Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day Trip to Mexico to Buy Prescription Glasses

Ahhh Mexico.... where the drugs are cheap, the liquor is free flowing and there's a dentist on every street corner. Actually, more like 5 or 6 dentists. Welcome to Algodones, Mexico; a medical haven for thousands of Canadians & Americans who winter in Southern California and Arizona. This tiny border town with less than 6,000 residents is home to more dentists, eye care specialists and pharmacies than most major US cities. Approximately 3,000 people cross the border daily to purchase these services and products. Roughly one half to one third the price you would pay in the US. If the thought of medical care in Mexico sounds scary to you, you are not alone. We were definitely a little skeptical. I read many online reviews and spoke to a few people who had purchased glasses as well as had dental procedures done. On the whole it was all very positive. So we decided to check it out for ourselves. Day trip yay!
A 2 hour drive on I10 from Indio, CA... nice highway good drive
Passing the Imperial Dunes.... amazing sand dunes
Last rest stop before the border crossing, nice and clean with a view of the dunes
Here we come Mexico yo no queira ir, pero bueno...
Welcome to Algodones, Mexico
We parked in a large paved lot ran by Native Americans just outside the border. $8US. It is huge. I noticed some people parked along the highway and hiked it all the way to the border but on a hot day that would be crazy for the low cost of the parking. License plates from everywhere in the US and Canada. After you cross the parking lot you just "walk" in to Mexico. No lines or border patrol, just a walk way in???? So you can get in easy but can you get out haha. (PS you do need your passport to get out) You do definitely get bombarded by locals; handing you flyers for pharmacies and dentists. Some are selling souvenirs but it was not as bad as some of the blogs made it out to be. In all very easy sailing straight to the optical store.  A bit of a street fair atmosphere. Cotton candy and all. The streets are very tight and crowded and I can understand why you should park and walk rather than drive in here. 
Sign shops must do a killing down here
After our research we chose Best Optical and were very satisfied with the service and product 
Inside the selection was not as large as in Canada but still a lot to choose from 
We all had an eye exam rather than bringing our own prescriptions in. This cost about an extra $100.00 US. They were bang on and very informative about our eyes. We waited about 3 hours for all our glasses to be ready. Between the 4 of us we purchased 11 pairs of glasses. Perry averaged it out and the prescription glasses ran approximately around $300 each with progressive/transition lenses. We have been wearing our glasses for a couple weeks now and are very happy. Only one downfall is that in order to get the Anti-Glare option we would have had to wait 2 weeks and come back to pick them up. We chose not to. I am hoping we can send them away in Costco to have it added if possible when we go home. It's not a complete necessity but I would like to add it if we can. Sounds like as long as they are scratch free it shouldn't be a problem.

I got 3 prescription glasses with progressive lenses with transitions and a pair of Versace  sunglasses
View from the bench in front of Best Optical
Some of the souvenirs for sale not he streets, some beautiful metal garden art.... wish we were not flying woulda loved to have some in the Lakehouse garden

How much longer?
Margarita anyone?
We went for lunch to a small cafe called El Caliente, just down the block and enjoyed some excellent quesadillas, enchiladas, refried beans and rice.... the waiter made me a Long Island Iced Tea without the tequila and it was PERFECT..... it is very hard in the US to get a good Long Island with their weird version of Iced Tea and the addition of Tequila, shoulda had two!! We sat outside and there was a one man band Pepe playing a Mexican version of 1970s songs! Was a nice way to spend an hour people watching. We walked around, looked at some souvenirs and went into "the purple pharmacy". We had actually asked the optometrist which pharmacy he recommended and so we thought we would check it out. Very easy, you go in and hand the "clerk" behind the counter your list. I had put ours on my iPhone and he just goes thru it and says yes...yes... no... no... how many etc. We picked up a couple items for my mom and for us. I can't honestly say it was that cheap for anything we wanted. We asked the price of a few things but unless you aren't on a plan at home or you are getting something really out there we did not find it a deal. We were not trying for narcotics or crazy drugs either just run of the mill stuff. Worth the experience I guess.
Bold & Violet going out thru the cattle gate lol
About 20 miles from the border in California they have these border check stops. We have been thru them twice now, they never stopped us either time. Not sure what they wanna check you for? 
Safely home to Indio, CA....
So I think all in all it was a great day, great time, great company, great drive.....everyone felt safe there, I wouldn't wanna be there at night. We left by 5:00 or so. We are happy with our glasses and would do this again in couple years if we come back.

Relax... Respect... Enjoy....another Margarita... Dorri

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