Algadones is just a short hop from Yuma
You can’t spend time in Yuma without seeing a ton of billboards for services provided just across the border in Algadones. Primarily, dental, vision and prescription medication (without needing the prescription). Many of the providers are US trained and have state-of-the-art clinics. So, with Julie needing a dental cleaning and me due to run out of my cholesterol med before returning home (and having received a run-around of hassle from my on line RX ordering place for the last couple of months) – we decided to give it a try.
Everyone says ‘don’t drive’ – so we didn’t.
There is a Native American run huge parking facility right at the border crossing. Crossing into Mexico is very easy – just follow the signs and walkways and go through one unstaffed turnstile and there you are! Coming back is a bit more formal.
The streets are lined with nothing but dental offices, opticians, and pharmacies (there are a few restaurants and I did see one pet grooming business. The sidewalks are tunnels of sidewalk vendors selling the usual tourist trinkets. Everywhere are men offering help and business cards just in case you didn’t do any research ahead of time and needed a referral. We did need some help in navigating our way to the dentist Julie had selected – street signs are few and far between.
We had lunch at a pretty fun restaurant. There was live music, lots of sun (or shade, depending on preference) and our waitress was excellent!
I sketched while Julie was at the dentist (there was a nice little city park right across the street) and then we made our way back to the border crossing (stopping at a pharmacy to pick up meds ($6.95 for 60 days worth!)
We joined a long line of tourists returning home – but the line moved quickly. Through another turnstile, this time staffed by border guards with uniforms and guns. Then the line split into 4 customs stations; we put our passports into a machine reader and then handed them to the customs agent who asked us a couple of questions before letting us pass. It didn’t take very long for us; a friend reported a wait of about an hour when she went through.
A fun day – it was definitely Mexico (the sidewalks were certainly not ADA compliant) but most signs, prices were in English and certainly all the service staff spoke excellent English.