Everything about Exchanging Money in Playa Del Carmen

Dollars to Pesos

dollars or pesos

Exchanging money is a very popular topic because everyone wants to know how to get the best deal for exchange of their dollars or whatever currency you are exchanging when you come to Playa Del Carmen. Bottom line is, don’t sweat it. Second, don’t exchange before you get here. You will NEVER get a better rate at home. In this article we will take about banks, exchange places and other tips for getting the most out of your currency so you don’t waste money and get the best exchange rate. 

How to Exchange money in Playa Del Carmen Guide

Should you use an ATM to get money in Mexico?

Banks, Casa De Cambios and ATM's

This is why you should not sweat it. Everyone will tell you just use the ATM. There is a reason everyone says this, and you should listen to them!  It is the best way to get local currency, but if for one reason or another you prefer to exchange cash then it is not a major issue.

Lets say you have paid for hotel and flights already and you are bringing a nice round number of $1000USD for vacation to spend on jets skis, dinning out, and souvenirs. If you go to the ATM and pull out the money you will likely have non bank ATM fee and foreign exchange fee. This will give you (current exchange rate in pesos) to the dollar or for your $1000USD you get x amount pesos. If you go to a exchange booth on the street, you will likely get .5 less what you would at an ATM.

So, if you are concerned about using your ATM card outside of home country and want to exchange at a Casa de Cambio you would have roughly 500 less pesos. That is a decent meal for two. Relatively speaking though, it is not a huge amount of money to be worried about. It is however another story if you try to use dollars to buy things because stores will give a worse exchange rate and you can lose as much as $100 dollars when spending $1000 dollars or 10%.  The simple answer and easiest thing, just use your ATM card. Now if you are staying longer or going to be living in Playa Del Carmen, then we will cover that in another article on how to maximize your money when exchanging it.

What to do when the ATM ask you about currency conversion rate

A new thing that automatic teller machines do is ask you if you want to accept the banks conversion rate. This is a very confusing questions because you don’t really know if it is the official rate or some rate the bank puts on the exchange. It is best not to accept the exchange rate because more banks have a worse rate, and you will end up paying more for the service. 

Tip: Avoid using the ATMs in any Mexican city on and around the 1st and 15th of the month. Almost everyone in Mexico gets paid twice a month via direct deposit and the lines at ATM’s are long, really long!

Should you go into a bank to exchange money?

Don’t waste time going into a bank to exchange money in Playa Del Carmen. Most banks do not exchange money. Some will only offer service for their customers. Lines tend to be slow and long and this will eat up 30-40 minutes of your day.  ATM’s and Casa de Cambios are for that purpose. So, in short, NO!

exchanging money Playa Del Carmen

Do people use travelers checks in Mexico?

Travelers’ checks, who uses those anymore? These can be cashed here but it is a dying form of money exchange. It is near impossible to exchange these.  In our opinion it is not worth it.

Should you exchange money before coming to Mexico?

Don’t think about changing money before you get to Mexico. You will NEVER get the best rate.  You may feel better taking care of it at home but there are ATMs at the Cancun Airport. Here you can get some pesos for your trip. Actually, you can pay for transportation in USD at the airport if you need to and you can wait until you get to a Casa de Cambio in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen (We do however recommend booking your airport transfers before arriving to save money).

exchanging money

Here are some tips for exchanging money in Playa Del Carmen

Tip: Don’t do multiple little withdraws because you will pay more in fees.

Tip: Tell your bank and credit card companies to put a travel alert on your card. This will prevent them from being denied in Mexico. This happens to people and then you end up having to call them to OK the use here. It is not very convenient if you are in a store buying something and you have your card declined. Plus trying to make international calls to your bank is a hassle. 

Tip: See if your home bank has a relationship with a bank here in Mexico. You can save some fees this way. For example, Citi Bank and Banamex are related, or HSBC actually has HSBC banks here. Scotia Bank has a connection with a Canadian bank, but many find no advantage with this connection. 

Tip: If you exchange at a Casa de Cambio, take your passport with you, most require it.

Tip: When bringing currency to exchange, make sure it does not have rips or is worn, they can be refused for exchange.

Tip: When exchanging at a Casa de Cambio, ask for small bills. 500 pesos notes can be hard to get change for if you are buying something small. Don’t even think about trying to spend a 1000 peso note in Mexico except for large purchases. Most places don’t have change. It is a good thing these notes are not that popular.

Tip: If you exchange at a Casa de Cambio, they do not charge commission, they just make money by giving a lower rate to you then the official rate. So, you can exchange small amounts and it does not matter because you are not paying a fee for each time. This may work for you if you are not sure how much you want to spend. You can bring money from home and just exchange when you need it. This can save you from ending up with left over pesos to spend in the airport.

Tip: Use the usual precautions when at an ATM. Cover your pin and check see if it looks like it has been tampered with. We highly recommend a bank location ATMs because they have cameras and there is less chance of someone tampering with a machine to read cards.

Tip: Try to avoid any ATM on 5th Avenue (as in never use them). You have a much greater chance of having issues with card cloning.

What is the current exchange rate?

You can look at www.Bloomberg.com and look under Markets and Currency to see the daily rate or use other websites that give exchange rates. Casa de Cambios will usually subtract 1.0 off the official daily rate. So, if the daily rate is 19.2 you will get 18.2 offered at the Casa de Cambio. Just make sure you understand the two numbers they post. One rate is what they will sell you pesos for and the other is what rate they buy them at. The bank always wins and there are fees for exchanging money.

Can you use dollars to pay in Playa Del Carmen?

So why should you exchange in the first place? Everyone takes dollars, right? In tourist areas they are accepted but often at rates of 10,12,15 or whatever pesos to the dollar rate they want to go by. So basically, you are paying 10-25% more. The people that receive them also have to exchange them. Once you are out of some tourist areas you will need pesos. Even in Playa Del Carmen there are certain things that you need to pay in pesos. It is also considered more polite to use the national currency.

For more on this discussion of pesos and dollars used in Playa Del Carmen, see our article here.

What bank ATMs are close to 5th Avenue where I can exchange money?

Here are two bank branches where you can use an ATM. There is a Scotia Bank on the corner of Constituyentes Avenue and 10th Avenue (just one block off 5th). and a Bancomer Bank on the corner of 8th Street and 10th Avenue.

We hope we have provided you with a guide on how not to sweat money while on vacation. It is just something to deal with when traveling and makes for part of the experience. If you have questions or comments, let us know below.

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  1. Thanks for all the tip on money in Playa Del Carmen. I am planning a big trip and have been using your site to plan about everything. You have very straightforward tips and advice. Maybe run into you in Playa Del Carmen.

    • Hello and thanks for reading the website. Let us know if there is anything else you need for your trip. We love helping people find the best of Playa Del Carmen. Also the search box is good for finding stuff since there are hundreds of articles on the site to read. Safe travels and see you in Playa Del Carmen.

  2. Hello. I am moving there and will need an good bank account there and maybe need to be moving money around. What one do you suggest?

  3. Thanks for this article on exchanging money. It was our first time to Playa Del Carmen and we needed to figure a few things out. Great tips!

  4. I did not know that the ATM machines on 5th often have problems. I like to exchange money at casa de Cambios. I like the rates they give and it is easy, just sometimes you need to give your passport.

    • Hello Emile

      We have not see them posted on a sign in an exchange house in Playa Del Carmen. It will be better to exchange them for US dollars before coming or use ATM card for withdrawing money.

  5. Great tips and guide for exchanging money. We always do the ATM thing and stay away from the ATMs on 5th Avenue. It is good you have a map for tourist.

  6. Hi there! Now with the exchange rate so good against the peso it makes our trip to Playa del Carmen so much better. We saved 500 dollars by paying for things in pesos and the exchange rate this year.

  7. It is a very good tip to to use the ATMs on 5th Avenue. I see people use them all the time but don’t think about safety. I learned a lesson the last time we were there and I got my card copied and money withdrawn. I got it back from my back but it was scary to have $800 dollars missing overnight. Lesson-Use a bank it is more safe.

  8. Great info to have when visiting. We are coming to Playa Del Carmen because the exchange rate is better then many other countries now. I will keep checking for new info on everything. It is a great resource for planning.

  9. The post has really helps me plan on what to do with money. I will
    keep checking for new tips in other articles for our trip. Thanks

    • Hello Simon

      British pounds are not used as much here but you can exchange them at the exchange booths on 5th Avenue just fine. If you are not going to be staying in the center of Playa Del Carmen and need to exchange money, we recommend exchanging your currency at the Cancun Airport.

  10. Hi

    do you know how I would find out the current exchange rate in PDC for British Pound to compare the exchange rates with what I can get here thank you 🙂

  11. I have about $14000 pesos. However it’s mostly in large denominations. Like 1000, 500, and 200. Can I get smaller denominations on 5th aft? Should I worry about this?

    • Most businesses will not take 1000 notes and they are rarely used. You could check at your hotel if they will change them to 500 note for you or try to spend them when you purchase a lot. 500 notes are not too hard to use but small purchases will often make it hard for stores to come up with change.

  12. HI! This was a great article to read.
    I have a slight problem though. I’m Canadian and have American dollars left over from a trip to the US, and Canadian dollars in cash as well. I was hoping to exchange in PDC this Saturday, but I’m not sure whether or not I should do this at the airport, or wait until I get into PDC? As for the Canadian dollars, would you recommend I get pesos here in Canada – exchange rate for CAD to USD is horrible, so I won’t do that – or wait and exchange my CAD into MXN there? I think I might do the ATM (not on 5th) for the rest of my spending money as well.

    • Hello Lee-Anne

      It is best to exchange your USD in Playa Del Carmen and not at the airport. You will get a better rate. It is also best to exchange your Canadian dollars here in Playa or withdraw from an ATM while here from your Canadian account (of course at a bank atm and not on 5th) It is nice to see you are getting prepared! We hope you have a great time here.

  13. The bank you mentioned as Bancomer looks like it is now called Banorte when I click the push pin on the map. Is it still good for ATM access to Pesos? Is there one closer to the Southeast ADO bus station? Is there a similarly good option in the Cancun airport?

    • Hello Brock

      Any brick and mortar bank is best because they have more security for when the ATM’s are services and less likely that they will be tampered with like the ones on 5th Avenue. This bank is good. There is also a Banamex on Juarez avenue that is also good. These would be the closest banks to the ADO bus station.

    • Hello Mori
      Changing Euros for Pesos is going to be at the Casa De Cambios on 5th Avenue. There is one on 5th and the corner of 2nd, 5th and 8th Street and 5th between 34th and 36th Street just to name a few.

      • Is there any places that will accept cards such as mastercards when wanting to change euros to pesos?
        Many places dont accept carda.

    • Hello Elizabeth

      This is a good place to exchange money in Playa Del Carmen. Just be sure to bring your passport with you to the window. There are often no lines and it gives a good rate. They have a place on 5th Avenue and 2nd Street.

  14. Hi could you tell me what the exchange rate is at the moment for UK pound please we are arriving next week and do hotels offer about the same rate , thankyou unsure weather to change it in UK

    • Hello Elaine

      It is usually always better to exchange in the country you are going to. The official exchange rate is 24.15 but a casa exchange will always offer slight lower rates. We have been past a casa de cambio today to see what it is. Hotels will usually always offer worse rates then casa de Cambios. ATM’s offer the same or better rates then casa de Cambios. Just if you use an ATM, don’t use the ones on 5th Avenue since this can have skimmers. Always use them at a bank, or at the airport. Your hotel ATM is ok but even some of them are compromised at times.

  15. Hi, we are travelling from dublin to cancun.
    Where do you think we should exchange aprox 3000euro between the 4of us to peso?
    1.in dublin there are places 1euro=19’08 peso, no commission fee
    2.cancun airoport, casa de cambio?
    3.playa del carmen, casa de cambio??
    If in mexico is better, there is a maximum limit per day??
    Thanks, love the page, good job!

    • Hello Monika

      We just checked the exchange place that is down the street from our office. It has 19.40 for the Euro. So it appears better to exchange it here in Playa at a casa de cambio. The official rate today is about 20.2 Thank you so much for reading the website and we hope you have a great vacation here. If have an questions you can comment on articles or send us a message. Safe Travels.

  16. Hi sir, we have just arrived,what a weather?
    We are on the ado bus at the moment to playa del carmen and gonna walk to the hotel on the 5th avenue
    Which casa de cambio could.you recommend to change euro to peso please?

    • Hello Monika

      Sorry we all were out on tours today so just able to respond now to you. The Casa de cambio on 5th and 2nd street is good. Is called Cibanco.

  17. Gracias for all this great advice on so many things. I have been using your site to plan our trip for weeks. Heading there tomorrow.

  18. Last year when I was in Playa, the resorts ATM did not accept my bank card because it didnt have a chip in it. My bank doesnt have the chip cards available yet. Are the ATMS that you mentioned above the same way?

    • Hello Kathleen

      All of our ATM cards that we have used have chips so we are not sure if any work with non chip ones. We do know when the ATM cannot read the chip, it usually says it is not able to read it and it will not work, so we imagine it is pretty standard now to have a card with a chip.

  19. I’m fairly certain my debit card number was stolen in 2014 when I used a 5th Ave. ATM. Only a month or so after I got home I had over $500 missing from my account. I got it refunded by my bank, but had to get a new card, etc. Planning ahead and taking only a certain amount on our trip in October. When we’re out of money, we’re done!

    • Erin

      This is possible and why we say ONLY to use ATMs at banks and not on 5th Avenue. These ATMs are more easy to place skimmers in them.

  20. Your article is bang on. We are Canadians that spend the winter in Playa and have never had any problems with money. We try to take large amounts out of the atm to avoid charges and it works great. We always use the atm in the municipal building between 8th and 10th just by walmart or the HSBC on 30th by Mega or the atm in Mega. Last year I did bring some peso with me from Canada had lots of 1000 peso and had no issues using them at bigger stores like walmart or mega, but you are so right our rate in Canada was not as good as in Playa.
    Good advice you are giving

  21. Are pesos at the ATM delivered in small bills good for tipping or do you generally need to then make change? I am wondering if it’s easier to get smaller bills from casa de cambrio and so maybe just go there from the start? Thanks!

    • Hello Robin

      ATMs give out mainly 500 and 200 notes. These of course are not easy to tip with. A casa de cambio will be more flexible to give small bills but don’t expect to get more then 10 20’s . People hoard the small bills.

  22. we are going to be staying at Sandos eco resort and don’t plan on doing much outside of there. I believe they said they could do the trade there from dollars to pesos for us, but not sure if this is the best thing cost wise. IS it normal to tip at an all inclusive resort? We have never been to one,so wasn’t sure

    • Some people do like to leave something to staff that is providing a good service. The good thing is that you can tip in dollars. In Playa and Cancun most grocery stores accept USD so staff can spend them easily without having to exchange them. The hotel will change them for you but at their set rate which is never the best rate.

  23. Thanks for your article, it was super helpful.
    I am arriving in playa del carmen tomorrow but ive lost my bank card and only have colombia peso cash.
    Do you know if the C de C’s exchange colombia peso to mexican peso?

    • Hello Maree

      We have not see any that do for sure. Your best bet is to do it at the Cancun Airport. For more international currency the airport is always a better place to try it since they will have the most options. Don’t expect a good rate though since it is a currency not used a lot.

  24. What about bringing older pesos from prior to the currency changing in Mexcio. Where could we get current pesos for these older ones?

    • How old of pesos are you talking? If you are reefing to the older 500 and 200 notes from a few years ago, these are still good to use. If you are referring to older pesos, these are out of date and have all been traded in and are not available to be exchanged.

  25. Hi there this will be my first trip to playa del Carmen with a few friends wanting to know if we should get US dollars here in Canada or just exchange when we get to playa del Carmen thanks leaving for mexico on the 29th in like 4days

    • It is usually best to exchange once you arrive here. If you transfer Canadian dollars to US dollars you usually loose 10% and then again when you transfer to pesos. Also doing transactions outside of where you are going to (getting pesos) is always a worse exchange rate then the country. We suggest just bringing Canadian dollars and exchanging them here in Mexico. If you can wait until you are out fo the airport, this is usually even better since the rates there are not as good as for example a casa de cambio on 5th Avenue.

      • I want to withdraw the maximum ATM amount. A few months ago,an ATM under MEGA allowed $7000.00 pesos. This visit I could only get $5000.00. Do you know of any ATM’s that allow more to be withdrawn?

        • It depends on your bank. Some banks allow more. It is an about an average of 7000 pesos per withdraw. Sometimes ATM machines do not have a lot of money after the 15th when many people get paid. So it might be that.

  26. Thanks for all your useful advice. We are Aussies travelling to Mexico for a vacation. We will mainly be relying on withdrawing MXN from atm’s but is it also possible to change AUD to MXN at casas de cambios.

    • Hello

      You can really only change at airports or large cities. It is going to be best to get a credit card with no international transactions fees. Then use an ATM card for other cash withdraw. Just make sure to use only bank ATM machines because they are more safe from skimming. Paying for hotels before you arrive online can mean you only need some transportation money, food and tours.

  27. If we can pre-order pesos from our US bank, wouldn’t that be better than relying on our resort or finding an ATM?

    • Usually ordering pesos before coming will give you a bad rate. But if it is not a bad rate, this could work for you.

  28. Hi…will arrive late around 7 to 8 pm in Playa…Do you know the best place to change eur ? A bank open late ? Thanks by advance

    • Yes, this does happen sometimes. This is why using a bank atm is better because you can contact the bank. Usually, you need to replace your card.

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