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A trip to Los Algodones

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Los Algodones is a small Mexican town situated north-east of Mexicali. It has a population of 5,000, and is only seven miles from Yuma, Arizona. Algodones, as everyone calls it, is the closest border crossing to Yuma, Arizona only seven miles away.

Algodones specializes in medical treatments. It is full of dental clinics, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices. It offers anything from free eye exams for your very affordable glasses to stem-cell treatments. Dental clinics are its major attraction.

The clients come from the States, and even from Canada. There are a lot of RV parks around Yuma, and Algodones is the place where folks can get very affordable (and good) medical treatment.

Jim and I needed to have our annual eye exams, and get some new glasses. So off to Algodones we went. The drive from Mexicali is only about 30 miles, and goes through some very pretty country. There are stretches of cotton fields, and green farmland, all irrigated by canals from the Colorado River. Algodones means “cotton” in Spanish, and there are 50,000 acres of cotton planted in the area. We passed a couple of places where they were making great looking kiln-fired adobe bricks.  The road is well-paved and straight, so we made it to Algodones in just a little over half and hour.

Our first visit to Algodones was in the cool month of April 2008.  After finding a parking space, in the very busy town filled with Americans, we finally found an optician that looked good to us called Meyer Optical.  Jim had a free eye exam, done by a professional optometrist using a hi-tech eye examination machine which could detect even cataracts. The doctor told Jim he had the beginnings of a cataract, but not to worry, the problem wouldn’t surface for another five or ten years.

After we both got our exams, we were fitted for our respective eye glasses.  For two pair of bi-focals, it came to only $300.  This was for top grade titanium frames, which are light and virtually indestructible. The doctor told us to come back in a couple of hours and the glasses would be ready. Fast service.

To pass the time we went to an open air restaurant, which had a live band, and was filled with Americans having a grand old time.  Jim had his Bud Light beer, and I had a couple of margaritas, mixed in with some good old Mexican tequila. The food, which was steak, beans, guacamole, and tacos with side order dish of vegetables, was outstanding. The cost – $20.

I told Jim that we had to return again if only for the great Mexican food. After lunch we walked around the shops. I picked up a well-made straw hat, a new pair of sunglasses, and Jim looked at a shop selling beautiful picture frames. In no time we bought a beautiful carved mirror frame, with colors of dark chocolate wood highlighted by dashes of gold. Once we selected the frame, the salesman fitted it with a beveled mirror.  It only took him ten minutes.  Frame and mirror costs us $100. It was a great buy.

Next, we decided to check out the pharmacies and headed into one that had all that we needed, over the counter stuff like Prilosec, and even antibiotics. The place also sold a complete selection of beer – including Bud Light.

The hours had passed and it was time to return to Meyer Optical for our brand new glasses.  They fit perfect. They would have cost us over $500 apiece in the States, plus we would have had to pay for an eye exam. And why didn’t our eye doctor in the States notice that Jim was getting a cataract?

It wasn’t but a week later that we took another trip to Algodones. We went to have my teeth cleaned by a dentist (not a technician). The cost was $25.

Yes, we are going to be able to make a go of it in Mexico.


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14 comments to A trip to Los Algodones

  • Katie:
    Thank you for mentioning Dr. Mariano Curiel. Could you tell us if he issues the pass for the medical lane.
    God Bless,
    MaryAnn

  • Hi, my husband had cataract surgery at Curiel Vision Center with Dr. Mariano Curiel, the optometrist said it was a great doctor, and yes, it was a wonderful expierience with great state of the art equipments and a fast and perfect recovery, he says right now can see as clear as a teenager, with great prices compared with our ophthalmologist in the US, speaks perfect english and we gladly discover that Dr. Curiel went to UCSD fellowship, the practice name is Curiel Vision Center and the telephone number is 52686 5 54 29 53, 52686 5 54 2021, from US 858 888 21 64.
    Also we ask Dr. Mariano Curiel about other specialist and he gladly help with great doctors, very profesionals with far most better and personal atention and care than is US.

  • Mack:
    Thanks for the tip. My take is that, in Mexico, the doctors and dentists care. Not what I found in the US, of course there are always exceptions – if you can find them.
    God Bless,
    MaryAnn

  • Mack Hayes

    I have found a great dentist there, Mario A. Garibay, Soft Dental Office. I have been there twice, once in Dec 2012 for 9 crowns & three root canals for a total of $1800 then Feb 2014 for 12 crowns for a total of $1900. The dental labs there work overtime as do the dentists to do the work. Each time I was there 3 days. Dr Mario speaks good english and his receptionist speaks English and German!He took extra pains to make sure my new teeth fit properly I live up here in Oregon and drive day and night to see him and would never think of using a dentist up here.

  • Kathy:
    I am so glad for you and your group. As you may know, I had a serious operation for a spinal Tarlov cyst in Mexicali, and saved a fortune. In addition my doctor did a great job.

    Fortunately, my doctor told me to spend four weeks in bed after the operation so as not to generate scar tissue.

    In the U.S. they dope the people up on Vicodin, and let them run around right away.

    That way not only does the doctor have an excuse to operate a second time because of the painful scar tissue, but he has a Vicodin addict who has to come to him forever for prescriptions.

    I never even touched Vicodin, nor would I. It doesn’t even exist in Mexico.

    God Bless,
    MaryAnn

  • Kathy McDaniel

    We went to Algadones 4/2010 and had a wonderful experience!!!! My local dentist quoted me $3,000-8,000 for what I got done in Algadones for $1,200. It also took them 2 days and it would of been a month and several visits in the US for the same thing !!! Between the 5 of us who went down…we experienced a savings of $25,000. We ate there too and felt perfectly safe. However, wisdom tells you to be out of there before dark and have a passport. It is no joking and all serious business going back thru that US border. Have a lot of respect for that !! We stayed at RV park motel for $40 a nite and went back and forth across the border. WE plan to go again soon…for more dental work and eyeglasses too !!! We plan to stay at the Quechan Casino this time…we purchased club cards there and with that you can call ahead and get rates of $49 if it is mid week and nice accomadations and cheap rent.

  • Bob: Drive right on in to Algodones. It is much easier than walking, and you will have no trouble parking.
    God Bless,
    MaryAnn

  • Bob

    MaryAnn, do you drive in Algodones ? I am looking to have dentures and am going to try the bed & breakfast free for 3 nights place. And was thinking about taking my car as I can’t walk any distance. They say that they have a secure parking if you use them for your dental. Any way I was wondering if you have any trouble with taking your car in Algodones ? Also is it safe to be in Algodones ? Thanks, Bob

  • Jose:
    Yes. In the U.S. no optometrist ever told Jim he had a cateract on the way. Dr. Armando at Meyer Optical, right on the main street near the Green Door, told Jim he was developing a cateract. I don’t know if Dr. Armando can do the operation, but, if not, he can point you in the right direction. His email is meyeroptical@hotmail.com, tel. 011-52- 658-517-7745. Dr. Armando speaks English.
    God Bless,
    MaryAnn

  • jose

    we have gone to algodonis for eight years for dental and eyes. i was wondering about the caterac surgery there. is there any place in the town to do this procedure?

  • Tom:
    Jim and I like El Paraiso also, and go there all the time.
    God Bless,
    MaryAnn

  • tom

    i only go to algodones for scrit drugs, dentist, and eye dr. no place else. i even go there some time just to sit in the outdoor cafe and people watch. the most popular cafe is el paraiso.

  • We have only used a dentist in Mexicali, a periodontist. He is excellent and cost a fraction of what it would cost in the US. He is Dr. Dr. Luis Fernando Marquez. He lectures at the University here. His telephone number is +52 (686) 554-1404, and he speaks English. He may be able to make a recommendation for you.
    God Bless,
    MaryAnn

  • Linda

    Which dentist did you use…there are so many to chose from!

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