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One of the best kept secrets in Southern California is a tiny town just across the border, near Yuma, Arizona, that is called Los Algadones, Baja, California (Mexico). In Spanish Los Algadones translates to "the cotton fields," which, for many years was its chief source of income.
There are still cotton fields there but I would hazard a guest that the primary source of revenue and primary population of Los Algadones is either dentists, folks who work in dental offices, dental laboratories, folks who work in dental laboratories, and/or optometrists.
Notably absent from this list is taxi drivers and taxi companies.
My dentist, Dr. Marco Antonio Giraldo Ramos, told me, "Los Algadones is too small for taxis."
I believe him. The business/professional district is, maybe, five or six blocks long and, perhaps, three to four blocks wide. Quite easy to walk if you are in reasonably good health. Dentists, by far, are the chief industry/profession.
I have fallen in love with the Los Algadones people! They are the sweetest, most polite, most helpful folks you'll ever meet. Unlike many border towns, Los Algadones is clean! If it were not for the heat I think Los Algadones would be a nice place to live.
We like to stay at the Quechan Resort/Casino - about $100 a night, superb accommodations and only one mile to the border crossing or the parking lot.
Food is out of this world! We went to breakfast in the Ocotillo Room and paid a whole $5.95 each, for a buffet! All we could eat! And that included an Omelet Bar where the chef made omelets to your order - I had two (and could easily have eaten four or five, I enjoyed them so much!) I had onions, spinach, olives, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese in my omelet. All the coffee or tea you want - probably milk and/or fruit juice as well. We were quite happy with coffee and tea.
They have a lovely pool and a 'lazy river' where they give you a tube and you float "the river." The current gently moves you right along while you get a great sun tan. (The "river" is a canal the flows around the main swimming pool and is, in essence, an elongated swimming pool. Nice, clean, flowing water, with a gentle current.
The dentists of Los Algadones are very, very good - many had training in American Dental Colleges - some trained in Mexico City. Their offices and equipment are every bit as good and state of the art as American dentists. Most speak English rather well.
But the dental prices are substantially less in Los Algadones.
Crown in the US/San Diego - about $1400. In Los Algadones? $250.
Root Canal? In the US/San Diego - it will cost you about $700 to $900. In Los Algadones? $250.
Teeth cleaning? In the US/San Diego - $100 to $150. In Los Algadones? $40.
Upper or lower denture? In the US/San Diego $500 to $1500 - In Los Algadones? $240
Extractions? In the US/San Diego $150 to $250 per tooth. In Los Algadones? $80 per tooth.
American Airlines flies from Phoenix and Dallas/Ft. Worth to Yuma.
It is a very short drive from Yuma to Los Algadones but if you plan on driving your rental into Mexico you MUST purchase Mexican auto insurance (about $31 per day); in the alternative, there is a large parking lot adjacent to the border crossing gate at just $6 per day - good security. You may park here and walk across the border and easily walk the streets of Los Aagadones (see below)*
As you stroll the streets, vendors will seek your business and invite you in to their store/office, but once you say, "no, thank you," they do not hound you or pester you.
*(I have a very bad back problem. Degenerative arthritis - which means it ain't gonna get any better, only worse. In addition to that I have sciatica, the two conditions of which make it very difficult for me to walk any great distance. About 100-150' and I have to sit down and rest for a few minutes, then start again. Not fun when it's 90 degrees [Remember, Yuma and the immediate area is a desert and it gets hot!].
My first day in Los Algadones I made the mistake of walking in. My back gave out. We barely made it to our dentist. Knowing the pain I was in he offered to drive us back to the border, which offer we quickly and gladly accepted. We passed through immigration in less than 10 minutes . . but then the walk back to the parking lot damn near killed me. Plus, I could not locate my car! I honestly thought I might die of a heat stroke! I was suffering, short of breath, back was killing me, no place to sit down and rest, no shade, very, very hot - finally, someone with a golf cart came and picked me up and we found my car; had he not shown up I think I might have perished. Really. I was truly worried.
When we left San Diego that morning it was 72-75 degrees. Beautiful weather! Asking your body to adjust from 72-75 degree weather to 90 degree weather is asking a bit much to ask - particularly if that body has been around for 80 years.
I decided it was worth the $31 it cost for Mexican auto insurance and the next day I drove my car to the dental office, got my crown installed and bought a pair of new glasses from an optometrist a few doors down from my dentist. $150 for the bifocal lens and frames. I'm quite pleased. I now have 20/20 vision for distance sight and 20/20 vision for close in sight - a real asset for me s I have to proof my paper and the legal notices get mighty small and these old eyes have sufferedl!
Also, I noticed on the drive from San Diego the sign posts were a bit blurry. With the new glasses I could clearly see the sign posts on the way back home with no problem. Very, very pleased with the glasses.
From San Diego it's about a 3 hour drive, each way - fairly pleasant scenery although I'm not a big fan of the desert.
If you have dental problems and no insurance, and if you live in the the continental US, you just might want to consider having a mini-vacation and come to Los Algadones.
The money you save on dental costs may well pay for your air fare, hotel, car rental, and dining costs!
Something to consider.
Your teeth matter! When you take a look in the mirror, you want to be able to smile back at yourself proudly, knowing that the smile that you see is just as beautiful as it is in your wildest dreams. If that sounds impossible, you simply haven’t found the right dental professionals yet. That’s Dr. Marco and his team. They know exactly how important your teeth are, and the service they offer is second to none.
Offering porcelain veneers, underbite correction, bite correction, overbite correction, and cosmetic dentistry, Vivant Smile Design does right by Los Algodones community. Dr. Marco Antonio Giraldo Ramos and the rest of his team put my satisfaction above everything else, going above and beyond the call of duty and pouring their hearts into their work. Dr. Marco accepts nothing less than the best from his staff, and that mindset and that work ethic both shine through clearly in the work that they do.
A down-to-earth, humble dental talent, Dr. Marco is conservative in his treatment approach but jubilant in the way that he practices, his own bright smile always on his face. He took time to understand my needs, all the better to practice dentistry effectively.
Dr. Marco’s dental assistant, Daisy is a young lady whose personality does a lot to make Vivant Smile Design what it is. She is passionate about contributing to the family business, and from the stories she tells about her children to the stories she tells about her own life, she has developed a conversational repertoire that puts patients at ease at the times that they would otherwise feel most stressed. I enjoy speaking with her!
Leticia Ramos Topete, Dr. Marco’s mother, rounds out the Vivant Smile Design Team. She oversees the billing and the bookkeeping at Vivant Design, and her attention to detail is second to none. An organizational and operational pro, she operates with unshakable kindness, her friendly attitude a constant around the office. In many ways, she is the eyes and ears of Vivant, looking out for everyone and keeping everything running smoothly. It’s clear she plays a crucial role at Vivant!
If you want a beautiful smile, Vivant can help. They helped me!