How Much Cash to Take to Mexico

How Much Cash to Take to Mexico

Mexico is a vibrant and culturally rich country that attracts millions of tourists from around the world every year. Whether you are planning a relaxing beach vacation or an adventurous exploration of ancient ruins, one question that often arises is how much cash to take to Mexico. While credit cards and ATMs are widely accepted in most places, it is always wise to have some cash on hand for small expenses, tips, or in case of emergencies. In this article, we will discuss some factors to consider when deciding how much cash to take to Mexico and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

Factors to Consider

1. Destination: The amount of cash you will need depends on the destination within Mexico. Popular tourist destinations such as CancĂșn, Playa del Carmen, and Mexico City have a higher cost of living compared to smaller towns. It’s advisable to research the average prices for meals, transportation, and activities in your specific destination to get an idea of how much money you might require.

2. Duration of the Trip: The length of your stay plays a significant role in determining how much cash to bring. Longer trips may require more cash for daily expenses, meals, and souvenirs.

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3. Planned Activities: Consider the activities you have planned during your trip. If you are planning to visit attractions, museums, or national parks, keep in mind that some might have entrance fees that are only payable in cash.

4. Accommodation: If your accommodation is already paid for, you won’t need to budget for it. However, if you plan to book accommodations on the go or prefer cash payments, ensure you have enough cash to cover the costs.

5. Personal Spending Habits: Your personal spending habits will largely determine how much cash you will need. If you enjoy shopping or dining at upscale restaurants, you will require more money compared to someone who prefers budget options.


1. Are credit cards widely accepted in Mexico?
Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in most tourist areas, hotels, restaurants, and shops. However, it is always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments or local markets that may not accept cards.

2. Should I exchange currency before traveling to Mexico?
Exchanging a small amount of currency before your trip is advisable, as it will come in handy for immediate expenses upon arrival. However, it is generally recommended to exchange the majority of your currency at local banks or exchange offices in Mexico for better rates.

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3. How much cash should I carry for emergencies?
It is recommended to have at least $100-$200 in cash for emergencies. This should cover unforeseen circumstances, such as medical expenses, lost belongings, or unexpected transportation needs.

4. Can I withdraw cash from ATMs in Mexico?
Yes, ATMs are widely available in Mexico, especially in tourist areas. However, be cautious of using ATMs in remote locations or on the street, as they may have higher fees or be more susceptible to skimming scams. Stick to ATMs located in reputable banks or inside shopping centers.

5. Is it better to carry Mexican pesos or US dollars?
While some establishments in tourist areas accept US dollars, it is generally recommended to carry Mexican pesos for better value and convenience. Local vendors may not provide favorable exchange rates, and you may end up paying more in US dollars.

6. How much cash should I carry per day?
On average, budget travelers can manage with around $30-$50 per day for meals, transportation, and small expenses. However, this can vary depending on your destination and personal preferences.

7. Are there any restrictions on carrying cash into Mexico?
There are no restrictions on the amount of cash you can bring into Mexico. However, if you are carrying a large sum, it is advisable to declare it to customs upon arrival to avoid any potential issues.

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In conclusion, having some cash on hand when traveling to Mexico is always a good idea. While credit cards and ATMs are widely accepted, having cash for small expenses, tips, or emergencies adds an extra layer of convenience and security. Consider the factors mentioned above and plan accordingly to ensure you have an enjoyable and stress-free trip to Mexico.