American Money or Pesos??

Feb 9th, 2003, 11:08 AM
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American Money or Pesos??

I am head to Mayan Riviera in two weeks staying at the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzel. I know that we will be going into Playa Del Carmen to look around, have a few drinks and buy some things...Would you suggest that we get our American money converted to pesos??...and if we do that..can you suggest a place to exchange it...For any other side trips from the resort I plan on using my credit card...and plan on tipping with American this a good idea...Appreciate any feedback...thanks...
Kayc is offline  
Feb 9th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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Would you want someone here in the US to pay you in Pesos? It sounds like a smartass answer, but think about your question. Of course you would pay in pesos.
Greg1 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2003, 02:49 PM
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You should use pesos while in Mexico. If you have an ATM card with a 4 digit pin then you can just withdraw pesos from an ATM machine when you get to Mexico (you'll also get a much better exchange rate doing that than you will if you exchange cash or travelers checks.)
JohnK is offline  
Feb 9th, 2003, 02:59 PM
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Kayc -

Most people will take either pesos or dollars, but you usually get a better deal by using pesos, and I would agree with others that it's more polite.

There's a cash machine just across the street (toward the sea) from the main bus terminal in PDC - you can get pesos directly there, probably at a very good rate. Alternatively, there is an American Express money exchange in the main airport terminal, right by baggage claim, which gives a good rate and no exchange fee. If you bring American cash down with you, you can change it over there, and not have to worry about finding a cash machine right away.

This is NOT a dumb question. I paid for everything pesos, but sometimes got dollars back in change, because that was all the vendor had.
KellyF is offline  
Feb 9th, 2003, 03:02 PM
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Oh - and I can't stress enough to get SMALL bills. For that reason, the American Express booth has another advantage. Everywhere you go, people will ask you if you have something smaller - even a 100-peso bill can cause problems. One strategy is to alwasy use big bills when you can get away with it (the hotel, the ferry), and keep the smaller ones for when you really need them.
KellyF is offline  
Feb 9th, 2003, 05:00 PM
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It's incredibly easy... Take some U.S. cash and at the airport change a few hundred into peso (back this up with an ATM card to withdraw peso from your U.S. checking account as the trip goes on). Don't tip with U.S. cash~~ the local people just have to go exchange it same as you would into PESO at the bank. Also don't count on being able to use a credit card always, sometime yes, sometimes no, depends on the particular shop, business, restaurant & whether you are in a heavily touristed area or a more local spot.

Agreeing with several posters above, you're in Mexico... plan to use the cash of the country... the peso.
suze is offline  
Feb 10th, 2003, 04:45 AM
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I was recently in Cozumel. I prefer to pay for things in cash when I travel - some places such as the villas where I stayed, prefer US dollars because it's more stable and makes it easier to predict their revenue based on projected sales. One or two restaurants I ate in were unable to provide smaller portions of the change in pesos - apparently they deal mostly in credit cards or US dollars. I made it a point to carry and pay with pesos wherever possible but it helps to have a few US $ tucked away. Also - hang onto those $5 peso and $10 peso coins - makes it easier to pay exact amount or give tips that are appropriate but not excessive (e.g. taxi drivers will often seem to have no Mexican currency smaller than a $20 peso note ($2 US) and many folks overtip (or undertip) because of the money issue).
Owen_ONeill is offline  
Feb 10th, 2003, 10:55 AM
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I went with my family last year. We could have used peso's for the hotel as that was all they accepted but I never used peso's anywhere else. The vendors take $$ and if not than I paid with my Visa card. Simple enough! Make sure you check all your receipts though -

Have a great time - it is a beautiful place.
cmoran is offline  
Feb 12th, 2003, 12:43 PM
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EXCEPT when you want your tip to mean something. If you want extra great service, tip with a dollar bill.

The dollar is more stable than the peso...and, the locals know it.

It may be worth about 10 pesos (or so) to you and me, but to them, an American Dollar is worth much more because it doesn't lose its value.

We always travel with a wad of "ones" for tipping.

And, we usually get pretty dang great service. (and, a smile, too)

justjohn is offline  
Feb 15th, 2003, 11:12 AM
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I just don't understand the $1US tipping thing. Don't the Mexican people you give it to go to the bank and exchange it into peso and go to the grocery store like everyone else???

I don't get the "lose its value" concept especially when we're talking about a one dollar tip!! I still think it's rude, because it makes more work for the person you give it to.

I get great service and lots of smiles too, by tipping an appropriate amount in the currency of the country. Sheez.
suze is offline  
Feb 15th, 2003, 05:18 PM
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If you tip in dollars Mexican folks have to exchange them just as we do. Just as we do they loose a little bit as they exchange the dollars to pesos. Likewise Mexican currency fluctuates just as the U.S. dollar does. Just pay in the currency of the country. It saves you money and gives the locals less hassle. Also its the ammount of the tip- not whther its U.S dollars that people appreciate.
Dude is offline  
Feb 17th, 2003, 07:15 AM
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Aside from the fact that using US dollars in Mexico really smacks of the "ugly gringo" and forces the Mexican recipients to go to the trouble of exchanging them back to pesos, there is another good reason to use pesos.

You mentioned something about shopping for "things" in PDC. Many Mexican merchants will give a discount for payment "en efectivo" (that means in cash, in PESOS). You do have to ask for this discount - they will usually not offer! If you purchase only a few inexpensive souvenirs, the discount won't be worth the trouble. However, if you are planning to purchase high-ticket items like silver jewelry or high-quality crafts, that discount (typically 10%) can result in some real savings.
resipsaloquitur is offline  
Feb 17th, 2003, 07:54 AM
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We travel in Mexico regularly with both pesos and dollars and ask the taxi driver/wait staff/bartender/store owner which they prefer whe we pay.
Those of you who are giving the people who tip in dollars a hard time may not have ever been someplace in Mexico where people prefer to receive payment in USD, but I have.
By taking both and offering the person receiving the payment a choice of which they would prefer, it makes "how it looks" a moot point and everyone is happy.
Diana is offline  
Feb 17th, 2003, 10:05 AM
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That's because the Ugly American mentality is already entrenched and expected. It's now up to us to clean it up and improve the perception. The mere asking this question has irritated me from the beginning. There is a lot of anti-American sentiment in the world even though it is not overtly expressed(not just among radical muslims) and it's good idea to make some subtle changes - one being that you don't assume people want your foreign currency in their country and pockets. They don't need your "favors".
Greg1 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2003, 11:18 AM
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I don't see folks over on the Europe board endlessly hashing out... "I'm going to Paris, do I REALLY have to use the Euro?" (whine).

You are in Mexico, change your money, and spend in pesos. Anything else displays an uninformed, arrogant and condescending attitude. Mexico is not merely a "vacation playground" for the U.S. as many posters here seem to view it.
suze is offline  
Feb 17th, 2003, 02:16 PM
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An American family off a cruise ship in the carribean at Christmas approached us and asked how they were supposed to pay in a restaurant as the staff didn't accept dollars.!They looked askance when we said they should have E.C.dollars.
We just couldn't believe that people were so insular as to expect another country to accept dollars without question.
Frances is offline  
Feb 18th, 2003, 08:54 PM
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We found the best exchange rate at the PVR airport (suprise) when visiting Puerto Vallarta in 2002. When we did use dollars, we found vendors gave a very poor exchange rate - so we often paid more by using dollars (rightfully so) So swap it all out as soon as you get there. You're in Mexico - respect the culture, use their money.
castlerockbev is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2003, 11:21 AM
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We are in Mexico right now, and the exchange is very good. 10.80 pesos to the us $$$$$$$$$$$$$.
Feb 27th, 2003, 04:41 PM
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Excuse my Australian ignorance, but how many pesos does one tip each person? Chambermaid for example, or bar maid.

Loz is offline  
Feb 27th, 2003, 05:04 PM
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Re: tipping. Mexican folks often tip much less than tourists. Normally 10 % is a lot. Also it depends where you are. If you go to non tourist places the 10% is usually plenty. In tourist places, people usually expect tourist kind of tipping. There are, more or less, 10 pesos to the dollar. So 10 per day for a room in a hotel, 10 per bag carried by a porter, 20 % percent of the bill to bar personel, etc. Ultimateley, as I said this really depends. My Mexican friends look at me like I am crazy when I leave people the ammounts I would leave in the U.S. On the other hand, I figure if I have enough money to be a tourist then I can be generous with tips.
Dude is offline  

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