When we decided to live in Mexico for 6-months it was a no-brainer to drive from Los Angeles to Sayulita. I’ve written a post in the past, where I went into the details of our decision and wrote about our experience.
I recently received an email from Rich via our contact us page here at BIKE GANG.
I have enjoyed reading the blog and it has motivated me to road trip down to Sayulita instead of flying, like we did some years ago. Few questions if you don't mind. Do the quota tolls take dollars or should we have enough to cover tolls in pesos before departing.
I’m going to answer Rich’s question here for the benefit of the greater internet. Should you pay Mexican cuotas (Spanish term for toll road) in pesos? Yes. At the first few cuotas after the border it is common to use US dollars but further in you may start to run into trouble, at the very least you’ll be treated as a nuisance. Your change will always be returned in pesos and you’d probably prefer your bank doing currency exchange than the person working the toll booth. You should always aim to arrive in a country with at least a little local currency. If it is paying cuotas that motivates you to visit a bank and have a local currency in your possession on arrival, all the better.
Where to get pesos in the US.
In the USA, we do our banking with Bank of America, I visited a branch and converted US$500 into pesos. In my view, if you are driving into Mexico for a vacation you should aim to arrive with enough to cover all expenses of the first day, travel (cuotas and gas), food (delicious roadside tamales), and accommodation. I didn’t include visas and paying for your car import permit because you should always pay with your credit card, paper trails may come in handy one day.
Check with your American bank before you depart to see if they work with a bank inside Mexico, in the case of Bank of America, you can withdraw cash from any Santander bank free of charge, there is still a conversion fee but this is the cheapest and safest way to access your American dollars while travelling in Mexico.
Rich, I hope you keep reading and maybe we’ll see you out on the road this coming winter.