We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cash or ATM Card?

Chippewa Falls...
Level Contributor
316 posts
16 reviews
Save Topic
Cash or ATM Card?

I never got the answer I was looking for in the top questions, so I guess I will ask here. It has probably been asked and answered many times so I apologize in advance. Is cash difficult to exchange on Isla? As of 2012 in Cozumel, we took our passports and cash to the cambio in Punta Langosta and change dollars(cash) to pesos several times. The exchange rate was favorable, and no problem at all. Has something changed or is it more difficult on Isla? Has anyone used a prepaid debit card? I really don't want to bring a card that is attached to my checking account. Thanks for the info.

Mentioned in this post
Cozumel
Cozumel
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Des Moines, Iowa
Destination Expert
for Isla Mujeres
Level Contributor
6,034 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

You can exchange cash pretty easily but I still prefer using the atm, that way I can get cash as I need it rather having a lot of cash on me. I like to use my paypal debit card.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Isla Mujeres
Level Contributor
10,426 posts
184 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

Most visitors to Isla use the ATMS to get pesos, which work the same way whether you are using a bank card or a prepaid debit card. Some people have reported using the prepaid card as an added layer of protection. There are fewer cambios on the island than there used to be, and I haven't used one in a few years. But I think the Elektra store on Guerrero still has a cambio in the back and there are a few others.

Ontario
Level Contributor
7,465 posts
166 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

I've taken cash in the past (Canadian as well as American as I happened to have some US)...there's cambios around town..the one I like is the CI Banco as a) it's had a favourable exchange rate and b) it's air conditioned (just kidding but it is nice that it's air conditioned for the few minutes it takes to exchange). There's the Banco Azteca too...on Guerrero....at the back of Elektra. If exchanging US I needed my passport but for my Canadian money (note for anyone with Canadian..it was the exact same rate as the US) I didn't need a passport.

ATMs that I've used are HSBC by the ferry...HSBC at the Super Xpress as well as the ATMs at Chedraui (can't remember the name..Banamex or Bancomer...sorry, I didn't check the name)..they all worked out great.

Safe travels.

Mentioned in this post
Chedraui
Chedraui
42 Reviews
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
new york
Level Contributor
20,751 posts
100 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

Here’s a thread from the Top Question on money matters. Post number 4 is especially informative on exchanging dollars for pesos.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150810-i360-k4134…

We also use the ATM instead of exchanging dollars since we find it easier.

Chippewa Falls...
Level Contributor
316 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

Has anyone had trouble with their atm card being "eaten"? I would hate to be stuck with no card and no money. If I use the ATM at a bank, are they able to retrieve the card?, as opposed to a stand alone ATM.

new york
Level Contributor
20,751 posts
100 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

Yes, at the 7 & 11 next to the HSBC. The bank next door does not service it, even though it's an HSBC ATM. So be very careful there to remove your card. The machines at the bank itself are serviced by them so you can get your card back should it happen.

Incidentally, I was posting about exchanging money at the same time you were. So make sure to check out that thread I linked to. You may find it helpful :)

Edited: 12 August 2013, 20:32
Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Isla Mujeres
Level Contributor
10,426 posts
184 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

gbp: yes, the bank employees can get your card back, which is why I always use the ATM at the HSBC bank. Their ATM ate my father's card but the bank employees got it back within 5 minutes.

Chippewa Falls...
Level Contributor
316 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

Thanks, I will do that! I think I will just take some cash and a card, and not worry about it. If need be, someone at home can help out in an emergency. You all have been so helpful, I appreciate the great tips!

Chippewa Falls...
Level Contributor
316 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

Thanks! Sounds like a plan.

Lenexa, Kansas
Level Contributor
2,660 posts
221 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Cash or ATM Card?

Please listen to Dmartin about bank employess getting your ATM card back. The employees at the HSBC bank DID retrieve my card. I found Isla Mujeres a little different than Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Pesos is more commonly used on the island than the other places. I took $300 in cash for 9 days and didn't spend much of it. I did use the cash for the transfer and tip. I checked out most places on their current conversion rates. I found pretty decent rates on the island, especially at the 2 banks on Medina (HSBC across from the ferry).

Mentioned in this post
Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Cozumel
Cozumel
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
Riviera Maya, Mexico