Getting and Spending Pesos in Sonora

Please note: This post, which was originally written in 2013, is currently being rewritten. Please stop back for more information and details on this topic.

So you’re planning a trip to Sonora, but aren’t sure whether your should buy pesos in the United States before leaving for your trip, whether you’ll be able to purchase with dollars in Mexico, or use your credit cards? Following are some tips to help you plan your trip effectively, so that you are aware of cash and credit options for your spending needs.

Pre-trip Preparation

When traveling in Mexico you will have three payment method choices – paying in U.S. dollars, paying in Mexican pesos, or paying with plastic (a transaction in Mexican pesos that is converted to dollars).

Before departing on your journey, consult with a site like XE.com (http://www.xe.com/ucc/), to get a general idea of the current international exchange rate between dollars and pesos. You can use this basic knowledge at different points to determine whether you’re being offered an acceptable rate of exchange when purchasing pesos.

Also, if you plan to take credit or debit cards to Mexico, contact the financial institutions associated with the cards to find out how to contact them from outside of the U.S. (preferably a toll-free international telephone number), and to ask how much they charge for ATM and credit/debit transactions. Keep the contact information in a safe place (apart from where you’ll keep the cards).

If you want to obtain currency and negotiable instruments before leaving for your trip, you can purchase traveler’s cheques in dollar denominations from your bank or travel agency, both of which may also be able to sell you pesos (albeit not at the best rate of exchange). Oftentimes you can also purchase pesos from U.S. banks near the border, from AAA, or from currency traders.