World Travel Guides

Mexico - Money & Costs

Money & Costs in Mexico

A modern-day gaucho Currency: Mexican New Peso
  • Budget: US$2-8
  • Mid-range: US$8-20
  • High: US$20+

  • Lodging
  • Budget: US$10-20
  • Mid-range: US$20-70
  • High: US$70+

  • Baja California, Monterrey and the Yucatán Peninsula's Caribbean coast are pricey, but elsewhere you can expect to get away with spending around US$20-35 a day, particularly in rural areas. Throw in a few luxuries like traveling in reasonable comfort, staying at better mid-range places and eating at more expensive restaurants, and you'll need more like US$60. Stay at luxurious hotels and hire a car occasionally, and the sky's the limit.

    It's best to bring US-dollar denomination traveler's checks and some US dollars in cash. You can exchange money in banks or in casas de cambio. Note that bank exchange facilities are often only open between 9am and 3 or 4pm. Major credit cards are accepted by airlines, car rental companies and more expensive hotels and restaurants - but take extra care when using them, as credit-card fraud and theft is rife in Mexico. In heavily touristed areas such as Acapulco, Cancún and Cozumel, you can often spend US dollars as easily as pesos at hotels and restaurants (although the exchange rate will probably be awful). Note that the dollar sign is used to refer to pesos in Mexico; prices in US dollars are usually marked US$ or USD.

    Mexico has a 15% value-added tax (IVA) which by law must be included in quoted prices. Sometimes - usually in top-end hotels - prices are quoted without this tax. Tipping in restaurants in resort areas is equivalent to US levels - somewhere between 15% and 20%. Outside these areas, a tip of 10% is sufficient at mid-range restaurants; in general, staff at smaller, cheaper places do not expect a tip. Expect to bargain at markets and with drivers of unmetered taxis. Treat haggling as a form of social discourse rather than a matter of life and death.

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