Casas de Cambio ($ Exchange) take over!

Only in a border town would you see several Casas de Cambio (Currency/Money Exchange businesses) sprinkled near international bridges, it is definitely not something new. What is new is the speed in which these businesses seem to be popping up!

For us Laredo centro dwellers, we would see the regular most commonly used ones but either they are franchising out or maybe their strategy is to just have several branches (since you see the same names) to reach more people or something is telling business folks that profit is to be made. Maybe this is the business I should go in to – ha!

Check out some of the older, more fregado ones with some brand new ones that now populate the downtown area and a couple places along I-35 highway. FYI – the differences in exchange rates has more to do with me starting to take pictures in December when a rash of them opened on Santa Maria since it takes folks to international bridge #1 but the last shots were taken last week.

One of the newest ones on Santa Maria but this was before they knocked down the orange part of it to make a small drive-thru

This one on Santa Maria was only up during the Paisana season, it is back to being a "computer hospital"

Recently converted gas station on a corner at the end of I-35

On Zaragosa and Convent right by the pedestrian international bridge and the "sitio de taxis"

On Zaragosa across from the "sitio de taxis" near the international bridge

On Convent near the bridge, for walkers since there is no parking

One of the new giant ones on Matamoros (I think) and I-35; and includes a drive-thru

On the east side of I-35 right after Intl bridge #2, next to the other new wave in business - gold buying places

Also on the east side of I-35

I want to say this one was built last year, too, along I-35 east side

And another one - guess the Azteca neighborhood is getting a Casa de Cambio facelift

A few months ago this was a taqueria and now... casa de cambio on Houston right by El Conejo & Americanos buses

Huge parking lot on the West side of I-35 for....

for this one which is my dad's favorite and one of the oldest ones and easily accessible

A new hidden one

Those drive thrus are popping up everywhere

Closed on a Sunday but in the middle of the shopping district

An old independent in the downtown shopping district

Almost missed this one - its in the downtown shopping areas where walking rules

In the walkers shopping area, it reminds me of the bars in Nuevo Laredo - shade while you fork over your dinero

Small but doing well. If only downtown had this many public bathrooms... sigh

In the downtown shopping area - something tells me this used to be an alley...

Corners in the downtown shopping area seem to do well

Both the snack shop and the Casa de Cambio are new on Hidalgo across from the Greyhound bus stop

We don't see many of those big 70's signs anymore but this place has changed names and hands a few times - it was being remodeled when I took this shot

This is on the west side of I-35 but the actual casa is...

... on the San Bernardo side. It caters to paisanos who also can buy insurance for traveling in Mexico. Hi, Juancarlo!!!

Another one catering more to Mexican shoppers downtown

A new one that opened up on I-35 on LaFayette after they knocked down an import/export business

One at a gas station on Santa Ursula

I am sure I missed many many others in different parts of Laredo but… what gives?? I thought paisano (travelers who live in the US but visit Mexico annually) travel was down and the economy was bad so we weren’t seeing that many Mexican shoppers??? Or as my more suspicious friends think – fronts for laundering money. You never know but it is definitely a growing business in this little border town.

About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to
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4 Responses to Casas de Cambio ($ Exchange) take over!

  1. Keyrose says:

    Nice expose on casa de cambios. Didn’t realize there were so many. The Khaledis are working on a new one, next to the Bethany House shelter, no?

  2. Ed says:

    YYYUUUPPPP!!! We put out squeaky clean moolah in Laredo.

  3. Et tu Rosse says:

    I am sooooo tired of seeing these shops every time I go down to Laredo. How many do you need, really? Still not as bad maquinitas. If only there was some regulation as to how many of these exhange shops can pop up. :/

  4. Dave Wigs says:

    The Casas de Cambio is a money laundry for the cartels. WACHOVIA BANK has been Indited by the US attorneys office in Miami FL. for doing business with them. WACHOVIA agreed to pay $160 MILLLION in fines and profit forfeiture. The DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENT outlines WACHOVIA as having washed $420 BILLION in drug money. I am planing an article on my blog About Corruption and drug cartels soon. Check out

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