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U.S. Issues Warning For Tourists Regarding Los Cabos Hospital

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Earlier this week, the U.S. consulate in Tijuana issued a “health alert” warning for citizens to avoid visiting St. Luke’s Hospital in Cabo San Lucas. 

The warning comes after a series of complaints over a number of years from U.S. citizens. Treatment such as overcharging, harassment, corruption and withholding IDs have been cited by patients.

boats at the dock in Cabo San Lucas

Health Alert From U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, Baja

In the alert, the consulate noted that, “U.S. citizens have reported instances of withholding care for payment, failing to provide itemized lists of charges, ordering unnecessary procedures, withholding  U.S. passports, obstructing medical evacuations, and refusing to discharge patients without payment.”

The consulate’s warning also states that they’ve received “numerous complaints from U.S. citizens regarding St. Luke’s Hospital in Cabo San Lucas.”

overview of resort by the water at sunset in Cabo San Lucas

The alert also advises citizens that certain hotels and resorts in the Los Cabos area “already have existing or informal relationships with St. Luke’s.” According to some local reports, ambulance drivers will be paid an extra fee to take potential patients to St. Luke’s Hospital in Cabo San Lucas. 

If you are staying at a resort or hotel in Los Cabos, it’s advisable to do some research beforehand on suitable hospitals and clinics near you in case you may need care, and have extra travel health insurance coverage before your trip.

runners along the beach at dusk in San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Mexico

Los Cabos In Baja California – Information For Travelers

Los Cabos is made of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, which are neighboring cities on the southern tip of the Baja California Sur state. Commonly known as “Cabo” by many U.S. tourists, the region is home to a stunning rocky coastline, unique local culture and food and impressive day trips to the nearby desert.

Thousands of tourists visit Los Cabos every month and it is one of Mexico’s top destinations for tourism, rivaled by Cancun along the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean side.

beach chairs by the ocean on a sunny day in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Hospitals For Travelers In Baja California Sur

There are a number of hospitals in Los Cabos and throughout the rest of Mexico which offer bilingual service and quality healthcare. U.S. citizens are encouraged to go to one of the publicly-available hospitals in Mexico listed on the consulate page here if they are in need of care.

For the list of other medical facilities in Baja California Sur, check out the consulate’s page here. Please note that this was last updated in February 2020.

los cabos arch

Tips For Visiting A Hospital In Mexico

There are thousands of U.S. tourists and expats in Mexico and many can share positive experiences they’ve had at hospitals throughout the country. However, it’s a good idea to be informed and prepared for your trip. 

Here are some tips that the U.S. consulate shared on what to do when visiting a hospital in Mexico (note that these tips can apply to a hospital visit in any destination). 

Los Cabos International Airport
  • When considering any type of medical procedure, get as much information as you can about local facilities and their medical staff.
  • Ask for a written estimate of a procedure beforehand and always request itemized bills.
  • Check in with your travel insurance provider and see what is/what is not covered under your plan. Consider buying travel health insurance coverage and a policy that covers medical evacuation before your trip.
  • Know that most Mexican hospital facilities take payments in cash, credit card or bank transfers. They don’t accept U.S. health insurance or Medicare/Medicaid.
  • If possible, ask a family member, friend or any responsible party to accompany you while seeking medical care. 
Los Cabos, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California sur, Mexico

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Maria K Todd PhD MHA

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

It may be accurate and truthful. But the comparison is biased with unreasonable expectations and protections in law…as things are in the USA. The hospital is in Mexico and is within its right to do these things under the authority of COFEPRIS, it’s regulatory body for private hospitals.

Ron Curry

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Good information thank you