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Mexico: Pesos, cell phone and insect repellent question

Mexico: Pesos, cell phone and insect repellent question

Sep 29th, 2008, 01:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 750
Mexico: Pesos, cell phone and insect repellent question

In a few weeks, we're traveling to Zihua/Ixtapa for the first time.


1) Can we simply access pesos through the ATM at the airport or will we need to arrange to have pesos before we leave the US? We will have a layover in Mexico City and will probably use the ATM at the airport there.

(we will inform our banks/credit card companies of our travel plans prior to our trip)

2) Any advice on cell phone usage in Mexico? We have an International cell phone w/ the SIM card for European travel. Is this what we need for Mexico?

3) for those of you travelers who have been on Mexican's Pacific Coast, is there an insect repellent that you'd recommend?

4) any other tips are greatly appreciated!

Muchas Gracias!

adventureseeker is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,367
I spend a lot of time in Puerto Vallarta, which is up the coast.

Yes you'll want peso. You can get them thru ATM's or by exchanging USD at a casa de cambio (exchange house).

Sorry don't know about cell phones.

I stay downtown in PV, just on the beach and around the city, I've never had need of an insect repellent.

I always carry a Spanish phrase book and small dictionary. The people in the tourist places (hotels, restaurants) likely will speak some English, but other places (your room maid, grocery store, etc.) likely they will not.
suze is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 06:53 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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Suze is correct as pesos purchased in the US are a bad deal due to fees/exchange rate. Wait till you are in Mexico. Banks normally have the best rate. Mt cell phone worked at 1.99 US per minute. I seldom use it. You can get package deal from your carrier at a better rate.
I never needed bug spray EXCEPT when hiking in the Jungle such as upriver at Yelpa. I take a small pump of Deep Woods "OFF" which works fine.
Stewbear is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 11:41 AM
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There are two ATMs in the Ixtapa/Zihua airport, one just outside customs and one a little further down to your left as you leave customs. You've got to dodge the timeshare guys to get there. We found ATMs quite easily in Zihua outside the banks.

We rarely had insect issues - I'd save the luggage space for sunscreen.

One of our bartenders told us that the taxi drivers/wait staff/bar tenders/maids happily accept US small bills as tips, BUT the bills must be in pristine condition - the banks won't exchange them if they're worn/torn/old/taped. We actually did a peso-for-old-US$ exchange with her - she was thrilled, and we had a few bucks for a snack at the airport once we were back in the States.

Have a great time!!!

txgirlinbda is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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TXgirl she was most likely thrilled as she gave you 10 to 1 & then got 10.6 or so at the bank. I often do this with gringos that need to exchange dollars.
Stewbear is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 08:30 PM
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Gracias for all the advice!
adventureseeker is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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1) By all means do NOT get pesos in advance - ATMs have the best current rate plus ATM fee plus whatever rip-off fee your credit card company imposes for foreign currency transactions - not just cash but all other purchases as well. It's well worth finding and using a card which does not tack on a percentage for foreign currency transactions! (e.g. my Sears Master Card does not charge a fee for transactions in Mexico - all my other cards do). Casas de cambio are a little more costly, but OK in a pinch.

Be sure you have your PIN #'s set to four (4) digits only, or your credit and debit cards will not register in Mexican ATMs.

2) I have found cell phone rates excessive - buy a phone card either in the US or in Mexico and use public or no charge for local / 800 calls hotel phone.

3) Ditto on the Deep Woods Off - appears to have the right concentration of the Right Stuff.

jw2 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 11:22 AM
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Stewbear - after seeing the way some tourists were treating the staff, giving her 10-1 on the $ exchange was the least I could do! Every local we ran in to was so warm and friendly - I can't wait to go back!!
txgirlinbda is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 11:34 AM
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You are right Txgirl. I an often embarrassed by some of our fellow citizens drunken antics. As a non drinker I am seldom in bars but most cafés as you know are also bars so I still see it.
Stewbear is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 03:50 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 222
What international sim card do you have? It will probably work in Mexic (check their page), but at high rates. There are international sim cards that offer good rates for mexico. If you will be spending quite a little bit of time there, you probably want to get a local sim card.

PS. My international sim cards list roaming in Mexico, however the rates are about $1.30/min.
mrcamp is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Hi, adventureseeker -

Re: the insect repellant, Picaridin is an alternative to DEET that some of us strongly prefer. For more information, look for a thread on this board entitled "DEET"


Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 11:11 AM
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And don't forget that the symbol for Peso on the ATM is the $, so be sure to put in a big enough number for the money you need. $100 is not a hundred dollars!
Reisender is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 11:27 AM
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1. Use ATMs

2. Call your carrier, you may be able to use your phone but it will cost a ton.

3. Something with DEET works the best. The higher percentage the better. We always liked Cutters lotion. Be sure to put sunscreen on first, let it soak in, then add bug repellant. The bug repellant needs to be reapplied occasionally. Good sunscreen will last the whole day if you let it dry before you attempt bathing or adding repellant.

4. Our best time in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo was hiring a taxi for the day. The driver took us to a miracle church in a nearby town, an in-home museum of indian artifacts dug up by a local guy (his home is now the museum, he'll proudly explain it all to you for a small propina, no English spoken), and a nice beach with restaurant that was deserted we had great seafood, beer, a dip in the surf and a nap on the hammock in the shade for a great price (we were there in December and this resort is popular with Mexicans who don't begin vacation season until later).
bdjtbenson is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2008, 03:03 PM
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The Town with The "Miracle" church is Petatlan & an easy trip on the bus for 12 pesos. The Church is unique being white washed & the Jesus Negro (Black Jesus) is the said miracle provider. In addition the town is famous for haveing one of the few native gold markets although I understand the local gold is now gone so they must import. Mexico has literally tons of silver bit not much gold. The Empty beach most likely was Barra de Potsi/Play Larga/Playa Blanca a 9 & 1/2 half mile mostly empty strand. But hurry as the developers are circling.
Stewbear is offline  
Oct 4th, 2008, 06:43 AM
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Great tips!

Keep 'um coming!

adventureseeker is offline  

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