MONEY, BANKS, EXCHANGES & METHODS OF PAYMENT
Note: No bank or exchange will accept a bill that is torn or that has writing or stamp marks on them. US or Canadian coins will not be accepted by anyone and cannot be exchanged for pesos at any bank or currency exchange.
Bank Hours: Most banks are open 9 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Saturday.
Locations: See the Interactive City Map for locations of banks, money exchanges (casas de cambio), and ATMs.
Currency Exchanges (Casas de Cambio)
Casas de cambio are located throughout the city, and come and go as the economy dictates. You will need your passport for changing currency. Their rates of exchange are usually posted outside their doors.
Locations: See the Interactive City Map for locations of money exchanges (casas de cambio).
The easiest way to change money in Cozumel is to use your ATM card. You get the best exchange rate and there are no lines. The drawbacks are most US banks will charge you around 2% as a transaction fee (more for cash advances on credit cards), a foreign exchange charge of up to 3%, and most ATMs here will only give you a maximum of $3000 pesos per transaction. USE ONLY BANK-BRANDED ATMs!
Locations: See the Interactive City Map for locations of ATMs.
Currency and coins
US currency circulates freely in Cozumel, but nobody will accept a bill that is torn. US or Canadian coins will not be accepted by anyone and cannot be exchanged for pesos at any bank or currency exchange.
Mexican peso bills come in 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 pesos denominations. Common coin denominations are 1, 2, 5, and 10 Pesos. There are several colors of each denomination in circulation. There are also 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavo (cents) coins, but you’ll rarely see these, except in change from large chain stores. In addition, there are 20 and 100 peso coins that are in circulation, but not found as frequently as the rest of Mexico’s coinage.
Most currency exchange houses will change traveler’s checks and will give you the same rate as if they were cash. However, some of the ‘off-brand’ traveler checks may not be accepted; best to use the American Express or VISA brand. Banks usually has long lines here on the island are not interested in changing travelers checks.
Checks drawn on US banks
US Checks cannot be cashed at banks in Cozumel, but can be deposited into a checking or interest-bearing account. Bear in mind, however, it will take over a month to clear, and a hefty fee will be charged for the service, so nobody wants to take them as payment.
Most hotels, large stores, and larger restaurants accept MasterCard and Visa, but most small “Mom and Pop” shops do not take plastic. When they do, they often add a service charge. Discover cards and American Express cards are accepted by very few locations other than large hotels. Most US cards charge a 2% to 3% “foreign transaction fee” on each charge.