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You do not need to exchange your dollars for pesos! Nearly all businesses and merchants accept U.S. Dollars or credit cards. We have used credit cards for years and never had any problems. If you do use US Dollars in a traditional store (rather than a roadside stand) you will likely receive change in pesos, so don’t be shocked when they hand you some colorful money as change. Do not bring traveler’s checks – it’s nearly impossible to find places that accept them! There are ATMs in Rocky Point, but you might check with your bank ahead of time to see if the fees will be worth it. Generally, we each bring some money for souveneirs and beer, and use credit cards for the big stuff. It’s a good idea to bring some smaller bills, as most places barter for better prices, and it’s hard to argue that something is too expensive when you whip out a $100 bill to pay for it. For the record, you are allowed to take $10,000 USD into Mexico, including checks. Please don’t bring that much. That’s just crazy.
You may NOT bring any pets to the rental houses or hotels in Mexico. Mike and I are very sad about having to leave Luke at home for the wedding (we had considered making him an usher) and if he has to stay home, so does your dog. Sorry!
If you get hurt, or sick, or stung by a sting ray, Rocky Point has a Red Cross clinic which we have been to before – they took good care of us. Also, two of the confirmed guests are doctors, so we will be well prepared for any emergency. Having said that, if someone gets seriously injured – watch our speed as we put the pedal to the medal to get you back to a hospital in the US!
Crossing the border
You are now required to have a valid U.S. Passport when re-entering the United States. Don’t leave home without it, or you will have trouble getting home again! And learn from our mistake – make sure you have your passport BEFORE you drive for 4 hours. Live and learn.
It is possible that you may be stopped at the border for inspection when you come into Mexico. Remember to turn off your radio and follow the signs. If the sign flashes red, don’t panic! Just pull over and answer the questions that they ask. Usually, they will just want to know where you’re going or to see in your trunk. It’s not a big deal. If the sign flashed green, then just drive straight through. You made it! On Thursday, we will wait at the border to make sure everyone gets through. If you get stopped and need help, Andi speaks Spanish well enough to get by and will be happy to translate if necessary.
Driving in Mexico
The rules are basically the same in Mexico as in the US. Just remember that the speed limits are in kilometers, not miles! Also, the street lights are sometimes sideways – left to right instead of up and down – don’t be alarmed! Red still means stop, and green means go. Definitely practice defensive driving – they drive worse than Californians down there!
If you will be driving in Mexico, you need to purchase additional insurance so that your vehicle will be covered. It’s relatively inexpensive, and we purchase it at a gas station (believe it or not!) in Ajo, AZ just before the border. You just need your registration and a credit card to pay for it. Andi’s parents will be buying insurance and will be happy to show you the ropes if you need it. If you are renting a car – make sure you tell them that you will be going to Mexico in it! The rental company will add the required Mexican insurance to your policy.
If you get pulled over
Hey! It happens! First, do not panic! Sometimes the officer will take your license and make you follow them to the police station to pay a fine. NEVER offer the officer who pulls you over money – that’s called a bribe, and you will get in trouble (or they’ll take the bribe. You never know, but better safe than sorry, right?)