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Dollars/Pesos/Credit Cards

Traverse City...
13 posts
Dollars/Pesos/Credit Cards

As we’re getting closer to our trip and talking about money needed for food, excursions, etc we are wondering how many places and vendors will take a credit card. I prefer using them as we can track money spent better, don’t have to convert to pesos, and our travel cards have no foreign transaction fees.

Obviously we’ll need some cash, trying to figure out how much to bring and whether we should try to avoid converting there as much as possible for fees?

2 adults and two teens. Plan on eating out for pretty much every meal, tipping well at restaurants and our housekeeping. Any advice?

5 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
1,768 posts
34 reviews
24 helpful votes
1. Re: Dollars/Pesos/Credit Cards

Lots of restaurants take credit cards now though there are still a lot that don't and they usually post a sign saying "Solo Efectivo - Cash Only", but if in doubt always ask first, not when you get the bill. I'm seeing signs for exchange rates at various places lately that give an exchange of $18pesos to the US dollar. This isn't at the few money exchange "Casa de Cambios" in town but in stores, etc. I'm sure you can get a better rate than that at your bank at home before coming down. Beach vendors and street vendors do not take credit cards and will give you a better deal if you pay in pesos than in dollars.

I can't offer suggestions on how much to bring down with you as everybody is different and I don't know how long you'll be here for. Good, safe ATMs in town with fair transaction fees can be found at Don Pedro's and Alas Blancas. Santander ATMs, in my experience, give the best rate and lowest transaction fee.

I hope this helps a bit. I'm sure others have more info and opinions to offer.

Traverse City...
13 posts
2. Re: Dollars/Pesos/Credit Cards

Thanks Harry!

Alameda, California
Level Contributor
427 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
3. Re: Dollars/Pesos/Credit Cards

Personally, I bring a pretty big chunk of US dollars, exchange it at the Cambio a little at a time and pay with a credit card whenever it's an option. I definitely advise everyone NOT to pay people with US dollars. It's lazy (IMHO) and you'll basically be paying them a little extra for having to exchange your US dollars for you.

Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
611 posts
130 reviews
58 helpful votes
4. Re: Dollars/Pesos/Credit Cards

I think it has only happened once in recent years, but I try to carry enough cash (pesos) as backup to pay in case the credit card reader has a problem or my card does.

I use a no foreign transaction fee credit card to pay when possible, and a no fee debit that refunds the ATM fee to get pesos.

Some higher cost things like excursions will have a cash price vs. credit card, if you have a good debit card (to get cash out of a bank affiliated ATM) it will not matter as the exchange rate will be very close to what the current rate is set to internationally. Decline dynamic currency conversion (dcc) at the ATM.

Bucerias, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Bucerias
Level Contributor
1,814 posts
287 reviews
94 helpful votes
5. Re: Dollars/Pesos/Credit Cards

If your bank can order some pesos before your arrival that might help with ATM transaction fees while you are here. I always have cash, since many vendors do not accept credit or debit cards, but most of the restaurants do.

You can also exchange dollars for pesos at the Intercam bank located on the way into town. Be sure to take your passport with you. They may have more favorable rates than the money changing kiosks in town. Hope this helps.

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