Playa del Carmen Money Guide
You are on vacation for a reason: to enjoy!!! So be prepared in order to get the most out of your money. Here are some important facts that you should familiarize yourself with in order to be better prepared.
The local currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso. US dollars are widely accepted but local business exchange rates vary greatly. Most hotels will change currency at either the front desk or a designated exchange booth. Once outside the hotels, you will see many “Casa de Cambio”, which translated means “money exchange house”. These are the most convenient ways of changing currency once here in Playa del Carmen. You may want to change some before arrival, as the bank exchange rate is usually the best.
The Mexican Peso
The Mexican Peso is the national currency, although US dollars and Euros are still widely accepted in most local businesses in Playa del Carmen. Your best bet is to use Mexican Pesos instead of other currencies to pay for your shopping, dining out and other purchases as local business exchange rates are usually not good. Alternatively, you can pay with your credit card and be charged your bank’s exchange rate.
Peso bills come in 1000 (rare), 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20 denominations. Coins come in 10, 5, 2 1 and 50 centavo denominations. Please note that although smaller denomination coins do exist, they are rarely used.
Please advise your bank that you will be traveling to Mexico as they may freeze your card if they detect “suspicious” activity. Also, some banks are now starting to charge fees for International transactions so best to check with your bank and see if this applies to your card. When using your credit card in Playa del Carmen, some local businesses will ask for picture ID.
If your bank does not charge for International transactions, paying with a credit card will get you the bank’s exchange rate (plus whatever points you accumulate with your card) and save you a bit of money. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, whereas American Express and Discover are not easy to use.
ATM’s are easy to find in Playa del Carmen. Many of these offer both local and foreign currency. It is best to withdraw Mexican Pesos, as you will pay to convert your money twice if you withdraw USD. Check with your bank before you come, as many banks charge for international withdrawals. Fees start at about $2 USD but may be as high as $10 USD per transaction.
The local ATM will also add on a fee of between $25 and $45 Mexican Pesos, so you are best to withdraw a large amount to avoid getting charged multiple fees for various withdrawals. Avoid the no-name ATM’s and try to use a branch bank ATM such as ScotiaBank, HSBC, Banamex, Santander, or Banorte. This way if you have an issue, you will be able to follow up with a bank executive.
Tips are extremely welcome, expected and hoped for, however don’t feel obliged to tip indiscriminately but use common sense to reward good service. Inside the all-inclusive hotels you may notice that not very many people leave tips. Although the hotels may tout that the tips are included in your package, please feel free to tip staff who good service.
Salaries are extremely low and the staff work 6 days per week. An extra few dollars now and then are always more than welcome. If you are eating out be sure to check your bill carefully as some restaurants include a percentage service fee in the final price.
Playa del Carmen Tours and Activities
Experience a sun-bathed Caribbean coastal destination graced with endless white sand beaches, turquoise blue seawater and a wide range of exciting tour activities. Please review selected highlights below and contact us to help you create an unforgettable experience in Mexico.