Worried that your money isn’t green enough? Well, in Mexico, the contrary may be true. If you’re headed to Mexico this year, you’ll want to bite the bullet and exchange some greenbacks for pesos. New currency laws came into effect in parts of the country last month that limit U.S. dollar-purchases to $100 per cash transaction (the most a business can accept). And, some businesses won’t be able to take even your Washingtons and Lincolns, let alone your Benjies.
The effort is related to anti-money laundering efforts, particularly as they relate to the drug trade. Even at banks you’ll feel currency-related constraints, reports USA Today, where “the amount of dollars foreigners can trade for pesos at banks and money exchangers to no more than $1,500 per month.” This doesn’t compare to the limits out on the street, though:
In addition, the tourism board says, several Mexico states – most notably Quintana Roo, home to the major resort destinations of Cancun
and Playa del Carmen
– have imposed a $100 limit on cash purchases. And regardless of location, airlines at Mexican airports can no longer accept U.S. cash for checked bag fees or other charges, says Tim Smith at American Airlines.
But, you’re still good when you pay with plastic – the sky’s the limit (along with whatever your bank has imposed on you.
[photo by redjar via Flickr]
Visiting the former home of a famous person is pretty common. Tourists flock to Elvis’ Graceland and who wouldn’t love a look inside the creepy world of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch? But exploring the former compound of a Colombian drug lord….well that seems a little less likely. Yet aparently Pablo Escobar’s Hacienda Napoles, located outside of Bogota, Colombia, is a hit with tourists.
Though Escobar was shot to death sixteen years ago, he lives on in infamy in the country. Tourists who have an affinity for over-the-top tacky “narco-deco” style or who can’t resist a look at Escobar’s lavish estate (which is now owned by the state) can visit the compound for about $10 US. The ranch is considered an “anti-crime museum” and sells replica guns and fake Escobar mustaches.
The compound is being re-purposed as an eco-tourism park, though many of the eccentric features added by Escobar remain. Nearly 30 hippos still wander the property, which includes Jurassico Park – a park featuring life-size models of dinosaurs – plus a go-kart track and private landing strip.
The compound also features horseback riding and hiking trails around the large property, butterfly and bird sanctuaries and a wildlife reserve.
Talk about a fun auction!
Brazilians have been flocking to an auction of goods confiscated from Colombian drug baron Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, who was arrested in Sao Paulo last year and given a 30-year sentence last week. According to BBC, about 5000 people turned up for Tuesday’s opening and 80% of the items had been sold within three hours.
As far as I know, no drugs were for sale, although that would undoubtedly make the auction all the more popular. Three thousand items were on display, including 12 televisions. Clothes on sale included Abadia’s underpants, the quickest items to sell after his capture half-naked by Brazilian police in August 2007.
Underpants? People are weird.