Pesos vs Dollars Advice

Old Jan 20th, 2003, 07:52 AM
Needsome sun
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Pesos vs Dollars Advice

Good Morning! I need some advice! As a first time traveller to Mexico (Ixtapa) I was wondering if I should exchange some $ through my bank before leaving for Mexico? A few co-workers suggested bringing US dollars for tipping/purchases because of the changes in the exchange rates...shopkeepers give better prices when paying with dollars...does anyone have any experience with this?? I don't want to offend the locals by assuming that they will take Dollars. Thanks!!!
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:56 AM
easy way out
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You'll get various responses to your question, because some folks insist on using US$ in Mexico, which I've never understood.

I've been to Mexico 16 trips (mostly Puerto Vallarta but also La Paz). 1st~ definitely don't bother to change money in the States. The service charges and exchange rates are no good. Having said that...

Once you are IN Mexico, change into peso and use them. Don't tip in US dollars as the people have to go to the bank to exchange them just like you would. It is simply much easier, not to mention more polite, to use the currency of the country you are visiting.

I carry a few hundred in US cash. Upon arrival I change the 1st $100 at the airport cash window to get started. Later, you can use ATM to withdraw in peso directly from account or go to a bank or 'cambio' window to exchange dollars to peso. Also most hotel front desks will do exchanges but maybe not the very best rate, but sometimes competitive.

As I said, I am not familiar with the layout of Ixtapa/Zijuat so hopefully others can tell you how readily available ATMs and casa de cambios are where you'll be staying.
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 09:03 AM
Need some Sun
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Thank U!! U answered my concerns about offending the locals.
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 09:52 AM
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I agree about using the currency of the country you're visiting. It used to be that the exchange rate for the peso fluctuated a fair amount and usually lost value against the USD. At that time, maybe the locals liked to get tips in USD. Now it seems the reverse - I think the peso has gained in value against the USD, so it's not as advantageous. There are lots of ATM's in Zihuatanejo and I'm sure the same is in Ixtapa.

We are Canadians, but always take some US money with us - not a lot, just some cash in case the ATM isn't working or something happens to our card. (I don't think anyone likes to take CAD unfortunately, although I did have a bartender at the Cancun airport ask if I would exchange some 'loonies' - that's Canadian for a 1 dollar coin - for pesos!)
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 11:25 AM
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You are better off exchanging your money AFTER you get to Mexico. I usually use my charge card for purchase and pesos for tipping, bus/taxi fare, etc.
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 11:39 AM
Jean Valjean
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It is a good idea to change a few dollars into pesos (for cabs, cokes, tips, etc.)when you get to Mexico. Use your credit or debit card whenever you can (hotels, restaurants, shopping).

It is highly unlikely that you'll get better prices by paying in dollars; you'll get a very bad exchange rate.
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 11:44 AM
needsome sun
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Thanks everyone! Now I just need help making the time pass until I am there!
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 03:07 PM
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Each time I go I find myself bringing more and more cash. Definately change it to pesos in Mexico, then use ATM when you need more. You will save money. For example two months ago in mexico a cab ride was 10 U.S. or 100 pesos. By using pesos I saved about a dollar. I agree with all of the above.
Old Jan 21st, 2003, 09:59 AM
credit cards
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Be aware that in smaller shops, restaurants, even hotels, charge cards are not always accepted. This is because of the cost to the business to make the transaction. Or some places add on the percentage fee to your bill (i.e., 3% extra service charge if you pay with a credit card).
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