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How to exchange a gift with Mateo in Pokémon Go

Walk a Route for a bonus encounter

Mateo standing next to a gift with the Pokémon Go map behind him Image: Niantic / The Pokémon Company

Mateo is a character and feature introduced in as part of Pokémon Go’s “Along the Routes” event during the Timeless Travel season in Dec. 2023.

The researcher can be found when playing Routes, and gives players another way to exchange gifts with others from distant locales — something which could prove useful for completing your Vivillion collection.

It’s otherwise an extra incentive for completing Routes, alongside finding Zygarde Cells.

Here’s how to exchange a gift with Mateo in Pokémon Go — useful for completing a step in the “A Route to New Friendships” research — and why Mateo might not be appearing for you.

How to exchange a gift with Mateo in Pokémon Go

Mateo is found by using the Route feature. Routes, introduced to the game in the summer of 2023, are found on a tab in the “Nearby” window in the lower right corner of the map screen.

To find and exchange a gift with Mateo, you must walk to the end of a Route. From there, Mateo can appear at the final PokéStop, similar to Rocket Grunts and Leaders.

Similar to Zygarde Cells, there is only a chance he may appear on a Route — so if he doesn’t show up, try another Route to see if you have better luck.

Mateo standing at a PokéStop Image: Niantic / The Pokémon Company via Polygon

If he’s there, interact with the PokéStop will allow you to engage with Mateo. From there, you can send a Gift found along your route, and then choose from several Gifts to open one in return from another trainer elsewhere in the world — giving you a chance to pin a Postcard from another country.

Conversing with Mateo in Pokémon Go Image: Niantic / The Pokémon Company via Polygon

Though the exact mechanics of the Gift exchange are unclear, it’s likely similar to Wonder Trade in the main games, in that that trainers giving gifts to Mateo are in fact exchanging gifts with another trainer at random.

Why isn’t Mateo appearing in Pokémon Go?

If Mateo isn’t appearing, know that he only “may” show up at the end of a given route, according to developer Niantic.

As such, you might have to complete multiple routes for Mateo to show. This is similar to collecting Zygarde Cells, which only have a chance of appearing when walking Routes — and going by community discussions on The Silph Road subreddit, his appearance is just as uncommon.

However, similar to Zygarde Cells, it’s possible that “forcing” Mateo to spawn by closing and re-opening the Pokémon Go app within the PokéStop radius could help. Give this a go — and if there’s no luck, try completing another unique Route to see if Mateo appears.

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