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The Mexican peso is the standard currency used in Mexico but almost everyone in Cancun and Isla Mujeres will accept US dollars or Mexico pesos. The HSBC branch here on Isla Mujeres is no longer exchanging foreign currency, but there are several money exchange houses downtown that are more than happy to exchange Dollars or other foreign currency. There are also plenty of cash machines (ATMs) in the downtown area where you may withdraw money directly in Pesos. This way generally gives you the best exchange rate, but you should consult your bank before leaving to find out what foreign withdrawal fees apply.

The popular ways are ATMs, Travelers Checks, Exchanges, Credit Cards and ATM’s on the Island

The main bank on the Island is HSBC – they are one of the largest banks in the world. Their ATMs  are located at the bank across from the ferry, inside the 7-11 and the super market. Your bank will probably charge you a fee to use the ATM as will HSBC. The ATM is in English and Spanish – and remember to use common sense to hide the pin number, etc when using the ATM. 

Travelers Checks

The bank, most exchanges and most hotels will accept travelers’ checks. You will need your passport to cash these checks. Bank lines can be long at times so check around for the best time of day to go to the bank. The bank is closed on Sunday but the ATM’s are available 24 hours a day.

Exchanges (Cambios)

There are a few places that exchange US dollars or other forgein currency for Mexican pesos. If you do use these services make sure and get a receipt that shows the conversion and count your money before you leave to make sure you received the correct amount. Ninety-nine percent of the time you get everything done perfectly – but sometimes errors do occur – take your time and double check everything!

Credit Cards

A lot of restaurants and hotels take Visa and MasterCard (American express and others are less popular). There is a lot of credit card fraud in the world so if you can get by without using your credit card it is best.  It is recommended that you call your credit card company and your bank to alert them in advance of foreign travel. Give them your departure and return dates. Otherwise if you have a company with tight security, they may freeze your accounts for expected fraud when you try to use them in Mexico. If they are aware of your travel dates they are more likely to catch any fraud that occurs after you return very quickly.


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