Advice needed for first timer in Playa del Carmen

Dec 27th, 2001, 06:27 AM
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Advice needed for first timer in Playa del Carmen

Advice needed! Our first trip to Mexico, will be staying at Playa del Carmen in January. What mix of US$ and pesos should we take? I think we'll need pesos for the bus from the airport but what else? Shops, bars, do they all take US$? and... most important! Is it safe to drink the ice? is the ice in the bars made from purified water? Can't drink a margharita without ice. Thanks to all for any responses.
Dec 27th, 2001, 06:39 AM
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Being Canadian, I don't usually take a lot of USD to Mexico (however I don't expect anyone to take my Canadian dollar!). I usually take $100 USD with me and usually come home with most of it. I use ATM machines all the time down there - they are usually everywhere and it's so much safer than carrying a lot of cash. Sure there's a service charge, but it's worth it. I take the USD in case I'm caught short and the ATM breaks down or whatever. I think you're better off using pesos in shops and bars. Otherwise you're dependent on staff converting into pesos and you'll always get your change in pesos.

I drink the ice down there all the time. I guess I'd be careful in some little hole in the wall, but the ice is made from bottled water and I've never had a problem.

Have a great trip! I'm sure you'll love it!

Dec 27th, 2001, 12:15 PM
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I was just in PDC and I noticed that the service charge was $3.00USD at the ATM. Some places will accept American Dollars, especially the eco-parks. I'd bring $150 USD and get some pesos at the bank. The rest of the time just use the ATMS.
Dec 27th, 2001, 12:32 PM
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Coming from the US, I usually take $50dollars in singles for tips. I convert all my money into pesos. Yes, stores will accept other currancy, but your change will be in pesos, plus, the exchange rate at the stores and restaurants is not as good as the bank's. DO NOT change money at the airport. I personally don't exchange any money until I check out the various rates at the cambios (exchange booths).

To drink or not to drink is a BIG issue for many repeat travelers to Mexico. I usually suggest you talk to your doctor. He will probably tell you to not eat any salads. No raw veggies or fruit unless it has been peeled.

Unless I'm in a big resort, I usually stick to bottled water. The frozen drinks are usually fine. Use your judgement--look around you. If you are in the "middle of nowhere", skip the ice. Most places use purified water for drinks and ice--it's in their best interest or people would stop coming.

Have a great trip. My favorite restaurant in Playa is Chinos--not much to look at but the best margaritas I've ever had, and great food.

Dec 27th, 2001, 06:55 PM
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Hey, Mike-
We haven't been in PDC since '98, but here's our tips - we take USD in traveller's cheques, cash at Banamex/cambios as needed. Usually have USD 50-100 in pesos on arrival, for tips, beer on bus from airport, etc. We even brush our teeth with bottled water , and that's at 4 1/2 star AI's but we do feel safe at the buffet at our resort re:fruits & salads. We each take 2 Pepto-Bismol chewables every a.m. to protect against GI problems - by the 4th day we're eating salads on tours with no repercussions, tummy-wise. If "the Coffee Press" is still there, say hi to Mary Beth, the owner for us - tell her it's from the Canadians who garden a lot.
Dec 30th, 2001, 03:16 AM
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Thanks for the tips everyone! sure looking forward to that first margharita... with ice!!

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