Everything about which currencies are best to use, where to change your money and what to keep in mind when using a credit card in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Can I pay in US Dollars?
Generally everybody here loves to receive dollar bills, but beware of the exchange rate they use. Especially at stores, taxis or restaurants you’re better off paying with Mexican Pesos since they usually use a lower exchange rate, meaning you get less value for your Dollars.
How about other currencies?
Hotels or tour operators usually accept different currencies, like Canadian Dollar, Euro or British Pound. Again, check the exchange rate. At Playa Palms Beach Hotel we only accept Mexican Pesos and US Dollars.
Where can I change money?
It’s best to only bring a little cash, and once you arrived get Mexican Pesos at an ATM, where you typically get a better exchange rate. Most ATM’s are in English and Spanish. The withdrawal fee is little, around 30 Pesos, and whatever your bank charges for international usage. Find out if your home bank has a relationship with any bank in Mexico, this way you can save fees. For example, Citi Bank works with Banamex, and the international chain HSBC has branches here too.
Avoid the ATM’s on the 5th Avenue. They are mostly privately owned and thus charge higher fees. Plus incidents of card cloning have been reported. Our staff at the front desk is happy to show you where you can use official bank ATM’s.
Another possibility is to exchange money at a “casa de cambio” on the 5th Avenue. They will ask to see your ID. Casas de cambio don’t charge fees, but they give you a lower exchange rate than the official one. If exchanging a bigger amount of money this could mean quite a difference of how many Pesos you receive.
Don’t waste your time exchanging your money at a bank. Usually there is a long waiting line and some only attend their own customers.
Is it better to exchange money at home?
No, usually you get a better exchange rate once you’re in Mexico. Also it might not be the safest option to travel with a huge amount of cash.
How about using a credit card?
Most places accept Visa and MasterCard, American Express and Discovery are less common. At Playa Palms Beach Hotel we accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Inform your bank prior to the trip that you’re traveling to Mexico, to prevent the card from being denied for security reasons. Also ask if they charge a fee.
When paying with credit card at stores or restaurants you usually have to show an ID to ensure it’s yours.