Exchanging Your Dollars to Pesos in Puerto Vallarta
Where ever in the world you are coming from, forget about your US Dollars unless you want to lose 20-50 % on the exchange, be sure and go to a local bank and exchange your dollars to pesos because vendors will give you a much less exchange rate than a bank. The local exchange house are somewhat better but not fantastic, they still charge you about 2-3 %. The best spot is a bank as they will give you the closest exchange to the actual number. No matter where you go to exchange, be sure and bring your passport with you as you are required to show it. Many locations have limitations on the exchange such as $1000 USD per day or something like that. Do not worry because there are plenty of banks to assist you through Vallarta and the entire bay no matter where you are staying.
It is also a great idea to just use your debit card at one of the national banks because those machines will give you the bank exchange rate but the only problem is the fees from your bank so check with you bank about the international fees because banks love to nickel and dime you with these type of fees. Beware of the small independent ATM machines around town, do not use them. Many of these machines will scan your card and pin and the culprits will steal from that card. Although you are protected by Visa, it is still a pain.
The best idea is to either go to your bank and exchange before you arrive so you have some pesos from your bank before you leave, that will give you the very best exchange rate or just wait after you arrive at the airport, pass through immigration area where you pick up your bags, you will look around and see manned money exchange booths. You see the smiling faces of the workers behind the glass in these booths along the wall. Avoid these as they will charge you a high fee. Once you arive into the airport lobby where you will see about 5 or six bank affiliated machines, BBVA Santender. bancomer, HSBC, Banorte,Banamex, Scotiabank and all of these machines are fine as long as they are affiliated with a bank.
Now, why do you need pesos when you arrive at the airport? Because if you use pesos instead of dollars to pay for your taxi or van to your hotel or resort, you won’t have to take that exchange rate haircut I was talking about. Just remember that if you pay for your airport transportation in your funny money, it will just cost you a little more, that’s all. So not a big deal. you will have a more comfortable time navigating the Money machines during the rest of your stay.
You know what they say, a pesos saved is a peso earned, enjoy your time in Banderas Bay