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What's cheaper?

Canada
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767 posts
36 reviews
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What's cheaper?

I am wanting to convert canadian dollars to Paso's. What is better... convert it at bank before I arrive... or converting at airport or and resort? Thanks.

Colo Spgs
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for Cozumel
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27,702 posts
2 reviews
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1. Re: What's cheaper?

For USD it is best to withdraw pesos from an ATM.

Belleville, Ontario
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1,560 posts
11 reviews
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2. Re: What's cheaper?

CO_Pilot - it does not really make sense to convert to USD and then to pesos for a Canadian.

Canadiangirl - I always just convert some at the bank before we go - then I know we have it. I ask for smaller notes as well which is helpful for tipping. If we need more when we are there we have used the ATM on the resort. Now that is a more expensive option than using an ATM elsewhere in Mexico I am sure as it charges you and then the bank or credit card company charges you as well.

I buy my pesos in Canada from my bank (Royal Bank) they charge their posted exchange rate and no other fee - at least for the account we have. It just seems easier this way and we do not find it expensive.

You will need to give them a few business days notice as unlike USD exchange they have to order the funds.

We usually take a bit of USD as well just to pay the transfer driver as the quote is always in USD.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Calgary
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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22,640 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: What's cheaper?

I buy enough pesos to last me a couple days from my own bank before I leave Canada. When in Mexico, I simply withdraw pesos directly from my account using local ATMs. My own bank charges $3.50 per withdrawal; the Mexican bank fee is minimal (75 cents maybe?). Whilst I think paying $3.50 is well worth it for the convenience factor, I do avoid making multiple withdrawals each day and prefer to pull out enough cash to last me for a couple of days each time.

If you want to go this route, there are a couple of things to be aware of:

- check with your bank as to what their fees are. Most Canadian banks are quite reasonable but I've seen posts from folks from the UK and US who have been hit with very high fees for foreign ATM use;

- if you don't have a four digit PIN, you'll need to get one;

- notify your bank of your travel dates so they don't freeze your account when they see foreign withdrawals.

A personal thing but I ensure that there's only enough cash in my account for my vacation spending money plus a $100 or so for contingencies. That way, if my ATM card does get compromised, there's a limit to how much damage the "bad guys" can do.

I NEVER withdraw cash using my credit card; IMHO, the cost of doing so (i.e.. the interest rate) is just too high.

FWIW, airports the world over usually give the worst exchange rates.

HTH

Belleville, Ontario
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1,560 posts
11 reviews
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4. Re: What's cheaper?

We usually use our credit card for withdrawls becuase of the fraud protection. We did have an incident a couple of years ago in Mexico where we tried to use the ATM and it did not work also all inst were in spanish so we asked a lade at the front desk of the resort for assistance - she came and helped us - and then this message came up and she said it meant there was no $ in the machine.

So she allowed us to obtain the funds at the front desk. They do not usually do this.

When we got home there was a charge from the ATM on our card. It took a few months but got sorted out. Thank goodness for fraud protection. I'm not sure what would have happened if it was our debit card.

Also it depends on what kind of card you have - but we just pay it off when we get home so we don't incur too much interest.

Canada
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767 posts
36 reviews
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5. Re: What's cheaper?

Thanks everyone!! : ) Did you all charge the spa and things you bought within the resorts stores to your room and then went on your credit card? Also, any idea how much to tip the housekeepers, waiters etc? I just want a bit of an idea. Thanks. : )

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
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27,702 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: What's cheaper?

Wink, my post must have been unclear. In order to get pesos, I find (being a US citizen hence USD is my currency) that using an ATM is the cheapest method.

Perhaps it is different for Canadians. But I was not suggesting converting Canadian currency to USD then somehow get pesos from the USD.

Saskatoon, Canada
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya
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12,429 posts
48 reviews
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7. Re: What's cheaper?

I knew what you meant, CO_pilot.

The same is true for Canadians- the best/easiest/most economically prudent way to get pesos is to simply get them from the ATM once you arrive.

We used to bother with ordering some from our bank, but now we find it to be a waste of time and energy- plus our banks charge us a fee ($8!!) for the service no matter the amount, so we stopped that.

And my credit card costs me an extra bogus 3%, so I don't use that either.

We get at least 5000-6000 pesos at a time, store the extra in the hotel room safe. Easy peasy.

Toronto
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39 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: What's cheaper?

we went to EPM last year and only used USD for tips, and credit card for any excursions. is something different locally now where u cant use US?

r

Belleville, Ontario
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1,560 posts
11 reviews
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9. Re: What's cheaper?

Co_Pilot - I see what you are saying now. You would be suprised how many Canadians pay to get USD then take to Mexico instead of just getting pesos in the first place.

Pazuzu - there are some new regulations in Mexico it has been discussed on the forum you can search for details although I have seen some different versions it may be best to google it. From what I gather the jist is for larger transacations USD may not be accepted. I can't recall what the threashold is just now.

Anyway we used to take USD but our last two trips we converted to pesos first which was pretty easy and I did not find it any more expensive then converting to USD.

This way the funds are only exchanged once and when you are paying or tipping you are using the local currancy.

Just seems easier and works for us.

Waterloo, Canada
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256 posts
42 reviews
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10. Re: What's cheaper?

I'm dithering a bit about what to do for our next trip. We have a USD account, so we don't pay an exchange and there's no fee to take cash out of it. So obviously it's cheaper for us to get USD than pesos.

I'm not sure if we're going to do any outings on this trip, I know that for some things (cab fare, restaurants, etc.) the price is often lower if you pay in pesos, so if we are it would be nice to have some. However, if not it probably makes more sense to just take USD to pay for incidentals, tips, etc.

Also, canadiangirl--last year we just charged the spa to our room and paid for it with our credit card. We'll do the same this year. I don't think we had any other charges, but would do the same for anything significant if we did.