Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico, about 9 miles west of Yuma, is unofficially known as the dental capital of the world. Over 350 dentists practice in the small town of 5500 people. There are also a number of eye doctors, and several pharmacies. It is a popular tourist destination for both Americans and Canadians, looking for reasonable dental work as well as prescription drugs. We have many visitors to Westwind RV park where Dan and I are working, that stay for a week while they get dental work done. Everyone raves about how affordable it is to have root canals, implants, crowns, etc.
Our friends Dave and Marilyn that live in Yuma during the winter, have been to Algodones many times, and took us over the border for a day to check the town out. You can drive across the border and parking in town for $1-2, or parking in the lot for a $6 fee before the border, and walking across. The parking lot is owned by the Quechan Tribe, not the United States. Since Dave and Marilyn have a small vehicle, they drive across and park. If we were going with our one-ton dually truck, we would park and walk in, as the town is not really a big truck friendly town.
This is the entry into Mexico, with pedestrians on the right. Algodones is a very small port of entry city.
The purple pharmacy/liquor stores are huge, and very popular. We found a great deal on Kahlua, $7.50 for a one-liter bottle! As for the drugs, you do need to have a prescription, just like you would in the US. I don’t know much about the rules/regulations on getting prescription drugs across the border, but many people were getting their prescriptions filled.
The city is filled with dentists and eye doctors. It’s a one-stop medical shop for many tourists. Many of them live in Yuma, and commute daily into Mexico.
We found a great spot for some excellent shrimp tacos, and real Coca-Cola, not the high-fructose corn-syrup stuff sold in the US. It was delicious!
There are plenty of street vendors selling everything from t-shirts, tablecloths, jewelry and other knickknacks. We found the people to be very polite, and everyone spoke English. This town is very dependent on tourism, and they go out of their way to treat you in a kind, respectful manner.
Apparently the people of Algodones are Packer fans, as Dave found a pack of Green Bay Packer peanut (or should I say cacahuate) M&M’s at the grocery store for us! Must be why everyone is so nice!
What’s that in the background?
This has been in place for over a decade. Call it whatever you want.
When leaving Mexico, whether by vehicle or foot, plan on spending a long time waiting. There is one long line for vehicles, as there are only two vehicle lanes of entry into the US. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there are plenty of vendors to keep you entertained. One man was selling homemade tortilla shells. I bought a bag of them for $1.50. They were still warm, and they were excellent!
This is the pedestrian walkway back into the US.
We had a great time visiting the city, and plan on going back to get our teeth cleaned (and more shrimp tacos!) before we leave Yuma.
Quote for the day: “I always encourage people to get out there, travel the world, see new things, experience new people, experience new culture. What happens is that it helps you grow and be your best self.” – Karamo Brown