This roundup highlights the best hospitals in Mexico plus what to expect from the Mexican healthcare system.
As you prepare for your move to Mexico, it’s important to consider medical care. What will you do in the event of a health emergency? The first step is understanding what to expect from a Mexican hospital experience.
From the United States and Canada to the United Kingdom and South Korea, Mexico attracts foreigners from all over the world. One reason so many people decide to move to Mexico (or simply visit) is access to some of the world’s best hospitals.
Whether you’re an expat living in Mexico City, Quintana Roo, Puerto Vallarta or somewhere in between, the medical care in Mexico ranks among the best care in Latin America & the world beyond.
After reading this post, you will know the best hospitals in Mexico plus how to navigate healthcare in Mexico.
Public vs. Private Hospitals in Mexico
Across Mexico, there are more than 4,000 hospitals where patients undergo all types of medical procedures. The majority (around 70%) are private hospitals. The rest are public facilities.
Foreign residents who have a CURP (Mexican social security number) are eligible to enroll in the public health program. The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) oversees public health as well as pensions and social security.
- Thinking about moving to Mexico? The Mexico Residency Roadmap is a step-by-step guide for how to get your residency so you can move to Mexico LEGALLY.
IMSS runs some of the best hospitals in Mexico. However, IMSS institutions are also known for long wait times. In fact, according to the Salud Publica de Mexico, patients needing a surgical procedure wait between 12 to 15 weeks on average.
Emergency rooms in public hospitals in Mexico have wait times of almost an entire day. It’s not uncommon for medical staff to ask patients to come back the next day to be seen by a doctor.
Expats who are living in Mexico on a budget and don’t have private health insurance can seek care at public hospitals and expect lower prices than at a private hospital.
Private Health Insurance in Mexico
If they have the financial means, many Mexicans enroll in the public health program and also pay for private health insurance to access private clinics.
With health insurance, you have many more hospitals to choose from across Mexico. Depending on where you live in Mexico, the medical care is better since private hospitals have newer equipment and better quality resources.
Additionally, private hospitals have much shorter wait times. It’s likely you can get an appointment to see a specialist within a few days. Most patients are able to book any necessary surgical procedures within a couple of weeks of their initial consultation.
Guardian Insurance Mexico specializes in policies for expats living in Mexico. You can reach out to Stephanie Kempker, an English-speaking Guardian representative, to learn more about health insurance in Mexico & get your free no-obligation quote.
Doctors in Mexico
At private hospitals in Mexico, there’s always someone on the medical staff that speaks English. Many specialist doctors trained in the United States or Canada.
Before you contact a specialist though, as in the United States, your first step is to see a general practitioner (GP). If you’re looking for a recommendation in your city, good places to ask are your insurance representative and expat groups.
Guardian Insurance rep Stephanie Kempker shares a spreadsheet of doctors in Mexico she and her clients recommend.
Unlike the United States, you don’t necessarily need a referral from a general practitioner to see a specialist. If you know you need to see a certain specialist, you can book an appointment with them straight away.
What to expect when making an appointment
Many doctors in Mexico have their practices located in either the public or private hospital. If you need to make an appointment for a medical treatment or surgical procedure, how you will do so will depend on where the doctor is located.
For example, if you need to see a doctor at a public hospital, you will either need to call the hospital or go to the hospital in person to make an appointment in person. Public hospitals in Mexico don’t currently have a system for making appointments online.
Private hospitals often have an online system for booking appointments, or you can call reception to make an appointment over the phone.
What to bring to the doctor in Mexico
If you’re going to a public hospital in Mexico, you need to bring your CURP to show that you’re eligible for public healthcare in Mexico. All temporary and permanent residents in Mexico have a CURP (you will have gotten it along with your residency card).
Whether you’re visiting a public or private hospital in Mexico, it’s a good idea to bring:
- Your passport and/or residency card
- Private insurance information
- Past medical records (if available)
If your doctor writes you a prescription, you might be able to fill it right at the pharmacy in the hospital. Otherwise, you can pick up prescription medications at a Mexican pharmacy such as Farmacias Guadalajara or Farmacias del Ahorro
Pharmacies can be found all over Mexico, and some even provide home delivery service.
Just keep in mind that not every medication can be found at every pharmacy. You might need to order it and pick it up a few days later or check around to see which pharmacy has the prescription medication you need in stock.
Many pharmacies in Mexico have a doctor on staff. When I had a sore throat in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, I visited one of these consultorios, and after seeing the doctor, I walked out with antibiotics.
Consultorios are a great option for any minor issues or small medical treatments.
Even though a certain medication requires a prescription in your country, there’s a chance that it’s available over the counter in Mexico.
That’s the case with Viagra and certain asthma inhalers–just to name two medications that typically require a prescription.
Because many medications are available without a prescription in Mexico, it’s a popular destination for medical tourism.
Of course, medical tourists who plan on purchasing prescription medications in Mexico to bring back to their home country must research the regulations for doing so .
Dental Care in Mexico
While I don’t have much personal experience with medical care and local hospitals in Querétaro, I have undergone many dental treatments while living in Mexico including:
- Routine cleanings
- Cavity fillings
- Teeth whitening
For all my dental treatments, I’ve gone to Dentalia which is located on the basement level of the Puerta La Victoria shopping center in Querétaro. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with my dental care in Mexico.
Not only have I received quality dental care, but the dental treatments in Mexico have been very affordable.
Even if I ever move back to the United States, I think I would continue traveling to Mexico to go to the dentist.
In this YouTube video, I share my experience with dental care in Mexico and compare the price breakdown with what I would have paid in the United States. The savings is incredible!
Best Hospitals in Mexico
The best hospital in Mexico for you will depend on your specific medical needs. When you’re deciding where to live in Mexico, it’s important to consider any medical conditions that you may have and research local hospitals to see if they can provide the medical care you require.
While this isn’t a complete list of hospitals in Mexico (phew, that would be A LOT), below you’ll find a roundup of the top hospitals around Mexico—some of which Newsweek magazine named to its 2022 list of World’s Best Hospitals.
According to Newsweek, the rankings are based on global online surveys of doctors, health care professionals and administrators across four continents.
Best Public Hospitals in Mexico
Keep reading for more information about the best public hospitals in Mexico.
IMSS – Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI (Mexico City)
Located in Cuauhtémoc in Mexico City, the Centro Médico Nacional Siglo XXI is a public hospital overseen by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
With over 800 beds and an array of modern resources, this hospital offers a full range of medical services and specializes in cardiology, pediatrics & oncology.
Hospital Civil de Guadalajara (Guadalajara)
In Guadalajara, this university hospital has two campuses. The first is the Fray Antonio Alcade Hospital which is situated just east of the city center. The newer location, Juan I. Menchaca Hospital is just west of the city center.
Because the two campuses are university hospitals, you will find a host of medical students in addition to highly-trained specialist doctors. The Menchaca campus has a special focus on infectious diseases.
Best Private Hospitals in Mexico
In this section, you’ll learn about the top private hospitals in Mexico including two facilities named to Newsweek magazine’s list of World’s Best Hospitals.
Ángeles Hospital (Mexico City)
Across Mexico, the Ángeles Group has a total of 25 hospitals that it oversees. You can find locations in Tijuana on Paseo de los Héroes, Puebla & Mexico City.
These private hospitals are modern facilities and have experience treating medical tourists.
Located in Cancún, Quintana Roo, Hospital Galenia is recognized as one of the top private hospitals in Mexico. Because of the close proximity to Canún International Airport, it’s a popular choice for medical tourism.
At Galenia Hospital, you can expect expert medical staff, modern facilities and the latest in medical technology. Available medical treatment includes general surgery, cardiology, urology, plastic surgery, dental care and brain surgery.
Centro Médico ABC Campus Santa Fe (Mexico City)
Recognized as one of the World’s Best Hospitals in the 2022 roundup by Newsweek magazine, Centro Médico ABC Campus Santa Fe is home to a host of specialist doctors caring for thousands of patients.
In addition to general surgery, the Centro Médico ABC Campus Santa Fe specializes in neuroscience, orthopedics, gynecology, obstetrics and pediatrics.
A second Centro Médico ABC campus is located in Observatorio. Both units are JCI certificated and known for top-notch medical care.
Hospital Médica Sur (Mexico City)
Named to Newsweek magazine’s 2022 list of the World’s Best Hospitals, Hospital Médica Sur is perhaps the most prestigious and well-known private hospital in Mexico.
The medical staff consists of nearly 4,000 specialist doctors, surgeons and nurses. Annually, this JCI accredited hospital cares for 15,000 patients.
Hospital Médica Sur specializes in neurology, orthopedics, cardiology and oncology. Additionally, it offers special medical tourism services.
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Final Thoughts on the Best Hospitals in Mexico
Whether you make your home in Tijuana, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Quintana Roo or somewhere in between, Mexico boasts some of the best hospitals in not just Latin America but the entire world.
Regardless of your medical conditions, Mexico has specialist doctors and highly-trained medical staff on hand to provide the best care to meet your medical needs.
The first step was understanding the difference between public hospitals and private hospitals in Mexico. Now, the next step is researching the nearest hospital to your potential home in Mexico to ensure it has the necessary resources and staff to treat you.