Money in Cancun

The best way to deal with your cash in Cancun is something that puzzles not only the first time tourist.

With a thousand places to change your money and two different currencies widely used it can be a daunting task to make sure you not only get the best value but avoid getting ripped off too.

Using our subsections on the right should help you learn all about how to get the best bang for your buck in Cancun.

Although there are always exceptions, generally speaking, in Cancun all small value items such as a packet of cigarettes, the bus fare, a bottle of water etc will be priced in pesos. Higher value items such as tour prices, nightclub entrance prices and souvenir clothing will be priced in US Dollars.

While dollars are accepted almost anywhere you'll often receive change in pesos, and sometimes at very unfavorable rates. For example, the bus fare in Cancun is 8.5 pesos.

If you pay with a dollar note (worth over 12 pesos) don't expect any change. Whenever a price is listed in pesos and you pay in US Dollars then it will always be rounded up at your loss not theirs. That's why, unless you are from the US and don't want to use pesos due to their unfamiliarity, I would always recommend that you use pesos. The number of British and Canadian visitors I see using US Dollars always surprises me. Why juggle a third unfamiliar currency in your head, when you could just use pesos and forget about US Dollars altogether, and be better off for it?

Some travel agencies continue to tell their clients that Dollars are no longer accepted in Cancun. This is totally wrong! While it is true that recent banking restrictions mean that it is now harder to pay Dollars into a Mexican bank account, Dollars are still in widespread use throughout the tourist areas of Cancun, and no one will refuse them.

Tipping is customary and should be expected. With almost every service performed a tip is expected, many will not mention it but some can become rude if they are not tipped or tipped below their expectation. 15% on a restaurant bill is normal, but check that the tip hasn't already been included. Some unscrupulous places will hide the already included service charge away, not tell you about it and gladly take another 15%.

The rate obviously fluctuates, but as a general rule of thumb you can usually use the following easy calculations and not be far out.

  • $1US = 12 pesos
  • £1 = 20 pesos

Remember though the bigger the amount the wider the error using the above quick calculations, so for large purchases you should calculate a little more accurately. Our currency convertor always shows the daily rate in real time.

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