Which Currency is Used on the Riviera Maya?
This is the first of a series of posts where we’ll speak of the small things that we take for granted or simply forget to think about before starting the trip, until we find ourselves on the Rivera Maya noticing we should have taken them into account.
We’ll speak of currency exchange. Which currency should we use? Euros? Dollars? Do we exchange pesos at our bank? What a dilemma! Before starting our trip we’ll surely ask friends or acquaintances who have been to the Riviera Maya and each will give us a different answer.
All sites where you must pay take US Dollars. Especially now, when it’s skyrocketing. Euros are also accepted nearly everywhere. The issue when paying in those currencies is that storekeepers will give us a very unfavorable exchange rate. Almost two points under the rate we can find on Quinta Avenida, as we’ll explain. For example, if our rate is 18.50 euros, they will give us 16. Also in Euros.
You should not exchange at your city of origin, nor at the front desk of the hotels on the Riviera Maya as they always offer unfavorable exchange rates.
So what should we do? Where do we exchange? We have two options:
- The first is going to Quinta Avenida on the Riviera Maya on the day after you arrive, after having spent the day at the pool, the beach, and getting to know the premises. There are numerous currency exchange agencies where with the DNI you can exchange euros into cash at the best price. They don’t accept credit cards, debit cards or checks. The one usually offering the best exchange rate is found on the corner of Quinta Avenida and street 6, next to a cigar shop. However they all usually differ by only 0.10. A quick stroll on the crowded Quinta Avenida, with a beer here, some shops there… will serve to verify the differences.
- The second option is by credit or debit card (not Maestro). Indeed, with your card, you can pay at countless sites. Although not at all of them, especially when visiting archeological sites. There we will find Maya communities, and most of them don’t have those payment systems. So, how do I get cash? At the front desk of the hotels there are usually ATMs (mostly from Banco Santander and BBVA) that will give you cash in Mexican Pesos. The exchange rate we’ll find here is better than at other sites where you can get cash. At the start of this operation, you’ll see a screen informing you’ll be charged a 34.65 pesos commission.That is all they will charge. There won’t be any other commissions. Not here nor upon your return. 1.70 euros. And we get the best exchange rate.
The best option is clear. Take a stroll on Quinta Avenida, and exchange your currency there. That’s the best way to ensure you won’t be losing too much money for currency fluctuations, and do all the shopping you had planned.
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