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Money Tips in Mexico - Don't Throw Your Money Away

Here are some great Money Tips for your Mexico Vacation so you don't throw your money away.  

What is the best way to handle money when you vacation in Mexico?  The key is to avoid the many ways you can throw money away, so we are writing these tips to rescue you from unnecessary expenses.   First of all, it is generally not necessary to exchange money before you go. 

Credit Cards

It will save you money if you make sure you have a Visa or Mastercard without a foreign transaction fee (see the table below).  For most places, you can use credit cards..   Note, however, that not all places accept AMEX.   In fact , we at MayanRental don't accept AMEX.  due to the large expense to the seller (us !!)

Can I spend US Dollars?

Well..... yes.   While it is true that you can pay with US dollars in most tourist locations, it is also true that you will lose a ton of cash doing that.  With better places, you will lose 10% on every purchase.  For not so nice retailers / restaurants, you could lose 20% or even more if you look gullible.  So, if you plan to do things off the resort, it is always much better  to have pesos.   But be careful.  You will tend to think of pesos as play money and lose track of how much you spent.   As of now,  100 pesos equals 5 dollars,  200 pesos equals 10 dollars.   This is not chicken feed.  

Use the ATM  

The best way to get pesos is from an ATM.  If you are fortunate enough to have a user-friendly credit union, they will refund most of the fees.  If you have a bank, you will lose some money to fees, but it is far better than exchanging at the resort or spending US dollars in Mexico.  This is by far our best Money Tip for Mexico

Exchange at the Resort

If you simply go to the concierge and exchange money, you should just go to your balcony and throw some cash off.  At least that way some of the staff will benefit, rather than the big resort corporation.   That was a joke.  

The Declining Peso 

The good news,  if you are Canadian or American,  is that those $1000 US  will buy 21,000 pesos, when 2 years ago it would have only bought 12,000.    Our hearts do go out to our Mexican friends whose money is losing value.  The least we can do is spend some money into their economy.

Sadness:  Time to Go Home

One point.  How do you exchange back your leftover pesos when you go home?   No problem,  just pay your final bill with the remaining peso and then finish off the rest with a credit card.


Estimated Money that you would lose getting $1000 worth of pesos. 

Visa /Mastercard purchases                              Zero

Credit Union ATM                                            zero to $15

Bank ATM                                                            $30
Credit Card w/ Foreign Transaction Fee             $30

Exchange at the Resort                                   $80 to $120

Spending  US Dollars directly                         $100 to $150

So there you have it .  Have a great vacation and and save using our Money Tips for Mexico !!

5 Comments. Leave new

We actually last year in maya riviera got a very competitive rate from the reset exchange. We had difficulty with atm allowing us to withdraw more than 150$ . Thus adding up usage fees.

Thanks for sharing your experience Dee ! You raise a good point. WE generally get 2000 pesos out of the ATM, but that is no only $150 or less !!! However, generally , we have found the exchange rates to be 1 to 1.5 pesos / dollar lower than the official exchange. that is about 10% which would be $15 lost for every $150. We will be there in two weeks, so will try to report our latest experience if we aren’t too busy with four grand kids :-0

Terry Slonaker
January 21, 2017 10:45 am

I have gone to Acapulco almost every year for 20 years and I have always used the resort for exchange of dollars into pesos. The difference is very small and it is very convenient. All banks require you to have your pass port with you plus consider the cost of a taxi to get there. Also resort does not charge a fee. Using a credit card for purchases is the best for large purchases. Still need pesos for cabs, tips and small purchases.

Hi Terry, good to hear from you again ! I will do a comparison when I get to Nuevo Vallarta in 2 WEEKS (woohoo!) However, I am pretty sure as I mentioned to Dee’s comment. 1 or 1 1/2 peso difference from the true exchange rate might not seem like much, but it is like 10% which is a lot. I will write an update when we get there . Who knows. I maybe mis-remembering. I agree about the banks. Big hassle.

Very helpful advise and comments

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