Los Algodones is a tiny border town in the Mexican State of Baja California. The town is close to the borders of southeastern California and southwestern Arizona and is only a short distance away from Yuma, Arizona. However, the route to the town from the USA is through the border at Andrade, California.
Los Algodones, received its name meaning “The Cotton”, as it was once a major cotton producer. It goes by the official name “Vincent Guerrero”. It is also called as the Molar City by the dental tourists who visit the town for its low-cost dental procedures. The town has a small population of about 5500 people and has an unbelievable amount of 350 dental clinics.
The town is a preferred medical tourism destination for the United States and Canadian nationals. It offers more doctors, pharmacies, dentists, and opticians in a concentrated area than anywhere else in the world. Medical care is available at low cost but with high quality. Roughly 10,000 people travel to the town every day to receive cheap dental treatments and the busiest period is from November to March. Dental care is 60 percent cheaper in Los Algodones when compared to other countries while other surgeries such as bariatric surgery will cost you 70% percent less.
The town has turned into a very competitive medical tourism destination. It now offers more medical procedures such as plastic and cosmetic surgery, maxillofacial surgery, orthopedic surgery, and general surgery. Some medical centers even offer stem cell treatment and hyperbaric therapy. The Clinics offer state-of-art facilities with an expert team of doctors and medical staff, whom all speak English.
Popular Parts in Los Algodones
There is no doubt that Los Algodones is a prime medical tourist destination but it has more to offer its visitors as it is one of the few places in Mexico where you can go sandboarding.
The town also has historical sites and parks for visitors to learn about local history.
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historical Park – Yuma Territorial Prison, was built in 1876 and was a working prison for 33 years. It had the largest library with a collection of 2000 books. After serving many different functions, work for its preservation started in the 1930s. In 1961, it opened to the public as a state park. The site includes a visitor center, museum, guard tower, cell blocks, Sallyport, nature trail, and picnic areas.
Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area –The Heritage Area comprises of 2 monumental parks, one national landmark (Yuma Crossing and Associated Sites), two new Colorado riverfront parks and the restored wetlands.
Colorado River State Historic Park – This site was previously a military supply point. It includes the quartermaster depot and officers’ quarters. It’s also home to restored historic buildings and celebrates five hundred years of transportation across the Colorado River.
West Wetlands Park – One of Yuma’s popular parks, sits on the banks of the Colorado River. You can watch owls, hummingbirds, and miniature sailboats and you can also indulge in some fishing. It is hard to believe that it was once a dumping ground for the town. Centennial Beach and Stewart Vincent Wolfe Memorial Playground are the park’s favorite areas.
Weather and Climate in Los Algodones
Summers in Los Algodones are very hot and dry. Whereas winters are cold and dry. Temperature ranges between 47 degrees Fahrenheit to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. It rarely goes below 41 degrees Fahrenheit or above 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spring (March to May) – Temperature and humidity level combine to make this season warm. Highest temperature ranges between 77.2 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no Rainfall during this time.
Summer (June to August) – Summers are very hot with scorching heat. There is little rainfall of 0-1 days in a month.
Fall (September to November) – Weather is nice in this season with wind and low humidity. Temperature varies between 73.9 and 104.8 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no noticeable rainfall during the fall.
Winter (December to February) - Los Algodones is cool and enjoyable in the winter months. The average temperature during winter is between 66.9 and 78.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
Getting Around in Los Algodones
The nearest airport to Los Algonodes is Yuma International Airport which is located 8.4 miles away. The best way to reach Los Algodones is to fly to Arizona (Yuma or Phoenix) and then rent a cab to cross the border into Los Algodones.
The other option is to get a flight to Mexicali International Airport, which is 30 miles away from the town. Many carriers like American, Delta, United, Alaska, Spirit, Southwest and Aeromexico operate flights from Los Angeles to Mexicali and Phoenix, USA.
Driving to Arizona from any other city in the United States is also a good option. Miguel Siga, a private bus operator, provides bus service between Mexicali and Los Algodones. Yuma County Area Transit operates buses from Andrade to Yuma. Rental cars are also available to drive across the U.S. border into Mexico.
Tourist Visas in Los Algodones
Citizens of 67 countries including the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and the European Union do not need a visa to travel to Mexico for tourism or business. Nationals of a few other countries will need to get an Electronic Authorization online if they are traveling by air. Electronic Authorization is a single entry, valid for 30 days. Once you arrive at Los Algodones, you can stay for a period not exceeding six months. Over and above six months, you will need to get a formal visa.
Travelers from countries like Indonesia, Philippines, China, and India need to get a visa in advance to travel to Mexico. However, if you are transiting in Mexico City, then you can transit without a visa in the custody of a National Immigration Service under the following conditions:
If your connection time does not exceed 24 hours
If you are traveling ahead non-stop, without other stop-overs in Mexico
The local currency of Los Algodones is the Mexican Peso. One dollar is equal to 18.81 Mexican Peso as of April 2019.
In many places, merchants accept credit cards but levy a surcharge of 4 percent on the card payments.
There are plenty of ATMs in the town. It is better to avoid stand-alone ATMs for safety reasons. Instead, you can use those at the markets or banks.
People here expect a tip of 10 to 15 percent on completion of a service.
Mexican Spanish is the major language spoken but the locals will also use English whilst communicating to tourists.
Although there is no official religion practiced here, over 80 percent of the population is Catholic.
A few public holidays in the City are the Constitution Day (First Monday of February), Labor Day (May 1), Mexican Independence Day (September 16) and Revolution Day (third Monday in November).