Foreign exchange and means of payment in Mexico
Mexico’s currency is the Peso, which symbol looks just like the symbol of the US Dollar; only difference: the S of the peso is crossed by only one stroke.
Advice: we advise you to bring dollars or euros. Caution, these currencies can only be exchanged, you will not be able to pay with them (except in a few regions like Cancun, but with an exchange rate that will not be beneficial to you).
Regularly exchange your money to Pesos, and therefore anticipate your expenses!
- 1 beer: 15 to 25 pesos
- 1 water bottle or soda: 5 to 10 pesos
- 1 trip in a pesero (or microbus) in Mexico City: 2,5 to 4 pesos depending on the distance
- 1 site or museum entrance: 38 to 48 pesos (up to 111 pesos for major sites like Chichen Itza or Uxmal). Add an extra 20 to 30 pesos for video cameras.
- Filling up the gas tank: 250 to 400 pesos depending on the vehicle
- 1 hour of internet connection: 10 to 20 pesos
Traveler’s cheque (preferably in USD) is the safest way to carry money; they can be exchanged at casas de cambio and most banks.
Credit cards: the most common ones are Mastercard, Visa and American Express. Automated teller machine can easily be found in big cities.
Hotels (for 2 persons):
- Cheap: 17 – 28 USD
- Affordable: 28 – 45 USD
- Chic: 45 – 67 USD
- Luxurious: over 67 USD
- Cheap: less than 6 USD
- Affordable: 6 – 17 USD
- Chic: 17 – 23 USD
Plane: depends where you land
It is customary to leave 10 % of the bill to the waiters in cafés and restaurants. Likewise, it is recommended to leave a tip to luggage carriers (airports and some hotels). If you pay by credit card, do not forget to fill in the box dedicated to the “propina” or to cross it out if you wish to leave the tip in cash. In both cases, do not rely on the waiter to decide on the amount, you could be in for some surprises.
A fabulous local handicraft: copies of old objects (taking antiques out of the country is prohibited), musical instruments, ponchos and sombreros, paintings, textiles, gold and silver jewelry, onyx, art books… Mexico is probably one of the few countries in the world where local handicraft has a real interest. Let’s not forget mezcal and tequila!
It is not customary to bargain in Mexico like it can be in some countries of South America or Africa.