Most expats come to Huatulco from areas where we are used to getting all of our medical care in one location: a large hospital or a clinic where they have every specialty and diagnostic piece of equipment you can imagine. Although many of the same services are available right here in in the Crucecita in Huatulco, occasionally it might be necessary to travel to a nearby location for a particular service or specialist.
Interestingly, costs in Mexico’s private healthcare system, pretty much across the board, run at least 25% to 50% lower than U.S. costs for comparable services. Also considering that most doctors and medical professionals in Mexico received at least part of their training in the U.S., they’re familiar with the care that expats expect and they speak English.
A year after I moved to Huatulco I saw a cardiologist here in Crucecita for an annual check-up. He reviewed my records, examined me and performed an electrocardiogram in his office near the Square. The total cost for this visit and the ECG was 500 pesos. (Yes, about $25 USD) He wanted me to get a follow up echocardiogram and at that time the closest place I could get that service was in Puerto Escondido at the Cliníca Medica Angel de Mar.
This is a well-known clinic. They have many excellent specialists and almost every piece of diagnostic equipment you can imagine. My doctor made the appointment for me and told me the total cost would be 1500 pesos so I could be prepared with enough cash. All of the necessary information was written down for me since my Spanish is less than fluent.
A few days later I decided to take the bus to Puerto Escondido and work a little along the drive. Each day air-conditioned buses go to Puerto Escondido from Huatulco and the cost is reasonable. The SUR bus is the least expensive and operates more often but stops at several small villages along the way. It is about 40 pesos one way per person and is air-conditioned. The other bus is the OCC and it is about 100-200 pesos per person each way. It has a different schedule but is more direct, more comfortable, is air-conditioned and even has movies to watch. You can go to the ADO station and ask for the next bus to Puerto Escondido – no reservation is necessary. It is a short wait and you usually pay the driver as you board the bus.
For more information about how to travel along the coast, see our article on How to Live in Mexico Without a Car.
The ride along the coast is beautiful and in just under two hours you arrive in downtown Puerto Escondido. Taxis are waiting right outside the bus station and will take you directly to the clinic. It is a short ride and the fare is just a few pesos.
Wisely, I had been advised to take along a book or magazine, a bottle of water and a snack. Even though you may be given a particular time to arrive, there will be a wait so it is best to know this going forward and be prepared. The waiting area is not large nor fancy. There is a large sign with all of the specialists present in the Clinic. Each of the specialists are usually present at the Clinic twice a day and available for appointments. They have morning and evening hours and are usually available for walk-in appointments on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Little English is spoken at the clinic. You will either want to have everything written down or take someone along to interpret for you. It is important to check in as soon as you get there to be sure your doctor has arrived and your appointment is on the books or sign in.
I know I asked the receptionist several times if I was still on the list… more to remind her I was there and hopefully not forgotten. When I discovered how this system of appointments worked, I was comforted in the fact that it is easy to get in to see a specialist. Simply go during the hours on any day they consult at the clinic, sign in and have a seat. Yes, there will be a wait but the possibility of being able to get in to see a specialist at the drop of a hat surely outweighs the wait.
My name was finally called and I was taken back to the doctor. Luckily my doctor spoke some English so we were able to discuss the procedure a bit beforehand. He did the scan, wrote up the report while I waited and handed it all to me. They do not interpret the results at the clinic; you need to take it back to your local doctor to have them look at it.
Afterwards, I paid the bill, took a taxi back to the bus station and retraced my journey to Huatulco. Some people take advantage of their time in Puerto Escondido by having a lunch or dinner, do some shopping or just look around the town situated on a hillside overlooking the beach. Read about Zicatela beach here.
After my return to Huatulco, I contacted my local doctor and we met to review the report which was, naturally, in Spanish. Everything was fine and I was relieved. Another adventure in Mexico was successfully complete.
Many services are available in Puerto Escondido including orthopedics, dermatology, allergy, gout, psychology, ORL and rheumatology to mention just a few. There are several other laboratories and clinics. A quick Google search online can provide all the addresses and information. Besides Puerto Escondido, some people go to Oaxaca City. It is further away but also offers extensive medical services. In Huatulco, the Clinica Hospitalaria San Miguel is quickly adding more diagnostic services.
In the last couple of years more diagnostic services and equipment have come to Huatulco. Recently, a brand-new Computed Tomography unit (shown here) was delivered to the private clinic “MedicenCasa” in Sector U2. It uses a special X-ray method to create cross-sectional images of the body for examination of bones, cancers, and other body imaging. We expect even more services to become available here as our population grows.
To read more about Health Care in Huatulco, see our article What You Need to Know About Healthcare in Huatulco.