and access to treatments not available in their home countries. Cuba stands out as an appealing choice for medical tourists seeking affordable and easily accessible healthcare, with the added benefit of not requiring a visa, setting it apart from other popular medical tourism destinations.
Hospitals are adapting to receive international visitors by hiring English-speaking employees and making new technology available for treatments. Today, Cuba offers access to over 20 hospital centers specially set up for international patients. Most hospitals are certified with ISO 14001, which means an international standard for hygiene, security, and environment, with ISO 9001 ensuring quality control. Having such significant medical success, Cuba is sharing its successful practices with other countries, through experience, products, or services exchange. These actions are placing Cuba within high ranks in the medical tourism field. Another key factor that helps international patients to choose Cuba is the affordable prices. When compared to North American countries, fees could be 60% cheaper in Cuba. The country is presenting its success worldwide, bringing qualified doctors and medical research to a whole new level. 

The government is interested to facilitate medical access to foreigners. A specific department called Servimed was created to promote medical services to foreigners by helping tourists to plan their travel to Cuba. Additional to the cost of the medical package, this organization charges a small administration fee to arrange the travel to its patients. Keep in mind that the plane tickets will be an additional expense.  

Available Medical Treatments in Cuba

  • Motor Rehabilitation - Motor rehabilitation in Cuba is a thriving sector, offering a wide range of treatments and programs for patients with motor diseases. Cuba's medicine enjoys international recognition, and physical rehabilitation is no exception. The treatment areas encompass all motor diseases caused by central nervous system injuries, including strokes, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries. With specialized rehabilitation programs for spinal injuries, peripheral motor neuroeducation is also available. The country boasts a significant survival rate for stroke patients, with approximately two-thirds requiring rehabilitation. Cuba's neurorehabilitation focuses on enhancing physical rendering, re-educating motor abilities, and improving body posture, among other goals. Notably, their neurological rehabilitation programs have gained global acclaim for their success in combating cerebral palsy. To facilitate rehabilitation services for people with disabilities, the Cuban Association for Physically and Motor Limited People (ACLIFIM) stands as the country's largest organization.
  • Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation - Cuba's drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs have garnered attention for their success in treating addiction. Comprehensive treatment options, including detoxification, substance abuse rehab, and addiction rehabilitation, are available. The well-known Cuban Medical Program for the Rehabilitation of Addictions has received global recognition for its holistic approach to addiction treatment. Their program incorporates various treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. With an increasing rate of addiction in Cuba, proactive drug rehabilitation activities have become necessary. While specific details about rehabilitation centers are limited, resources exist to assist individuals in finding suitable treatment options. Cuba's reputation for providing high-quality medical care extends to its drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. For more comprehensive and up-to-date information, it is advisable to consult reputable sources or medical tourism agencies familiar with Cuba's addiction treatment offerings.
  • Optometry - Optometry in Cuba is a rapidly developing field, with the country providing a wide range of services and treatments for individuals with eye-related concerns. Notably, Cuba offers optometry study programs at various esteemed colleges and institutes, allowing individuals to pursue diploma/degree programs. To address ophthalmic diseases, the Cuban Institute of Ophthalmology stands as a prominent hospital in Cuba, conducting comprehensive research and offering a diverse range of treatments. The country boasts highly experienced ophthalmologists skilled in both surgical and medical ophthalmology, having undergone six years of rigorous medical training. While Regional Eyecare in Cuba, MO, provides advanced eye exams and a selection of designer eyeglasses and contact lenses, it's crucial to acknowledge that the available information is limited. 
  • Oncology - Oncology in Cuba has achieved significant advancements, offering a comprehensive array of services and treatments to patients battling cancer. The National Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology (INOR) in Havana stands as the nation's primary institution devoted to cancer treatment and research, with a distinguished history of over fifty years in diagnosing, treating, and investigating this disease. Cuba's prominence in medicine has earned global recognition, positioning the country as a leader in healthcare, including oncology services. Over the last two decades, the most common causes of cancer-related deaths in Cuba have been lung, prostate, and colon cancers in men, and lung, breast, and colon cancers in women. With a range of oncology treatment programs available, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, Cuba continues to uphold high success rates in cancer treatment, attributed to the expertise of skilled oncologists and advanced medical facilities.
  • Cosmetic Surgeries - Cosmetic surgeries in Cuba cater to those seeking aesthetic enhancements and improvements with a range of programs and techniques, expertly developed and implemented by experienced teams. The diverse options include breast augmentation, breast implants, breast reduction, gluteoplasty (buttock enhancement), facelifts, and more, available for both men and women at affordable rates. Cuba's reputation as a destination for plastic and cosmetic surgery continues to grow, drawing patients from across the globe. Alongside cosmetic surgeries, the country's expertise extends to treating conditions such as vitiligo, alopecia, psoriasis, and diabetic foot, making it a comprehensive center for beauty and wellness. 
  • Orthopedics - Orthopedics in Cuba has achieved remarkable progress, providing a diverse range of services and treatments to patients with orthopedic conditions. As a continental reference in orthopedics and traumatology, Cuba excels in programs covering spine surgery, scoliosis, hip replacement, and other specialized areas. With a multitude of dedicated orthopedists eager to provide care, Cuba has emerged as a sought-after destination for orthopedic treatments. Moreover, the affordability of orthopedic care in Cuba, along with easier payment management, adds to its appeal. Backed by skilled orthopedists and advanced medical facilities, orthopedic treatments in Cuba consistently yield high success rates, ensuring patients receive excellent care and outcomes.
  • Heart Surgery - Cardiology in Cuba stands as a well-established and progressive field, offering a comprehensive array of services and treatments for patients with cardiovascular conditions. The Cuban Society of Cardiology, founded in 1937, holds the distinction of being one of the world's oldest cardiological societies, showcasing Cuba's long-standing commitment to cardiac care. The country provides diverse cardiology treatment programs, encompassing cardiac catheterization, angioplasty, and heart surgery, among others, ensuring a comprehensive approach to heart health. Backed by skilled cardiologists and advanced medical facilities, cardiology treatments in Cuba yield a generally high success rate, providing patients with effective and reliable care. Cuban nuclear cardiologists have been diligently working to enhance nuclear medicine, although they face challenges due to outdated equipment. Building on a rich history, Cuba's expertise in cardiovascular surgery can be traced back to the 1960s with the establishment of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery in Havana, highlighting Cuba's dedication to advancements in the field of cardiology.
  • Neurology - Neurology in Cuba thrives as a well-established field, offering an extensive array of services and treatments for patients grappling with neurological challenges. The country provides a diverse range of neurological rehabilitation programs, catering to patients with spinal injuries and peripheral motor neuronduction, exemplifying Cuba's dedication to comprehensive care. With skilled neurologists and state-of-the-art medical facilities, neurological treatments in Cuba garner a generally high success rate, reflecting the country's proficiency in the field. The Cuban Society of Neurology and Neurosurgery, founded in 1966, boasts a rich legacy as one of Latin America's oldest neurological societies, underscoring Cuba's longstanding commitment to neurological advancements. Despite logistic limitations, Cuban neurologists and neurosurgeons skillfully engage in pioneering research, showcasing their resourcefulness in the field. Notably, each province in Cuba features a teaching hospital providing specialized neurological services to the local population, ensuring accessibility to quality care across the nation.
  • Dermatology - Dermatology in Cuba emerges as a thriving field, providing a diverse array of services and treatments for patients grappling with various skin-related issues. Cuba's dermatology treatments encompass a wide range of conditions, including vitiligo, psoriasis, acne, and skin cancer, underlining the country's commitment to comprehensive care. Notably, the Cuban Dermatological Association, founded in 1929, holds a prestigious position as one of the oldest dermatological societies in Latin America, reflecting Cuba's long-standing expertise in the field. Moreover, Cuba's clinical success in placental histotherapy, achieved with the use of Placental, highlights the country's innovative approaches to dermatological advancements.
  • Diagnosis

Safety in Cuba

Cuba is considered a safe and amicable country. Even though violence is rare, begging, pickpocketing and small thefts are common. Those actions can be easily prevented. Begging is really hard to control, but a simple action could help stop this activity. If you feel like helping someone, it is recommended to donate to local organizations instead of giving money on the street. Do not leave accessories unattended even in the hotel. Opt for a cross-chest purse and only carry necessary objects. As a fundamental tip, avoid remote areas, especially during the night. Police corrupt practices can be encountered, but to avoid them call the “106” emergency number directly. 

Cuba Quick Facts

Capital: Havana

Population: 11,389, 562 (World Bank Census 2015)

Major infectious disease: Bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A

Degree of risk: intermediate

Passport validity: six months 

Mandatory vaccinations: None (recommended hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid)

Currency restrictions for entry: unlimited, exceeding USD 5,000 should be declared.

Emergency Telephone numbers: 106


Havana, Cuba's vibrant capital, exudes a captivating blend of history and culture. Its UNESCO-listed Old Havana showcases colonial charm, while the Malecón offers breathtaking ocean views. The city's love for music and dance infuses the air, and its cuisine delights with a fusion of flavors. Warm locals and vintage cars add to Havana's unique allure, making it an unforgettable destination for immersive travel experiences.


Weather Description

Cuba has a considerable warm weather all year long. In Havana, temperatures from June to August go from high 90°F to lower 72°F. January is the coldest month with high 79°F and low 61°F. Due to its location in the Caribbean area, the hurricane season is from July to November. September and October have the highest possibility of cyclone activity.

Available Accreditations

No accreditation are available.

Hospitals, Clinics and Medical Travel Agencies for Cuba

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Provider Name Score Reviews City
Clinica Internacional De Santa Maria
Not Rated
0 Cayo Santa María
Cira Garcia Clinic
Not Rated
0 La Habana
Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital
Not Rated
0 Havana
Instituto Pedro Kouri IPK
Not Rated
0 Havana
Juan Manuel Marquez Pediatric Hospital
Not Rated
0 Santa Teresa

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