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Medical trip to Merida

Posted By: elbert

Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 03:10 PM

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.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 03:12 PM

I'm typing as fast as I can but have to dive this morning so it will be 12:00 before I finish.
Posted By: natalie p

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 03:27 PM

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.
Posted By: Peter Jones

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 03:31 PM

When this thread is completed it ought to be "stickied", as many people will want to refer to it. Good one, Elbert.
Posted By: tacogirl

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 04:01 PM

Great thread. We also have connections in Merida - the bloggers.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 05:08 PM

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.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 08:55 PM

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.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 09:52 PM

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.
Posted By: Dutch

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 09:55 PM

Thanks Elbert. That's good info to have on hand. Much appreciated.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 10:00 PM

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.
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/07/08 11:52 PM

The best exchange rates are at the banks in Mexico, the money exchangers will give you 4.75 pesos for 1 belize dollar, and alittle less then 10 pesos for 1 US dollar, but the banks will give you 10.70 pesos for 1 US dollar, but don't take Belize dollars into the interior of Mexico as you can't get a good exchange rate for them anywhere, so best to try and get US dollars for the trip. Avoid the money exchangers.

Buses leave from the Corozal bus station every 30 minutes for Chetumal, they drop you off at the New Market in Chetumal, and from there it's a $2usd (5 minutes) taxi ride to the Chetumal bus station. When you want to return to Corozal from Chetumal, just have a taxi take you back to the New Market, and there are buses heading back to Corozal every 30 minutes. Way cheaper then taxis, the buses cost $4usd one way, and take about 40 minutes.
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 12:00 AM

If you are looking for cheap transportation from San Pedro to Corozal check out Thunderbolt Water Taxi. They leave from the Lagoon near the old football field at 7am and 3pm for Corozal. It's $25 usd for a one way trip on a very comfortable, covered boat. It's a 2 hour ride to Corozal, and drops you off within walking distance to the Corozal bus station. For your return to San Pedro, the boat leaves from Corozal to San Pedro at 7am and 3pm.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 12:08 AM

Uncle Buck you sound like a veteran.
I think your right on about the exchange, US dollars rule and Banks always give the best rate. good advice would be get a little at the border and then go to the bank. If its not a weekend or holiday.
That 'every 30 min.' bus is it express and gets you there in 5hours? I chose the one I got on because I was told of the many stops the others make causes the trip to be 8 hours instead of 5 hours. Is that true? I'm confused about the bus , are you saying inter city bus instead of inter city Taxi?
I'm going to scan the city map and post it tomorrow , where is new market?
Posted By: Uncle Buck

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 12:22 AM

The "every 30 min bus" is from Corozal to Chetumal (and back) for $4usd. It leaves from the bus station in Corozal, and drops you off at the New Market in Chetumal, which is about 5 minute taxi ride ($2usd) from the Chetumal bus station. It's a much cheaper alternative from taking the $120bz taxi from Corozal to Chetumal. The total cost is $6usd from Corozal to Chetumal bus station, takes about 50 minutes (45 minutes on bus and border crossing, and 5 minutes to catch taxi to bus station) Hope that helps clear things up.

Good advice about getting a little spending money at the border, till you can get to a bank.
Posted By: CayeMarie

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 03:46 AM

What were the costs like for medical treatment in Merida?
Posted By: elbert

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 03:20 PM

I don't have much info on that. My guess is a little more than Belize but Belize is very cheap...anyone?
Posted By: natalie p

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 04:04 PM

Medical costs in Merida are mostly cheaper than Belize.Very much cheaper than the USA.Things like X-rays, cat scans and MRI's are roughly the same, but the radiologists have more expertise.
Hospital costs, much , much less than a private hospital in Belize City.La Loma Luz in San Ignacio may be cheaper.
I was in hospital for 5 days in Clinica Merida with a torn tendon in my shoulder.I had X-rays, an MRI, lab tests, and surgery to anchor down the tendon with screws.I would have been discharged in 24 hours but I had a reaction to medication and couldn't eat or drink for the remaining four, so I had to stay in.
Total cost for everything including medications and doctors fees etc, $6000USD.
Posted By: natalie p

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 04:10 PM

I had a hysterectomy in Chetumal. $2500 Belize dollars. I did not have to pay the surgeon, I work with him!.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 06:01 PM

I could attest to their professionalism. My medical visit was minor but it couldn't have been attended to any more thorough.
Great thread hope all this info helps someone in the future.
One last thing, none of this addressed 'Emergency Conditions'
Does anyone know if a critical injured or sick person can be flown in. I noticed a heliport atop the med. center in Merida.
I also noticed Tropic air is quick to state 'No Flights to Mexico'.
anyone...?
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 06:51 PM

To the best of my knowledge at the moment if you need to medivac to Merida or Guatemala city you would need to have your medically equipped and staffed aircraft flown in. This takes hours to organize and execute.
Posted By: natalie p

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/08/08 06:57 PM

Astrum helicoptors have advertised medical evacuations but I doubt they are equpped enough for international flights. Usually I believe people are stabilised at a Belize hospital or clinic til an international air ambulance can be arranged or the person can be taken by taxi thru the border.
Posted By: cracked up

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 10/09/08 07:46 PM

unfortunatly, medivac flt to MID from Belize now (since 1/08) requires a stop in Cozumal to clear Mx customs/immigration/permit to operate in Mx. This takes about 2 hrs on the ground in CZM, even in a life/death situation.
There should be a listing somewere of Mx air ambulance operators out of MID.
Guatemala City is no problem.
Posted By: elbert

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 01/30/09 08:46 PM

Teresa Matus. Telephone 9999 451769
Posted By: elbert

Re: Medical trip to Merida - 01/30/09 08:50 PM

from Belize dial 0052 9999 451769
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