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The Ultimate Challenge: Breaking 500 Pesos in Mexico City

On a dark night in Pedregal de Santo Domingo in Mexico City, I found myself relaxing to some music here while having some spiced rum & black tea mix.

At some point, I figured to head out to get some stuff done.

  • Buy 20 liters of water.
  • Get food.
  • Break a 500 peso bill by buying TRT at a pharmacy and get it injected.
  • Break another 500 peso bill by buying vodka.

Out of those goals, I only got 2 done.

And, as you can see, there’s a certain need to break down 500 peso Mexican bills.

They are, as I wrote here, a pain to break down sometimes.

Years ago, I was by Roma of Mexico City with a Mexican chick known as Angie who wanted to stop at an ATM machine to pull out money for the night out drinking.

The machine gave her ALL 500 PESO BILLS.

She yelled out in agony “NO!!! NO!!!! NO!!!!”

She literally yelled “NO!!!”

I can feel you pain, Angie.

Truth be told, nobody in Mexico likes the 500 peso bills.

While only being worth 25 dollars each, they are oddly a pain in the ass to change.

Oddly only because, to us Americans, 25 bucks isn’t much to break.

But it is in Mexico.

At any rate, I got out of bed to get the stuff done above.

Right away, I got the water purchased.

It took walking to half a dozen stores to find a place to buy 20 liters worth as the “Agua Man” that I wrote about here hasn’t been seen in a few days on my street oddly enough.

Then, after the water was done, I went to handle the TRT.

Right away, I could see a LONG line waiting to see the doctor that these pharmacies have on site.

Compared to any other “Farmacia Similar” that I’ve seen in Mexico, the one I have closest to me ALWAYS has a line extending into the street.

Unless you are extremely lucky, you are going to be waiting a while.

“Cocksucker” I thought as I see how long the line is.

Anyway, I get in the other line to break that 500 peso note for TRT.

When it’s my turn, the dude tells me “we don’t have any TRT.”

Then I begin to ask him “when will you have it?” but he cuts me off mid-sentence to repeat himself saying “we don’t have it.”

Being a tiny bit drunk, I’m more irritable and repeat myself more aggressively “claro pero CUANDO vas a tenerla?”

While making some hand motions stereotypical of an angry Italian.

He finally understands and says “we don’t know. Whenever the labortatory” gets it.”

Which, as a side point, I’ve been noticing an odd shortage of TRT in Mexico City over the last few months.

They’ve been out on a few different Mondays now (which is when I try to buy it as it’s 25% cheaper then).

Anyway, I walk away towards the metro station to take a ride one metro station north to Copilco where I can buy the vodka and check out another pharmacy that sells TRT for 25% cheaper on these days.

But, once I get there a minute later, I change my mind.

Given it’s the same brand of pharmacy – farmacia similar – I doubted they’d have TRT either.

Granted, I’ve been through this before over a month ago where I traveled around the city while on a TRT shortage and found the same brand of pharmacy having TRT in other neighborhoods.

But being it was about 9 PM, I figured it’s not worth it trying right now as most would be closing around the city by this point.

So I turn back.

With a thought in my head “where to break a 500 peso bill at least?”

Because, before I did, I only had about 400 pesos in smaller amounts and a bunch of 500s.

At first, I considered the street food lady who sells gorditas and quesadillas who serves food basically outside my house.

But I considered against it at first.

“No, there’s no way SHE has 500. She’s a small street vendor and doesn’t get THAT many customers either.”

Plus, in a way, I felt like it’d be a dick move to give her a 500 peso note given she obviously doesn’t have change.

No way she does.

When I walk back, I ask a common restaurant I’ve been to before if they’re still open.

They are not.

So now I got options running in my mind.

For one, I could try to go back and take that metro ride up north to break the 500 with some vodka.

Second, I could try breaking it tomorrow.

Third, I can go down the street for a 10 minute to break it at a hamburger street food spot that I know has taken 500s from me before.

Fourth, I can try the gordita lady outside my house.

Given that I tend to be determined to not lose when I set my eyes on something (and WILL double down), option 2 was not happening.

But I didn’t feel like eating a hamburger and I felt like reserving the vodka option as a last resort because I didn’t feel like traveling up north.

So gordita lady it was!

I walked up to her.

She was there with her mom sitting down waiting for customers with nobody else there.

Right away, a smile lights up on her face glowing.

Truth be told, I’ve always felt a strong sexual vibe between us whenever I eat there or order something to take home.

Just the other day, I stopped by. She turned around to see me and her face lit up.

While her face is very average looking, I’ve always wanted to fuck the living shit out of her.

She has more indigenous roots and it’s a huge turn on to fuck and breed brown chicks.

Especially if they don’t have much Euro heritage.

Destroy her bloodline. Conquer her heritage. Invade her holes.

She might look like this here…

But her future generations will look like this!

The White Man has won again.

But, to my misfortune, her mom was there and degenerate fantasies about fucking brown chicks is NOT appropriate when mom is in the house.

And, in all seriousness, I never liked the idea of hitting on someone if they are “on the job.” It’s unfair because they are paid to be nice to you.

Even though there’s that sexual tension and some obvious signs that she seems into me, I’m not putting any foot forward with her unless she asks me for my number or some appropriate situation comes up where I can ask for it.

At any rate – sexual conquests of the brown woman by the white man aside – we approach the topic of “the 500 bill.”

Knowing me, she immediately says “2 gorditas with French fries, cheese and beef?”

I say yes but pull out the 500 peso bill and ask her sheepishly if “she has change for it?”

To my utter surprise, she immediately says yes and tells me that she’ll change it somewhere else.

No hesitation on her end whatsoever.

Her mom immediately made an “errr hmmm” sound and seemed hesitant to say no but likely wanted to, I suppose.

This chick though, on the other hand, immediately offered to take it and ran off somewhere to break it down for me.

How submissive of her. She takes orders well.

At any rate, she pulls out a seat before leaving and asks me to “sit down” while she runs off.

I sit down.

While waiting, her mom begins cooking and asks the usual questions.

“Where you from?” “How long you in Mexico for?” “You got a girlfriend?” “What do you do for work or do you study?” “Do you like Mexico?” “What type of Mexican food do you like?” “Do your parents live in Mexico? Any family live here?” “How did you learn Spanish?”

So on and so on.

It probably took the chick maybe 10 minutes to come back with change.

And, to my utter surprise, not only did she get the change but she managed to get SMALL bills in exchange for the 500!

Absolutely no 100 or 200 peso bills.

What a good gesture!

I immediately responded with “wow, small bills!”

She laughed a tiny bit out saying “yeah.”

She told me anyhow that she “already took out the 60 pesos for the food” from it.

Leaving me 440.

I didn’t even count the bills in front of her to make sure it was right because I assumed they probably were.

Having been to her spot plenty of times, I naturally trusted that she wouldn’t fuck me over.

And it was the right amount of change anyhow.

Anyway, as I kept on waiting (they tend to cook slowly to be fair), I overheard both of them talking to each other.

And, I shit you not, it didn’t sound ANYTHING like Spanish.

This chick anyway is from the Mexican state of Oaxaca where more people of stronger indigenous heritage exist.

What they were saying sounded nothing like Spanish.

Over years here, I have heard the occasional once-in-a-blue-moon person speak what sounds like an indigenous language.

It definitely sounded like something non-European.

And you know what?

Raging Boner Intensifies.

The urge to grab this fucking indigenous SLUT, BITCH, WHORE and put her up against the wall.

She cries out “oh, gringo mio!!! K haces, papi?!?”

And I whisper into her ear “Tu vas a tener HIJOS BLANCOS.”

RIP her pants off.

Her mother cries out “ay dios mio, K FUERTE!”

And she, up against the wall in blue panties against her medium brown skin, begins to shake her legs in fear & excitement.

Her pussy getting wet.

And she moans out “ay papi, discúlpeme por hablar lenguas indígenas. Ahora solo ENGLISH!!”

Then, as her brains get fucked out, she orgasms 10 TIMES every SECOND while she cries out in heavenly pleasure “VIVA USA! AMERICAAAAAAA!!!!”

Then I blink and come back to reality.

They are still, in all seriousness, still speaking in some odd indigenous language I’ve never heard before.

Absolutely NOTHING like Spanish.

What only sounded like “BI BI BO BO BI BI BO BO I LOVE GRINGO COCK BI BI BO BO BI BI BO BO”

Or at least that’s how it sounded to me at the time…

And, truth be told, my hormones were shooting through the roof hearing her speak in this language.

That internal desire to hear her cry out “DAME HIJOS BLANCOS” is strong as FUCK.

Especially the more brown and especially the more indigenous she comes across.

Still, they keep on cooking and speaking in this very different language.

And, while I’m waiting, I notice an odd ball homeless man stumbling away from me towards the pharmacy I went to and screaming his lungs out.

Screaming at some homeless street dog anyway that was walking away from him headed towards our direction.

Soon enough, a random chick stops by, asks what type of gorditas they cook and orders some of “chicharron.”

The indigenous language speaking ends when she stops by and back to Spanish.

Oddly enough, my boner becomes less intense all of a sudden as Spanish becomes the new language for 30 seconds.

Then they switch back to indigenous language!

And my boner intensifies once again.

At any rate, the chick eventually asks me “sin salsa, verdad?"

She knows me well.

The food is ready.

She hands it to me.

And I say to her “buenas noches!”

The chick says “buenas noches!” with her mom saying “provecho!”

I wave them goodbye and walk back to my house.

Enjoy my food and happy that I managed to break at least ONE 500 peso bill this week.

While I didn’t get the TRT or vodka, I at least got one thing done.

In a country like Mexico where sometimes you do have to put thought into it when you live here.

After all, where else can you break this bill?

So Where to Break a 500 in Mexico City?

As you can tell in the story above, it obviously can be a little bit of a pain to break a 500.

Putting aside “oddball sexual fantasies of Christopher Columbus,” sometimes it really is a mini adventure as you sit down and think “right, who will accept this?”

So where can you break it?

First, as you can tell in the story above, sometimes the small street vendor really can help you.

However, I STRONGLY encourage you to not rely on that most of the time unless you are purchasing something of value for 150 pesos.

There is another street vendor that I know of that sells hamburgers near me and has taken a 500 for a 65 peso purchase a few times to my surprise.

However, just in general, know that it’s going to be a bigger pain for small street folks because most just aren’t going to have the change.

Many, like in the story above, might have to go out of their way to find someone they know who can break it.

But don’t expect that level of courtesy from those you don’t know.

Some will and others won’t go out of their way like that.

So, when it comes to you can help you break a 500, a street vendor that you are a regular for and have good relations with can help.

Don’t expect them though to have change but it helps obviously to develop positive and regular relationships with a few who might decide to help you out.

And, if you do go for a street vendor, obviously ask first before ordering if they have change.

But who else can you go for?

Second, as I said above, it’s a good tip to aim for a 150 peso purchase at minimum (maybe 100 if you’re lucky) if you want to break it at most normal places.

Third, there’s a common restaurant known as Casa de Toño that is THE BEST at breaking 500 pesos.

They offer good and cheap food with decent customer service.

Can be found all over the city.

And, in relation to this article, will ALWAYS accept 500 in my experience.

I have literally NEVER had an issue with them and I eat at their restaurant maybe once a week as I like their food quite a bit.

Every time, I have ALWAYS been able to break a 500 peso note for purchases of just 50 pesos worth of food.

And not only do they accept it but they don’t complain or even ask if I have smaller bills.

No issues whatsoever.

Fourth, Little Ceasers is a hit or miss but worth trying.

They have pepperoni pizzas that used to sell for 79 and now sell for 89 where, at each price range, I normally can break a 500 but they have refused to take it once in a while.

Funny enough, about a month ago or less, I tried breaking a 500 peso bill there for a pepperoni pizza.

The lady behind the counter told me “no, I don’t got change. But I do if you buy the slightly more expensive pizza.”

The slightly more expensive pizza was literally 10 pesos or 50 cents more expensive.

How does she not have change unless it’s 50 cents more?!

I walked away without buying it because the 50 cent more expensive pizza was half pepperoni and half cheese but I didn’t want a half cheese pizza.

In hindsight, I considered going back and telling her “how about you charge me for the 50 cent more expensive pizza but just get me the pepperoni one instead?”

Then, about a week later, I did get a 500 peso bill broken down for that 50 cent cheaper pepperoni pizza.

Little Ceasers – hit or miss.

Fifth, you have pharmacies in Mexico known as Farmacias de Similaries.

Similar to Casa de Toño, I’ve never gotten a bit of pushback for taking a 500 and sometimes have done so for purchases of 50 to 70 pesos.

They’re good too.

Sixth, what about buying toilet paper & alcohol?

Sometimes I will try to break a 500 this way.

Just know that, ironically enough, large stores and supermarkets worth millions or billions oddly give you more issues than less successful places.

At Walmart – a company worth literally billions – I’ve been rejected from giving them a 500 peso note for 100 pesos worth of toilet paper before.

But, on the flip side, I’ve also been able to buy said toilet paper of 100 pesos with the 500.

Like Little Ceasers, they can be hit or miss but I usually find them to be forgiving when you hit past that 150 peso sweet spot.

Perhaps throw in some tooth paste or a bottle of vodka?

Got to spend that extra 2.5 USD, gringo. We're a MEXICAN Walmart. We broke.

Similarly, you have mini corner stores like OXXO and 7-11.

Between the two, I find OXXO to be more hostile to the 500 peso note than 7-11.

For either though, one of the few items I’ve found that they’ll sell more easily while offering a 500 peso note are alcohol related products.

Bottles of liquor.

Similar to Walmart though, these very successful millionaire businesses seem to be oddly picky.

So if you go for the cheaper bottle of vodka worth 100 pesos, you have a solid chance of being rejected at OXXO but, if I had to guess, will probably be OK at 7-11.

For OXXO, you might need to bump that up to 200 pesos.

So no OSO NEGRO vodka but instead Smirnoff.

Well, OXXO doesn’t sell OSO NEGRO anyway but I digress…

Seventh, you have a few American brand food joints that always accept 500 in my experience for 100 to 150 peso purchases.

Specifically, you have Burger King, Carl Jrs. and Subway.

Out of those, Burger King is even more favorable as they’ll take a 500 for purchases as low as 70 pesos in my experience.

There are other places too like Chilis or Applebees that take 500 fine but that’s not fair to mention because their meals typically shoot past 200 and I’m trying to focus strictly on spots at around the 100 peso spot more or less.

If I had to guess, probably other American food businesses are good too.

For example, I know Wendys is good and they sell cheap food.

I haven’t been there in a while but never had issue breaking a 500 for meals of around 70 pesos.

So on and so on.

Eighth, try Chinese food places.

I’ve probably eaten at maybe 10 Chinese food spots ALL over the city as I move a lot to very different neighborhoods and NEVER had an issue breaking a 500 in ANY of them.

And they all sell A LOT of food for 80 to 100 pesos depending on the place.

Ninth, I find bars to be pretty chill on taking 500 peso notes even if you didn’t buy lots of beer.

I’ve been able to break 500s for purchases of just 50 to 60 pesos before (not including tip).

Tenth, obviously your landlord. If I pull out money from an ATM and gets ENDLESS 500s, I always make sure to set aside what is needed to pay rent however much later.

Also, if your rent is some odd number like 4300, tell your landlord to have change for 200 before they get there.

They never give any issues on accepting 500s.

Finally, are there any places where you should be VERY cautious about trying to break a 500?

For one, obviously trying to purchase anything as low as 10 pesos anywhere isn’t going to work.

While it might seem silly to us Americans how you can’t break 25 dollars worth of money for 50 cents to a dollar, that’s just how it is as the 500 peso  note is one of the biggest bills here and the economy of things here is smaller than back home.

Second, as I said before, street food places – unless you are on good terms with the vendor – can be rough for breaking a 500.

Even if they had the change, I do feel like a tiny bit of an ass for giving a 500 to a small street vendor (especially one without an insane amount of customers).

Third, taxis and Uber drivers.

While both of the above MIGHT have change, it’s not an uncommon tactic for them to CLAIM to not have change and then just hope that you’d be cool with you letting them have a very large difference as a tip.

As a side point, I’d NEVER get in a taxi without first asking if they have change for it ahead of time.

If you forget to do that, don’t hand them the 500 at the end of the trip but ask first if they have change. If not, look around for a small store where you can buy chips and insist on letting the taxi driver wait so you can break it. Those who really want the larger difference will insist “no, no” but you can insist “no, no, no money for you then.”

I’ve done that before and it worked fine in my case.

Also, watch out for this scam you see here from some of them when handing them a big bill to pay (keep an eye on their hands be it anywhere in Latin America). 

Anyway, back to the article (sorry for switching to another topic).

So where else should you not try breaking a 500?

Honestly, I can’t think of anyone else to be careful with.

Maybe your cocaine dealer?

I don’t know – I never had a cocaine dealer but maybe drug dealers don’t like taking bigger bills.

Who knows.

Anyway, that’s all I got to say.

Leave any comments below.

Would love to hear about other places where you can easily break a 500 for a small purchase.

Follow my Twitter here.

Best regards,

Matt

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