Bartering / Getting Around

Often you will be approached by a Mexican trying to sell you something. Please do not be shocked at this. For instance, a restaurant owner may ask you if you are looking for a meal or a drink – and if so he will walk you to his restaurant. People approaching you in the street is the Mexican way of marketing. They have no means of reaching their clients except for greeting you on the street. This goes for people selling knickknacks to someone trying to sell you a boat tour. A “No gracias” is all one normally needs to send this person off to the next client. If they persist – just persist also with your “no gracias”. They will go away eventually…

If you would like to make a purchase from a street vendor, go ahead. Take your time to look at the merchandise, if you’d like. You may also find their clothing or baby slings fascinating. If so, take a look, ask questions (may need a translator☺), and buy a little something as payment for the exchange. I really didn’t feel the pressure or guilt in Huatulco that I have felt in other Mexican tourist areas.

Mexico is of course a Spanish speaking country and a few words of Spanish can go a long way.  Try bringing a phrase book or a dictionary and you will be rewarded with at least a smile.  Not everyone speaks English so don’t expect it.  With that said it is easy to communicate in Huatulco and we have never encountered a problem.

Bartering in Mexico is fun and easy. The Mexicans enjoy the whole intercourse and it is a large part of their culture. There are no hard and fast rules to bartering, but never accept the first price (unless you are somewhere like a restaurant or grocery store!) and be realistic with how much you are hoping to reduce the price by. You may want to try to save between 10 to 30 percent from the asking price. You may also check with other tourists to see what they paid for an item you are interested in and use this as a guide. I normally start by asking for about one-third to one-half the asking price. The seller will shake his head and say “no how about this” – and so on. Do not try to devalue what the seller has as they may become upset and not deal with you. No worries, there is always the next store and this normally does not happen anyway. Never be scared to just smile and walk out. This may bring the price down or just end the bartering process.

Negotiate the price for the Mariachis or troubadours before they begin a serenade. If they know they are only getting $1 or $2 for a song, they will entertain you … but then move on to let you enjoy your meal without feeling like a captive audience that should be watching them instead of eating.

Taxis

Taxis are the easiest and most economical way to get around. They are cheap and easily found and can not only take you in-between Santa Cruz and Crucecita but also as far as La Bocana and San Agustin. A taxi will run you about 25 pesos (about $2.50 Canadian) one way to and from Santa Cruz and La Crucecita (and take anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes). Here is a listing of the other prices that we found in one of the taxis we took. It is a good general overview but is not complete (some of the longer trips seemed to have an inappropriately low cost attached … so if you know it is a day trip to San Augustin, ask how much it will cost for the trip out and to wait for the return). Taxis can be found most easily around the Santa Cruz and La Crucecita zocalos but readily available anywhere.

Taxi charge chart

It is easiest to walk outside and flag a taxi, but if you would like to phone taxi to pick you up at the condo please call 958 581 0082 and tell them you are at: Hacienda Real, Boulevard Santa Cruz Penthouse 402. When taking a taxi home refer to it as Hacienda Real as the name Casa de la Armonia may not be well known.

You can also ask a driver that you like (good language skills, entertaining, etc.) if he has a business card and then call him directly. (I am not being sexist in putting “he” here … I didn’t see a single female cabbie … and suspect that this is very much a cultural thing.)

You will notice that taxis are colour coded and have “their” stop on their unit. This indicates their home base … and where they are supposed to pick up fares. Obviously, anyone is happy to give you a lift, and the distances are not great … but you should try to get a cab for your zone whenever possible.

Taxi rates are set by the local authority, so you don’t have to worry about haggling or bartering before you set out.  You should always check the rate before you get in … but don’t get too caught up in the fine art of bartering.  We knew the rate to and from the SuperChe and got to the point where we just paid when we got out without asking what the charge was.

The amount of people you can get into a taxi is somewhat flexible.  While anymore than 4 adults will be frowned upon, a family with young childern may get as many as 5 people in a taxi (2 adults, 2 older children and one young child).

Casa de la Armonia and the Hacienda Real are relatively new structures so some taxi drivers might not know it.  If you let them know to drive down "Boulevard Santa Cruz" they are sure to find it.

Don't assume that taxis can make change - bring what you need in advance.

Escaping the Heat

Sometime tourists can find it is just too hot, and a good escape is the local movie theater in La Crucecita. It can be found in the Centro Commercial Shopping Mall on Carrizal just off the La Crucecita zocalo. All adult English movies are subtitled in Spanish, so we can just ignore the subtitles and enjoy the air-conditioning and the movie. Children’s movies are in Spanish but some have English subtitles. Most movies are only about $4.00 USD  - and Wednesdays are ½ price - so it really is an inexpensive way of getting out of the sun.

La Crucecita TheaterLa Crucecita Theater

La Crucecita Theater entrance

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