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Buy pesos in u.s. Before trip?

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by TomZ, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. TomZ

    TomZ ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Central Ohio
    Tying up last minute details for arrival on Monday (YAAAAAA!). Should I bring Pesos, or buy them in Coz, and if so where? What are Pesos preferred/economical for? I know everyone has different spending needs, but what is a good range, per day to plan for? BTW this is my first trip to Coz, if that wasn't really obvious, lol. Also while on the subject of money, how much cash (US) should I bring? Are US Dollars available in at ATMs? Primarily I use my AMEX card for day-today purchases. I thought I read AMEX isn't very popular in Coz, if so are VISA or MC more accepted? Thanks, Tom
  2. Jax

    Jax Responsibility Dodger ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
    Some people have accused ATMs of taking more debits than they authorized.

    You should have some with you, just for tips and such. Using a credit card incurs international transaction fees.

    If you pull more money out of an ATM, I would recommend going to a bank, and keeping note of it, just in case.
  3. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
    There are ATMs everywhere on Cozumel now. The safest ones seem to be at the banks or the ones at the Mega or Chedraui grocery stores. Just make sure you understand whether you are requesting dollars or pesos when you withdraw. (made that mistake once)
    American Cash is taken everywhere and just easier in my opinion.

    G'Diddy likes this.
  4. judydivescoz

    judydivescoz Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hudson Valley, NY
    I get pesos at the Santander ATM on 10. With my Bank of America account, I do not have a transaction fee and can get up to 6000 pesos at a time. Never a problem. I pay for everything except car rental, apartment rental and diving in pesos. You can pay for just about anything in dollars but keep in mind the exchange rate is set by the merchant so it could be great( Mega always is fair) but most likely it will be low. Many are now back to using 10:1, Mega is using 12.5:1.
    Coming for the month, I had about $100us in my pocket. I might have used $20. The rest has been pesos from the ATM. Do not try to get US dollars from an ATM, the transaction fee will be huge!
    I hope you have a great first visit! Enjoy!
  5. Sue Sue

    Sue Sue Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Hi Tom, Congrats on your first trip to Cozumel. What an adventure you are going to have ! However, be prepared, you just may be planning your next trip, even before you are back to Ohio !. :amazed: RE: your questions...

    You do not need Peso prior to arrival to Cozumel. USD is accepted just about everywhere that you most likely will be going. Hotels, restaurants and stores. Business are rather good about working the current exchange rate, however, sometimes you will get a 10:1 ratio. If you give USD, you will most often get Peso as change. No worries, just spend that as you go.

    The first thing you need cash for is your ticket for the airport shuttle to wherever you are staying. USD or Peso is accepted. Just go to the shuttle window and tell the cashier where you are going. She tells you how much, you pay, she gives you the ticket, you go outside to the shuttle people. While I am at it, since you are a newbie, and if you are flying into CZM, you may want to check out my report: post #33 is the most updated version. , http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/cozumel/374778-your-plane-has-landed-now-what-long-report.html . In short, be aware of the Timeshare folks who hang out in the departure lobby. They will approach you with offers to help you with your transportation. Unless you want to sit for a timeshare offer, just say firmly and kindly, "NO" and walk directly over to the shuttle ticket window. (FAR RIGHT-Diagonal direction as you pass through the sliding magic doors after Red Light/Green Light) If the person you set up transportation with does not need payment, you are most likely with a timeshare rep. Once you have your ticket from the Cashier, again, avoid anyone else in the lobby. They will still try to make some sort of deal. Just leave the Cashier booth and walk straight outside to the awaiting shuttle reps. They will help you from there.

    Yes, ATM withdrawal is fine. However, use of a bank ATM is recommended. Go into town and find one there. I use the bank on the south-east corner of the Plaza square. In fact, I acquire most of my spending $$ for the trip this way.

    Credit Cards: I am not a big fan of using my Credit Card in restaurants and shops. I will use MC for my hotel bill or Dive Op if I don't take enough USD or have Peso to cover the bill. Also, nice to have a CC for emergency use. Can't answer your question re: AE

    How much to budget ? In general, Michael and I plan on $50.00 +/- USD per day for spending. This budget covers our meals and taxi fare. However, our spending habit for Cozumel has been well defined over the years and we have minimal needs. Light breakfasts from small local stands or bought items from the Mega or Chedraui, or, inexpensive lunch for instance at a Comida Economica like Chilangos on Avenida 10 between Calles 13 and 15 (cash only 11 ish to 4 ish- around $6 USD per meal-and a very hearty one at that). We plan our dinner out as a treat for the day. Someplace in town. ie: La Choza, Sorrisi's or....La Choza again :) There are many places to choose from.

    If you are diving-the extra $ you need is for tip. The standard is $5 USD per tank, per day, per person. Of course this is your option and +/- is your call.

    Transportation $: If you need a taxi you can use either USD or Peso. Make sure to have small denomination and always establish how much, USD, Peso ?, PRIOR to getting in for the ride. Ask at your hotel approx how much a trip will be. Sometimes a cab driver may inflate the cost, then just say "No, this much, X amount" If that is not acceptable to the cab driver, then go on to another driver. No worries. For a Car rental - If you go this route it can be pricey once you get full insurance added, which, is HIGHLY advised. Oh, and while I am at it, please do NOT rent a scooter. I know, there are those out there who disagree, but, personally, I have seen just too many nasty accidents there.

    Hope this helps you out a bit. Sorry to get a little windy :D. If you have any other questions, please do ask. There are plenty of folks here to help or feel free to PM me. Although, public questions and answers are so wonderful to share and keeps the board interesting.

    Have a wonderful time !! And, please post a trip report once you are settled back home ! We do enjoy reading about fellow scubadiver adventures !

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
    PowerDude likes this.
  6. MMM

    MMM Orca Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sask. Canada/Cozumel, MX
    Tom, most of what you asked has already been covered. Much like Judy, I came down here with about $100 US on me, and that was mainly for when I might fly back to Canada through the US and might need local American currency. I use pesos for everything here as I don't want to worry about whether or not I'm getting a fair exchange rate. I figure it's their country and it is only appropriate to use their currency. And that way I don't need to carry down sackfuls of money. I have used my Mastercard to pay for diving but they don't want tips added since they would be taxed. We have taken money from ATMs at Mega, Chedraui and at the banks. The latter seem to allow higher withdrawals. We spend very little per day on food and almost nothing on taxis. We can eat for around 200 pesos total including drinks and we walk or cycle most everywhere. Although on this trip, due to my broken ankle, my husband rented a car which we've used a few times. We got it (automatic, air etc) fully insured for $35/day at Gallo rentals in front of Chedraui.
  7. azscubadude

    azscubadude Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Arizona
    A few of the banks have quit charging the Int. Trans Fees. Mine did last year (it a Chase Card).
    They don't amount to a great deal if you pay for your major items ahead of time (room, diving, etc), it's more the pain in the butt reconciling the account after a month, trying to match the fee to the charge, at least for me.

    You might call your bank and complain, maybe they will waive them.
  8. ben_wilson3301

    ben_wilson3301 Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Silvis, IL, USA
    Capitol One never charges international fees, anywhere.
  9. Hatul

    Hatul Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tustin, California, United States
    You should definitely not exchange currency in the US before leaving.
  10. love2fishfork

    love2fishfork Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Kansas City (Overland Park)
    I always get peso's before coming down. Yes you can get them in Cozumel and SOME banks don't charge an international transaction fee, but why bother just go to your bank and exchange them for free. The banks will ALWAYS get you the best conversion rate.

    The most important point is that even though everyone accepts dollars you will always get the short end of the stick when it comes to the conversion ratio so just avoid it. Over a week you could easily spend $1000 (for two) and if you loose 15% on the conversion that's substantial.

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