As a follow up to my last post about going to Algodones Mexico for big discounts on dental services and prescription medications, I recently interviewed someone who has been going there for 11 years so you could benefit from their years of experiences.
Here is the question and answer session I had with her:
Q. How long have you been going to Algodones?
A. 11 years
Q. What types of types of services do you get there:
A. Prescription medications, dental work (cleaning, crowns, and root canals), eye exams and glasses.
Q. Do you stay overnight when you go there?
A. Not in Algodones. We have stayed in various hotels in Yuma. Also have stayed in RV parks. The RV parks get a little spendy during the main tourist season- November thru April. Recently we stayed at Quechan hotel. It is a few miles from the entrance to Algodones. It is only a few years old and is a casino resort. The rates run from $59.00 per night. The rooms are very nice. You can have an inexpensive buffet dinner that is very good. Also they have a great breakfast for $2.99. You can gamble if you are so inclined. They have a huge swimming pool and a floating canal. You go on inner tubes and it takes about 15 minutes to make the loop. There are little water sprays along the way – almost like a water park (on a smaller scale).
Q. Do you have any difficulty with communication when you are there?
A. No. English is the language there. Most of the people going there are retirees from the U.S. and Canada. They are all people who cannot afford the high health care in the U.S.
Q. Have you ever had any concerns for your safety?
A. Algodones is well patrolled. They make all their money from the winter visitors, not the local people. Consequently they do not want to have any incidents. The main area is several blocks around. We have not ventured out of that area. There is no need to as all the services are in that one area.
Q. Can you give me some examples of the savings you have experienced?
A. Most prescriptions are approximately 20% of what they cost in the U.S. Until a year ago, one of my medications was costing me $100.00 per month. I now get it in Algodones for $120.00 per year! One of my husband’s prescriptions is $6.80 per pill in the U.S. In Algodones it is $1.40 per pill.
For dental services, crowns run $140.00 to $280.00; implants $300 to $600. The root canal I had was $300. Routine cleaning runs $20 to $40, including an examination.
Q. How are the facilities?
A. The buildings are old and crusty. The streets are in bad shape. But the equipment is some of the latest and in very good condition. Most of the dentists are very good. Each person has their favorite. I had one bad experience when I went to a dentist recommended by someone, so it is possible to get a bad one. We stick to the one we have gone to for years. He is not the cheapest, but he is the best. I recommend talking to someone who has been there before making an appointment.
Q. How would you rate qualifications of the providers and the services you have received?
A. The qualifications are very good. Lots of the professionals actually live in the US and work in Mexico. You get the same services as in the U.S., but for a fraction of the cost. Again, you can get a bad dentist in the U.S. as well as Mexico, so do your homework.
Q. How do you make appointments?
A. Either by phone, some by email, also walk ins are accepted. They are very accommodating. If you want to get in at a specific time, an appointment is a good idea. However, they will get you in one way or another.
Q. Is it difficult to get in to see someone?
A. Appointments can be made a few days in advance. Again, they are not totally necessary. When we go for the day and plan on returning the same day, I do make appointments ahead of time.
Q. How do you get prescriptions filled?
Do you need to have a prescription from a Mexican doctor? No
Do they fill prescriptions from US doctors? Yes
Can you get medication without a prescription? Yes. If it needs a prescription, they will write it for you. You cannot get narcotics without a prescription. There are some limits to what you can bring back to the US, and they are usually accommodating on that. As an example: my husband and I can both get a 6-month supply of the same prescription.
Q. What else have your learned that would be helpful to someone going to Algodones for the first time?
Parking: there is a huge parking lot on the US side. Park there for about $5.00 for all day and walk less than a block into Algodones. I would not drive into Algodones. You are subject to search and very long lines getting out.
Passport: You need to have a valid passport to leave Mexico.
Long lines: During the main tourist season-Dec-April, it can take one to two hours to get out of Mexico. Everyone has to pass through immigration. We try to go during October or November or else in May or June.
Food: The food is good and safe to eat. We haven’t drank the water, but the beer and margaritas are great!
Vendors: There are lots of vendors peddling their wares. They are not too aggressive and are polite. When one vendor was trying to sell some jewelry and we said “no???, he just said “I will come back when you are drunk.???
Overall, the experience there is very good. There is nothing like saving over $1,000 on services!