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Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

Santiago, Chile
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Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

Hi everyone,

Please know I searched the forums and some of the info is out-of-date or contradictory.

We are going to Tulum next week (from Chile, not the US, so I am facing the potential need to arm myself with two currencies). I have read in many of the forums that restaurants want pesos, but drivers (like airport transfers and taxis) want tips in dollars. So (1) would it be wise to have a mix of USD and MX pesos? (2) Should I bring a decent amount of US dollars and exchange to pesos at the airport? An exchange center? (3) or just depend on ATMs. We are staying on the beach and it looks like the bank ATMs are in town (I know my to use no name ATMs); therefore requiring a trip. Also, in my experience traveling in LatAm, bank machines easily break, run out of cash etc. I am grateful for your input.

Thanks!

Charleston, South...
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1. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

I am from the US and bring what I need in US and then depend on ATMs that are associated with a bank for pesos. While US is widely accepted you will lose about 30% in exchange so if you are going to bring any money bring pesos.

I find that the ATMs affiliated with a bank charge a low fee so check with your home bank for their fees.

Edited: 05 February 2014, 22:38
New York City, New...
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for Yucatan Peninsula
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2. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

Drivers don't want tips in dollars - people here suggest Americans bringing US $1s for tips in case one runs out of Mexican change.

You do not need to get dollars. Get pesos out of a bank affiliated ATM machine. You will pay HUGE fees if you withdraw US dollars from an ATM machine in Mexico - they will charge you to convert the currency from pesos to dollars.

If I were you, I would just put my ATM card in one of the bank machines in the airport when you arrive in Cancun, and get pesos. Your bank will probably charge a fee, and the Mexican bank will add a fee like a bank where you don't have an account would at home if you use their machine (sorry, I don't know the rules in Chile - haven't been yet but anxious to go!).

If you pay in dollars you usually get 10 to 1, when the peso is trading at 13 to 1, so even with the fees, it makes sense to use the ATM. The cambio booths and your hotel won't give as good a rate as the bank.

suitcaseready.com

Trail, Canada
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3. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

ATM pesos are always the best . There are ATM's at the airport , bus stations , grocery stores and in Tulum Pueblo . There are four in a row at the Chedraui grocery store as you leave town for the beach and this selection will provide a dependable and usable choice at a convenient and useful location . Fees vary and are as Evening says . Other than the fact that the dollar is rapidly strengthening and the beneficial exchange rate to the receiver , no one prefers US dollars .

With no knowledge of Chilean banking and card compatibility it might be wise to have a hundred dollars worth of US currency . I generally do , even as a Canadian for emergencies or splurges . Otherwise , all ATM pesos , all the time .

Steamboat Springs...
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4. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

I bring US $ for fishing guides and snorkel trips quoted to me in US$. Living in the USA, I don't have to change money to US$, and I pay them exactly what they quoted me. (And tip of course) Except for some of these larger cost excursions, I use pesos to pay for everything else unless I can use a Credit Card. I know some diving trips are listed as US$ and some boat tours too. If you don't have much quoted to you in US$, I'd just stick to pesos. After all, It is the national money of Mexico and will cover just about anything.

USA
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5. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

If I were you, I'd order my pesos in Chile (some approximate amount you think you need) and not bother with any of the above. You may be sure what your daily limit is, but you never know what the ATM's limit is. Once you get to Tulum and stay on the beach (without a car, I assume), you'll have to go through the hassle of going to town and paying $20 round-trip for cabs to go get money. If your cash is running low, then you may have to go just once to town. Of course, that advice is only good if there is a safe in your hotel...

There are ATM's on that road, but you know it's not a particularly good idea to use them for various reasons. Who wants to deal with constantly running out of money?! I'm not that fond of using credit cards in questionable places abroad, even if they are accepted.

Yes, the transfers are accustomed to more American and Canadian visitors and their prices are listed on their websites in US dollars. However, I can't imagine they'd turn down their own currency in their own country...

Vancouver
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
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6. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

Fishing trips

I asked once how much in pesos - he gave me an 11 to 1 rate

I paid in pesos and saved about $20 US

Just because they quote in US, ask

Steamboat Springs...
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7. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

"Fishing trips

I asked once how much in pesos - he gave me an 11 to 1 rate

I paid in pesos and saved about $20 US

Just because they quote in US, ask"

I've tried but the fly fishing guides down in the Boca Paila and Xcalak area have all requested US$. No exchange for me so, I feel I'm paying what they ask. We were told by XTC divers in Xcalak also to pay in US$. No surprises, it is what it is.

Big D
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for Tulum, Dallas
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8. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

You might want to bring a good chunk of cash in USDs if you plan on taking a fishing trip like described above.

It was requested that I pay for a massage in USDs at a nicer place in Tulum - thankfully I had some; otherwise I would have paid a higher price in pesos. Not sure why exactly.

We get out the max amount of pesos from the ATMs at the airport. You will see them after you exit customs. Then once in Tulum, we use the ATMs at the Chedraui grocery store.

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel, Merida
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9. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

As evening says, drivers do not really want tips or payments in dollars. They will, of course, accept them since it is better than the other option--nothing. I keep no dollars and if anyone demand dollars as payment, I go elsewhere. But when it comes right down to it, most want pesos.

10. Re: Money: exchanging dollars or depending on ATMs

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