I get questions all the time about using money in Mexico. Should we use pesos? Can’t we just use dollars? The answer to both of these questions (in my opinion) is yes. You should use pesos but you can also use dollars. Most places in the Riviera Maya will accept dollars but each place chooses to set their own exchange rate, meaning it could be good or cost you more than it should. Let me tell you why you should exchange and where to do it!
Should we exchange it? Yes! You’re in another country with another currency. Use their money and spend their money. A lot of people are unsure about money, the exchange or even feel uncomfortable having a different type of money in their hand. I promise you’ll get the hang of it and maybe even like it (It’s also a lot prettier than dollars). The bills here are very colorful and different sizes with a lot of history on them. Each one contains an important person in history, a quote and even feels different to the touch. You can take any leftover bills home as a souvenir or donate them to the turtle foundation at the entrance of the Cancun airport.
Where should we exchange? I exchange my dollars at Casa de Cambio in Puerto Morelos but the best way is through your bank or credit union. If you didn’t do it before you came to Mexico, don’t worry! You can exchange them at the airport once you arrive too. Casa de Cambio charges you 1-2 pesos per dollar you exchange. For example, if the exchange rate is around 19.5, Casa de Cambio will most likely have an exchange rate close to 18.5. The way I remember this (and the easiest way) is to just divide any peso amount by 20 to get the dollar value more or less. 1 USD equals about 20 pesos and 200 pesos is about 10 USD etc.
Something to keep in mind is that some places will accept credit cards. When possible I would also suggest using your credit card ONLY if you have no foreign fees or they are low. The credit cards give a good exchange and are convenient because you don’t have to carry so much cash and of course you have the purchase protections on your credit card (many times included). I have heard of someone buying fake jewelry and charging on the card and disputing the charge and they won. For larger purchases, I would suggest using a credit card. In Mexico, it is normal to have a 3% to 6% fee for each purchase. You will have to decide on each purchase what works best for you.
Tip: When carrying cash in Mexico it’s best not to keep it all in one place. Try to keep a small amount in your wallet and put larger amounts in other places. For example your hat, sock, money belt, bra (ladies we hide everything there) etc.
Have you exchanged money in Mexico before? Have you used pesos before? Tell us in the comments and let us know your experiences! If you’re visiting the Riviera Maya and Cancun please be sure to go to MyTrishAdvisor.com for airport transports, tours and more. And don’t forget to subscribe for more great videos on all things Mexico and follow me on Facebook and Instagram!!