One question keeps rising from the many that folks have when they consider living here is, 'Where do you get good medical attention'. Belize is improving and the solution to a medical problem can be found here much more often than in the past. Over the years I've heard the locals respond, 'Merida' and I would pass along this wisdom,even though I had never been. Merida is in Mexico at the top of the Yucatan Peninsula and the Medical center of the region. I did the trip last month. I documented all the details and expenses of the trip for the purpose of posting them here to help those that need to go. I found the Belize government sends cases that can't be treated in Belize to Merida through the Belize Social Security and has professional expediters/translators to help patients every inch of the way. These professionals also assist private trips and the costs are small, or I should let you decide that for yourself after you read the report.
There is a lovely lady in Merida, Teresa Matus. Telephone 9999 451769 or cellular 044 9999 600543. She is the guru of medical help in Merida. She will book the appointments for the appropriate medical treatment you need, she will take you personally, translate if necessary, book your hotel. She charges a very small fee for her services and she is worth her weight in gold. She knows the best doctors and sets up lab tests, x-rays, cat scans, MRI's and all you need during your stay.If you are hospitilized she will visit you at least daily, more if you want her to.
i have several friends who have saved many dollars by doing surgery in Merida. Excellent doctors. Great town. Wonderful Cuban restaurants. Some have moved there for medical treatment and never left!!! I Love Merida.
Merida Medical Tropic to Corozal R/T ticket is $181.bz Six flights a day starting at 7am Call ahead to Teresita Matos. Her business card reads ‘trabajadora social belize’. From Belize you dial 0052 9999 600 543 to get her cel. This is probably the most valuable piece of information I can relay, she’s worth her weight in gold but only works for tips. Remember that mexican phones are a little different but don't take to long to figure out. From Corozal Belize you need to cross the border into Chetumal Mexico. You need a passport and money exchangers are waiting in the parking lot on the Mexican side. Current exchange rates are aprox. 5 pesos per $1 bz or 10 pesos per 1 US dollar.(that makes there 1000 peso bill worth aprox. $100US Taxis are waiting at the Corozal air strip and charge aprox. $120.bz to get you to the Bus station on the Mexican side. Mexican buses are great, on time, air condition and movies. I used the Clase Europea Caribe Express leaves at 10am. Costs 270.pesosR/T (aprox.54bz). The bus trip is 5 and one half hours and stops for lunch. The Bus terminal in Merida is in the city and taxis are waiting as you exit the terminal. Merida is a beautiful clean and well organized city with little crime. I suggest the ‘La Margaritas’ Hotel the taxi ride there is about 50 pesos (10bz). La Margaritas is a nice hotel , world standards and costs me 640.pesos (aprox.128.bz) Its across the street from the medical center next door to the hyperbaric chamber. Cheaper hotels can be found easily but I’m a spoiled rich Gringo. Teresita picked me up at 8: am prompt and drove me to the doctor in her car where she translated everything. She also chose the doctor for me and made the appointment. She took special care to not just translate but make sure I understood every detail, and made suggestions. She made the reservations for my trip home and made sure I was on time. My trip went without a glitch. Two points of caution. There are two La Margaritas hotels you want the one by the medical center, however the other looked like an interesting adventure. Second the Mexican Taxi drivers are normal taxi drivers like the world over however the taxi returning from the bus terminal to the Belize border should have a caution flag. The normal fare is 60 pesos and I noticed problems with them hassling fares and over charging. If you go back and add all this up you see it’s about a $900.bz trip without food and you should schedule a second nite at the hotel because of the departing bus schedule being in the am. In order to connect with the 3:30pm Tropic departure from Corozal. Please notice I didn’t add in moneys for Ms Matos. She was vague about how much I should pay for her services, I was told $100. was customary I gave her a 100us bill and she remarked it was more than enough. I felt she was worth more. Mexicans in Merida have little patience for those not speaking Spanish, not rude or impolite just not very willing to help if your Spanish isn't up to par. Were spoiled in Belize with everyone speaking a little of everything and innovating to fill the gaps. I would appreciate any feed back you guys (ambergriscaye posters) have about all these details we can create a very useful thread here.
A friend of mine told me that he often catches the night bus from Merida, sleeps on the trip down. Arrives early (about 5am) to Chetumal. When the taxis stopped charging him 60 pesos and started demanding 200 pesos for the ride from the bus station to the Belize border he found out that there is a Guatemalan bus that you can catch for $5US instead. So he catches the bus, goes to the border. Customs is often closed this time of day so you typically only have to clear immigration. Then you can catch a cab back to Corozal.
Yes , I was trying to do it in the daytime and chose to stay another night in Merida, but could have saved another hotel cost by catching the night bus. Lots of nice restaurants in Merida I didn't want to miss, seemed to have a European flair to the old city. First flight out of corozal is 7:30 am so i guess you could find a place for a good long breakfast from 5 till 7 somewhere.. not a bad idea Amanda.