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Money/Credit Cards/ATMs:

We recommend bringing some US money to use for traveling to and from Mexico. Once you get to Playa you should exchange some of your dollars for pesos at a "cambio" and use pesos as much as possible. In our experience, the best exchange rates are through the ATM machines. Check with your bank about ATM charges, but our bank charges the same fees that we are charged in the US. There are ATMs all over town.

We use pesos because it is easier to use pesos in Mexico. The exchange rate is about 10 pesos to one dollar, so it's pretty easy to figure out the Mexican prices. You do lose a little money if you have to exchange pesos for dollars when you leave Mexico, so try to only get what you are going to spend.

There used to be a 3% conversion charge for using credit cards in a foreign country, so we rarely used them. I think this might have stopped because Sarah got something in the mail saying they were paying her back for these conversion charges. If you plan on using a credit card a lot, you might want to look into it with your bank beforehand. I do not know of anyone who has had a problem using their credit card.

Except for restaurants and bars, many prices in Mexico are negotiable. If you are shopping for something, check several different places and negotiate the best price possible. Make sure you count your change in the event someone tries to hustle you (especially after exchanging money at a cambio). You should leave a tip (propina) for food, bar, and housekeeping services, like you would in the states. The going tip rate is 10%.

cambio There are several cambios all over town that look similar to this. The price at the top of the large sign is the exchange rate. You can compare around town, as they have slightely different rates. There is usually a smaller sign in the window with a higher number. That is the return rate if you have to sell your pesos back (you lose a little money). The worker should give you a small slip of paper from her calculator with the exchange amount you will get. Be sure to count your money before you walk away and make sure it's what the paper says!



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