Spend US Dollars In Cozumel: Is It Possible?
By Tom Seest
At TopCozumelNews, we help people traveling to Cozumel plan their trips and activities using information collected on our trips to the beautiful island.
One of the most frequently asked questions is, Does Cozumel Accept US Dollars? The answer is yes – most merchants in tourist areas such as Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, and Cozumel will accept US dollars.
Only smaller mom-and-pop shops may accept cash payments. Always bring extra money on your trip!
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No matter if you’re an American tourist or a Mexican resident, credit cards can be used almost everywhere in Mexico. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are the three most common cards accepted in cities and tourist areas; however, certain small businesses located in rural areas or more remote destinations may not accept all three cards.
As a traveler, you’ll be pleased to know that most restaurants, hotels, dive shops, and excursion operators list their prices in both Mexican pesos and U.S. dollars, making it simple for you to determine if you need to exchange your currency before arriving.
Restaurant and hotel prices in Cozumel tend to change, so it is wise to bring cash or a local bank card with you. Doing this will save money on foreign exchange fees and prevent confusion at the point of sale.
If you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort, there may not be much need to pay with cash or credit card during your stay, as food and alcoholic beverages will likely be included in the room rate. That being said, if you want to explore the island’s dining scene, there are plenty of cuisines and price points for everyone’s palate.
Some restaurants and souvenir stores in Cozumel may charge a surcharge for using your credit card. Although the fees may be minimal, be sure to read through the terms and conditions before making your purchase.
When renting a car in Cozumel, it’s likely that they will require you to provide credit as a security deposit and deductible. This type of financial arrangement can be lucrative for car rental companies, so be sure to inquire beforehand.
As an expat in Mexico, you can obtain a local credit card by opening a bank account and building a credit history. However, this process takes time; therefore, it’s best to wait until after building up enough credit in Mexico before applying for one.
Many travelers skip exchanging their US dollars for pesos before arriving in Cozumel, but it is certainly possible if you wish to do so. It’s simple enough to obtain the local currency without needing to leave the island.
On Cozumel Square, there are a number of ATMs that accept all major bank cards, including Visa and MasterCard. These machines are operated by larger supermarkets like Chedraui or Mega, as well as several major banks like HSBC, Banamex, and Santander.
However, if you plan to use an ATM in Mexico to access your accounts back home, it’s essential to be aware that withdrawal rates may not always be the most advantageous. Your bank may charge a fee when withdrawing foreign currencies at an ATM, and additionally, the Mexican bank providing the service will levy its own fee, which could amount to quite substantial costs.
If you want to avoid these fees, transferring money before your trip from companies like Wise (formerly Transferwise) is the best solution. This allows for purchases and cash withdrawals at ATMs without incurring any foreign transaction costs. Furthermore, getting a multi-currency debit card gives you better exchange rates than using an exchange house for currency conversion.
Credit cards are accepted in most tourist-oriented restaurants, beach clubs, and diving/snorkeling operations on Cozumel Island. Unfortunately, not all establishments can process cards, and some may add a 4-5% surcharge to your bill – this is most common if renting a car or paying for more luxurious restaurants.
Some hotels will accept credit cards. If you’re staying at a resort, ask the front desk about this possibility. Generally, you can use your card to pay for meals in one of the hotel’s restaurants.
Credit cards are an efficient way to avoid currency conversion and the 4-5% surcharge that most restaurants charge. Some establishments, especially those offering mobile credit card readers, will even accept your card for peso payments. But keep in mind that exchange rates fluctuate daily, so many places will adjust prices or label items differently each day due to having to adjust costs in order to remain competitive with other eateries on the island; it’s simply part of doing business.
Many visitors to Cozumel often wonder if US dollars are accepted. The answer is yes, though it may not always be wise to use your American money here.
Utilizing American money in Mexico can have unintended consequences and may not be the best way to finance a vacation in Cozumel or elsewhere in Mexico. Furthermore, using pesos as payment for property ownership or rental could make managing that property more challenging if you hadn’t already paid with US dollars.
Prior to your trip, it’s essential to know the exchange rate for your preferred currency and estimate how much money should be spent in pesos. To do this, try using an experienced phone app (like XE Currency Exchange App!), which offers up-to-the-minute conversion of how many pesos to USD in real-time.
You can take advantage of some local currency exchange businesses located nearby. They will quickly and efficiently convert your money to pesos for you, though be aware that there may be small transaction fees associated with this service.
It’s wise to have some cash on hand just in case the exchange rate fluctuates; you never know when it might change.
Businesses often display their current exchange rates in both Mexican and US dollars, making it simpler for you to decide if you need to bring any pesos with you. This is especially true of restaurants and dive shops.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Cozumel, though be aware of any additional charges associated with using one. Furthermore, never carry your credit card in your wallet or purse – keep it visible while dining or shopping.
Another option is to withdraw your pesos at ATMs. These machines can be found at most banks in town as well as larger supermarkets like Chedraui or Mega. Fees usually range between $1.50 and $3.00 per withdrawal, though the exchange rate may differ if you have used a Cozumel currency exchange house.
Taxis are the ideal way to get around Cozumel. Not only are they safe and easy to hail, but they’re usually cheaper than renting a car or scooter. Plus, they come with a free map so you can take them directly to the beach, restaurant, or your hotel.
Taxis are easy to come by on the street or pick one up at one of the designated taxi stands (sitios). These can be found outside all shopping malls, food markets, major tourist attractions, and large hotels.
Generally, tipping is customary after each ride to cover costs and show gratitude for the driver’s hard work.
If you’re booking a taxi trip, it is wise to reserve your fare ahead of time. This is especially pertinent if you are embarking on an island tour or for longer journeys with multiple stops.
Taxis often have a rate sheet that lists the prices they will accept. This is an effective way to ensure you don’t get overcharged and have enough money when you leave the vehicle.
Taxis from downtown San Miguel de Cozumel to beaches or destinations such as the airport and San Gervasio ruins usually charge $8 per person; however, out-of-town trips such as Playa Palancar or Chankanaab Adventure Park may incur a surcharge of up to $20.
Taxis are a popular choice for tourists, particularly those visiting the island for the first time. They’re reliable and well-kept at reasonable costs; furthermore, drivers’ unions are strong, so fares are regulated.
Most taxis in Cozumel are white with a red stripe down the side and their taxi number printed on the door. Drivers tend to be friendly and bilingual, providing helpful advice about getting around town.
Banks typically carry change, which is handy for tourists to have on hand. Just be sure to double-check the exchange rate before using your cash; the Mexican peso to the US dollar rate can fluctuate widely between banks.
Taxiing in Cozumel is generally safe and straightforward, but it’s always beneficial to know what to expect and how to haggle for the best price. With these tips and tricks, your trip will be a breeze – whether you need just a short ride or an extensive tour around the island.
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