Mexico Beach Vacations

 Puerto Vallarta Travel Tips: Money

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Vallarta Guide Articles:

Mexico Vacation

Guide to Puerto Vallarta Vacationing

Puerto Vallarta Introduction

Mexico Holidays - Cheap Vacation Packages

Travel Guide

Visiting Puerto Vallarta

Two Coasts of Mexico


Historical Sites


The Famous Malecon


Puerto Vallarta's Nearby Villages


Puerto Vallarta History


Puerto Vallarta Decor


Puerto Vallarta Famous Restaurants


Puerto Vallarta Ecotourism - Sea Turtles


Statues and Monuments in Puerto Vallarta


Vallarta's Cultural Center


Off-the-Beaten-Path in Puerto Vallarta


Puerto Vallarta Beaches


Bullfights in Puerto Vallarta


Jungle Tours in Puerto Vallarta


Outdoor Activities in Vallarta


Puerto Vallarta Yachting


The making of "Night of the Iguana" in Puerto Vallarta


Villages and Towns near Puerto Vallarta


Shopping in Pitillal




Guide to Using Money in Puerto Vallarta While on Vacation


The local currency in Mexico is the peso.  The best exchange rates are received through banks, or by using your credit card 


Paper currency comes in denominations of:  20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 pesos.  Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, plus 20 and 50 centavos which are not commonly used.  10 pesos is generally the street exchange for $1 US Dollar and are therefore the most widely used coins.  The 5 pesos coin is what is used for the bus and is the equivalent of .50 US cents. 


Exchanging Money in Puerto Vallarta is relatively painless.  Casas de cambio (exchange houses) are conveniently located on every corner, however they do not always provide the best rate.  Banks and credit cards offer the best rate, while resorts and restaurants are almost always over-priced.  American retail stores often offer good rates as well, for example Wal-Mart and Sam's Club usually keep bank exchange rates.  Tip:  ALWAYS COUNT YOUR CHANGE IN FRONT OF THE CASHIER at banks and exchange houses.


Bring / keep small change- tipping is customary for everyone from the man who carries your luggage, to the boy who bags your groceries, and the concierge who shows you to your room.  Be sure and bring plenty of singles to hold you over until you can exchange your currency. Read our Puerto Vallarta Tipping Guide for more information.  You will also want to gather small change (10 pesos coins and 20 pesos paper) since getting change for larger bills can often be difficult and inconvenient.


Credit Cards- Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted throughout Puerto Vallarta, but smaller merchants and service providers will require cash.  It's wise to bring at least 2 credit cards, leaving one in your hotel room safe and keeping the other with you- just in case (maybe you go snorkeling and forget to take your wallet out- it's been known to happen.)  Remember to contact your credit companies before heading abroad to avoid fraud suspicion when you use your credit card in Puerto Vallarta.  If you plan to use these for cash withdrawal, remember to double-check your pin since dialing 800 numbers provided on the backs of cards can be challenging and expensive.  Read below for information on credit card slips.


Banks and ATM's in Mexico- Banks offer the best exchange rate outside of credit cards.  They are closed on holidays- Mexican Holidays so be sure to carry enough funds with you to carry you over if necessary.  Bank hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.  ATM's are available 24 hours and generally add a fee of less than 1 US dollar for each transaction.  ATM's in Puerto Vallarta are both in Spanish and English, but can still be tricky.  Most only offer withdrawal in pesos, so remember that 500 on the screen means $50 US Dollars rather than $500 dollars, for example.


Western Union - There are a number of Western Unions throughout Puerto Vallarta, often tied in with other money wire companies for your convenience.


Checks and Traveler's Checks- Using personal checks from American banks is almost, if not completely impossible since the bank will require a waiting period of up to 7 weeks for the check to clear and local merchants absolutely will not accept international personal checks.  Travelers Checks are a convenient option.  Most banks charge a small fee for cashing them.  If lost, or ordering, the phone number for American Express Traveler's checks and Citibank are located in the important phone number directory.


Deciphering checks/bills, receipts and credit card slips:  Most printed receipts and credit card slips will have the total written twice; once with M.N. written next to it, which means moneda nacional or national currency.  Dlls. is usually written next to the American or Canadian total.  IVA - this is the 15% tax added to almost everything from restaurants to plane tickets to souvenirs.  An additional 2% bed tax is usually added by hotels and resorts.  Tip: When adding a tip to a credit card slip, be sure and ask the server the correct way since this can vary from each restaurant.  Otherwise, you may think you're leaving $5 USD, but are actually leaving 5 pesos (.50 US cents.) 




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