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Exchanging Money-Just For One Day


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#1 mawvky

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 10:13 PM

What is the best option for exchanging just enough money for a morning at el mercado and lunch at a loncheria? Coming on a cruise.
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#2 Charles

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 02:54 AM

If you're only spending a minimal amount of money, just stick with U.S. dollars. Even at the Mercado you should be fine. Bring small denomination bills as your change will likely be in pesos.
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#3 mawvky

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 09:51 AM

So a loncheria where locals go off the main drag would accept USD?
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#4 Carey

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 12:04 PM

 Most will, yes.  But  you will receive change in pesos and you won't get the best rate.  The best exchange rates are going to be at ATM machines using a debit -- not a credit! -- card.  You can find these machines at the front of the two big grocery stores downtown, the Chedraui and the Mega.  But it will take you some time to do this and, if you're only spending a small amount of money, it might not be worth your valuable time to make this stop.  I agree with Charles.  Bring a ton of $5's and $1's.  Lunch at a loncheria will be less than $10/person including the tip, for example, and that is for a big meal.


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#5 mstevens

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 01:02 PM

Which "el mercado"?

 

If you mean the Mercado Municipal (municipal market) on A. Rosado Salas, you might not be able to use foreign currency. There are some good loncherias near there, including Las Palmas and a few others.

 

You might also mean the "zócalo", previously called Parque Benito Juárez, now somewhat frighteningly called Punta Cero, sometimes called "the main square" (although a different park by the Palacio Municipal is more likely thought of by locals as the "main" square). This is a park across from the ferry landing currently undergoing renovation and surrounded by souvenir stores and restaurants. There's a section of 5 Avenida 1 block long in each direction from the park that is pedestrian-only and the back of the park has the Plaza del Sol complex with many small shops. If that's what you mean, your dollars will be more than welcome.


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#6 mawvky

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 01:43 PM

Which "el mercado"?
 
If you mean the Mercado Municipal (municipal market) on A. Rosado Salas, you might not be able to use foreign currency. There are some good loncherias near there, including Las Palmas and a few others.
 
You might also mean the "zócalo", previously called Parque Benito Juárez, now somewhat frighteningly called Punta Cero, sometimes called "the main square" (although a different park by the Palacio Municipal is more likely thought of by locals as the "main" square). This is a park across from the ferry landing currently undergoing renovation and surrounded by souvenir stores and restaurants. There's a section of 5 Avenida 1 block long in each direction from the park that is pedestrian-only and the back of the park has the Plaza del Sol complex with many small shops. If that's what you mean, your dollars will be more than welcome.


Yes, I meant Mercado Municipal. I would not be buying a lot there. Mostly browsing and then walking several blocks to one of the recommended

Using a debit card at an atm scares me, ie skimming. Would it be practical to start at Mega or Chedriau and buy some sundries with USD in order to receive some change in pesos?

Thanks all for the replies!
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#7 Carey

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 03:06 PM

yes, buying sundries with dollars and getting change is a good option.  Although sometimes especially at the Mega, they will give change in dollars also as they have a lot on stock from the cruiseship crews who shop here a LOT. That's definitely worth a shot.  Also the swipe card Banamex machine at the front of the Mega near where they sell pizza by the slice and there's a little cafe has never burned me.  I've been taking large amounts of pesos out of that machine for at least 4 years 2 or more times per week.  It's a swipe machine so won't eat your card.  And you even have the option on that particular BANMEX machine (there are other banks here, too) to choose English.

 

See if you can get pesos in change for sundries at the Mega.  If not, try the banamex cash machine there would be my best advice to you.

 

As to the downtown plaza near the ferry pier, this area is more souvenir type purchases although there are a few notable stores selling hammocks and painted feather art mixed into this area.  El Mercado on 25 y Salas is where locals shop so  you will find things like kitchen utensils -- including a tortilla cooking pan my sister in law purchased there, oilcloth, aprons, luggage, that kind of thing. But there are some souvenir items in there as well, I'm sure.  But more the type of souvenir a local might buy as a decoration in their own house. 


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#8 divern2h20

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 06:10 PM

I would have to ask your mode of transportation?

Mercado would be a real challange walking from a cruise port.

If going by taxi have the driver go by Electra, have your passport and exchange dollars for pesos.

That way you don't have to purchase unnecessary items and most likley not get enough change to do much good.

I have never waited more than a couple minuites for a teller. They will only exchange $300 US per day


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#9 crunch

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 11:44 AM

Mega has a very good rate.  Just ask for your change in pesos.


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#10 Carey

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 11:49 AM

If you come into the downtown pier, Punta Longosta, you are 1.5 blocks from the Mega.  Walk out to the street, turn right and walk one block and you will see it on the far side of the Avenida.  You can easily catch a taxi here afterwards to take you to El Mercado.

If it's not hot, your walk from the Mega to El Mercado is quite doable.  However, we're into the hotter weather so a cab might be a better choice.

 

If you do want to walk from the Mega, Turn right when you come out the front door and you will have a 5 block walk down the waterfront.  Then cut back 5 blocks into town on Salas to 20 and there you are.  So about a 10 block walk.

 

From the International pier, add in almost another mile and not recommended for this time of the year if you're not accustomed to weather in the tropics.

 

Re changing money at Elektra, I've been there when there were pretty long lines and I had to wait 15 minutes or more.  So depends on the time of day.

 

The Mega actually might have some good souvenirs for you if you like different types of food, for example.  The bakery is pretty good, for example.  And you will find unusual candy for the kids back home -- like my favorite goat milk caramel sandwiched between paper thin eatable wafers.  And very good buys on tequila compared to what you'll see in the states.  You can also get viagra and retin-A without a scrip at the pharmacy.

 

Remember that all prices are quoted in pesos and the dollar is very strong against the peso right now -- 15 pesos to the dollar.  So if you see a bottle of tequila for $100 calculate the dollar value accordingly.

 

Good to know you can request change in pesos at the Mega, Crunch.  Good info.  Just tell the cajera, the cashier -- cambio en pesos, por favor.  CAM-bee-oh ehn PEH-sos, pour fah VORE.


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#11 Coz2wonder

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 06:19 PM

I would not use any ATM machine that is available on Melgar called "CASHOLA".  They charge outrageous fees for use.

There's another machine on Melgar next to Diamonds International by the post office. I have never seen it before, nor did I recognize the name.  So, avoid that one as well.


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#12 mawvky

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 10:01 PM

Thanks again everyone!
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#13 crunch

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 12:15 PM

Carey,

 

We do that a lot when we run out of peso's.  I am too paranoid to use my debit card LOL.  We also use them to change out are large denomination pesos.  When the teller asks if we have anything smaller we just say no.  Then we have smaller peso pills which can be hard to get.


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#14 Charles

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 01:47 PM

What is the best option for exchanging just enough money for a morning at el mercado and lunch at a loncheria? Coming on a cruise.


People have made various suggestion about changing currency that may have some validity to some. For the original poster's question.... just enough for the Mercado (confirmed Mercado Municipal) and lunch at a for locals loncheria, I wouldn't suggest spending an extra $5-10 dollars on taxi fare, along with addition time and hassle to insure they get the best exchange rate possible. Could an average person spend more than $20 dollars at the Mercado, even springing for extra fresh squeezed juices? Lunch for $10 bucks should include an extra soda and a generous tip. If you have a budget for an outing of between $15 and $25 dollars and don't want to be left with more than minimal peso change, stick to dollars, just bring $5 and $1s. I have only paid in pesos, but have received dollars in change from all kinds of shop keepers when they were short on change.

I would not count of Mega being a casa de cambio. In the past, they usually give peso change and about equal to the ATM rates, but don't expect to abuse it. When to my benefit I have used dollars with the idea of getting some pesos in change. I never try to get more than 25 to 35% in change. If I use a $100 at the check out, my bill would be $65 to $80 dollars. Don't try a pack of gum for change for a $100 I once saw suggested. They will give change in dollars at times, some times when they are short on pesos, other times seeming at management directives. Typically with the number of imported items which are wholesale priced in dollars as well as bank loans denominated in dollars, Commercial Mexicana can most always use dollars. The rate they give will be less than their cost to purchase dollars with pesos. I don't know how the purchase by Soriana may change things
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