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Currency in Mexico – The Mexican Peso

January 3, 2012 1 comment

The local currency is the Mexican Peso.  Currently the exchange rate is 14 pesos for each US dollar and the rate changes daily.  This is fairly high as 11 or 12 is more the norm and prices in town have not adjusted to this high exchange rate so the US dollar can last a long way.

Peso bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, and $1000. Coins come in $1, $2, $5, $10, and $20. There are 5, 10, 20, and 50-cent coins but merchants usually round payments to the nearest 50 cents or pesos because small fraction coins are scarce. All the currency is marked with the denomination so no guessing is necessary.

US dollars are accepted almost everywhere but the best exchange rate will be at a money exchange business or a bank. Stay away from the exchange at the airport, they will never give you favorable rates.  There are many ATM’s found in Playa del Carmen and I advise using the bank ATM’s and not the machines that stand alone on 5th avenue for example.  My concern would be if the machine failed, who would you call?

Most small businesses, restaurants, and hotels will accept debit and credit cards (Mastercard & Visa, not so much American Express) but preferable ask first especially at a restaurant. Most credit cards will charge a foreign exchange fee so do some research before you charge.  You want to advise your credit card company that you plan to visit another country before using your credit card as they may lock it down thinking that it was stolen.

Leave the checkbook at home, personal checks will not be accepted anywhere, not even in banks.  Take special care of the Peso bills too, even a slight tear or wet money will not be accepted.

Using a foreign currency can be a little challenging at first, I usually tell my US friends when reading the prices just remove the last number.  If you are buying a shirt for 90 pesos, take off the 0 and the shirt is less than $9 USD.  At the exchange of 14 the shirt is $6.42.

Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen is an American company doing business in Mexico and all hotel charges are collected in US dollars unless specified or requested in Pesos.

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