Our 2014 snowbird adventure found us camping in Yuma for two weeks. We questioned why several of our neighbors in the RV park would head out in their cars every morning and not return until evening? “We go for dental care in Mexico” was the reply. They said it was much cheaper than the U.S. and the care was exceptional. After a survey at the park, here’s what we found.
Algodones, Mexico is just 7 miles south of Yuma on Route 186. You park your car in the big lot on this side of the border and walk across between 6 AM and 10 PM. The town is right there. (A word of caution: do not leave your dog in the car. Make arrangements with a groomer or vet in Yuma to keep your pet for the day while you are gone. )
If you are going for dental care, here’s some insight. We heard several people say they first went down to just see what was going on. One guy suggested poking around the 4 square block downtown and finding a dentist office you like. Get your teeth cleaned. If you like the place and service, make an appointment for further care. You can also ask other Americans where they go and get recommendations. Make your appointment, spend a couple of hours in town, have lunch, haggle for souvenirs and leave. Come back for your appointment. The dentists have modern offices, everyone speaks English, and some even accept insurance – but you should check with your carrier before you go. They do everything from root canals and implants to dentures and veneers. Our neighbor had a root canal for $120.
You can also get eye care and glasses across the border and expect to leave the same day with your new eyewear.
The big purple pharmacy directly down from the border seems to be the most popular place to get pharmaceuticals. Our neighbor advised making sure you know the generic name for your drug as it may be sold in Mexico under a different name. Drugs are significantly cheaper than in the U.S. and are readily available. They may require that you see a doctor to get a prescription, but most pharmacies have one right there for a brief (small fee) consultation. It is helpful if you bring a prescription bottle with you to show them.
Algodones lives off the daily tourist trade. The 4 block downtown area is safe, clean, and friendly and most everyone speaks English. You will be approached to buy souvenirs but learn to say, “Gracias, no” and they will move on. If you like something, do not be afraid to bargain! It’s expected and part of the fun. Expect to find jewelry, crafts, clothing, pottery, stained glass, ironworks and restaurants.
Before you leave Algodones, have lunch at the Pariso Outdoor Café and do some people watching. There is music and it’s quite festive. They serve a killer margarita and you may want to designate a driver when you get back to your car!
Have you had medical care across the border? Tell us your insights and other advice in the section below!