Medical & Dental FAQs

in Puerto Vallarta


Bringing prescription drugs to Mexico

If you have your original prescription bottle with your doctor’s name, that should be sufficient.  There are a few prescription drugs that you can’t bring into Mexico and a few non-prescription drugs (like Sudafed) that are off limits.  Best to Google this before your trip as this list is always changing.  Plan to bring enough for your trip or at lease 6 weeks, you can usually source the prescription here in a local pharmacy (some will require prescriptions, but keep trying other pharmacies, one is likely to sell it).  I recommend to start looking for meds you may need as soon as you arrive, don’t wait until you need them.

Does my US or CAN healthcare work in PV?

Check with your health care provider to see if you can purchase travel insurance – so that if you need to be transported back to the US, it will be covered.


Otherwise, your US or CAN healthcare plan will not help you here.  Luckily, a trip to the doctor will set you back about $20 USD and no long wait times.

Can I get medical or healthcare in Mexico?

You must be on a Temporary or Permanent Resident Card in order to apply for health insurance.  Fortunately, health care is affordable here even without insurance.  Our partner, We Expats has affordable plans.  Fill out your application here to receive a quote.

Is there a 12 step program in PV?

There is a 12-step community in PV.  Meetings are held at 329 Basilio Badillio.  Visit the website for various group meetings and times.

Wheelchair Accessibility

You can find additional assistance at this website.

The Malecon is a nice place to get around because there is no auto traffic but not every place along the way is wheelchair accessible.  Many employees are happy to carry the wheelchair up over a curb if necessary, so be sure to ask if you need help.

There is a walking tour for wheelchair travelers here.

Bug Bites

If you are being bitten by ‘je jenes’, known as ‘no seeums’,  there is little evidence of the bug – only the bite and welt they leave behind.  You won’t be able to see them and although you can read about many ways to prevent such bites on other websites, the only way to treat them is to use a topical cream that can be purchased in the pharmacy.  Simply show your bites to the pharmacist and they will sell you the cream/spray.

What are the symptoms of Dengue fever?

Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus. There are different strains of Dengue so your symptoms vary depending on what strain you get and whether or not you’ve had the same strain previously.


Stage 1:  lasts about 7 days:  sudden, high fever, muscle and joint pains, severe headache, swollen lymph nodes, mild to severe nausea/vomiting


Stage 2:  starts on the 2nd day:  this is a critical stage because you can start bleeding on the inside as your veins expand; avoid aspirin or ibuprofen as these can increase bleeding complications


Stage 3: recovery stage, you may get a rash but it is usually not harmful


On your FIRST SIGN OF FEVER, it is recommended that you call a doctor.  The medical care in PV is top notch and they know how to treat for this.  If you have other health issues, like diabetes for example, seek care – do not try to ride it out on your own.


You want to be careful that you stay hydrated.  Drink a lot of water and some electrolytes. Fresh papaya leaf juice can help to increase the platelet count and help with blood clotting.


Dengue never lasts more than 2 weeks, if you have something lasting longer, it’s likely you have something other than Dengue.


When the rainy season hits, that is the time we are most prone to getting bit by an infected mosquito.  Be sure there is no standing water near your condo as this is a breeding ground for mosquitos.  PV has trucks that will spray your street to kill mosquito eggs – the spray is not harmful to humans.

What is red tide?

Red tide damages oxygen levels in the water which affects marine life.  If one consumes fish or shellfish that has been affected by red tide, there will be tingling in the lips, tongue and face.  There could also be difficulty breathing, dizziness and vomiting.  The symptoms usually appear within 30-60 minutes after ingestion.  The preferred basic treatment is to induce vomiting by administering warm salt water (from a clean source) and seek the attention of a doctor immediately.  The best way to know if red tide is in effect for Banderas Bay is to do a simple Google search:  red tide in PV (and the month and year you are inquiring about).  The local papers will report it.

Can I get dental work done in PV?

Many Americans and Canadians have their dental work done here for a fraction of the cost back home.  A typical cleaning costs you about $20-25 USD.  Check out our Directory for preferred recommendations.

I have an emergency, can I dial 911?

The answer is yes!  Check out our full post here: Making a 911 call