By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I will be traveling to Mexico in December and wonder should I purchase pesos here, in Mexico or should I take US-dollars?

A: Whenever travelling to foreign countries, it' a good idea to have some local currency on hand to help cover the cost of cabs or any possible tipping along the way.

A representative from the Mexico Government Tourism Office advises to take either US or Canadians dollars and exchange them at a bank or casas de cambio (exchange houses) in Mexico. Bank hours in Mexico are normally from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weekdays only. Some branches are open in the afternoon from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and on weekends. The exchange houses have longer hours.

The best bet is to check at your hotel for the hours of the nearest branch office. If your bankcard is able to do transactions outside Canada, using ATM's is another option. Before you leave, check with your bank to ensure your PIN number can be activated while at your destination.

Whatever you do, it's not recommended to use dollars at resort areas, although they are accepted. The Mexico Government Tourism office recommends using pesos while at a hotel. This is because generally the worst exchange rates are often at hotels.

For other travel-related information on Mexico, contact the Mexico Government Tourism Office at (800) 44-MEXICO.


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