Call  1 954 302 3273
SHOES:
First is a comfortable pair of walking shoes to explore all the wonderful things in Mérida and surrounding area.  Secondly, something waterproof and easy to slip in and out of to wear around the house.  In and out of the pool, outdoor shower, etc.  I recommend flip-flops, sandals, or those plastic crocs or anything similar. 

MONEY:
You will need Mexican pesos for most things.  A few, very few, touristy places will take your dollars but do so with an unfair exchange rate so change into pesos before you buy.

You can change US, Canadian, or Euro dollars into pesos at change booths around town at fairly normal rates.  You should change into pesos before heading into smaller towns that do not have the booths.  Get a variety of smaller denominations, too.  That little shop or vendor on the beach may not have change for a 500, or even a 200, peso bill.

Mérida has many banks with ATM machines and many more ATM's in stores and shopping centers so your home bank debit card will get you pesos but....

And you can use credit cards in higher end restaurants and better stores but....

Here's the big "but".  There are usually ATM fees and International fees that really add up.  Paying $2 or $3 or more every time you make a withdrawal can be avoided.  Many US banks have partnership agreements with banks in Mexico and you can get better deals if you use the right card in the right machine.  The trick is to telephone your bank and credit card issuers before coming.  First, tell them you will be using the card in Mexico so it won't bounce the first time you try it, and then ask them which bank or ATM network they have agreements with.  Also ask what the current exchange rate is and what fees they will be charging you.  You will find a range from zero to ridiculous.  Pick the card you want to use and know in advance which machine to use it in.

Call La Casa Lorenzo at 866-515-4105 if you want additional advice.


CELL PHONES, YOURS OR OURS?

 First, cell is spelled "cel" down here.  Spanish rarely uses double consonants.  Anyway, I suggest you bring your cel phone with you for emergency use while traveling.  Before leaving home, call or use the website of your cellular provider and have "international roaming" turned on or it might not work.  Find out the per minute rate and any other charges involved so you won't be shocked when you get the bill.  Also find out what digits you need to dial to call home or to call Mexican numbers.  Even at the roaming rate it might be worth it if your broker or the baby sitter needs to reach you or you want to call someone at home to rave about the wonderful time you are having in Mérida.

 

While you are here, you can use a Mexican cel phone locally at reasonable cost.  If you anticipate making local calls to friends, realtors, restaurants, making tour plans, etc., I recommend you buy or borrow an "Amigo cel" while here.  They are pay-as-you-go and you buy cards to charge them up starting at less than $8 US for 100 pesos credit.  La Casa Lorenzo can probably lend you a phone. 

 

COMPUTERS?  OF COURSE!

La Casa Lorenzo has broadband internet with both plug-in and wireless access for your computer if you insist on bringing one.   Mérida city parks all have free wireless also.  But you shouldn’t have to bring yours unless you need all those spreadsheets and contracts for a working vacation.

 

La Casa Lorenzo has a computer terminal for guests to check email and surf the internet.  Also, the city is full of cyber cafes so no matter what you are doing, you’re never more than a few minutes away from email.

 

 

MOSQUITOS AND FLEAS:

A few, but very few.  You may want to bring a small amount of your favorite repellant but you really won’t need it very much.  Or just buy it here.  And the garden/pool area at La Casa Lorenzo has a Mosquito Magnet machine for your comfort.
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