Last fact-checked: 13 November 2019
Thinking about taking advantage of their significantly more affordable cosmetic or plastic surgery prices in Cancun? Medical Departures is here to help you find quality clinics and surgeons that you can trust with our extensive listings.
Find out why Cancun could be the place for your surgical trip with this destination guide, including price estimates, tips for when you are there, practical travel advice and more.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, Cancun attracts holidaymakers from across the world thanks to its white sandy beaches and warm, aquamarine waters. It is, in fact, a fairly new city, since its development as a tourist resort started in 1974, but has already surpassed Acapulco as the favored Mexican holiday resort for international visitors.
The region sees millions of visitors each year and now thousands are flocking to Cancun for its excellent and reasonably priced medical facilities, including plastic surgery, elective surgeries and cosmetic treatments.
In Cancun, medical care and services are available at affordable rates. It has many big multidisciplinary hospitals that offer state of the art facilities, has well trained and experienced doctors and a standard of care that is similar to that available in the best facilities in the U.S. and Canada and other western countries.
It is also a great place for a holiday with its beaches, sunshine, natural ecology, beautiful landscapes and great weather.
Cancun is situated in the southeastern part of Mexico, on the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is in the north of the Caribbean coast.
More than ever before, people are conscious of their looks and their physical features. This is partly fuelled by the media, including social media, and partly on the general emphasis on looking good. People often don’t think twice about getting a nip and tuck or an anti-aging treatment these days, once only within reach of celebrities. However, these treatments and surgeries can be pretty expensive and unaffordable, and this is where medical tourism and places like Cancun score. They offer excellent treatments at reasonable prices.
Some examples of the cost savings for plastic surgery in Cancun:
Because tourism (including medical tourism) is the main industry here, Cancun is home to a number of world-class hospitals that offer treatments and surgeries of all kinds, as well as smaller clinics that specialize in certain procedures or non-invasive treatments only.
You'll also find hospitals that have Joint Commission International (JCI accreditation) or other international accreditations. These offer good quality medical facilities, operations theaters, staff and all other aspects that you would want in a good quality medical center.
These can all be found on our main Cancun listings page here.
In Mexico unlike in the U.S., medical studies start after school. However, this does not mean that education is less intensive, since medical students need to study for eight years. This is followed by one year of compulsory rural work or government service. It is only after successful completion of all this rigorous training and experience that the doctor can go on to study for a specialty like plastic surgery.
Cancun is full of hotels so you have plentiful accommodation options. In the area known as Hotel Zone, a long strip houses a huge range of hotels and resorts, some of which offer all-inclusive packages that may work out more affordable for you.
Elsewhere, you can opt for the room only deals since there is also a so-called "Party Zone" that is full of restaurants, eateries, nightclubs and bars. The beach also has some great dining options along with breathtaking sunsets.
You can stay at a beach resort or in a place that is close to your clinic or hospital. This largely depends on the treatment that you are having done; for major surgery, it is always a good idea to stay close to the hospital so that you can make follow-up visits easily, as long traveling times may make you uncomfortable post-surgery and during rehabilitation. Some of the hotels are specifically geared towards medical tourists; they have large doorways, are wheelchair accessible and have grab bars and telephones in the bathrooms.
If you don’t need to make too many visits or you are only undergoing non-invasive or minimally invasive treatment, you may want to take advantage of your surroundings and stay in one of the many beach hotels; here, you can enjoy the landscape, scenery and beaches without having to travel too far. In the Hotel Zone, too, you can find hotels and stay options at various price points that suit your budget, starting at just USD 35 going up to several hundreds of dollars.
Cancun is one of the safest areas in Mexico. The crime rate here is low although there will be occasional petty street crimes.
Otherwise, you simply have to use normal common-sense precautions that you would use in an unfamiliar place. Try to be aware of your surroundings at all times and not flaunt your cash or jewelry. If you withdraw money from an ATM, you may have to pay additional charges unless your bank has a tie-up with the local bank.
The human body and its reactions can be quite unpredictable at the best of times. Even if you go to the most experienced doctor at the best medical facility in the world, there is no guarantee that nothing will go wrong... unless you've only stubbed your big toe.
During complex surgeries, doctors have to make decisions in a split second at times. Despite all the skills and experience, things can go wrong.
What you can do is to ensure that the doctor, hospital and clinic have a good track record of similar surgeries and procedures. Apart from that, there should always be a doctor on call if you have to stay in a hospital overnight or longer. Surgery can never be 100% guaranteed, but at least if you go to a good-quality surgeon and clinic you will have a good chance of it being successful.
When you book through Medical Departures, you are already minimizing your risk. That is because we carry out a thorough investigation into the qualifications, credentials and experience of the doctors, see the hospitals and clinics offer good facilities and that they follow international treatment protocols.
Take a look now at three of our most highly-rated partner facilities in Cancun; these offer a range of cosmetic treatments and have picked up glowing praise by patients booking through our site:
Despite all the due diligence, if something does go wrong and you face a problem that is related to your procedure or treatment, Medical Departures will step in to help you get a resolution.
For an additional small premium, we advise you to take out insurance in case of medical complications, which covers any additional travel and accommodation charges you may incur if you have to stay longer than expected or travel back. For additional peace of mind in terms of affordability, we think it is more than worth it.
Though Spanish is the main language among locals, because the economy is dependent on tourism, you can be assured that almost everyone speaks relatively good English and you will face no communication problems when it comes to talking with your surgeon.
Usually, all international credit and debit cards are accepted for payment in hospitals, clinics, hotels, restaurants and shopping malls. It is wise to carry some local currency for tips and for small purchases at hawker stalls or flea markets, though the US dollar is universally accepted.
You can go any time of the year to Cancun for plastic surgery. The weather is mostly tropical and ranges from warm to very warm. August to November is low season so prices are cheaper (hotels and travel), but it is also hurricane season. Peak season is mid-December to February when the weather is pleasant and there are many activities on offer, particularly during Christmas and New Year. Around Easter, too, hotels may be full.
Our partner clinics are open all year round save for major holidays, like Christmas.
You may be somewhat apprehensive about going to a foreign destination for surgery of any kind. In fact, for some people, it can be unnerving to be in unfamiliar surroundings even if you're just going for the sightseeing! That's why it is always a good idea to take a companion with you, more so if you are going for surgery and not just some noninvasive treatment. In any case, you will always feel better if you have some company.
If you are going for complex surgery, then it is best to take your partner, a sibling, a close friend, a parent or even an adult child with you; anyone who has your best interests at heart and will look after you and be there for you if that is what you need. At the same time you should ensure that your companion has things to keep him or her occupied, so make sure that you are either staying in a central place or your hotel has everything inside or around.
In the case where you are only having a minor procedure, you may be up and about after a day or two of rest, or there may be no downtime involved at all. However, you may need to keep out the sun and water, not drink alcohol and do remember to take any post-op prescribed medication on schedule. If there are any dietary restrictions, your hotel should be able to give you the food you require. Apart from that, you should also be able to spend time resting if necessary.
There is definitely more to Cancun than just its beaches. The region is also known for its flora and fauna and you can visit one of the many eco-parks there like Xcaret Eco Theme Park, Xplor Park or Rio Secreto. You can also explore Mayan villages, check out adventure parks, rain forest, jungle tours and more or check out nearby islands like Isla Mujeres. Chichen Itza, one of the most recognizable Mayan sites and a UNESCO world heritage site is not too far away and worth a trip. There are many other ruins and monuments from Mayan times to see and experience throughout the area, across the Yucatan peninsula.
Another must-do in Cancun is shopping, with a plethora of malls and local flea markets from where you can do a great deal of bargain hunting. Mercado 28 is a huge souvenir market in downtown Cancun where you can buy all sorts of local trinkets and other interesting stuff, including silver, handicrafts, leather, hand-painted pottery, jewelry and other handicrafts.
Cancun International Airport is an extremely busy international airport that is in Quintana Roo. It sees all kinds of international flights from all over the US, other global destinations, as well as charter flights. Most city hotels are about 30-40 minutes away.
Local transport in Cancun consists of buses and taxis. You can get local buses or even buses that take you to nearby places. You can hail taxis on the road, but it is best to negotiate the fare before getting in. Otherwise, Uber is a safe bet (if available when you are there). Overall, taxis are usually cheaper than the ones you will get outside your hotel. You can also get ferries to go to the islands.
Flight times can vary and depend on whether there are stopovers or not and how long the stopovers are. These are approximate flight times:
Los Angeles to Cancun – 4 hours 35 minutes
New York to Cancun –4 hours
Toronto to Cancun – 4 hours
London to Cancun – 10.5 hours
Ottawa to Cancun – 7 hours
These times will depend on the airline and the route.
You don’t need a visa for Mexico but do need your passport and you will get a visa-free entry for 180 days if you are coming from the U.S. or Canada or U.K. Otherwise just check online if you have a different country’s passport.
Look below for easy ways to contact us. Browse through our quality-checked clinics in Cancun or contact our Customer Care Team (free of charge) to obtain a no-obligation quote for treatment at your chosen clinic.
Pre-Hispanic City of Chichen-Itza. UNESCO. Website accessed: 13 November 2019.
Joint Commission International. Website accessed: 13 November 2019.
Hryhoriw, Venessa. 21 Things To Do in Cancun That Aren’t The Beach. Goats on the Road. 22 June 2018.
Drillinger, Meagan. Medical tourism on the rise in Cancun. Travel Weekly. 29 January 2019.
Best Hotels in Hotel Zone, Cancun. U.S. News. Website accessed: 13 November 2019.
Sloley, Emma. Is Cancun Safe for Travel in 2019? Coastal Living. 17 April 2018.
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