23 April, 2008

Money in Mexico

Been doing a bit of research into currency in the land of the "Full Tamale" in advance of our epic trek in about 2 weeks time (we fly out on the 9th of May)...and quite the most important thing that has stood out thus far is the *extremely* common saying "No Hay Cambio" (or "There is no change" for the non-fluent Spanish speakers among us), apparently, even though the Bank of Mexico currently has 360 billion pesos in coins and notes in circulation, the visitor will soon get used to hearing this apology, whether it’s trying to use 50 pesos to pay for a 30-peso taxi journey, or 100 pesos note for a 20-peso bottle of water, and it's not only in this (almost understandable type of situation), it's even common at local shops, restaurants, and even at supermarket checkouts. Even if you *do* get change, from the sounds of things it's not uncommon for people *with* notes to hand you all your change in coins if you have a larger note to use and a small amount in your basket.

So, major tip number 1 - take plenty of small notes, walking around with a 500 peso note can be almost the same as walking around with no money at all. If you do find yourself in that unhappy position it's only worth trying to spend it in the largest of shops, and then saving all the change for other situations/tipping chamber maids etc.

The next thing I noticed is that there doesn't appear to be a lot of point in buying US Dollars for exchange in Mexico if your home currency is the Canadian Dollar, Pound Sterling, or the Euro (unless you can change completely commission free), exchanging these currencies directly into Mexican Pesos is extremely straightforward, as is using bank cards to take out cash at ATMs and you will get a decent rate of exchange for them. The best value exchange rate is often to be found at airports in Mexico itself.

Major tip number 2, if possible, use the bureaux de change in Mexican airports, or use protected credit/debit cards to withdraw cash, exchange rates in resorts or in the big hotels tend to be much less competitive (as you would expect)...

Next up, tip 3 - Take only as much money out with you as you think you'll need for the the day. If you happen to see something tempting to buy and don't have quite enough money, a small deposit will always secure it. You can return later on or ask for the item to be delivered to your hotel, this is commonly done.

So, forewarned is forearmed (urk...shouldn't have mentioned arms...still hurting from the jabs)...bleugh... ;)

If anyone else has been to Mexico and has any other good tips, please post a comment! We already know to take plenty of immodium/antacid and to get a good (and strong) deet spray, oh and to book our seats at chosen restaurants on the first day of the visit (to avoid disappointment)...anything else we should know?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Drink logs of tequila!

Anonymous said...

Try not to use your Credit/Debit cards abroad unless your with Nationwide as you will be charged two things, using it abroad in the first place and a cross border fee (changing sterling into Mexican etc) Also you get charged the same sort of fees for withdrawing money at ATM's. The other credit card which is good is a Post Office one (free to use abroad for the life of the card, and also a smaller charge for withdrawing at ATM's) but its too late to get one now i guess. If you have any notes left over ill change them up for you!

Sally

PS Have a great time!

Anonymous said...

Don't stay in hotel gayboy!

Sarah said...

Can we have more posts from Flyingpops please? :-)

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

Well, that's completely up to Flyingpops, who is currently busy upstairs doing "hair and beauty"... ;) I'll yell up the order... ;)

Flyingpops said...

Thanks Sal.... good advice - We'll probably need to get some more money changed before we go. I'll see if we can get it to you in time (but with being away this weekend,we may have to change it at the airport)

And Sarah - I'll blog soon, just had to put oil in the camper, pack the clothes and then get ready for a meeting tomorrow.... Oh and watch the apprentice!

Tom Hopwood said...

And if you stay at the Hotel Bastardos take plenty of toilet paper.

Sarah said...

Oh come on Flyingpops, you must have time! :-)
See you on the 59 later maybe? We can discuss The Apprentice!

Dan said...

Hi guys. Will tell you on Saturday, why dollars are good!

:-)