Thousands of patients from the Unites States and Canada travel to Algodones, Mexico every year for high quality, low-cost dental care.  If you are planning a trip to Algodones, here is what you should know.

Getting there
Algodones is located on the border of Arizona, only a ten minute drive from Yuma.  Driving to Algodones is the most popular option, with some patients driving from as far as Canada for their dental care.  If you decide to fly in, Yuma does have an international airport with relatively low cost flights to and from many major airports.  Check for fares and connections on the Yuma International Airport website.

If you can’t find a flight into Yuma from your local airport, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is a four hour drive from Algodones.

Where to stay
Most patients who visit Algodones choose to stay in Yuma, which has plenty of options for hotels and accommodations for any budget.  Alternately, the Quechan Tribe Resort & Casino is directly across the border from Algodones and offers more upscale accommodations and entertainment options.

If you choose to stay in Algodones, there are a few small hotels that are clean and convenient.  In particular, the Sani Dental Group maintains a nice boutique hotel a few blocks from the clinic.  Check with your clinic to see if they offer or recommend any accommodations in Algodones.  They may even offer discounts or a free stay if you have enough dental work done.

Crossing the border
Crossing the border into Mexico is quick and easy.  There is no need to drive your car across the border, as all of the dental clinics are located within a quarter mile of the crossing.  You can park your car in the large Quechan Tribe’s parking lot just outside the entrance to Algodones for $5 a day. Consider bringing a sun visor for your windshield, as your car will be parked in a large asphalt lot several hours in the Arizona sun.  The pedestrian crossing back into the US can as long as 2 hours during the peak winter travel season. The lines can be long and weather extremely hot.  Make sure that you have a bottle of water, and bring a companion with you if you require any assistance.

When to go
The majority of travelers visit Algodones during the winter snowbird season, when the weather is much cooler.  At times, thousands of patients a week can clog the border and fill the clinics.  If you don’t mind the weather, visit Algodones in the late spring, summer, or early fall.  The clinics and dental labs are much slower during this time of year, so you may be able to shorten the length of your visit by having you work expedited.

Credit cards and cash
If you are going to spend a good deal of money with your credit card, consider obtaining a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction (FX) fees.  Most credit card companies charge FX fees up to 4% on all purchases, so if you spend $5000, you will be charged $200.  In North America, Capital One is the only credit card company that does not charge FX fees.

Also be sure to let your credit card company know that you will be travelling to Mexico.  There is nothing worse than to try to use your credit card and have it declined, only to find your credit card company has suspended your credit card because of activity in a foreign country.  Typically you can contact your credit card company’s risk department and let them know when you plan to visit Mexico.  Let them know a good week before you visit Mexico just in case.  Alternately, many clinics offer up to a 5% discount on cash transaction.  Check with your dentist to see if they offer a cash discount.