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Tips and Tricks: Do You Need to Exchange Money in Tulum?

If you think about it, one of the most important aspects of traveling to a different country is money exchange. That is to say, having the means to buy and pay for cultural and nature-based experiences in the destination of your choice, is by far one of the most important things to plan for when travelling. And that is exactly what will be discussed in this post as we look specifically at tips and tricks for money exchange in Tulum. 

Why It’s Important to Have Local Currency When Travelling

Tips for money exchange Tulum
Whether you want to buy local handicrafts, try the local cuisine or take local transport having local currency in Mexican Pesos is an absolute must.

While many countries accept credit cards and $USD there will be a lot of chances that you won’t be able to use them, even in popular places like Tulum. 

Whether it’s a lack of internet connection or just visiting local and rural places, you’ll need local currency no matter what. That’s why I wanted to answer a few common questions when it comes to money exchange Tulum. This way you can be safe and sure to enjoy the many activities in Riviera Maya without the worry and hassle of having to check if places accept credit or debit cards.

The advantages of having local currency from the country you’re visiting are huge, you’ll be able to avoid issues and barriers that travellers often face when they try to rely solely on credit or debit cards or carrying on foreign currency even if it’s USD. 

Whether you want to buy local handicrafts, try the local cuisine or even swim with dolphins in Tulum (one of my personal recommendations), having local currency in Mexican Pesos is an absolute must. And as a bonus you can take home the local bills as souvenirs also! 

You’ll be able to buy things easier, and pay those little unexpected expenses such as taxi or bus fares or even buying snacks and water from a local vendor or convenience store. Having local currency also allows peace of mind when you are out travelling.

That’s why the importance of having local currency in Tulum and other places in Mexico is a thing that can’t be ignored or overlooked. Make sure to exchange your currency for Mexican pesos and enjoy the many local cultural and nature based experiences that are truly unique in this part of the world like the Dolphin Discovery Akumal. And many, many other amazing experiences for which you really need local currency to enjoy!

Do you need to exchange money for Tulum?

I would definitely recommend it! Yes, I would have to say you do need to exchange the foreign currency you have for pesos when planning a trip to Tulum. 

And, yes it’s true that many places will accept USD, you’ll probably not get the best exchange rate while paying in USD at, for example, a restaurant in Tulum. At a restaurant, you could get 17 pesos per dollar while at an exchange you’ll get 18.90 or so i.e a much better rate (of course this is just a representative example, exchange prices can vary).

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But that’s not the only advantage of having pesos, if you’ll be taking taxis or other local transport there’s a very strong likelihood that they’ll be accepting pesos only. Another pretty major advantage of having local currency in Tulum is that you can easily pay for other services, goods, and even tips.

It’s also highly recommended that you get local currency if you plan to travel to non-touristic zones, like small villages or towns. By using local currency you’ll be supporting the correct and accepted method of payment in that country.

So, it’s definitely better to have pesos while traveling in Tulum, remember to always have a backup in USD and pesos if you can.

Where can I exchange dollars in Tulum?

Tulum is a tourist hub, a beautiful and historical city, and you can find a huge ton of money exchange places around. I highly recommend you ask at your hotel for the best one and check on the Internet for good options. Be mindful and check the reviews, ask for the prices and fees of different places, and compare them.

The ideal way would be to take your pesos from your country to Tulum. For example, many banks outside of Mexico will gladly exchange your USD or other foreign currency for pesos. So having pesos in hand before you even touchdown in Mexico is probably the best, easiest and most hassle-free way to travel and enjoy Tulum.

A great way to exchange money I found while traveling in Mexico, is to do the exchange directly at the ATM, a fee will be charged depending on your bank and the Mexican Bank can take a fee too. but it’s incredibly easy to do, most ATMs now let you choose the language too.

Also, you should know that if you use a bank in Mexico that’s affiliated with your bank you can get back the fee. I recommend you talk to your bank about it.

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An ATM is convenient for money exchange in Tulum
Using an ATM for money exchange in Tulum is probably the most convenient method to use.

More Helpful Money Exchange Tulum Tips

Download Currency Exchange Apps Before you Travel

If you are not sure about the exchange rate from your foreign currency that you hold you can make use of online apps to get a good idea of what your foreign currency is worth in pesos.

This can be very helpful especially if you are stuck with only USD and want to compare the exchange rate at local restaurants or stores with what the global foreign exchange rate is.

One of the apps I recommend that is available on iOs and Android is XE Currency which is one of the most popular apps used by many travellers every day.

The great thing is once you download the latest rates you can use the app offline, very hand when visiting rural areas where internet connection may no be the best.

Avoid Unofficial Exchanges

You may come across street vendors offering exchanges for $USD and foreign currency but I recommend to stay away from these vendors and only stick to the places recommended above such as ATM’s (which are very convenient) as well as banks while in Tulum.

Also try to use ATM’s in more public locations in open public spaces for an extra security precaution when travelling in Tulum. You can never be too safe.


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Keep Your Funds Secure

If you know that you can’t use a Credit or Debit card then you probably will have to take a good amount of cash.

In this case it’s best to always keep your cash secure and try not to handle large amounts of cash out in the open.

Money Exchange Tulum Tips – Wrap Up

So after reading through this post you should now understand the importance of having local currency wherever you travel. And this is definitely the case if you are planning on visiting Tulum.

You shouldn’t always rely on credit or debit cards to work in small towns and villages and even if places do accept USD you will likely not get a good exchange rate for your USD to pesos.

As we discussed, the best way would be to exchange your money for pesos before landing in Mexico. But even so we have given excellent options to exchange money in Tulum, the most convenient being using an ATM.