Dental work, eyeglasses and medications in Mexico
We're often asked about obtaining dental services or buying medications and eyeglasses in Mexico. This article discusses some of the services available in Los Algodones, a popular destination for the large RVing community who spend their winters in AZ.
Los Algodones is a small town south of Yuma, AZ. Within a few blocks in each direction you'll find numerous dentists, pharmacies and optometrists. Many of these folks were trained in the U.S. and display their credentials on the wall inside their premises.
Here's a useful directory of businesses in Los Algodones. The Purple Pharmacy is one of the largest, and is located just a block from the border; Look for the purple-colored building.
The town is on Pacific time, and some businesses, including Purple Pharmacy, are open 7am - 10pm. However, some dental offices make their appointments on Mountain time, so be sure to check. Drive to the border and park in the large lot on the US side; It's a very short walk to the border. Go early and try to get back to the border before noon to avoid a long line. Some folks drive across, but expect a long wait to drive back across the border. The border closes at 10pm.
Pharmacies in Los Algodones do not require prescriptions, and they will sell you whatever quantity you want to buy. However, when you cross back into the US, there's a sign at the US Border Patrol station saying that prescriptions are required and that you can only bring 3 months supply back. If you need it, the pharmacists in Los Algodones will write a prescription.
One caveat - do not attempt to bring narcotics back into the U.S. There may be other controlled substances that cannot be brought into the U.S., or may only be allowed in small quantities; The U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site suggests that you "check with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about importing any medications prior to crossing into Mexico".
The rules changed a few years ago, and you can no longer use a drivers license to come back into the US; You need either a passport or a passport card.