“If plastic surgery in Colombia is so good … why is it so cheap?”
That's a fair question.
It's human nature to distrust something that's so much cheaper than everyone else is charging.
When we see boob jobs for $1780, instead of $6375…
When we see nose jobs for $2000, instead of $7500…
We think there must be wrong with it for it to be so cheap. Or we think it must be of inferior quality.
But with plastic surgery in Colombia, we've already established that it's as good as, if not better, than the U.S., Canada, and Europe. So it must be something else.
And there is a reason why plastic surgery in Colombia is so much cheaper than in North America, and Europe. It's because of…
The Colombian Peso
In Colombia they use the Colombian Peso (COP) as their official currency. In comparison to the U.S. dollar (USD), the COP is much less valuable.
Why this is so goes way beyond the scope of this article, but needless to say, when you live in a country with a strong currency, and visit a country with a weaker currency, you have more spending power. You get more for your money.
Being Canadian, I live this reality everyday.
Travelling to the U.S. instantly costs us 25-33% more just because our dollar is weaker than the U.S. dollar.
On the other hand, Americans love to vacation in Canada for the reason that everything to them costs less.
$1 U.S. dollar buys about $1.30 Canadian.
When you come to Colombia it's even better…
Depending on the current exchange rate, $1 U.S. dollar buys about $3600 COP. That's better than 3 to 1.
Services vs. Products
One of the first things I noticed about Colombia was the crazy prices of some of the things I buy in Canada.
Let's take my favourite chocolate bar – Toblerone.
In Canada, I pay between $2.50 and $3.00 for a 100g bar. But in Colombia, I pay about $7.00 CAD!
It's the same with North American brand cars. Want to buy a Porsche? They cost 2x in Colombia what they do in Canada.
The reason for this is Colombia places huge tariffs (import taxes) on products not made in Colombia to entice people to buy Colombian-made.
Thankfully for you, this doesn't affect services. Services must be priced based on the average incomes of the people living there.
Plastic surgeons in Colombia simply can't price their services for the American market or very few people would be able to afford them.
They must price their procedures to be competitive within the market they operate.
The Gringo Effect
Colombians are very acutely aware of how weak their peso is compared to other currencies. When they see a “gringo”* coming, they often adjust their prices accordingly.
It's why I paid 5x more for a chocolate bar at a street vendor during our first trip to Medellin than my wife would have paid if she were alone.
* Their word for anyone that appears to be from North America or Europe -
It's why, if you're not careful, you'll pay $5 to use a bathroom that normally would cost $0.25. (Yes, some places in Colombia charge you to use the bathroom. Just one of the things you should know before you arrive.)
It's important to know how much the locals would pay for plastic surgery procedures before contacting surgeons to get quotes. Because one thing you can always do is negotiate.
Colombians love to negotiate
The first time we went to the flea market in Usaquén, my father-in-law schooled me in how it's done.
I found a great hat that in North America would have cost me $100 or more. When I did the conversion from COP to CAD, it was only going to cost me $40!
As I was going to hand over my money, I see this hand fly in from behind me and grab my wrist. My father-in-law looked absolutely horrified/pissed off that I would not barter first.
It can be annoying not knowing if you're getting a good deal or not – especially when you're talking about something that costs thousands of dollars.
That's why the pricing on our website is what Colombians pay, not the “Gringo Special”.
Cheap plastic surgery doesn't mean bad plastic surgery
The takeaway message is this…
Just because you can get cheap plastic surgery in Colombia doesn't mean it's low quality. All of the doctors we recommend are certified plastic surgeons, who have demonstrated a high level of skill.
In the United States, they would be able to charge much more for their services. But thanks to a weaker peso, you can travel to Colombia for high-quality, cheap plastic surgery.