Punta Del Este Health Care City

Punta Del Este Health Care City as a Free Zone Project wants to set base in Uruguay

Punta Del Este Health Care City, a free zone project providing best health services will be located in an area of 42 hectares in the El Jagüel area with hospitals, clinics and hotels with rehabilitation facilities. The project aims to bring first level international health brands using technology and procedures that do not exist in Uruguay nor in the region. In addition to medical facilities, the free zone Health Care City will have research centers and two hotels for the rehabilitation of patients.

The US$ 200 million investment project seeks to transform Uruguay into a benchmark for health tourism in the area. This is clearly not only a high-end but also a high tech offering with multiple insurance health plans.


The advantage of choosing a location in Punta Del Este is that it is a reference in the region that already has top level infrastructure.

Investors believe that Punta Del Este Health Care City will generate 7,000 direct jobs for medical professionals and technicians, most of which will be offered to Uruguayans.

Currently, there are a number of Uruguayans who, because of their diseases, end up going abroad for medical treatment. Only in 2014, 55,000 Uruguayans made medical tourism abroad. It is a number that is important and striking for Uruguay, but for the region it is not a significant number yet. The new health care city can start promoting a new solution for Argentina and Brazil.

Strategic Location

The development, located in an area of 42 hectares in the Jaguel area next to the new Convention Centre will include districts with international hospitals interested in setting base in Punta Del Este. Another district will also include clinics where Uruguayan and regional professionals can come to practice their specialty.
There is a third district where the medical logistics project will take place and will give a hand to logistical support of all the activities taking place in the area, and secondly the development of e-health activities and telemedicine.

Large data management applied to medicine and cognitive computing fit perfectly in this district of e-health and telemedicine.

Also a foreign university wants to settle here with medical professional and professors who will contribute positively to Uruguay through the academic area.


The design is a very important aspect of this so a special design is being outlined by Architect De Tezanos for the development of the area and its attractiveness.

This investment is to exploit a tourism aspect in health tourism and a good option for people traveling to different cities to overcome serious illnesses, to rehabilitate or to undergo surgery or even an aesthetic treatment.

New Regulations

The law is not yet approved, so talks are under privacy regime. Once the law is passed out it will publicly explain what brands could be set up, helping private hospitals to set better strategies to avoid going abroad to operate.

Solid Support

Funds for this free zone come from Vestergaard – a Swiss company. According to its website, the company is engaged in rendering medical services in developing countries. The Vestergaard group has links with the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and as a supplier of medical services and infrastructure has an annual turnover of € 500 million.

The setting up of the first development to open two years after the law is passed and area is given, will have an initial US$ 95 million investment.


Under the free zone, operators are given tax breaks and benefits of all kinds of import and management of procedures.

With the current free zone law this project cannot be developed because they are not allowed to spend the night in the place, which is a must for a hospital, but with a new law of free zones, which will create themed service areas allow itself for overnight stays.

Under the free zone, operators are given tax breaks and benefits of all kinds of import and management of procedures they perform.

The law is being discussed in Parliament, which will be approved in the coming months, according to the conversations we had at all levels. The project has been planned for more than a year and was presented to the relevant bodies of Free Zone Area of the National Board of Trade, the Ministry of Economy, and the Municipality of Maldonado.

When the modification of the law of free zones or thematic areas law is approved and should be completed to manage the files, the permissions will be under way immediately.

Works could start in mid-2017 and the first sector could be opening in mid to late 2019.

Photo credit: www.puntahealth.com.
Mary Ann Thompson

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