For Baja Travelers

Discussion in 'Americas' started by muddyrabbit, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    Have a great time! Credit cards are easy to use--the issuing bank will make the conversion on your statement, usually with a small fee ($1-2 US) so where they're accepted I always use it. Not a lot of places take cc's though. Some Pemex (not all), the bigger grocery stores and restaurants.

    Forget traveler's checks--a thing of the past.

    Most businesses will take USD, particularly closer to the border, and many places use electronic cash registers that display the price to the operator in both pesos and dollars. I still prefer to pay in pesos as it's their currency and I'm in their country.

    I try to exchange some dollars for pesos at a Casa de Cambio, they're usually located close to the border on both sides. You'll spot them as they have the current exchange rate posted with bright LED signs in their windows. Then during the trip withdraw pesos as needed from bank atm's. Atm's can be hard to find, usually only in the larger towns and cities, and there will always be a small fee, around $5 US for each transaction. I believe that in Mexico, atm card PINs must be 4 digits. I can't say for certain, but while still in the US I changed my card PIN to a 4 digit code just in case. No problems using it.

    You need to spend a little time planning your cash supplies mostly because of the scarcity of banks/atm's.
  2. cousinbob

    cousinbob just one more....

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    Hi Stillcreek,
    Good time to get out of PNW for a break no doubt. Couple things to add to HWD's post. Some credit cards have a "no foreign transaction fee" so check if you have one of those(or get one if you have time) and you can save on fees. You s/b able to order pesos at your bank before you leave if you want some in hand before crossing the border. I usually get smaller denominations (20, 50, 100, 200) so you do not have to deal with "have no change". Also handy when tipping. You may want to consider holding your money in several locations. Some pack a throw away wallet, but I have not bothered. Have a great trip. cb
  3. princess jamaica

    princess jamaica OLD DOG-NEW TRICKS

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    Don't forget to notify your bank of your dates in MX.
  4. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Traveler's checks? I haven't even seen one of those in 20 years! American dollars are accepted everywhere in Baja, however what exchange rate you are given will vary a great deal and you will not be on the good side of that transaction. The guys working at the PEMEX stations make extra cash off of the "float" when using dollars. Don't forget that is is not uncommon for credit cards to not be accepted at the more remote PEMEX stations.
  5. CommanderDave

    CommanderDave Kick Ass Adventure Rider

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    Hello Stillcreek, I can't remember a place that didn't take US cash. However, the person you are buying goods or services from can have his own idea of an equitable exchange rate. I brought $1,000 emergency cash...crisp NEW 100 dollar bills but didn't really need it. Not every place is going to be able to exchange hundred dollar bill. Best idea is to get pesos from ATM. Also a lot of places take your debit/credit cards. I tried exchanging 100 dollar bill at bank it it is sort of a clusterf**k. You have to let them copy your passport then they fill out a form. Trying to control drug money I guess. Have fun....dave
  6. Badabing70

    Badabing70 Been here awhile

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    A stash of US Dlls and first ATM get pesos exchange rate today is $18.00 per dllr


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. Stillcreek

    Stillcreek Adventurer

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    OK..."Travelers Checks" just shows how often I get out. Thanks for all the input. Sounds like best way to go is 1) credit card and make sure of card issuers exchange fee 2) Pesos. 3) A few greenbacks for a fall back.
  8. stormdog

    stormdog Long timer

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    The last time I used the couta in Baja they took dollars, but passing through 3 casitas all 3 gave back different change for the same toll. On the mainland, the toll booths have signs saying no dollars excepted
  9. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    You are much better off changing cash dollars for cash pesos at the booths. 18 pesos for a dollar is really good for us but sucks for them!
  10. CONKSO

    CONKSO Been here awhile

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    Costco on Broadway in Chula Vista has a cambio inside of it that is free to Costco members. If you do more than 500 bucks you need your passport and another source of ID. We hit it before we go south- easy.
  11. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    BEST WAY is to get pesos from a bank machine at first opportunity inside Mexico then pay CASH IN PESOS for everything .
    Save Credit cards only for emergency cases , and hope they are set up to accept them.
    . Why make it difficult and more costly for yourself and every other little shop and taco stand keeper ?!
    ( The Costco thing may be "free " to members but membership costs something , no?)
  12. Hipster

    Hipster Long timer

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    Also, if you're a Costco member you can even buy your Mexico motorcycle insurance thru them.
  13. mulderdog

    mulderdog Been here awhile

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    durham ct
    I'm heading for my first Baja trip (on moto) on Feb. 26 th. Are there other Baja threads to take a gander at ?
    thanks !
  14. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Anyone know if the Costco in El Centro has the same service? And does Costco (anywhere) pay the bank rate?
  15. CONKSO

    CONKSO Been here awhile

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    Not sure about Costco in El Centro exchanging pesos but as far as rate- we got our pesos three weeks ago and I think we got 16.5 pesos/dollar.
  16. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    There's a couple ride reports on my website you might find interesting----read thru them slowly I'm sure you'll pic up some hints about riding down there--------Jonz is in one of the stories.
    If you just rush thru it just scrolling thru the pics---you won't pick up on anything.
    Here's the links.
    http://www.bigdogadventures.com/Baja01 2007.htm

    http://www.bigdogadventures.com/1Baja2013.htm

    [​IMG]
    jonz likes this.
  17. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

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    This. You get the central exchange rate. And if your bank reimburses ATM fees. even better.

    That said, I used my CC whenever possible at Pemex, Oxxo etc, for the reward points. I didn't carry any cash whatsoever when I entered Mexico, neither dollars or pesos.
  18. muddyrabbit

    muddyrabbit Lost Boy

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    Glad to see the thread is still of use.Wife and I are headed back in March, but no bikes this time. My 10 year old son gets to go this time, and that was the deal with his mom.
  19. dravnx

    dravnx Been here awhile

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    Depends on where you're going and for how long. The best exchange rate will be using an ATM south of the border. Search around at Bajanomads for more ATM info. Sometimes I will stop at one of the Cambia booths on the US border and exchange a few hundred to last me until I can get to an ATM at a convenient stop. I've also exchanged enough to last for the whole trip. At the end of the trip, if I have more then a couple of $100 left over, I exchange it back. I know that this is not the most economical way but I consider it the cost of my vacation. Try not to use US cash. You'll get raked over as you'll almost always get pesos for change. No one uses travelers checks anymore. A few gas stations (Pemex) will take CC but I don't like to spread my number around. You also don't know how the transaction will be completed until you get you're statement. Fraud is prevalent when you travel in a country with a lower standard of living.
  20. MJS

    MJS Long timer

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    While CC are accepted at more and more places especially in larger cities, don't count on it at all in smaller towns or roadside merchants. Many towns in Baja do not even have a bank in them. The residents deal with cash, you should be prepared to also.

    And when using CC many merchants (hotels and restaurants mostly) will run your CC in dollars. While that sounds convenient, what you're really getting is the merchant's exchange rate and not the bank's. I still see merchant rates at as low as 13:1 but usually more like 15:1. Just an easy way for them to collect a little extra gringo tax. :deal