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Do I need pesos?

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by RIHappyDiver, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    Just to clarify as I misread your statement at first: Never use the free standing ATMs that are not part of a bank. Only use bank ATMs or those at Mega and Chedraui.

    Last summer there was a problem even with those asking you to accept a poor conversion rate. I don't know if that was abandoned or not. See this thread: More photos of the bank ATM scam

    Yep, I use 20:1 in my head on smaller charges, current google conversion on larger expenses. Except it's rare that I actually need to. As long as I have Pesos in my pocket, then I'm covered, and it's rare that I really need to know how much dinner costs in USD.

    That's a nice practice. I used to have a friend at the local Red Cross there who would go to the airport and aggressively ask for such donations as people boarded planes, but she's changed jobs and I never see donation boxes. It's really not that difficult to spend coins on tacos tho. The tacos stands always need coins.
  2. Doppler

    Doppler Dive Equipment Manufacturer


    I travel and dive extensively in the Yucatan and always carry Pesos. First off, I'm not a yank and therefore don't carry US money; but more importantly, believe it's more gracious to speak Spanish and use the local currency, which is what prices are posted in (for the most part). However, all that aside, experience tells me that flashing American dollar bills (or Euros or Canadian dollars) will more commonly result in a poorer exchange rate. I have witnessed several "transactions" where a local store or service provider has made a sweet deal at the expense of tourists NOT using pesos. Speaking of which, you will normally get the best rate at your home bank, second-best at an ATM in a chartered bank (HSBC, Scotiabank, Santander, Bank of Mexico etal).
  3. El Graduado

    El Graduado Manta Ray

    This attitude has always puzzled me. I wonder if the people who resent not getting a "best bank rate of exchange" from a Mexican business would also expect a Mexican to be equally miffed if a business in Canada, the US, or Europe refused to give him the "best bank rate of exchange" for his pesos?

    The idea that "Mexicans prefer dollars" is ethnocentric and incorrect. For the average Mexican businessman (I mean one who does not need to pay his suppliers in dollars) accepting dollars just adds another step in his accounting, tax reporting, and banking. Even if he is not the type who reports his income, he still needs to convert them to pesos himself. The small difference in the exchange rate he offers and the one the big banks offer is what he effectively "charges" for this inconvenience.

    Mexican businesses (as well as Mexican individuals) are limited by law on how many dollars they can deposit into their bank account per month. For some tourist oriented businesses, this can be a real headache. And, it is getting worse, as more and more of the anti-money-laundering laws are put in force.
    DandyDon likes this.
  4. ggunn

    ggunn ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Austin, TX, USA
    FWIW, when I get to Cozumel I get pesos from a bank owned ATM and make most of my transactions in pesos. I try to think in pesos rather than in dollars while I am there. I know the fare for most of my cab rides and I just pay it without asking and I work from the pesos side of restaurant menus. I prepay for my hotel room in dollars but I pay most of my dive bill in pesos and put the remainder on a credit card so I don't end up with pesos left over.
    eleniel and DandyDon like this.
  5. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    Exactly my thoughts on the matter. I thought maybe I was going crazy, and I'm glad at least one person agrees :).

    If a Mexican business wants to charge me slightly more for the convenience of taking my foreign currency I am fine with that. It's worth the convenience. I think of it rather like when domestic businesses used to charge extra for the use of credit/debit cards back when cash was still a thing in the US.
    DandyDon likes this.
  6. mikeycanuk

    mikeycanuk Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: GTA Ontario
    Doppler: You've reversed the order. I get a far far better rate withdrawing pesos in Mexico using DandyDon's guide to not getting stiffed at the ATM (thank you!!!).

    I managed to pay 1% in fees using a cash advance on my no-forex credit card. The banks up here want 5%. The trick to the cash advance on the credit card is to make sure you have a negative balance on the credit card and withdraw the cash asap once on island. Once you owe $ on the card (positive balance) it's like 19.99%?
    DandyDon likes this.
  7. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    Yeah, recently I was sitting in one of those airport restaurants in CUN and contemplating the irony in the fact that I just drank two 8 USD beers--the same beers I had been paying 40 pesos for all week in town--but have at times fretted over a few dollars "lost" to a poor exchange rate on a week's worth of spending money. It's my vacation--"Chill," I tell myself.
    sefuchs and DandyDon like this.
  8. ReefHound

    ReefHound Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Houston, TX
    You're not wrong but there are those that do not succumb to $8 airport beers. And not fretting over a few dollars lost to exchange rate would not have saved you that $16 but added to it. Being thrifty or not is a mindset and usually not confined to one thing. Once you start justifying bad economics those "few bucks" can quickly add up. There are those that don't care whether their Coz trip cost $1500 rather than $1000 but I view it as being able to take 3 Coz trips instead of 2.
    Namastaras and DandyDon like this.
  9. Namastaras

    Namastaras Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New York, NY
    I ALWAYS get pesos before going down. Some places have two menus, one in pesos and one in usd. Last month we had a group of 8 and got a check in usd, even though I asked and ordered off the pesos menu- we saved $80 by asking them to redo the bill in Pesos!!!! I also feel paying for taxis in pesos is a better value. Restaurant was Dos Toros on Melgar, the one upstairs :wink:
  10. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    Totally true.

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