Last fact-checked: 18 October 2019
If you are searching for reasonably priced cosmetic surgery and quality medical care but don't want the bother of a long-haul flight, one destination that ticks all these boxes is Puerto Vallarta. This Medical Departures guide fills you in with everything you need to know about this Mexican resort town and how to take advantage of its excellent medical and cosmetic surgery facilities.
Puerto Vallarta is in the state of Jalisco in Mexico. It borders the Pacific Ocean and is known for its fabulous beaches and resorts. It became famous after The Night of the Iguana was filmed nearby (in 1963) and Puerto Vallarta got a great deal of publicity. Since then, many movies and television shows have scenes shot on location in the city. Subsequently, the government developed it as a resort town, giving it good ground transport as well as an international airport. At one time, Puerto Vallarta was known as The Friendliest City in the World and tourism generates 50 percent of its income from both domestic and foreign tourists.
PV or Vallarta, as it is popularly called, is known for its numerous beaches, exotic marine life, bird watching, nature, gorgeous landscapes framed by the Sierra Madre Mountains and a rich history. It is also famous for its food, with gourmet and fine dining options jostling for space with the local cuisine.
It is also renowned for its specialty markets, outdoor flea markets, shopping centers, gift shops and jewelry stores from where you can pick up fashionable bargains. Other entertainment options include historical and cultural attractions, monuments, eco-tourism trips and Mariachi bands, altogether offering a well-rounded destination for Americans, Canadians and other international visitors.
Puerto Vallarta is located near the Bay of Banderas in Mexico. In the north of the city is Nayarit; in the east is Mascota and San Sebastián del Oeste; and the south is next to Talpa de Allende and Cabo Corriente. It is situated in the middle of Mexico, on the western coastline.
Mexico is a favorite destination for plastic surgery and, thanks to PV's popularity as a holiday destionation, the city now caters to medical tourists as well. Puerto Vallarta has excellent medical facilities that rival those in the western world in terms of quality and care, but at much more affordable rates. Here, we've outlined some key reasons to choose Puerto Vallarta:
Plastic surgery is something everybody around the world has to pay for (rather than relying on insurance, which will never cover it unless the procedure is required for medical purposes). Apart from plastic surgery, other common elective surgeries are also available here as are cosmetic treatments. In the U.S. and Canada, these are simply too expensive for millions of people, but in Puerto Vallarta they can be thousands of dollars less.
Some examples of the cost savings for plastic surgery in Puerto Vallarta:
PV has some outstanding hospitals, some of them being joint ventures with doctors from the U.S. or Canada and local doctors. There are also a number of expat doctors practicing and most of the good quality private hospitals have board-certified doctors. The facilities are on par with those available in their more prosperous neighbors.
The infrastructure in this city is very good as are the ancillary medical services like diagnostic tests, whether imaging or blood tests, medicines and modern devices and treatments are easily available. Many of the local doctors may have carried out part of their specialty training in foreign universities.
Like other countries, too, Mexico has a long duration of medical education. It takes around eight years for a doctor to complete the medical studies and subsequently he or she has to practice for a year in government or rural service, compulsorily. The only thing is that medical education starts straight after school. It is only after graduating and getting a medical degree that the doctor can study for a specialty like plastic, esthetic surgery or any other specialty. Some of the local doctors, too, may be board certified in the U.S. as well as internationally with professional organizations like ISAPS.
As there are many large hospitals in PV, they offer all kinds of surgeries and treatments including plastic surgery. There are also specialized cosmetic clinics that may offer only particular treatments or surgeries or even non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures.
You can undergo breast surgeries of all kinds; butt surgery; anti-aging surgeries and treatments; eye surgeries; hair transplants, as well as liposuction, body contouring, botox and fillers. You can get a younger-looking body or face (or even both) by changing certain areas with which you are not happy in Puerto Vallarta.
Three of our past patients' favorite facilities in Puerto Vallarta are listed below; these will give you a good idea as to what kind of procedures are available and how much they cost:
Puerto Vallarta is full of hotels in the heart of the city, as well as beach resorts a little outside. You can choose the accommodation depending on your budget and the amenities you require. It also has well-known chain hotels like Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, Westin, Marriot and others. Hotels starting at around USD 30 a day and go up to several hundred dollars at high-end luxury resorts. Do check that the place in which you stay has the necessary amenities for your post-surgery recovery (if needed).
Apart from the normal accommodations, you can also choose to recuperate in special recovery inns where you are taken care of by nurses and other medical personnel and have in-house eating and entertainment facilities. This makes post-surgery convalescence much easier. Most of the top beach resorts in PV also have many patients as guests and cater to their special needs.
PV is one of the safest areas of Mexico. Since tourism is the main industry, it is important that the tourists are well taken care of and there are special tourist police who are bilingual and will help you out if required. Apart from that you just need to adopt normal safety measures that you would do in any unfamiliar place; i.e. don’t flaunt money, keep your belongings safe and keep your wits about you at all times.
Many of the hospitals are fairly new and are state of the art. They use the latest machines and the doctors are well versed with the newest technology and treatment options. However, surgery always carries with it some risks. It is important that you disclose all important facts and medical history to your doctor who will then take the extra care if required. The ancillary staff is also caring and friendly here.
All the doctors who practice in the city are certified either locally or abroad, having completed the necessary tests and the required experience. Many of them may have memberships of international boards. And since their financial health depends on your physical health, you can be sure that they are going to take care of you.
When you book through Medical Departures, you are safer due to the fact that we carry out detailed background checks into the qualifications, experience and credentials of the doctors. We also ensure all facilities listed on our site have the necessary amenities and follow all internationally-recognized medical protocols.
Despite the best treatment and facilities, something can go wrong either during or after surgery or treatment or an individual can have an unexpected reaction. If you do face any problem, then Medical Departures will help you get a resolution, which would be difficult on your own.
You can also opt for extra insurance for a small sum. This will help you cover the costs for extra treatment, travel and hotel expenses that are more than budgeted for, so that you are not left out of pocket.
In most tourist locations, you will find that people speak English as they need to do so in order to communicate with the tourists. Mexico is no exception. Also, since PV has a large floating population of tourists, almost everyone speaks English to some degree, particularly the doctors who are normally close to fluent.
You can use internationally valid credit and debit cards for payment at most places, though many will also accept U.S. dollars. You can make small payments in pesos if you want to change your money. This is useful for food, tips and small purchases.
All hospitals and clinics are open throughout the year, meaning you can really book an appointment at any time you want. However, you may want to avoid the hot and humid season that is from June to October. The rest of the year is quite warm during the day, but the nights are much cooler. April and June are good months in the sense that fares and other costs are lower. From November to April, the area sees a lot of tourists and in summer there are many domestic tourists since schools are out.
Most people find it relatively easy to emotionally and psychologically prepare themselves when they are having plastic surgery carried out in Puerto Vallarta. After all, it is a premier vacation destination boasting high-quality medical facilities. However, you may face your own fears and apprehensions when it comes to actually having the surgery done. That's why it's is always a good idea to book your treatment or procedure through a reputable site, like Medical Departures.
It is also better (but by no means essential) not to travel alone when going for surgery; taking a trusted friend or family member can help, especially if you are having major surgery.
If all goes well as it should, there should not be any downside; you'll be having a holiday in a superb location, be able to recuperate there until you get the go-ahead to go back home and you'll also save a great deal of money.
Just check that the medical facility will take good care of you for the time required and also find out about the necessary aftercare. If you have any major surgery, you may want to stay at a post-surgery retreat for better care and monitoring - and do remember to check how long you will need to stay before you can fly back.
There is no shortage of activities in PV. Sporting activities, entertainment, shopping, eating out, going to sites and attractions and partying are things you can do in this holiday destination.
Since it is on the seashore, it has miles of golden beaches. It also boasts of a rich variety of marine life including sea turtles, whales and dolphins. For aquatic adventures you can go snorkeling and scuba diving, windsurfing, swimming at any time and also go fishing, kayaking and sailing. Other sporting activities include mountain biking, dune buggy riding, horseback riding, golf, hiking, sky diving and more.
The Malecon is the place to go to and enjoy the attractions. It has a pedestrian promenade and also hosts many free activities. It also boasts of many artistic endeavors, showcasing the artists and sculptors of the city. There are many sand and bronze sculptures on view.
In downtown Puerto Vallarta, you can find bands playing in the main square, Plaza de Armas. Los Arcos, the open-air amphitheater, hosts folklore dances in the evenings on Sundays when people gather to enjoy the rest of the evening. You can even take day trips to nearby places if you want to explore the environs or go for an eco-tourism tour.
Puerto Vallarta has its own international airport, Lic. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport. It handles international and domestic flights. It is serviced by many airlines like Delta, United Airlines, American Airlines, Air Canada, Southwest and others. Thomson Airways from Britain also has twice-weekly flights from London and Manchester.
Flight times (approx.) from other destinations to Puerto Vallarta:
Flight times will vary and depend on the airlines, the number of stopovers and the waiting time to catch another flight (or even the same one). Some of these times are for non-stop flights.
Puerto Vallarta has an extensive network of buses that will take you to your destination. The buses are marked with the zones they travel through and they are quite frequent during the day. You can also get local taxies from any part of the city to go anywhere and they are reasonably priced, but negotiate or ask about the fare before getting in. You can also hire cars, though driving can be risky if you are not experienced on Mexican roads.
From the U.S. or Canada you don’t need a visa, but do need to carry your passport. You can stay for 180 days at a time. For other countries, do check online about visa requirements.
Now that you have an idea of the place, search our clinic listings and confirm your booking for plastic surgery in Puerto Vallarta via Medical Departures. Our Customer Care Team can help you with the booking process and also assist you with any other aspect of your trip, such as flights, accommodation and insurance.
Visit Puerto Vallarta. Website accessed: 18 October 2019.
Puerto Vallarta Among the Best Cities in the World. Costa Sur Puerto Vallarta. 18 October 2017
International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Website accessed: 18 October 2019.
When can I fly after surgery? NHS. Website accessed: 18 October 2019.
Puerto Vallarta. Luxury Hotel World. Website accessed: 18 October 2019.
Stats: Puerto Vallarta Tourism Up 6 Percent. Travel Agent Central. 16 August 2017.
Pre Surgical Anxiety: 17 Tips on How To Stay Calm Before Going Into Surgery. NJNBI. 12 June 2018.
Swift, Dariece. 20 Cool Things To Do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Goats on the Road. 18 February 2018.
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