A Look at Getting Lab Work Done in Mexico

I normally begin my morning by reading the morning news online, drinking a couple of cups of black coffee and enjoying a delicious bagel –which by the way is made locally — but today I have to hold off on the latter because I plan to get some routine lab work done this morning at Centro Químico in Tulum.

There’s nothing wrong with me, as far as I know, and I wasn’t ordered by a doctor to get my lab work done, it’s just something that I do once or twice a year for peace of mind. It’s easy and affordable in Mexico, even without insurance.

When we moved to Mexico, I was surprised to see that the clinical laboratories were marketing directly to the public. They offer a wide range of packages and promotions that make it easy and convenient for people to use their services without necessarily going through a doctor.

The nice part is that they email us the results within 24 hours, so there’s no need to make a special trip back to the lab to pick them up. We can then forward them to our doctor via email.

It’s important to note that the lab results are in Spanish. If you need help interpreting your results and/or making health-related decisions based on them, one inexpensive option is to visit a pharmacy doctor. The average price for a consultation is only $50 pesos ($2.50 USD).

Lab Pricing

Lab prices vary quite a bit but you can expect to pay between $25-$120 USD. The cost really depends on how extensive you want the testing to be.

Since we are particularly thrifty, we only visit the labs that offer a locals discount. That saves us an additional 10-20%.

Let’s Wrap This Up

A couple of years ago, I was chatting on the phone with an old friend back in the States and I mentioned that I had my blood/urine work done in Mexico for about $50 USD. He laughed and said, “I thought you said it was less expensive in Mexico. I just saw the doctor and had my blood work done for only $20 bucks.”

Of course, he was referring to the price of his insurance copay, not the total cost of those services.

I then reminded him that we no longer pay those high U.S. insurance premium, and even back then, we estimated that we had already saved over $20,000 USD. Upon hearing that, his laughter disappeared and he responded with a simple, “Wow.”

Living in Mexico has allowed us to save money on everything from health care to cell phone bills. Every penny that we save — or peso in this case — means that we have more disposable income to dedicate to more enjoyable activities like traveling. We know that we would never have been able to live this well on this little if we had stayed in the U.S.

Well, that’s it for today. Hasta Luego.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

22 Comments on "A Look at Getting Lab Work Done in Mexico"

  1. Jerri Giusti | November 3, 2020 at 7:09 am |

    I’ve not had good luck with the labs in guaymas/San Carlos sonora. I’ve had several in the last few months. One test, costly, at $2500 pesos was emailed to me with someone else’s name, age and date of birth. I’m beginning to think a trip to the states might be worth it…took me 4 months to get a local dr to agree to write a prescription for a lymes test.
    One dr said he would write a prescription, since I was bitten by a tick, showing all the symptoms etc, and when I got those results back….he didn’t do a lymes test…
    Very frustrating when living in a small area in Mexico!
    Glad you have been having a good experience though.

    • Sorry to hear that. You might want to try a larger lab. We’ve had good results here with Centro Quimico.

  2. Shelley Wright | November 3, 2020 at 7:35 am |

    Love your informative posts!
    Would you consider giving an update on COVID and the impact it has had on the locals, as well as the tourism in your area?

    • There are COVID cases in every part of the world these days but our cases in Quintana Roo are much lower than many other areas. There are several health protocols in place: masks required in public, temperature taken at most businesses etc.

      Here is a useful link to the Quintana Roo official COVID page: https://qroo.gob.mx/sesa/nuevo-coronavirus-covid-19

      As far as tourism is concerned, the area is doing better than expected. People are returning to the area to vacation at rates that most people didn’t expect to see until 2021 or so.

  3. Jackie Bower | November 3, 2020 at 8:00 am |

    I see the person above my comments asked the same question that I was going to ask. We are from Canada and are supposed to go to Playa Del Carmen on our winter vacation, but I’m worried about Covid.

    • There are COVID cases in every part of the world these days but our cases in Quintana Roo are much lower than many other areas. There are several health protocols in place: masks required in public, temperature taken at most businesses etc.

      Here is a useful link to the Quintana Roo official COVID page: https://qroo.gob.mx/sesa/nuevo-coronavirus-covid-19

  4. Great article Paul! I look forward to enjoying the lower cost and convivence of health care in Mexico.

  5. I get routine labwork done at Quest laboratories in Mexico City. They have locations in the US too. Even in the US you can get the same labwork done without any doctor order or insurance. I have insurance, but don’t go to doctors only if necessary. So, basic lab tests work for me. And the good thing most pharmacies in Mexico have a basic doctor that can prescribe basic meds like antibiotics if needed.

  6. Your perspective is different than mine. Being Canadian and used to walk out of any doctor office, medical clinic or hospital without a bill, the cost of healthcare is something new to me.

    Actually, you may have come across Canadians who come down to Mexico or other places to enjoy a warmer winter and who will fly back north after a stay just shy of six months. The reason is simple: they lose your coverage if they leave Canada for more than 180 days in a year.

    • As economists are famous for saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” High taxes — especially on things that I enjoy like alcohol — are the trade off.

      We have met a lot of Canadians who come down specifically for dental work and even one for a knee surgery due to backups in the system back home. We wrote an article about her experience:


      There’s certainly no perfect system in world when it comes to Healthcare, but at this stage in my life, the Mexican system works best for me. Of course, if I was in your shoes and had spent a lifetime paying into that system, I would certainly take full advantage of it.

      • Dental work is not covered by our health care system, except for a few exceptions (e.g. for children under 10). I, like many Canadians, take advantage of my stays in Mexico to book an appointment with my dentist, knowing that he is just as good as his Canadian colleagues and that he will ask me way less for his services. Besides, he is a real nice person and never in a hurry, so we always have time to talk.

        Regarding the costs of the medical system, I only wrote that I am not accustomed to being handed a bill, therefore I have no idea of what such a bill would add to. For example, I went this morning for my seasonal flu shot. How much is this worth? I have no idea. However, I am totally aware that this is covered by a public insurance system and I can very easily estimate what my yearly “premium” is.

  7. I belong to the social system of medicine in Mexico, and have for years. It’s a great wellness program. I have a doctors appointment once every month, for a quick once over, and to pick up my meds, all included in my insurance premium of approximately $800US per year for myself and my wife. I have blood work done about every 3 months, and more often if I have a need. I can go to any hospital in the country , at anytime, for anything, which is also included, and never pay out of pocket.. And, I can also take advantage of what Paul alluded to in lab work, or specialists, if not offered by the system at very reasonable cost. Over the years, I have found that wellness monitoring is a major factor for good health, because so many thi
    ngs can be detected early.

  8. Gerardo De La garza | November 3, 2020 at 12:11 pm |

    Pauk, my wife an I live in Tequisquiapan, Qro.do we have to enroll in medicare? Iam a US citizen, wife is a residet alien, last year we were fined for not enrollin in Medicare, must we enroll??

  9. You are so right about costs in Mexico. While in the US I had abdominal pains so bad I had to go to the ER. I had a CT scan which cost $4450usd and without being admitted my bill was a few dollars shy of being $10,000. My diagnosis. Diverticulitis.

  10. Paul, as I’m sure you know, but some of your readers may not, self-proscribed tests go well beyond blood work. You can walk in, pay and receive any type of radiology from a chest X-ray to a PET/CT scan to an ultrasound. No doctor orders required. And unlike the US, I am the custodian of my test results and am responsible for bringing them to medical appointments. I like that system very much.

  11. Michael Savage | November 6, 2020 at 1:16 pm |

    I just would like to know where I can get bagels, they had none at Sam’s, Chedraui,, or Soriani here in Playa. Neither fresh or frozen,

  12. When I mentioned to my Canadian doctor that you can just walk into a lab in Mexico and ask for any test you want and the results are emailed to you, the patient, in 24 hours, all she could say is that it is very dangerous. It sure beats making an appointment with your doctor; waiting a couple of weeks; sitting in the waiting room for a couple of hours; getting a requisiton from the doctor for a lab test; making an appointment with the lab; waiting a while; finally having the tests; and then tracking down your doctor for a week or two to get the results. A Canadian lab can never give the results to the patient because that’s too dangerous. Love Mexico!

  13. Paul, do you know a place in PDC that would do lab work such as blood work and urinalysis with results in English? I know we’re in Mexico but we’re still learning. And thanks for all the new lessons you’ve just posted.

    • The results are in Spanish but you can always stop by the pharmacy doctor and have him or her go over them with you.

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