Dental care in Mahahual, Mexico

It takes 90 minutes to two hours to get to Mahahual from the nearest large urban centers in southeastern Mexico: Chetumal, the state capital, and Felipe Carrillo Puerto, which is the next largest urban center south of Tulum.

My husband thinks of Mahahual as a tropical island because it’s 35 miles off the main highway running north and south in State of Quintana Roo, and there is basically nothing but mangroves or jungle once you turn off the highway. Mahahual’s seclusion is part of its charm for us.

Americans expect full services and convenient comfort in places where they live, like malls, post offices, grocery stores and Walmart. None of that is here. There are bodegas with all the basic food supplies you need to live, and there is a medical clinic with ambulances on standby on cruise ship days.

Once a week on Tuesdays, a dentist drives here from Chetumal. This is a huge boon – as it saves a nearly a four-to-five hour round trip to Chetumal on public transportation.

My husband and I were due for our cleanings, so I made an appointment a week in advance by stopping at the office of Dr. Mario Adrian Soto Diaz. His office is in a building just off the main drag by one of the less expensive hotels, by the main taxi stop.

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Dr. Diaz has a modern office set for basic care with a dental chair like you would see in the U.S. and sterilized tools. He is a pleasant professional. One look inside my mouth and he instantly accurately recounted my dental history.

He was thorough and gentle during my cleaning. My teeth feel great – clean and smooth. Dr. Diaz didn’t find any cavities, but he did alert me to some cosmetic work I will need to have replaced, probably within the next year. To anyone staying in Mahahual, I recommend Dr. Diaz, should you need a dentist while you are here.

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Dr. Diaz told me most of his patients are people like us – people who either retire here or who live here for an extended time. If someone has a dental emergency, they can be seen right away on Tuesdays without an appointment. But that doesn’t really happen.

Sadly, many if not most of the local people cannot afford the luxury of a dental cleaning. The gringo price for us was the equivalent of a mere $33 each. For the convenience and the Dr. Diaz’s expertise, that’s really nothing. But, that’s incredibly steep for a working class Mexican. We are so lucky to have the means for the cleanings.

I also have some experience with medical care in Mexico, including an annual gynocologist visit in Chetumal, including a mammogram, immediate care in Tulum for likely Chikungunya and another time for parasites, and also for a urinary tract infection while I visited Campeche. All good experiences overall.

But back to Mahahual. I really love this place on so many levels. We are here for just under one month more before we start our next adventure.

Mahahual is mostly known to tourists who come on cruise ships and visit for a few hours in a day. When those tourists board the boat to leave, this place reverts back to a tranquil, laid back paradise. Even when the cruise shippers are here it’s a paradise — it’s just a little more crowded.

Aside from the cruise ships, there are more Americans coming here to retire, or for extended stays, like us. There appear to be more foreigners buying land and property in this area. If Mahahual sounds like a place you’d like to check out, read more about it here.

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