Contributing post: Todd Lyons
Here are 8 ways you and others can support your favorite vacation spot in Mexico. Why 8 you say? Because it’s 1 more than 7, and more efficient than 10 🙂
1. Buy Local. Don’t bring your groceries with you when you come to Mexico, buy them here. You’ll get better gas mileage with less weight in the vehicle too, a bonus. Pretty much anything you need to get by with on your vacation exists in Rocky Point, or wherever your favorite town South of the Border is. Try Mom & Pop or Specialty stores for: meats, seafood, groceries, cleaning supplies, auto parts, drinks, and convenience items. Need your car, ATV, or boat worked on? Maybe some body work or paint? Get it done here. There are several good local mechanics who can do the work for you, and save you a bunch of money on labor versus where you come from. It’s a fraction of the cost of that North of the border.
2. Seek out your souvenirs and trinkets. Since beaches in Puerto Peñasco are closed right now (till further notice from the Federal government), vendors aren’t able to bring you that ‘almost free’ stuff… go to them. They could use the business. Maybe Rodeo Drive (Shacks 5th Avenue) locally, or similar curios shops around town. Buy some gas locally while out on your adventure. Try stations who don’t have an OXXO or VIP attached to them. Those larger brands will be ok for a while, the little local business needs your patronage and spends profits locally, big brands most likely do not. Stop into furniture stores around town to find those kick-knacks and special trinkets. You might end up finding dealios and refurnish your condo or house. Or stop into a local jewelry store like Max’s, where you can have jewelry custom-made for you or a special someone.
3. Get Gifts and Stuff. Do you know of a birthday or special occasion coming up? Try shopping in a local boutique or specialty store for that unique something. Maybe you know of something that a friend or relative needs. Try looking for it at a local segunda (Mexican thrift shop/second hand store). You’ll probably find what you need for a fraction of the price. Tools, work clothes, hardware items, etc. It might not be new, but it’ll get the job done. Pack a cooler, make it an adventure! Maybe you’ve been talking about building a dream/beach house. Stop talking about it and do it, have a local architect draw up your plans, set your budget, and line things up for you. ‘Surprise honey!’
4. Drink Local. You can wait to buy your beer and booze until you get to Mexico. Visit the local liquor stores and small stores who sell your favorite libations (NOTE: Alcohol sales currently only till 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at restaurants). Some may be a few pesos more than Sam’s Club, but that’s ok. At least the money stays here to aide the community versus being sent to a corporate machine. Plus, you’ll feel better knowing your money is helping local families. You can hoist a drink in their honor, and yours. Essentially you’d be drinking for a good cause…
If your local bar is opening too late or closing too early for your liking during the virus restrictions (NOTE: Daily curfew still at 10 p.m.), or you aren’t able to make it to them- try calling or messaging your favorite bar/restaurant. Maybe get an order to-go or have it delivered. Buy some t-shirts, coozies, and other swag instead. Pretty sure BooBar, Wrecked, and others will find a way to get it to you. They might even use another local business, Burrito Express, to mail it to you where you live. (add postage of course) You can probably add in a Tip (propina) for the staff too and the owners will make sure it gets to the workers.
5. Help Someone, they might help you too. When packing to come to Mexico, throw in some clothes, shoes, or even possibly medical devices you aren’t using any more (clean, por favor). They can use it all down here. People in need you may come across on the street will put items to good use, or accept your spare pesos. That guy at the railroad tracks with his finger in the air – size him up, give him a shirt or some other clothing. Hell, give ’em some water or food too. (Under city protocols por favor – don’t forget use of masks is mandatory these days)
If you’re thinking ahh, they’ll just sell it….good! Let ’em. Maybe they needed some pesos to go toward medicine instead of a shirt that day. Even that pesky window washer guy. He’s not washing your windshield because he has too much of anything, he’s trying to get by or support his family, or someone else. And you weren’t using the items anyway. You help him, and he helps you see things more clearly 🙂 A win-win.
Or, maybe you want to learn more Spanish? Hire a local language teacher or translator. You help them out with some extra work and money, you get one on one, quality Spanish lessons, in Mexico. You’re then able to try your new phrases immediately so they stick in your brain.
6. Donate. You might be on vacation, but it can’t hurt to donate some money, food, or time to one of the local charities or associations who are trying to help take care of and provide for those who don’t have much, or aren’t able to care for themselves. Some are just plain hungry, particularly with a number of businesses still shuttered. You’d help a buddy work on a toy in the garage, or go grab a coffee with the girls to plan and gossip, right? How about trying to use a little of that time or money to help people less fortunate, that don’t have a toy, or coffee? Animals need help too. Maybe a pet rescue or wild animal care facility is where you could donate? Anything helps. Don’t know where to donate? Ask locals, bartenders, churches, business owners, home owners, HOA’s, social media platforms, etc.
7. Eat somewhere different each day you’re here (if possible) Spread the love around. You can still act like a Local Yokel at your favorite watering hole, but try to find a few places off the beaten path. Get recommendations for breakfast places that aren’t touristy from locals, and go. Try a place you’ve been by and said you’d try someday, do it today.
You can pretty much eat out for every meal in Rocky Point, cheaper than buying groceries up North, especially in town away from touristy areas. And here, someone else does the preparation, dishes/clean up, and is happy to do so. Don’t worry about your Spanish skills either, a lot of people speak English or at least Spanglish here. If all else fails and Houston has a failure to communicate, relax you still have options: a) fall back on your roots and revert to the time-trusted method of Smile-Point-Nod-Smile, or b) let someone order for you, and eat what you get. Either way, you’ll be fine. Remember, it’s all part of the adventure. Plus, you’ll have a good story for your next trip to the watering hole.
8. Stock Up. Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly help any more, or are worn out from all the do-gooding, there’s yet another chance for you to make an impact. Even if you forgot, or didn’t help in other ways, and just wanted to chill by the pool or beach and not be bothered, you can still buy local. Take some groceries back to the US or Canada, or wherever you end up. Don’t forget the tequila! (Not fruits or vegetables by the way – that’s a no go at the border)
You drink coffee? Have some fresh roasted beans ground and packaged for you locally. It tastes better and will save you money, and the truck will smell awesome all the way back. Mmmm, like fish, fresh meat and steaks? Buy them here, take them home to grill out with there. Hit up a fish market or carneceria on the way out of town, pack some yummy stuff on ice. We’re very fortunate to have the fresh local seafood we do here, grouper, snapper, shrimp, flounder, clams, oysters, octopus, etc. It’s all caught right out front, or you can buy it frozen too. Plus, Sonoran beef is known throughout Mexico and the southwestern United States as some of the best.
In fact, you may not know, but a lot of the beef you eat in the US, comes from Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila here in Mexico. Why not buy it here for a lot less money, versus paying more North of the border? You can save a lot on other groceries and non-perishables here too. Take home fresh baked goods and tortillas.
Oh, and that jewelry you had custom made locally, don’t forget to take it with you! Feel better knowing you’re helping nice people in your adopted Mexican town. Your purchases here from local vendors make a direct impact on the community.
Have safe travels back, we look forward to your next trip. Salud!