A lot of Americans are curious as to whether they can use American money while vacationing in Playa del Carmen. Especially if they haven’t been here or anywhere in Mexico before, it can be a little confusing as to how to buy things – how do pesos work, how will I know if I’m getting ripped off, etc…
American dollars in Playa del Carmen – how does it work?
Here’s the deal… in Playa del Carmen – and most tourist places in Mexico – you will be able to use American dollars pretty much anywhere. But here’s the deal… you probably don’t want to, and this is the reason: exchange rate. As of this writing, the exchange rate is about 17 pesos to 1 US dollar. That’s fantastic. Soooo… many tourist shops will actually price things in dollars because it sounds better to tourists who don’t know any better.
Or they will price things in pesos and take dollars but only give 12 or 13 pesos to 1 dollar. They can make a ton of extra money that way and the unsuspecting tourist has no idea that they are grossly over paying for the things they are buying. I personally stay away from any place that prices only in dollars.
The major retail outlets in Playa del Carmen like Mega, Walmart and even Starbucks will generally give you VERY good rate when you buy goods. Mega and Walmart will both give you close to the best exchange rate available and give you change as well – up to twice as much as you buy. For example, if you want to change out a $100 bill, you’ll have to buy $50 dollars worth of stuff, then you’ll get the great rate of exchange.
This video will explain a lot of the ins and outs of using dollars in Mexico and Playa del Carmen specifically.