Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Penthouse Condo for Rent

spiagge bianche e sabbiose e cristalline acque Caraibiche

Things you should know about money


Banks in Playa del Carmen are pretty well the same as banks anywhere. Line-ups may be longer.

Things to know are:

  • the majority of tellers do not speak English
  • some banks do not accept Travelers Checks
  • ATMs are open to the public
  • ATMs can run out of money


If you are planning on traveling outside of Playa del Carmen and need to use a bank/ATM then know:

  • some communities do not allow banks in their jurisdiction
  • banks can become extremely crowded as early as 10:00 in the morning
  • many ATMs are guarded during the day by armed military.

AND like Playa del Carmen some banks will not accept Travelers Checks and the ATMs can run out of money later in the day.

Note to Canadians...
There can be a fee up to $3.00 cad per transaction to access the PLUS system (it depends on your banking plan). It can get costly to make small withdrawls if your plan does not cover PLUS fees.


When traveling you want to get the best exchange rates, save the most money, and feel safe and secure carrying your money for the trip.

What you do varies according to where you are going. For example if you are staying at an all-inclusive on the Mayan Riviera then you need not take the precautions that you would if you were back-packing around the countryside.

Your choices are ATM, cash, credit cards, and traveler's checks.


  • It is a compact solution.
  • You can leave money safe in a bank back home so it can't get stolen.
  • Your money is earning interest while you travel.
  • You get the better bank exchange rate, the same they give to credit card customers.
  • You can get money after hours and on weekends.


  • You have to depend on an ATM machine being open and working when you need it.
  • You do not know what fees your bank is charging on international transactions, unless you check before you go.
  • ATM machines cannot be found everywhere.
  • If the card's magnetic strip becomes damaged in any way and the card fails to work you could be in a bind.
  • Daily limits.
  • Sometimes the ATM machines are empty [as in no-money].


  • You have all your money with you and don't have to worry about ATMs and credit cards.
  • You know exactly how much you can spend.
  • You get acquainted with Mexico's money system faster.


  • If you're traveling for any length of time your cash-wad is too dangerous to carry around to be safe.
  • If you lose it, it cannot be replaced.
  • You eventually end up having money in every pocket and tucked away in numerous locations making things confusing.


  • You need one to rent a car.
  • Credit cards can be used for purchases as well as for getting cash.
  • If your card is lost or stolen it is replaced quickly and you're only covered for $50 worth of unauthorized purchases.
  • You get the best exchange rate at the bank.
  • You can purchase items and pay them off later. This is generally not a wise move, however, you have to consider you may not be able to return and purchase the item any time soon.
  • With American Express you can write checks on your own checking account check for cash.
  • You do not have cash advance interest fees.
  • You can review your transactions when you receive your report.


  • Some hotels only accept cash.
  • PEMEX gas stations do not accept credit cards.
  • It is extremely easy to overspend as people tend to get carried away when on vacation.
  • You must pay off the card immediately when you get home or any savings you had in the exchange rate will be lost in interest payments.
  • Your bank will charge you the extra high cash advance interest on transactions. If you don't pay off the entire balance on your credit card on your next bill, the bank will not deduct all the money from your high cash advance balance. They can/will divide it between your purchase and cash advance balances. It could take an extended period to pay off.
  • When on an extended trip there is nobody to pay the monthly credit card bill.
  • There is a monthly limit on how much you can take out with an American Express card:

$1000 every 7 days with the green card
$2500 every 7 days with the gold card
$10,000 every 30 days with the platinum card.

NOTE: Keep ALL receipts from credit card purchases. It is a good idea to write on the receipt what you purchased as well as where you were.


  • If they are lost or stolen they can be replaced quickly, usually the same day if they're American Express.
  • Vendors like them when the exchange rate is good.
  • When the dollar is rising quickly, some merchants will give you a better deal if you pay with travelers' checks.
  • It is like cash in that you have in your hands what you can spend.
  • You can exchange your travelers' checks for cash at your hotel.


  • You get lower exchange rates than if you use a credit card or ATM card.
  • There is a transaction fee involved.
  • You have to keep track of the check numbers.
  • Money exchange office offers a bad exchange rate.
  • Passports are required to cash them.



For vacationers we recommend cash/credit cards. You need cash for making purchases, especially if you want to bargain. There are also numerous small exchanges that will take place and you will need cash for this. For major items use a credit card. Taxi cabs and the collectivo require cash. Most places in Playa like their pesos... they will take USD, but you usually end up paying more because it is always rounded off to their advantage


For explorers we recommend cash/credit card/ American Express travelers' checks. You need cash of course. But keep the majority of it at all times in travelers' checks. Use the credit card for emergencies.