Last fact-checked: 16 November 2020
If you are searching for lower-priced cosmetic surgery but don't want the hassle of a long-haul flight, one destination that ticks all the boxes for North Americans is Puerto Vallarta.
This Medical Departures guide provides everything you need to know about this popular Mexican resort destination. Read on to find out how you can take advantage of its excellent medical and cosmetic 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), when 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.
PV 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 destination, 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 must pay for out of pocket (rather than relying on insurance, which will never cover it unless the procedure is required for medical purposes). In addition to plastic surgery, other common elective surgeries are also available here as are cosmetic treatments. In the U.S. and Canada, these procedures are simply too expensive for million, but in Puerto Vallarta, treatments can be thousands of dollars less.
Some examples of the cost savings for plastic surgery in Puerto Vallarta:
PV has some outstanding hospitals; some are joint ventures with doctors from the U.S. or Canada and local doctors. There are also a number of ex-pat doctors practicing and most of the good quality private hospitals have board-certified physicians and specialists. The facilities are on par with those available in their more prosperous neighboring nations.
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 legacy 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, a wide array of surgeries and treatments are available, including plastic surgery. There are also specialized cosmetic clinics that may offer only particular treatments or surgeries, including 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 of typical procedures and how estimated pricing:
Puerto Vallarta is full of hotels in the heart of the city, as well as beach resorts outside of town, in Nuevo Vallarta. 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, Marriott and others. Hotels start at around USD 30 a day and go up to several hundred dollars at high-end luxury resorts. Do check that your lodging has the necessary amenities for your post-surgery recovery (if needed).
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; special bilingual tourist police 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. The ancillary staff is also caring and friendly here. 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.
All the doctors who practice in the city are certified either locally or abroad, having completed the necessary tests and the required experience. Many enjoy memberships of international boards and organizations.
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 and clinics. 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 experience any problem, Medical Departures will help you achieve a resolution, which can be challenging when you're 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, so that you are not left out of pocket.
In most tourist locations, you will find that service staff speaks English as they need to do so in order to conduct business successfully. Mexico is no exception. Also, since PV has a large floating population of tourists, almost everyone speaks English to some degree. Doctors and support staff are no exception.
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 book an appointment at any time. However, you may want to avoid the hot and humid season from June to October. The rest of the year is quite warm during the day, and the nights are much cooler. April and June are off-peak months when 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 is always a good idea to book your treatment or procedure through a reputable organization such as Medical Departures.
It is also preferable (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 undergoing major surgery.
There is no shortage of leisure diversions in PV. Sporting activities, entertainment, shopping, eating out, going to sites and attractions and partying are all available in this holiday destination.
PV 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 take up snorkeling and scuba diving, windsurfing, swimming 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 in the center of town 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 musicians, artists and sculptors of the city. You will usually find elaborate 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 book an eco-tourism tour.
Puerto Vallarta has its own international airport, Lic. Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, welcoming 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 taxis 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 your destination, search our clinic listings and confirm your booking for plastic surgery treatments in Puerto Vallarta via Medical Departures. Our Customer Care Team can help you with bookings 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. https://visitpuertovallarta.com/
Puerto Vallarta Among the Best Cities in the World. Costa Sur Puerto Vallarta. 18 October 2017 https://www.costasurpuertovallarta.com/en/noticias/puerto-vallarta-reconocida-como-una-de-las-20-mejores-ciudades-del-mundo
International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Website accessed: 16 November 2020. http://www.isaps.org/
When can I fly after surgery? NHS. Website accessed: 16 November 2019. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/accidents-first-aid-and-treatments/when-can-i-fly-after-surgery/
Puerto Vallarta. Luxury Hotel World. Website accessed: 18 October 2019. https://luxuryhotel.world/puerto-vallarta/
Stats: Puerto Vallarta Tourism Up 6 Percent. Travel Agent Central. 16 August 2017. https://www.travelagentcentral.com/destinations/stats-number-visitors-up-puerto-vallarta
Pre Surgical Anxiety: 17 Tips on How To Stay Calm Before Going Into Surgery. NJNBI. 12 June 2018. https://njnbi.com/scared-of-surgery-anxiety/
Swift, Dariece. 20 Cool Things To Do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Goats on the Road. 18 February 2018. https://www.goatsontheroad.com/20-cool-things-to-do-in-puerto-vallarta-mexico/