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Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

Chicago, Illinois
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Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

Hello everyone. I know this has been addressed before but its confusing for me because our last couple of trips we stayed in AIs in other areas and didnt really leave the hotel and just tipped in US dollars and used our credit cards. I've been reading in this forum that we should try to use pesos and will get a better deal if we use pesos. That makes sense to me. So the question is where and how do we get pesos? (Im not gonna rob a Mexican bank because the food, not so good in the Mexican jails)

Can we get Pesos in the U.S. before we leave? How? Do we get them at the airport or in Isla at an ATM? How much can you get at one time out of an ATM? Which are the best ATMs to use? I'm worried we wont be able to get enough cash (Pesos) in hand to pay for all the things we need to pay for. Is Isla Mujeres a cash society, or will be able to use normal credit cards to pay for, example, a week's golf cart rental, meals and drinks everyday, excursions, etc. Also, what is the going exchange rate in Isla and how does one figure what the US dollar amount of a given number of Pesos are? Thanks to everyone for helping me figure this out!

Southwest Michigan
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1. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

Have you read "How do I Handle Money Matters on Isla?' in the top questions section on the right?

Dallas
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for Isla Mujeres
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2. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

I agree about reading the top question on the right.

We always use the ATM machines. I prefer the one at the 7-11 only because it gives out 200 peso bills versus the 500 bills that are hard to use unless making a large purchase.

How much you can withdraw depends on your bank, but we generally withdraw 3000 pesos at a time.

I rarely use a credit card in Mexico, unless it's a very large purchase and even then I prefer not to.

Generally if you get pesos in the US (just check with your local bank) you will not get as good of exchange rate.

My husband just got home two days ago and the exchange rate varied from 12.2 to 12.5

Albany, New York
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3. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

I was worried about this as well for months before our first trip.....for NO reason. We were just there a couple weeks ago and it was nothing to sweat about. We brought 1/2 of our money in cash, and left 1/2 in my checking account at home to withdraw at ATM's. Exchanging was as easy as easy could be, althoughyou dont get the best rate....still very simple and you only need your passport the first time,then they give you a pin number just put in wallet. The ATM,after my first fiasco, was also simple as well, and safe. I only used the ATM right across from ferry at HSBC. The first time was my own mistke for trying to withdraw too much,because I did not look at my conversion cheat sheet to see how many pesos was equal to my 500 dollar limit back home per day. But after that I would just go and withdraw 3000 pesos at a time as to not go over and I was only charged 1 dollar back home each time. As for credit card use I did use mine one time at a store and it was a smooth transaction,no funny business. But one thing I will say, everyone kept saying pesos, pesos, pesos,and we found all the locals asking for US dollars. So, you really are fine if you want to use dollars but value is to use pesos. Hope I helped, and did not confuse you more,but it was really so easy!!! Dont worry and have a BLAST!! Oh, one more thing, If you bring US dollars, bring smaller,and also, a bunch of dollars just to get you started for tipping your guys,transfer guy, taxi,baggage. And please tip well,they work hard for very little money!!!!

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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4. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

If you would feel better having pesos in hand upon arrival, go to your local bank and get some.

I was pleasantly surprised last fall when I did this. They had pesos on hand, and the entire process took about 10 minutes. Probably not the best exchange rate, but, it was easy.

After we spent that money, we just used ATMs.

Boston
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5. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

As noted, your local bank will sell you some pesos. If you call first you can make sure they have some on hand. The currency exchanges at the airports (on either end) won't give you a particularly good rate.

And I personally will always hit the first ATM I see. Unless that has been moved, this will be found just after you leave customs in the airport, or at the ferry dock.

And of course once you're confirmed in the Isla habit you will simply save your leftover pesos for the next trip.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Isla Mujeres
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6. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

A lot of this depends on your own bank. As a Bank of America customer, last year we withdrew money from our account in pesos before we left. They charge no fees and will deliver the pesos to the branch of your choice, and they had a good rate. Now their rate stinks. So we'll be doing the ATM only.

Your bank sets the limit on your daily ATM withdrawals and also the fees associated with each transaction. Be sure to let your bank know you are going to be using your card in Mexico. There will also be a small fee from the bank owning the ATM.

Credit cards are not widely accepted, especially at small restaurants or stores. We use ours only for large purchases (scuba diving, etc.).

Many people will tel you that dollars are accepted almost anywhere. This is true, but you won't get a good rate. A restaurant or store will typically give you only 10-1. Lets's say your bill is 200 pesos. They'll take $20 instead. But if you pay in pesos, those 200 pesos will cost you only $16.66. So dollars will cost you an extra 16.7% or so.

new york
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for Isla Mujeres
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7. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

Great advice from everyone. As for credit cards, yes, you can use it for your golf cart rental but otherwise, it’s pretty much a cash society. Most restaurants won’t take them.

And yes, be sure to read the Top Question on money matters. The last topic in there is on conversion from pesos to dollars. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150810-i360-k4641…

We prefer the ATM at the HSBC bank because if it “eats” your card the bank can get it back for you. We lost our card to the one at the Seven Eleven because we were distracted getting coffee and it ate it, lol. Bank does not service that one so you won’t get it back. There is also an ATM at the supermarket. You can change dollars into pesos at the Banco Azteca on Guerrero but will need your passport. Again, be sure to read the topics in the Top Questions on money :)

Saskatoon, Canada
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for Riviera Maya
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8. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

Just my two cents....we always use ATMs once there to get pesos....our bank rate stinks and they also charge a fee of $8 to order them, so we never do that anymore.

We used the ATM at the airport once and the one at the Super Express twice, with no problems at all. The one at the Super Express DOES eat your card, but it was too hot to walk to the HSBC *blush* lol!!!

Davie, Florida
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9. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

use an ATM attached to a bank to get pesos, step back from the OCD and move on

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Dollars! Pesos! Yikes!

Hi, Im rhe OP. Im running TripAdvisor from an apo off my phone. ,Its not quite the same as what you see when youre on the computer on TA. These "things on the right" that some of you are talking about im just not seeing on this app. I have gone thru many pages of different questions other people have posted, though, and did see a lenghy one on getting pesos and read it a couple times but still felt confused. Thank you to all who responded I feel much better about just going at using atm on Isla when we get there. Made a note to self to find out our daily bank limit. We are leaving in less than 2 weeks and ill probably be asking alot of redundamt qiestions in the meantime. We dont get to travel that often and I am the "confirmed micro planner" in the family,lol. Its my day off today so im taking granddaughter to pool and hopefully during lulls ill be able to check TA o.n my phone, make posts and best yet see if crockfeeder has updated his review!

Thanks for your help and understanding everyone!