Frolicking in the mud at Los Negritos, a natural wonder in Michoacán

Mexico Life
Locals say there are about 15 pools of boiling mud at Los Negritos.Locals say there are about 15 pools of boiling mud at Los Negritos.

Frolicking in the mud at Los Negritos, a natural wonder in Michoacán

Restorative mud pots and ‘fools’ fire’ at Los Negritos Lake near Lake Chapala

Anywhere else, Los Negritos Lake would have been turned into a recreational area and its curative and beautifying mud pots into an expensive spa.

But in El Platanal, Michoacán, the local people seem content to keep their natural wonders as they are rather than “developing” them.

If you happen to live anywhere near Lake Chapala, you should note that Los Negritos is practically in your back yard. If you love nature, you’ll be fascinated by the strange shapes and noises of its boiling mud pots and, if you suffer from arthritis, you may find an inexpensive — albeit dirty — possible solution to your problem.

I first heard about Los Negritos from José Luis Zavala, a biologist studying the fish in the area. He explained that this lagoon is unique because it contains all the aquatic creatures that used to be found in Lake Chapala.

“Laguna Los Negritos is actually hydraulically connected to Chapala,” said Zavala, “but it hasn’t been polluted. It’s a perfect laboratory for studying what Lake Chapala must have been like years ago.”

Four friends having fun in the mud.

Four friends having fun in the mud.

The lake is rumored to be 700 meters deep, but Zavala calls this a myth.

Tall shade trees and several roofed kiosks make the laguna shore an ideal picnic spot and the mud pots are located only 400 meters northwest of the lake, easy to reach on foot over perfectly flat ground.

The mud is black as black can be and the boiling pots are mostly less than a meter in diameter. So “Los Negritos” (The Little Black Ones) is a fitting name for the place. We came upon at least a dozen boiling, hissing, plopping mud pots interspersed with small bogs and occasional wallowing holes filled with cool mud that would bring joy to the heart of any hedonistic porker.

So much moisture, of course, has brought lots of birds to this area and you can see vermillion flycatchers, golden-fronted woodpeckers, house finches, egrets and if you’re lucky you may even spot a white owl.

“Lots of people have drowned in the lake,” a local rancher told us, apparently because it drops straight down from the shoreline with no shallow spots for waders. He said a few people have drowned in some of the cool mud pools whose rims look far more solid than they really are.

However, he assured us that there are great benefits from getting up to your neck in mud, particularly if you suffer from arthritis. One must, however, be careful not to confuse the cool mud with the hot sort.

Los Negritos Lake is connected to Lake Chapala, but is said to be clean.

Los Negritos Lake is connected to Lake Chapala, but is said to be clean.

“One of my horses sank into what seemed to be cool mud and the heat was so intense, the poor horse lost two of its hooves,” explained the ranchero.

Our informant also told us that geysers sometimes shoot several meters into the air, but when and where this might occur is impossible to predict. Finally, our rancher friend said it may be worth staying overnight among the mud pots because occasionally they produce “big green flames.”

We imagined this must refer to the legendary will o’ the wisp or ignis fatuus (fool’s fire), a ghostly light said to hover over bogs, supposedly leading one either to rich treasures or perdition. Science tells us the phenomenon is the result of gases released by decaying organic matter, an explanation that’s not nearly as much fun.

When my friend Mario Guerrero told me he was going camping at Lake Negritos, I asked him to check out those green flames. A few days later, he sent me the following message. I think it nicely captures the flavor of many weekend excursions in Mexico. Tongue in cheek, he described his trip as “nothing special or unusual.”

“You asked me how our trip to Los Negritos went and I can report that it was todo sin novedad (nothing special).

“We started out fine in the morning in two vehicles, but when we stopped to pick up our compañeros, one of the cars refused to start. However, by pushing it, we finally got it going.

The thick black mud is said to cure all sorts of ailments, especially arthritis.

The thick black mud is said to cure all sorts of ailments, especially arthritis.

“A few hours later, about half a kilometer from Villamar — the closest town to Los Negritos — my own car suddenly died. It was the gas pump — totally shot. So, we had to tow it to Villamar using my friend’s car which, unfortunately, again refused to start.

“However, we push-started it . . . and got to Villamar where we found only one mechanic and he was hopelessly drunk. However, he staggered over to my car, looked at the pump, said he could fix it, but declared that there was no way to get a new one the same day because the spare parts store was closed.

“So, we left my car . . . and told him he should fix it as soon as he sobered up. ‘Just leave me money for the pump,’ he replied, ‘and a bottle of tequila.’

“Then all six of us piled into the other car. It was pretty crowded . . . .

“Finally, we arrived at Los Negritos at 10:00pm It was so dark we couldn’t see a thing, not even the lake. All we wanted to do by then was hit the sack. We went to the first kiosk, but what did we find in the middle of it but a big coral snake about two meters long.

“. . . we chased it away, but nobody in the group wanted to sleep in that particular kiosk anymore, so we went off in the dark looking for another one. Like I said, nothing ‘unusual’ about this trip.

    • 10—-La-Negrita
      Testing out the beautifying powers of the black mud of Los Negritos.
  • 2—-Collecting-mud
  • 5—-DSC_0499
  • 6—-DSC_0512
  • 8—-Google-Map-of-Los-Negritos-Lake
  • 9—-How-to-photograph-a-mud-pot
  • 10—-La-Negrita
  • 11—-mud-pot

“. . . we set up our tents inside the next kiosk and now it was about midnight. Then I remembered I promised to check out those mud pots for you. Well, I had the GPS coordinates, so we had no choice but to traipse off into the darkness looking for them.

“Since we couldn’t see where we were going, we ended up walking through mud so thick and sticky it soon looked like we had cannonballs at the ends of our legs. Finally, we found the mud pots, turned off our lights and discovered absolutely nothing: no green flames, no mysteries, no ghosts. In fact, once again nothing unusual.

“. . . two hours later we finally crawled into our tents — when all hell broke loose.

“A hurricane-like wind hit us and suddenly the surface of the lake was churning with monster waves. We had to jump on top of our tents to hold them down. I swear that wind was blowing over 200 kilometers per hour, but it finally weakened a bit and at last we were getting ready to go to bed when — it started to rain.

“Well, the wind was still blowing pretty hard and, therefore, we had rain coming at us horizontally. The roof of the kiosk wasn’t doing us any good at all and in a few minutes all of us and our gear were soaking wet . . . We didn’t get to sleep until 3:00am. It was just another one of those nights — nothing special at all.

“The next day we found the mechanic as drunk as ever, but the new gas pump was installed perfectly.

Mud pots at Lago Los Negritos

“On our way home we stopped at a taco stand under a canopy and what happened? While we were eating, another sudden downpour hits us — more horizontal rain — and we walked out of the ‘restaurant’ soaked again.

“Finally, at 11:00pm we arrived home after a rather long weekend but, gracias a Dios, a weekend sin novedad, with nothing special to report.”

To visit Los Negritos — if my friend’s report doesn’t dissuade you — ask Google Maps for directions to “Lago Los Negritos, Michoacán.” The mud pots are located at N20.06285 W102.61573 and yes, you can input these coordinates into Google Maps.

If you prefer old-fashioned directions, see Volume One of Outdoors in Western Mexico. Driving time from the town of Ajijic on Lake Chapala is just over two hours.

The writer has lived near Guadalajara, Jalisco, for more than 30 years and is the author of A Guide to West Mexico’s Guachimontones and Surrounding Area and co-author of Outdoors in Western Mexico. More of his writing can be found on his website.

Learn About Our Favorite Doctors And Their Backgrounds

Learn About Our Favorite Doctors And Their Backgrounds


Dr. Rodrigo Gonzalez

Dr. Rodrigo González got his medical degree from the Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico, and then went on to specialize in Ophthalmology in Puebla. He did his residency at one of Mexico’s most prestigious High specialty hospitals and obtained his degree from the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. When he returned to Guadalajara he studied a sub-specialty in Advanced Anterior Segment Surgery. He regularly performs cataract surgery as well as other procedures with an excellent success rate. With his vast experience in both the public and private sector he has the experience to resolve a wide variety of ocular issues. He is hightl regarded by his peers and paitients.

Cataract Surgery
The only solution for cataracts is surgery. Thanks to medical advances, cataract surgery is one of the safest and most successful procedures performed today.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure with local anesthesia that is performed in a few minutes, and consists of replacing the opaque lens with an intraocular highly regarded by his peers and patients.

Glaucoma Surgery 
Glaucoma can cause blindness if it is not treated on time, so I recommend that you see an ophthalmologist and have your exams done at least once a year, since with early detection and appropriate treatment you can keep your eyesight.

Fortunately, timely detection and appropriate treatment with drops or surgery can help preserve vision here you will find the best technology both in the studies to determine accurately the degree of your visual condition, as well as in the surgery with the experience of a Medical Staff of first level and the backing of the best technology.

Right now we are using MIGS (minimal invasive glaucoma surgery) to give to the patient another option to treat glaucoma and help the patient to be less dependable of drops or to reduce the number of drops needed to control this problem. Surgery can help lower the pressure when medications are not enough. However, it can not reverse vision loss.

Call for Appointment:
Dr. Rodrigo Gonzalez
Advance Medical Center
Aldanaca  #170   

Col. Versalles
322 224 4778 – 322 224 9761
Cell: 322 120 7487


Dr. Jennifer Perez Mejia

Rheumatologist & Internist

A Rheumatologist and Internal Medicine specialist.  She was born in Guadalajara, attended Medical School at University of Guadalajara and has a Post graduate degree in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.  She resides in Puerto Vallarta with her husband and 3 puppies.

A Rheumatologist is an internist who received further training in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal, autoimmune and inflamatory system diseases like:  Lupus, Theumatoid arthritis, anquilosant spondylitis, systemic scloerosis, figromyalgia, osteoarthritis, gout, DISH, osteoporosis, sarcoidosis and many others. 

Everyone with muscle pain, weakness, joint swelling and pain, deformity, bone fracture without trauma, skin rashes without clear cause, heel pain, dryness, back pain stiffness, thickening of skin. should see a rheumatoligist as soon as these sympoms are significantly worsening over a short period of time and if you have a family history of rheumatic conditions.

Call for Appointment:
Dr. Jennifer Perez Mejia

New Location:
Diangosti-K Building 
Av. Francisco Villa #1389
Tel: 322 225 2079
Cell: 045 331 355 9196

Dr. May Cadena
Ophthamologist specializing in
Orbital, Eyelids and Lacrymal Disease

Dr. May Cadena graduated from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (U.N.A.M.), specialized on Ophthalmology, subspecialized on Orbital, Eyelids and Lacrymal Disease at Asociación para Evitar la Ceguera en México (A.P.E.C.)., Mexico City.

She is a member of the Mexican Society of Ophthalmology, the Mexican Board of Ophthalmology, the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology, and the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons.

Orbit, eyelids and lacrymal system  are part of ophthalmologists’ study area as they are closely related to the eye.

The most common orbital disease is thyroid orbitopathy which is related to a disfunction of the thyroid gland, its symptoms vary from mildly red to bulging eyes. There are also primary and metastatic tumors that can affect the orbit. The formers can usually be early detected and treated (surgically in most cases), since they are a tiny eyelid lesion. Sun exposure, skin color and genetics are the most important risk factors for the evolution of these tumors.

Drooping eyelids is the most common anatomical alteration of the upper eyelids and can cause loss of visual field, heaviness and increased tearing. There are many causes of drooping eyelids so a complete evaluation is needed before getting any surgery. Fat bags are a common sign of time in the lower eyelids but also have a very important role on giving them support and the right position to protect the eye. In a planned surgery these and other changes can be corrected in a subtle way giving a younger and freshened appearance.

As ophthalmologist I care about aesthetics in eyelid surgery but most of all, about functionality because of its importance for the eye globe protection.

Lacrymal system disease causes uncomfortable tearing but it is not the only cause of this symptom. swer any question about these ophthalmic diseases with a thorough and kindful examination.

Call for Appointment:

Dr. May Cadena
Hospital Multimedica.
Francia 186, Colonia Versalles
Tel: 322 224 4101.
Hospital CMQ City Center
Basilio Badillo 365, Colonia Emiliano Zapata
Tel: 322 223 1919.
Cell: 322 303 2011
Web page:


Dr. Alberto Marron McNaught
Orthopedic Surgeon 

Originally from Guadalajara where he went to elementary and high school and continued there through the University of Guadalajara for his medical degree. He did his specialty training in Mexico City and in Puebla. He participates in a wide variety of continuing education classes where

he hones is skills as an orthopedic surgeon.

In Vallarta, he performs hundreds of orthopedic surgeries of all kinds including hip and knee replacements, rotator cuff, etc. Dr. Marron is the leader in the area performing PRP (Plasma Rich Platlets) and stem cell treatments in orthopedic patients where he uses the patient’s own blood and stem cells, respectively,  rather than harvesting elsewhere. 

Call for Appointment:
Dr. Alberto Marron McNaught

Vallarta Medical Center
Av. Los Tules #136
Phone 322 178 3000
Urgent Cel 322 150 7445

Dr. Liliana Meza Jimenez

Dra Liliana Meza Jimenez graduated from the Autonomous University of Nayarit in Dentistry in 2004.  She has had additional  training of  Dental Implantology by ECOOM School (Continuous Education in Orthodontics and Implants and Dentistry of Mexico) and has 13 years of experience in Integral Dentistry and Oral Rehabilitation. Dra Liliana is currently completing a certification in Dental Orthodontics.  Her office offers a full-service dental office including, dental exams, cleaning, fillings, extractions, whitening, root canals, periapical X-Ray of the entire tooth, fillings with resin, aesthetic inlays, total and partial plates, bridges and implants metal free bridges and crowns, rehabilitations of implants that are fixed or removeable.  Dental Tribeca has it’s own dental laboratory with a Prostetic Dental Technicial with 10 years experience. 

Call For Appointment
Dr. Liliana Meza Jimenez

Dental Tribeca in Bucerias
Av. Heroe de Nacozari #67, Bucerias
One block north and across Blvd. Riviera Nayarit
from the front of CMQ Hospital, Bucerias
Phone: Office  01 329 298 0596
Cell: 322 111 5981


Dr. Carlos M. Garcia 

Dr. Carlos M. García , MD, is a board certified urologist based in Puerto Vallarta, México. He is practicing physician and surgeon who is highly active in clinical research and development, lecturing, consulting and volunteering.

​Dr. Carlos M. Garcia is regarded as one of the worlds leading experts in minimally invasive outpatient based technology and has over 10 years of HIFU experience.

Dr. Garcia has served as a trainer and proctor for the HIFU equipment manufacturer, Sonacare Medical and has travelled extensively to lecture on HIFU and train other physicians around the globe on the use of the Sonablate HIFU device.

Dr.  García is certified by The International HIFU Society.  He has had special training in Endorrology, Pediatric Urology, Reconstructive Urology, HiFU for prostate cancer and BPH.  He is a member of Colegio Mexicane de Urologia, Mexico, DF, American Urological Association and Confederacion Americana de Urologia.

Call for Appointment:
Dr. Carlos M. Garcia G.


Grupo Diagnostic-K Building
Av. Francisco Villa  #1389
Col Fluvial Vallarta
322 221 2777



Dr. Adrian Octavio Lomeli

Dr. Adrian Octavio Lomeli was born and raised in Puerto Vallarta. He attended dental school at the University of Guadalajara, CIERO Institute in Mexico City and the MELZ Institute in Cuernavaca. He did his social service in Puerto Vallarta in the Centro de Salud. He holds a Master’s Degree in Dentistry. Dr. Lomeli enjoys horses, martial arts, music and his ranch.

He regularly has small groups of dentists come to his teaching office in Puerto Vallarta from all around the world, to study from him, learning his methods of dental implants. When asked what he enjoys best about his practice, he says “The joy obtained after being able to help patients with long-term issues including pain, TMJ dysfunction, to restore the mouth function through implants and crowns and to bring a beautiful smile to our patients is what I love about my job.”

Call for Appointment:
Dr. Adrian Octavio Lomeli
Dental Avant Garde
Cerrada de Cardenal 227, Int. 5
Las Aralias
Local Phone:  322-224-0243
From US and Canada:   011-52-322-224-0243


Dr. Daniela Sahagun
Medicina Estetica

A physician of aesthetic medicine and anti aging, Dr Sahagun is from La Peñita de Jaltemba, Nayarit, where she went to elementary and high school before moving to Guadalajara. There she attended the University of Guadalajara Medical School for her medical degree. She did her specialty training in Mexico City. She her husband and 3 children live in the Vallarta area.

Dr. Sahagún is the leader in the area performing enzyme treatments for anti-aging, and also has the most recent technology for dermal laser and feminine laser treatments. She also does PRP, ultrasound, Enzymatic mini liposuction, Botox and many other procedures for people who want to look and feel great. 

Call For Appointment
Dr. Daniela Sahagun

Medicina Estetica
Vallarta Medical Center
Av Los Tules #136
Phone 322 178 3000

Dr. Fernando Marquez
Emergency Physician

Dr. Fernando Márquez Vela was born on May 23, 1976, in Guadalajara, Jalisco. He has been living in Puerto Vallarta since 2005. As a lover of strong emotions and a rocker at heart, he never contemplated another career because, since he was a child, he wanted to be a doctor and always with the idea of ​​attending the emergency area. He paid part of his studies playing the guitar and singing in bars until he managed to fulfill his dream as a child: being an emergency specialist, a profession that now allows him the satisfaction of continuing his vocation as a musician and even, occasionally, plays in Vallarta bars . A few years ago I was part of a band called The Rocktors composed of music lovers from Puerto Vallarta.

He is currently director of Safecare, a company that coordinates pre-hospital emergency services, cardio protection of buildings and various pre-hospital services that include cutting-edge care at home.

Together with the Velas Group, they are leaders in the creation of the first cardio protected buildings, with a quality protocol in response to cardiological emergencies in Latin America, and are in the process of ISO 9000, 2015 certification in this matter. But not only promotes in the field of private medicine. He works as an advisor with Puerto Vallarta authorities in the project “Puerto Vallarta, Cardio-protected Tourism Destination” to adapt the protocol promoted by Grupo Velas to the needs of the municipality. He is director of the Personal Emergency Service Transmitter (PERT) program, which includes a transmitter keychain and GPS tracker to provide rapid response in various accident emergencies, which provides an added value to the hospital admission. He is also an emergency room physician at Vallarta Medical Center.

Finding Your Happy: Five Steps to a Balanced Life

Finding Your Happy: Five Steps to a Balanced Life

Who knew a balanced life is a sole secret to happiness?  Let me share some of my insights into this secret that I have recently discovered.  I was anticipating my 50 birthday with such excitement, convincing myself that life was perfect, the party was being planned, the summer vacation floating around in my head. That was about to shift unexpectedly and what I did not know was that life had decided to give me a few unexpected gifts. These gifts made me stop in my tracks, go deeper and look within. Only when I began to look inward, I began to walk down the path of self-discovery, an unexpected journey for me. I hope my sharing with you will enhance the happiness within your life.

Numero Uno: Your health. When you are moving and shaking all the time, something has to give, that is a guarantee. You must shift the gears of your life down to enjoy the journey. I likened my life to a car that was placed in park with the accelerator pressed to the mat, revved and ready to go, at all times. This is exhausting, it is essential that we slow it down, put it into park, get out of the car, go sit your butt in the sand, breathe, get present and rest.

Numero Dos: Are your ducks in order? Do you know your own affairs, are you in the driver’s seat of your own life? Can someone or something pull the rug out from under you? Could that cause a tsunami in your life? If so change things up pronto! You MUST be plugged into your own life, relying solely on someone else is a sure disaster for an unexpected moment. Knowledge is power. Get hold of the day to day operations of your life. It is a big fat deal!

Numero Tres: Do you know who you are? Do you really get what makes you tick, are you being your authentic self, walking your own journey? Are you a chronic people pleaser?   What is not nice is when you are not kind to yourself and putting yourself on the back burner. Get quiet, listen deeply, some of your beautiful truths will just start flowing out of you. Being authentic is the new sexy and you wear it well.

Numero Quatro: Do you like where you live? Have you made your home your sanctuary? Have you discovered enough of the world to really get that you are in your right and perfect place?  Find your sweet spot where you park your life, it makes everything fall into place.

Numero Cinco: Your tribe. This is a biggie, I think and talk about this a lot. It’s when the rubber hits the road that you really get this one. Your tribe is the ones who circle around you when things go South. They are your lifeline when you can’t quite breathe on your own. This is huge,  dig deep and look at this one.

Grab onto your life, hold on tight, make sure the ride is worth taking and get real, be present and enjoy your glorious journey, you deserve this and so much more.

Homework: Do you know where all your vital documents are that have a direct impact in your life? Do you have a will? Get this done this week.



Canadian company, Canntab Therapeutics Limited, announced the signing of a non-binding Letter of Intent with Labsco Promedic SA de CV of Monterrey, Mexico(“Labsco”) for the establishment of a joint venture relationship for the sales & distribution of Canntab products in Mexico on an exclusive basis. Both parties will work together to establish and complete a formal joint venture relationship for an initial period of five years.

According to the document, Labsco will be responsible for funding and obtaining any and all regulatory, licensing or other such approvals for the importation and distribution of Canntab products in Mexico along with the distribution of Canntab.

Canntab will license their product exclusively to Canntab but continue to produce the product in their Canadian facility. Both companies believe the formal agreement can be reached by the end of the year.

“Following several months of discussion including introductory due diligence, we are pleased to welcome Labsco and their team to the Canntab family. We are excited about the potential for our sustained release tablet formulations of cannabinoids in the Mexican market,” said Jeff Renwick, Canntab CEO.

“Following our recently announced application to Health Canada to become a Licenced Producer under the ACMPR, and along with our production facility in collaboration with FSD Pharma, Canntab is building a significant international distribution network for its products. Labsco is the newest addition to this developing line of business for Canntab”.

Canntab Therapeutics Limited is a Canadian cannabis oral dosage formulation company based in Markham Ontario, engaged in the research and development of advanced pharmaceutical grade formulations of cannabinoids.

Canntab has developed patent-pending technology to deliver standardized medical cannabis extract from selective strains in a variety of extended/sustained release pharmaceutical dosages for therapeutic use. In doing so, Canntab has developed a suite of precision oral dose products that are unavailable elsewhere in the marketplace.

Canntab’s primary focus is on providing cannabis-based products to medical professionals that can be used to deliver therapeutic treatments to their patients.

Medical Matters: Bits and Pieces – Sept 2018

Medical Matters: Bits and Pieces

As we head into September, traditionally the “slowest” month of the year here in the area, I am wondering what has happened to those days? The days of what is now supposedly not politically correct to call “low season”.  August has been engaging to say the least. It is true, it is not as insanely hectic as it will be in the fall and winter months but the days of not being busy in the summer months is no more! Whew!

I would strongly encourage people who have rental companies here in the area, handle accommodation rentals, to make sure that when accepting a renter, you have at minimum, your client’s emergency contact information to include family member’s name, email address and phone number especially if the renter is a single person, staying alone here. The chances that you will have to actually use this information is slim but believe me when I say if your client has a medical emergency, the information is vitally important! Encourage your client to register with their consulate online (so easy to do!) as well. Encourage your client to keep their important papers in a location that can be accessed easily and perhaps, they can let you know where these are kept.  By adding some basic information on your client to their ‘file’ with you, valuable time can be saved. We are more than happy to assist you/your company to put together a form to have completed prior to your client’s arrival. Just let me know!

Our October Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just around the corner and we have some exciting events planned! If you are an artist (or just a creative person, non-artist) remember that we have our art contest which I have written about in the past and am happy to send you details via email. Get those creative juices flowing! We are still in need of food donations (sweet or savory) for a couple of our events and raffle prizes as well. And last but not least, we need some female models for our closing brunch. For any and all details, please send an email! Breast Cancer Awareness month is all about just that, AWARENESS!

We do not have any of our screening clinics in September. We start up again in October where we have eye clinic, ear clinic, mammogram clinic, vascular clinic, women’s clinic, men’s urology clinic, foot clinic, cardiac clinic, thyroid clinic, skin clinic. Look for some new clinics starting as well!

Medical Matters 2019 is set for February 11, 2019 at the Hotel Marriott CasaMagna. For those that have attended in the past, you know that this is THE event of the year! An overflowing day of exhibits, speakers programs, information, sharing of anything and everything to do with healthcare in the area here. Sometimes I think I must be daft to do this again but when I look back and see how very successful these have been in the past, I think, “Ok, one more year!”  We cannot do these without our stellar group of volunteers and this year will be the same. If you are able to volunteer a few hours the day of the event, please do contact me as I will spend September putting together all of the details for this humongous event!

Here-s to a witty week!

HealthCare Resources Puerto Vallarta is a multi-faceted, independent, resource network that is here for your TOTAL health and well-being. We offer English-speaking assistance to help find a physician, hospital and/or diagnostic service for any healthcare needs. As well, we are here to answer any health-related questions that you might have in relation to the Puerto Vallarta area.

Medical Matters: Admission! Part I

Medical Matters: Admission! Part I

What is the process when one needs to be admitted to a hospital here? Whether it be an emergency or a ‘planned surgery’? Today we will talk about being admitted to a private hospital in the area. Being admitted to a public hospital is a bit different and we can cover that in another article.

It is important that one carries with them a list of medications they take, emergency contact information, medication allergies and copy of ID.

Upon admission, if one has insurance, insurance card/information needs to be given. The admitting department will contact the insurance company to open a case. Hopefully, it is an insurance that will respond quickly with what is called a ‘guarantee of payment’ (GOP) which will state that yes, the person has coverage and the company will pay directly to the hospital. This GOP will also state if the patient has a deductible or co-pay and said patient will be responsible for this portion.  In most cases, even if the patient has insurance, a deposit will be required. This is like opening a bar tab. For those with insurance, once the GOP is received the deposit is canceled. Of course, a deposit can be paid via credit card.  The amount of the deposit (especially if one does not have insurance) will be based on the admitting diagnosis. For example, if someone is being admitted for a heart attack, going to the Intensive Care Unit the deposit required will be substantially higher than if someone is being admitted for dehydration and the patient is going to a regular room (not the ICU). Most hospitals will work with the patient/patient family on the deposit. Perhaps monies need to be transferred from the US/Canada or family members need to be contacted for assistance. If, after a specific amount of time, all resources have been exhausted and the patient has no funds, then the patient will need to be transferred to the Regional Hospital (public hospital). This is a topic for another day (public versus private system).

Admission paperwork is done, consents are signed. All of these are in Spanish. Oftentimes people say “I want these in English”. By law here, all of the paperwork, records, notes….the works, must be in Spanish but can be explained to the patient/family.

After the admission, there is still a flurry of paperwork to be done for background information, data collection. Dietary, medications, background information. It oftentimes seems overwhelming with continual hospital staff in and out of the room with questions.

If the patient is on specific medications and has their own, then yes, they can usually ‘use’ their own medications BUT the medications must be submitted to the medical staff and given by the medical staff, to be returned to the patient at discharge.

It is normal upon admission, especially an emergency admission to have lab work done, diagnostic studies (X-rays, CT scan, etc.) depending on the diagnosis.

The patient’s diet will be determined by the admitting physician. “I am hungry!’ the patient says but if they are going to surgery, having specific studies or perhaps are being admitted for a gastric issue, the diet is going to be nil, nada. Or it could be clear liquids, bland. It all depends on the admitting physicians order. Hospital food here can vary from really good to really yucky, depending on the hospital. Most are pretty much based around chicken or fish.

The patient is now settled in their room (all of the private hospitals here are private rooms). There is WIFI (yes, one can have their tablet, phone), satellite TV (yes there are channels in English). No way out of it, the patient must wear the standard hospital gown and not their own clothes. Friends or family can bring personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.). This of course, is an admission that is not in the ICU which I will cover in another article.

Friends and family can visit with no more than 3 at a time. Flowers/plants are not allowed in patient rooms due to allergies.

Next week we will talk about the daily routine as a patient.

Here’s to a sparkling week!

Medical Matters: Assorted Stuff!

Medical Matters: Assorted Stuff!

A great big sincere apology to my good friend, Robina Oliver. In my last article, I gave a shout out to her and her shop and put the wrong name of her shop. It is LA SIRENA REINA. I believe she is still speaking to me after this big blooper. Swimsuits galore with some excellent bargains right now. Disculpas!

Our July clinics continue and as we head into August, those clinics are filling up as well. If you would like a copy of the newsletter, just let me know. No clinics in September! Remember that our clinics are screening clinics, offered at a discounted price than a regular consult and do not include any procedures if found on exam. We have been doing these clinics for many years and they remain popular. We have not raised the prices of the clinics for ages and it is time to do that soon. They will all still be at discounted prices but I need to increase the prices just a tad.

We are so proud of the physicians that we work with! As I write this, Dr. Carlos Garcia is in Korea, training Korean urologists on the HIFU method of prostate cancer treatment. Dr. Guillermo Ramos, plastic surgeon, recently did a presentation at an International Plastic Surgery conference on the Brazilian Butt Lift.

Two weeks ago a huge international conference on bariatric surgery was held in Puerto Vallarta, hosted by Dr. Armando Joya who did ten ‘live’ surgeries. Our physicians travel to various points around the globe to attend a wide variety of medical conferences. All of our physicians are board-certified (very important!) in their specialty. It is no wonder that we have so many people travelling here for various medical procedures, surgeries! So proud of them all!

If you live here full time, or even part time, you really should be registered with your consulate.

US Citizens:

Canadian Citizens:

Why is this important? If you go missing, it is the consulate that will be contacted to provide assistance. If you go to jail, it is the consulate that will be contacted.  It only takes a few minutes and is very important! This is even more important if you are here and single.

Save the date!  Cheryl’s Shoebox 3rd Annual Summer Bash! Sunday, August 5, 2018. 2pm to 8pm. This fundraiser will consist of live music and picnic style games where your favorite restaurants, bars and shops will compete for the title of Cheryl’s Shoebox Summer Beach Bash Champions! Location: Babel Bar – Isla Cuale. Tickets are 200 pesos per person and available at the door.  Click here for further details. Maybe you want to put a team together!

One thousand thank you’s to all of the Facebook messages wishing me a Happy Birthday! I am still plowing through them all. Truly overwhelming and so very much appreciated. Now let’s forget about it until next year. Fine by me!

Stay hydrated!

Here’s to a witty week!

Traditional carnitas, Puerto Vallarta Style!

Traditional carnitas, Mexico’s version of pulled pork, is fried in gallons of lard or oil. The results are tasty, but who wants to deal with all that hot fat? We wanted restaurant-style carnitas_tender chunks of lightly crisped, caramelized pork, subtly accented with oregano and citrus_without the hassle of frying.

Our initial recipe for carnitas started by simmering the meat (taste tests proved boneless pork butt had the best flavor) in a seasoned broth in the oven and then sauteing it in some of the rendered fat. The flavor was OK, but too much of the pork flavor was lost when we discarded the cooking liquid.

So we reduced the liquid on the stovetop (after the meat had been removed) to the consistency of a thick, syrupy glaze that was perfect for coating the meat. Broiled on a rack set over a baking sheet, the glazed meat developed a wonderfully rich flavor, and the rack allowed the excess fat to drip off.

We emulated the flavor of the Mexican sour oranges used in authentic carnitas with a mixture of fresh lime and orange juices. Bay leaves and oregano provided aromatic notes, and cumin brought an earthiness that complemented the other flavors.


Servings: 6

Start to finish: 2 hours and 30 minutes

We like serving carnitas spooned into tacos, but you can also use it as a filling for tamales, enchiladas, and burritos.


1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 4/5 inch thick, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 small onion, peeled and halved

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Table salt and ground black pepper

2 cups water

2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime

1 medium orange, halved

Tortillas and Garnishes:

18 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

Lime wedges

Minced white or red onion

Fresh cilantro leaves

Thinly sliced radishes

Sour cream

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 F. Combine the pork, onion, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, water, and lime juice in a large Dutch oven (the liquid should just barely cover the meat). Juice the orange into a medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice). Add the juice and spent orange halves to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven; cook until the meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours, flipping the pieces of meat once during cooking.

Remove the pot from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a bowl; remove the orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from the cooking liquid and discard (do not skim the fat from the liquid). Place the pot over high heat (use caution, as the handles will be very hot) and simmer the liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy (a heatproof spatula should leave a wide trail when dragged through the glaze), 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.

Using two forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in the reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the pork in an even layer on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet or on a broiler pan (the meat should cover almost the entire surface of the rack or broiler pan). Place the baking sheet on the lower-middle oven rack and broil until the top of the meat is well browned (but not charred) and the edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip the pieces of meat and continue to broil until the top is well browned and the edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with the warm tortillas and garnishes.

To warm tortillas, place them on a plate, cover with a damp dish towel, and microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. Keep tortillas covered and serve immediately.


Nutrition information per serving: 339 calories; 127 calories from fat; 14 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 147 mg cholesterol; 549 mg sodium; 3 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 46 g protein.


For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit . Find more recipes like Mexican Pulled Pork in “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2018 .”

Medical Matters: Planning Ahead

Medical Matters: Planning Ahead

Pull out those agenda to save some dates! It is a small miracle but I am already working on a few upcoming events!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each year we have our stunning Pink Cocktail held in the lobby at Hospital San Javier Marina. Every year, we have more in attendance and it is a good way to kick of the season as they say. Delightful goodies, both sweet and savory which are for the most part, donated by wonderful people. This year, the Pink Cocktail will be held on October 5, 2018, 5pm to 9pm as in the past. Raffle prizes galore as well! And as always, I am requesting food donations, from cookies to appetizers. What makes this such a great event is that the entire community participates as we focus on breast cancer awareness and we honor our breast cancer survivors as well as remember those that have not. Look for loads of publicity not only on this event, but an entire month of events in October. We will close out the month with a Pink Brunch to be held at Bravos Restaurant on October 27, 2018. This will feature a fashion show by La Sirena Reina, swimsuits for women of all sizes! I need models! Get your pink on!

I did not do Medical Matters last year. I just decided to take a year off, re-think the event. For those that have never attended, or perhaps are new to the area, this is our huge medical expo held each February at the Hotel Marriott. What began about seven years ago with a couple of hundred people attending a few exhibitors, has grown by leaps and bounds with the last Medical Matters being attended by nearly 4,000 people throughout the daylong event. With three rooms of speakers programs (all health related) running non-stop and a ballroom filled to the brim with local healthcare providers (from hospitals to labs, therapists to ambulances, insurance companies to chiropractors) this is THE health happening! All focus is on LOCAL healthcare services and providers.  This event cannot be successful without the stellar volunteers that we have each year who keep attendees on track, keep the flow going smoothly and keep me from losing my mind. If you would like to assist, please contact me. Medical Matters 2019 will be held on February 11, 2019. Watch for oodles of information coming over the next few months.

I would like to give a big welcome and shout out to The Print Company! They are located at Grandes Lagos 192 Local 1 in Fluvial Vallarta. The laser printing/printer is state of the art with graphic designers on site. Bilingual too! From maps to business cards, menus to banners and loads more, you will want to stop by and ask for a tour! Have a look at their Facebook page: No longer necessary to go to Guadalajara for printing needs on everything from coffee mugs to pens. We have this available here! Bienvenidos!

Yes. It is hot and humid. No reason to complain as it happens every year, not a surprise! Stay hydrated is the #1 most important thing you can do!

Here’s to a breezy week!

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Benefits of medical marijuana

While some researchers are investigating the benefits of medical marijuana, smoked or vaporized cannabis, most are looking at specific cannabis compounds, called cannabinoids.

From a research standpoint, cannabis is considered a “dirty” drug because it contains hundreds of compounds with poorly understood effects. That’s why researchers tend to focus on just one cannabinoid at a time. Only two plant-based cannabinoids, THC and cannabidiol, have been studied extensively, but there could be others with medical benefits that we don’t know about yet.

THC is the main active component of cannabis. It activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain, causing the “high” associated with cannabis, as well as in the liver, and other parts of the body. The only FDA-approved cannabinoids that doctors can legally prescribe are both lab produced drugs similar to THC. They are prescribed to increase appetite and prevent wasting caused by cancer or AIDS.

Cannabidiol (also called CBD), on the other hand, doesn’t interact with cannabinoid receptors. It doesn’t cause a high. Seventeen states have passed laws allowing access to CBD for people with certain medical conditions.

Our bodies also produce cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. Researchers are creating new drugs that alter their function, to better understand how cannabinoid receptors work. The goal of these studies is to discover treatments that can use the body’s own cannabinoids to treat conditions such as chronic pain and epilepsy, instead of using cannabis itself.

Cannabis is promoted as a treatment for many medical conditions. We’ll take a look at two, chronic pain and epilepsy, to illustrate what we actually know about its medical benefits.

Is it a chronic pain treatment?

Research suggests that some people with chronic pain self-medicate with cannabis. However, there is limited human research on whether cannabis or cannabinoids effectively reduce chronic pain.

Research in people suggest that certain conditions, such as chronic pain caused by nerve injury, may respond to smoked or vaporized cannabis, as well as an FDA-approved THC drug. But, most of these studies rely on subjective self-reported pain ratings, a significant limitation. Only a few controlled clinical trialshave been run, so we can’t yet conclude whether cannabis is an effective pain treatment.

An alternative research approach focuses on drug combination therapies, where an experimental cannabinoid drug is combined with an existing drug. For instance, a recent study in mice combined a low dose of a THC-like drug with an aspirin-like drug. The combination blocked nerve-related pain better than either drug alone.

In theory, the advantage to combination drug therapies is that less of each drug is needed, and side effects are reduced. In addition, some people may respond better to one drug ingredient than the other, so the drug combination may work for more people. Similar studies have not yet been run in people.

Well-designed epilepsy studies are badly needed

Despite some sensational news stories and widespread speculation on the internet, the use of cannabis to reduce epileptic seizures is supported more by research in rodents than in people.

In people the evidence is much less clear. There are many anecdotes and surveys about the positive effects of cannabis flowers or extracts for treating epilepsy. But these aren’t the same thing as well-controlled clinical trials, which can tell us which types of seizure, if any, respond positively to cannabinoids and give us stronger predictions about how most people respond.

While CBD has gained interest as a potential treatment for seizures in people, the physiological link between the two is unknown. As with chronic pain, the few clinical studies have been done included very few patients. Studies of larger groups of people can tell us whether only some patients respond positively to CBD.

We also need to know more about the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, what systems they regulate, and how they could be influenced by CBD. For instance, CBD may interact with anti-epileptic drugs in ways we are still learning about. It may also have different effects in a developing brain than in an adult brain. Caution is particularly urged when seeking to medicate children with CBD or cannabis products.

Cannabis research is hard

Well-designed studies are the most effective way for us to understand the benefits of medical marijuana. But research on cannabis or cannabinoids is particularly difficult.

Cannabis and its related compounds, THC and CBD, are on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, which is for drugs with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” and includes Ecstasy and heroin.

In order to study cannabis, a researcher must first request permission at the state and federal level. This is followed by a lengthy federal review process involving inspections to ensure high security and detailed record-keeping.

In our labs, even the very small amounts of cannabinoids we need to conduct research in mice are highly scrutinized. This regulatory burden discourages many researchers.

Designing studies can also be a challenge. Many are based on users’ memories of their symptoms and how much cannabis they use. Bias is a limitation of any study that includes self-reports. Furthermore, laboratory-based studies usually include only moderate to heavy users, who are likely to have formed some tolerance to marijuana’s effects and may not reflect the general population. These studies are also limited by using whole cannabis, which contains many cannabinoids, most of which are poorly understood.

Placebo trials can be a challenge because the euphoria associated with cannabis makes it easy to identify, especially at high THC doses. People know when they are high.

Another type of bias, called expectancy bias, is a particular issue with cannabis research. This is the idea that we tend to experience what we expect, based on our previous knowledge. For example, people report feeling more alert after drinking what they are told is regular coffee, even if it is actually decaffeinated. Similarly, research participants may report pain relief after ingesting cannabis, because they believe that cannabis relieves pain.

The best way to overcome expectancy effects is with a balanced placebo design, in which participants are told that they are taking a placebo or varying cannabis dose, regardless of what they actually receive.

Studies should also include objective, biological measures, such as blood levels of THC or CBD, or physiological and sensory measures routinely used in other areas of biomedical research. At the moment, few do this, prioritizing self-reported measures instead.

Cannabis isn’t without risks

Abuse potential is a concern with any drug that affects the brain, and cannabinoids are no exception. Cannabis is somewhat similar to tobacco, in that some people have great difficulty quitting. And like tobacco, cannabis is a natural product that has been selectively bred to have strong effects on the brain and is not without risk.

Although many cannabis users are able to stop using the drug without problem, 2-6 percent of users have difficulty quitting. Repeated use, despite the desire to decrease or stop using, is known as cannabis use disorder.

As more states more states pass medical cannabis or recreational cannabis laws, the number of people with some degree of cannabis use disorder is also likely to increase.

The ConversationIt is too soon to say for certain that the potential benefits of cannabis outweigh the risks. But with restrictions to cannabis (and cannabidiol) loosening at the state level, research is badly needed to get the facts in order.

Steven Kinsey, Assistant Professor of Psychology, West Virginia University and Divya Ramesh, Research Associate, University of Connecticut

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Benefits of medical marijuana

Mexico City should allow marijuana cultivation, mayoral hopeful says

Mexico to legalize marijuana-based product sales in 2018

Mexico issues first marijuana usage and growing permit