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Are you traveling to Cancun soon and want to know if you need pesos for your trip? You've come to the right guide!
I'm a travel blogger wholives in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun, and I'm here to answer all your questions about currency in Cancun and the best ways to pay during your trip.
In this post I will explainwhether or not you need pesos in Cancun, as well as answering some common FAQs about currency, payment options, ATMs, and tipping customs.
Plus, I'll share some savings tips for travelers who want to get the most bang for their buck in Cancun.
Trying to navigate the currency in a foreign country can be challenging, but with these tips and tricks, you'll be able to save money and get so much more out of your trip to Cancun!
Ready to find out if you need pesos in Cancun? Let's start!
Planning a trip to Mexico? Use my favorite travel resources!
🚗 Car rental:discover cars
🤿 Tours and Activities:viator
🚨 Travel Insurance:Master of Travel Insurance
Do you need pesos in Cancun?
Not necessarily. US dollars are accepted almost everywhere in Cancun, so it's possible to do without pesos.
However, if you want to get the best bang for your buck and save money on your trip, it's a good idea to use weights.
This is because you will almost always get a better exchange rate when using Mexican Pesos compared to US Dollars.
Paying in pesos can actually save you quite a bit, considering you'll lose quite a bit of money on the conversion fee on every transaction you make in Cancun.
Think of all the potential transactions you could make while on vacation, from food and drinks, taxis and transport costs, souvenirs and activities – all these additional expenses can add up quickly!
Also, it's a good idea to have some pesos on hand if you plan on leaving Cancun's Hotel Zone and main tourist areas and exploring areas outside of Cancun.
In less touristy areas, it's always easier to pay for things in pesos rather than having to deal with complicated currency conversions.
Official currency in Cancun Mexico
Here's what you should know about using the official currency in Mexico:
What is the official currency in Cancun?
The official currency in Cancun is the Mexican Peso (MXN). Most things will be priced in pesos, whether you're shopping or dining in restaurants.
However, as Cancun is such a popular tourist destination with Americans, virtually all establishments also accept US dollars.
The MXN-USD exchange rate fluctuates daily, but has been hovering around 20 pesos to the dollar in recent years.
👉 Check official MXN-USD conversion rate byclicking here!
Easy Weights for USD Currency Conversion Trick
If you're not familiar with paying in pesos, it can be confusing to figure out exactly how much you're spending.
However, there is a simple trick to easily convert your pesos into dollars in your head – just take a zero and divide the item's price by 2!
For example, if something is $500 pesos, you would take a zero ($50) and divide the amount by 2 to arrive at a value of around $25 USD.
Obviously, this isn't an exact amount, but it will give you a rough estimate of how much an item costs, which can help you control your budget and spending.
Alternatively, you can get the calculator on your phone or use acurrency converter appto get the exact value.
💵Easy MXN-USD Currency Conversion Trick:Take a zero and divide by 2!
mexican peso notes
Here is an approximate conversion from USD to Mexican Peso banknotes to give you an idea of what the money is worth:
- $10 peso coin= ~$,50 USD
- $50 pesos note= ~ $ 2,50 USD
- 100 peso note= ~$5 dollars
- 200 peso note= ~ $ 10 USD
- $500 pesos note= ~ $ 25 USD
- $1000 pesos note=~$ 50 USD
Does Cancun accept US Dollars?
Yes, US dollars are accepted almost everywhere in Cancún, from restaurants and bars to shops and hotels.
Although dollars are accepted in Cancun, you'll get the best exchange rate using pesos.
If you choose to pay in dollars, you will be subject to the exchange rate chosen by the establishment, which is usually worse than the official exchange rate.
How to get pesos to Cancun
Here's where to get pesos in Cancun:
Withdraw money from the ATM as soon as you arrive
The best way to get pesos in Cancun is to simply withdraw cash from an ATM once you arrive. You can find ATMs in most major tourist areas or even at the Cancún airport upon landing.
While your bank may charge a fee for withdrawing cash from foreign ATMs, it will typically be cheaper compared to using foreign exchange services or a commission-based currency exchange counter.
Scroll to the next section for more information on using ATMs in Cancun!
Order pesos from your bank before you arrive
If you're someone who likes to plan ahead and have everything ready before you travel, consider asking your bank for pesos before you leave for Cancun.
While this option costs a little more than simply withdrawing cash when you arrive in Mexico, it's still cheaper than exchanging currency in Cancun when you arrive.
Plus, you won't have to deal with looking for an ATM once you get there, which can add stress to your vacation.
Most banks have the option of ordering foreign currency online or via a mobile app, but it typically takes 1-3 business days for delivery.
Exchange USD for pesos at the Cancun airport or exchange office
The last option to get pesos in Cancun is to exchange US dollars for pesos at the Cancun airport or at an exchange office.
While this is the most convenient way to gain weights, it is typically the most expensive option.
You'll have access to cash right away, but exchange counters at Cancun Airport generally have some of the highest conversion rates.
And even off-airport exchange offices often charge extra for their services, so it's best to avoid this route if possible.
Be sure to check the current exchange rate before deciding whether or not this is the best option for you.
Using ATMs in Cancun
Here are some tips for withdrawing money from ATMs in Cancun:
Best ATMs in Cancun
When using ATMs in Cancun, avoid using any random ATMs on the street.
You can find random ATMs in major tourist areas, but they're known to have skimmers and hackers that can drain your bank account if you're not careful.
Instead, be sure to use more official ATMs directly at a bank or in places like supermarkets or malls for maximum security. You can even find bank ATMs at many Oxxo convenience stores.
The most popular banks and ATMs in Cancun include:
- BBVA Bancomer
- Scotiabank (in partnership with Bank of America)
Before your trip, it's a good idea to check with your bank to see if they have any partnerships with banks in Mexico.
Many large banks such asBank of America, have banking partnerships with foreign banks, which means you can avoid usage or transaction fees if you use an ATM from one of these partner banks.
If your bank has a partnership with a Mexican bank, you will likely be able to withdraw money without a usage fee.
However, there is normally still an international withdrawal fee which is a small percentage of the total withdrawal amount.
For example,Bank of Americahas partnership withScotiabankIn Mexico. This means you can withdraw money from a Scotiabank ATM in Mexico and avoid a $5 usage fee.
However, you will still be charged 3% of the amount converted to US Dollars that you are withdrawing.
ATM withdrawal fees
When withdrawing money from ATMs in Mexico, you will likely be charged a usage fee and/or an international transaction fee which will be a small percentage of the total amount you withdraw.
Let's say you're a Bank of America customer and you have to withdraw $2,000 pesos from a Scotiabank ATM in Mexico.
Here is an example of cost sharing:
- Usage fee: $5 USD (dispensed) = $0 USD
- Currency conversion:$2000 MXN at BOA conversion rate (0.0484) = $96.80 USD
- International transaction fee:US$ 96,80 x 3% = US$ 2,90
- Total amount for this withdrawal: US$ 99,70
If you didn't use a Scotiabank ATM, you would be charged an additional $5 usage fee. This can add up depending on how many times you visit the ATM!
ATM Conversion Rates
If there's one thing to remember about using ATMs in Mexico, it'salways recusedthe conversion rate offered by the ATM.
When withdrawing money, you will be asked to accept or decline the conversion rate offered by the ATM –click DECLINE!
ATMs always offer terrible exchange rates, which are much higher than what you would get from your bank.
Upon hitting the decline, your bank will automatically charge you the standard conversion rate, which is usually a much better deal.
Do you need pesos for an all inclusive in Cancun?
No, if you don't plan on leaving the resort, you don't need pesos for an all inclusive in Cancún.
Additional resort purchases can be made using the credit card attached to your room reservation and gratuities can be made in US Dollars.
However, if you plan on leaving your Cancun resort or would like to have some local currency on hand for smaller purchases, it's a good idea to get a small amount of pesos in advance of your trip.
Also, there are many ATMs in Cancun where you can easily withdraw cash if needed.
🏝 Related Reading:Where to stay in Cancun
Is it better to change money in Cancún?
No, it's not always best to exchange money in Cancun – the best way to get the most value for your money is to use an ATM.
ATMs in Mexico generally offer much better rates for currency conversion than you might find at a Mexican exchange booth, so be sure to withdraw cash directly from an ATM.
Currency exchange booths are available to exchange money quickly, but will be the most expensive option for currency conversion.
Can you use a credit card in Cancun?
Yes, you can use a credit card in Cancun for purchases at larger establishments such as restaurants, shops and hotels.
You'll want to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees to get the best value. Generally, Visa, American Express and Mastercard are accepted.
💳 I personally use and recommend theChase Sapphire Favoritecard, which has no foreign transaction fees and great perks for international travel.
Always use a credit card rather than a debit card, as debit cards often have a foreign transaction fee for every purchase.
However, it's important to note that some smaller businesses only accept cash, as there is often a fee associated with using credit cards.
For example, you will need money to pay for taxis, souvenir stalls, street vendors and local food stalls.
Additionally, some places (like spas or salons) may also charge an additional fee if you are paying with a credit card – ask ahead of time if your purchase will cost more with a credit card.
In general, most major credit cards will work in Cancun, but it's best to come prepared with cash and at least one credit or debit card just in case.
Tip in Cancun
Here are some guidelines on how to tip in Cancun:
Gratuities at all-inclusive resorts in Cancun
tip inall inclusive resorts in cancunit's not mandatory, but it's always appreciated.
If you receive excellent service, feel free to leave an additional tip for waiters, bartenders, entertainment staff or housekeeping.
There is no standard amount for a tip at an all-inclusive resort, but whatever you feel is reasonable for the level of service received.
And if you want to have the best service during your trip, it's not a bad idea to start the week by tipping extra to ensure the same high level of service throughout your stay.
Tips at restaurants in Cancun
As a general rule, it is recommended to leave 10-15% of the total bill as a tip for restaurant waiters when dining in Mexico. Of course, higher tips are expected in major tourist destinations like Cancun.
When paying with a credit card at a restaurant, the waiter usually brings the credit card machine to your table, where you are asked for the tip amount.
You can just say 15% (or whatever percentage you want) and that amount will automatically be added to your bill, so you don't have to worry about calculating the tip amount.
It's also important to know that automatic tips are illegal in Cancun, but some restaurants still choose to add them anyway. Always be sure to review the account carefully for any unexpected charges.
Tips for Taxi Drivers in Cancun
It's not common practice to tip taxi drivers in Cancún, so you'll feel comfortable only paying the exact fare.
However, if you're feeling generous or if the driver helped with your luggage or went out of their way to get you to your destination faster, you can leave a small tip.
Tipping Tour Guides in Cancun
It is expected to tip guides and drivers in Cancun, and tips generally range from 5-10% of the total cost of the tour.
If you think your guide went above and beyond during your Cancun orriviera maya tour, it's okay to tip a little more at your discretion. Many tour guides make their living with tips, so they will be grateful for your generosity.
You'll want to have cash on hand for tips when taking a tour, and tips can be paid in either pesos or US dollars.
Cancun Travel Tips to Save Money
Want to save money on your trip to Cancun? Here are some Cancun tips to help you keep costs down:
- When you have the option, pay in pesos:When paying at restaurants or stores in Cancún, you will likely have the option of paying in pesos or US dollars (even when paying with a credit card). Always choose pesos as you will get a better exchange rate.
- Decline the currency conversion fee at the ATM:When withdrawing money from an ATM, you will be asked if you want to accept the ATM's currency conversion rate. Always decline this option and instead you will be charged your bank's official exchange rate.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card:If you're going to pay by card, it's best to use a credit card instead of a debit card. Many travel credit cards, such asChase Sapphire Favoritecard has no foreign transactions, so you'll save money on expensive currency conversion fees on your debit card. Also, credit cards typically have better protections if something goes wrong with your purchase.
- Check with your bank if they have any partnerships with banks in Mexico:If your bank has a partnership with a Mexican bank, you can likely avoid additional ATM fees when using your debit card to withdraw money in Mexico.
- Use only official bank ATMs:Do your best to avoid using non-bank ATMs as they are often less secure and set up with card skimmers. Withdrawing cash at ATMs in supermarkets or shopping centers is a safer option. Some of the most popular local banks in Cancun are Scotiabank, Santander, Bancomer and Banorte.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash:Ideally, take only the amount of money needed for daily expenses in case of theft. Sporting large amounts of cash can make you a target for theft or theft. It's also a good idea to keep a backup credit or debit card (and some cash) in your hotel safe in case something happens to your primary card.
Cancun currency: frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about using cash in Cancun:
How many pesos are in a dollar?
According to the current exchange rate, 1 USD is approximately equal to 19 pesos.
Do I need to withdraw pesos in Cancun?
Not necessarily. US dollars are accepted at most establishments, so you can do without pesos.
However, it's good to have pesos on hand for smaller purchases or if you plan on visiting less touristy areas.
Also, you'll almost always get a better exchange rate when you pay in pesos instead of dollars.
Should I bring pesos or dollars to Cancún?
It's best to use pesos in Cancun. You can use USD almost anywhere, but you'll usually get a better exchange rate in Cancun if you pay in pesos.
Is it better to use cash or a credit card in Cancun?
It's best to use a credit card in Cancun if you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees. This can ease the need for cash and save you money compared to using a debit card.
However, it's also a good idea to have cash on hand for places where credit cards are not accepted, such as taxis, food stalls, souvenir shops and tipping.
What is the best currency to take to Cancún?
The best currency to take to Cancun is the Mexican peso (MXN), as this is the country's official currency and will save you money when paying for purchases.
However, US dollars are also widely accepted, so it is possible to use US dollars when traveling in Cancun.
Keep in mind that you'll usually lose money on conversion fees if you're paying in dollars; therefore, it is generally best to stick with pesos if you want to save money.
Is it better to bring cash into Mexico?
It is best not to bring large amounts of cash into Mexico as it is a security risk. However, you'll want to have some cash on hand for small expenses, cab rides, local eateries, and tips.
🚨Do you need travel insurance for Mexico?Yes! Most insurance plans in your home country do not cover incidents abroad. I recommend using Travel Insurance Master, which is a handy travel insurance marketplace where you can compare policies. Get a FREE quote forclicking here!
Conclusion: Do I need Pesos in Cancun?
I hope this guide has helped you understand the currency situation in Cancun and take some of the stress out of your travel planning.
Overall, using US dollars or pesos in Cancun depends on your personal preferences and needs.
US dollars are widely accepted in most local stores and restaurants, but it's best to have some pesos on hand to take advantage of the favorable conversion rate and for smaller purchases.
If you're on a budget, using pesos can help you save money on everything from souvenir shopping to transportation, lodging, and meals.
But if you're not worried about losing a few dollars in conversion fees, you can just use your US dollars in Cancun.
If you decide to use pesos in Cancun, the best way to get pesos is to withdraw cash from an official bank ATM as soon as you arrive.
Remember to always decline the currency conversion rate offered by the ATM – it will be much worse than your bank!
Credit cards are also a great option for making payments in Cancun, but it's important to choose a card with no foreign transaction fees, such asChase Sapphire Favoritecard.
Whichever payment option you choose, always have some cash on hand in case of unforeseen circumstances and enjoy your trip to Cancun!
What is the best currency to take to Mexico 2023? ›
The best currency to take to Mexico is the local currency, the Mexican peso.Do I need to get pesos before going to Cancun? ›
US dollars are accepted at most establishments so it's possible to get by without pesos. However, it's a good idea to have pesos on hand for smaller purchases or if you plan to visit less touristy areas. Plus, you'll almost always get a better exchange rate when paying in pesos as opposed to dollars.Is it better to take dollars or pesos to Cancun? ›
There are two accepted currencies in Cancun, US Dollars and Mexican Pesos. If you have to choose one my advice is to choose Pesos.Can I pay with US dollars in Cancun? ›
Yes, US dollars are accepted. If you use a credit card, make sure they run the transaction in pesos. You'll benefit from a better exchange rate.What is the peso prediction for 2023? ›
We forecast the exchange rate to be 19.5 pesos per dollar by December 2023, which would imply a gradual depreciation of the peso due to anticipated higher inflation for Mexico vs. the US.What is the peso forecast for 2023? ›
In its Q2 Asia Economic Outlook, ANZ said the peso may strengthen to 54 to $1 in end-2023 and further to 53.40 to $1 by end-2024. The peso has weakened for two consecutive years to 50.999 to $1 in 2021 and further to 55.755 to $1 in 2022 from 48.023 to $1 in 2020.Should I convert my money before going to Mexico? ›
It's recommended that you buy pesos before you land in Mexico, just in case you need the cash. According to this USA Today article, the most economical way to do this is to buy pesos from your bank in the U.S. Most banks will do this for free, especially if you're not withdrawing a significant amount of money.Is it better to use cash or credit card in Mexico? ›
A credit card will make the most sense for larger purchases and you'll likely need one for hotels. You'll always need cash to make everyday purchases. Withdrawing a substantial amount of cash for when you arrive can be an ideal option to ensure a smooth transition into your destination country.How do I get pesos before my trip? ›
Grocery stores, markets, and many restaurants will accept cards, but some may add a small fee. Your bank can exchange dollars for pesos before your trip. It can be nice to have a some pesos when you first land, but ATMs are common and usually offer much better exchange rates than your bank.Is $100 dollars a lot in Cancun Mexico? ›
With today's exchange rates, $100 USD is about $1,900 – $2,000 MXN. Compared to wages, $1,900 MXN is about weeks' worth of salary for most manual labor jobs outside the major cities of Mexico. So for locals that have basic day labor jobs, it is a decent amount of money.
How do I get the best exchange rate in Cancun? ›
Our recommendation for getting the best exchange rate in Cancun is to use the ATMs just like you would at home. Just be sure the ATM you are using is owned by a bank. You'll find these in the street, outside the banks, and at large supermarkets in Cancun such as Walmart.How much is $1 US worth in Mexico? ›
1 USD = 17.602175 MXN May 29, 2023 01:38 UTC
The currency converter below is easy to use and the currency rates are updated frequently.
CAN I USE MY CREDIT CARD AND DEBIT CARD IN MEXICO? Yes you can however make sure your credit/debit card doesn't charge you a fee for using your card internationally or you may end up paying way too much in fees.Do I need to carry cash in Cancun? ›
Cash is a necessity in Cancun, given that many restaurants and gift shops don't accept credit cards. Like many other airports around the world, the Cancun airport is jam-packed with money exchange kiosks looking to convert your money into Mexican pesos.Is the Mexican peso getting stronger in 2023? ›
While we expect that the Mexican peso will gradually weaken throughout 2023, it is likely to remain below the 20:1 USD barrier, with an annual average of 19.4 in 2023.How much is 1 dollar in 2023? ›
Average exchange rate in 2023: 459.4294 NGN. Worst exchange rate: 447.3465 NGN on 02 Jan 2023.Why is the Mexican peso dropping 2023? ›
The main negative for the peso is the GDP slowdown caused by the aggressive monetary restriction of Banxico. The Central Bank predicts that the economy of Mexico will slow down to 1.6% in 2023, which is lower than the previous estimate of 1.8%.What is the weakest currency in the world 2023? ›
1. Iranian Rial (IRR) 1 INR = 516 IRR. The Iranian rial tops the list of the cheapest currencies in the world.How much is a dollar in pesos tomorrow? ›
1 USD = 17.30 MXN - Today's Best US Dollar to Mexican Peso Exchange Rates.Is it better to exchange money or use credit card? ›
Credit cards typically provide better exchange rates than what you'll get from ATM machines and currency stands. Depending on your card issuer, your purchases might automatically qualify for insurance. This coverage doesn't simply apply to consumer goods — it also covers travel delays and lost luggage.
How much cash should I take to Mexico for a week? ›
So, how much spending money should I bring to Mexico? On a mid-range budget, you should expect to spend $110 USD ($2200 MXN) per person daily. This accounts for 3 meals a day, transportation fare, and one activity per day(tours, attractions,etc.). Add $10 USD ($200 MXN) if planning to drink alcohol.Is it better to exchange money or use ATM? ›
If you exchange your money at a currency exchange, you'll pay a premium on the international spot rate, as that's how the store makes a profit. If you exchange your money through a bank or by withdrawing the local currency from an ATM, you'll likely come out ahead, even if there are ATM or credit card fees.Should I take cash to Mexico or swipe my debit card? ›
ATM Rates & Fees. The best way to get pesos in Mexico for your trip is to use your debit card at an ATM. We recommend exchanging enough pesos from your home country before your trip to make it through your first day. Afterward, simply get cash from a local ATM to get the best exchange rate possible.Will my cell phone work in Mexico? ›
Most likely, your American cell phone will work in Mexico as long as you have international coverage included in your plan. In that case, you should have no problem using your phone in Mexico and staying connected during your trip.What can 500 pesos buy in Mexico? ›
For traveling (even on a backpacker budget) it is perhaps better to consider what 500 pesos (or $25 will buy). That is enough to rent a car for a way (minus non-specified expenses). It is also enough for dormitory accommodation in some of the cheapest hostels in Mexico City for two nights (around $8 per night).How many pesos do I need for a week in Mexico all inclusive? ›
If you're staying at an all inclusive resort, you will only need about 100 pesos per day per person for tips (I'd say this is minimum). If you're staying at a hotel in Puerto Vallarta, for example, and eating out for each meal and throwing in a couple happy hours, you might want to budget 500 pesos per person.How many pesos do I need for 2 weeks in Mexico? ›
I usually budget about 1500-2000 per day for two people when staying non AI- but that is an average, and that is for a couple. For a 2 week stay, depending on your itinerary, your consumption level and where you eat, you might spend only 12,000 pesos or you might spend 25,000....How much pesos should I bring on vacation? ›
A good rule of thumb is to bring 25% of your overall budget in cash to avoid carrying around huge wads of money. What is this? For example, if your daily budget is $50 and you'll be in Mexico for six days, you should plan to bring $60-70 in cash.What currency should I exchange before going to Mexico? ›
It's recommended that you buy pesos before you land in Mexico, just in case you need the cash. According to this USA Today article, the most economical way to do this is to buy pesos from your bank in the U.S. Most banks will do this for free, especially if you're not withdrawing a significant amount of money.What currency is best to travel to Mexico with? ›
The best currency to bring to Mexico is a mix of pesos and US dollars. Use the dollars to pay for tours, entrance fees, accommodation, and travel. For everything else use pesos. It should be relatively simple to get pesos in your own country before you travel.
Is it better to take pesos or usd to Mexico? ›
The short answer is use pesos! Most businesses will take U.S. dollars, but it's better to convert your currency to pesos. You'll get better deals and it is the currency of Mexico. Many people get pesos from their bank at home before travel.