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Health Care in Mazatlan, Mexico

Health Care in Mazatlan, Mexico


Whether you are here for a visit or here to stay, good health care is important. Generally heath care here is much less expensive, and the quality can be very good

Healthcare in Mazatlan is one of the most frequently questioned topics concerning retirees that come to Mazatlan to live fulltime or part time out of the year.  At first glance, you will notice that Mazatlan is full of hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. You can find walk-in medical clinics located in the tourist area and doctor’s offices located in some of the major hotels. 

There are three private hospitals that are fully equipped and staffed to handle most emergencies; Sharp Hospital, Clinica del Mar, and Divina Providencia. Others that are also equipped to deal with emergencies are The Hospital General in Colonia Juarez (a public hospital), the IMSS Hospital (Social Security), and the Cruz Roja (The Red Cross),   although with these it is recommended that you call before arrival so they are prepared to receive you.  In private hospitals they usually prepare a room with a day bed in case a family member wants to stay with the patient during hospitalization.

The general quality of medical care here in Mazatlan is quite great. The doctors have ample time to spend with their patients and most can be seen during office hours without prior appointments or the next day. Many doctors even make house calls for about $300 pesos if really necessary. The best way to find a good doctor is by asking for referrals around town. Considering Mazatlan is somewhat of a small community, all doctors have direct acquaintances with specialists or colleagues, so referrals are fast, confident, and quite easy.  Most importantly, you need not worry, most doctors are bilingual, for the rare that are not, it is recommended to take with you a good dictionary or a bilingual friend.

If you are faced with a serious illness or the need for advance technology, Mazatlan may not always have the medical services needed. Some examples include organ transplants, which are not common in Mexico, or cancer patients who require a regimen of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Also, please keep in mind that psychiatric services in English are very limited.

There are basically two choices when dealing with a higher level of care.  Some Americans and Canadians opt to purchase medivac insurance which enables them to be air-transported to a medical facility north of the border, where language and insurance coverage is more predictable. For those covered by U.S. Medicare or Canadian health care, the trip back north is sometimes the most logical choice. Others may have a practitioner here refer them to a specialist in Guadalajara or Mexico City, where they have all the tools and experience needed that Mazatlan may lack in particular cases.

The cost of medical care in Mazatlan is quite reasonable. Usually an office visit to a specialist in Mazatlan costs around $300- $400 pesos, the equivalent to $30- $40 USD. For such services as plastic surgery or dental work, Mexico is known to have great work for a much cheaper price when in comparison to the United States or Canada.

Private health care and insurance in Mexico is a relatively new concept but is available to most people who decide to reside in Mexico. For more information about private health insurance in Mazatlan, Mexico please visit Juan Chong Insurance

Another option for health coverage in Mazatlan is the IMSS, which is the health insurance offered by the Mexican Institute of Social Security through a network of hospitals and clinics operated by the federal government. It was designed to provide comprehensive health care to hard working families and emphasizes prevention.  If you have FM-3 immigration documents you qualify to sign up. When you sign up you are interviewed by a doctor and you may or may not undergo a medical exam. The cost of signing up for this is under $500 USD per year.

This system works like an HMO. You are initially signed to a family doctor who takes care of the basics. If you need a specialist your doctor takes you to one. If you need x-rays the doctor orders them for you. All diagnostic tests and medications are covered by the system. In this case though, it is up to the patient to take a dictionary or learn key words in Spanish, for while some doctors know English, most don’t speak it fluently.


Regardless of whether you choose private or public medical services; there are a few things to remember:

  • Keep a file or folder for all of your medical information, lab results, x-rays, prescriptions, etc. most doctors don’t maintain medical orders.Be sure to take the file with you to a consultation.
  • Consultations are usually paid in cash (pesos) to the receptionists or directly to the doctor.
  • If planning on being in Mazatlan for longer than a short vacation it is important that you make a simple plan to handle a medical emergency. 
  • Please note, if notified in advance a doctor can make arrangements via phone, fax, or email to contact your physician in Canada or the US. Feel free to visit some of the hospitals before you finalize your plan. 
  • The Cruz Roja has an excellent ambulance service available, staffed with trained paramedics. They respond to all emergency calls and will transport you to the nearest hospital. Several of the private hospitals also carry their own ambulance.
  • 066 is the emergency phone number in Mazatlan which is the same as dialing 911 in the United States or Canada. If you are in need of an ambulance dialing 066 is your best option. In most cases each responder does know how to speak English and if not they will then pass you onto to someone who can assist you properly.




Did you know that Mexico’s General Health Council has given Mazatlán’s own Sharp Hospital an impressive 9.5 out of 10 points on a prestigious patient care accreditation, making it one of only two hospitals in Sinaloa to achieve such a ranking? Click here to read more about Sharp Hospital.




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