Money, called “dinero” in Spanish, is based on the peso in Spanish-speaking Mexico. There are 100 centavos to every peso. Because currency exchange rates vary over time, check an online currency converter for the latest value. You can also ask about current exchange rates at a Mexican tourism office, hotel desk, bank or currency exchange office.
Coins and Paper
The universal sign for dollars -- the $ -- is used for pesos, too. Many popular tourism spots will list M$1 for a Mexican peso and US$1 for a U.S. dollar. Because the two countries are neighbors, U.S. dollars are the easiest foreign currency to exchange in Mexico. Pesos are available as paper currency in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 pesos and as coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 pesos. Tinier centavos are available as 20- and 50-centavo coins.
Pesos for Dollars
The Mexico Tourism Board suggests changing dollars to pesos at banks, currency exchange offices or exchange counters at international airports. Currency exchange houses are called casas de cambio in Spanish. ATM machines are plentiful in big cities. Some of the better exchange rates are available by using credit cards at locations that accept them, according to the tourism board. Banks and exchange houses won’t convert coins, which means leaving U.S. coins as tips is useless to the recipients.