Money in Mexico

What’s going on with the exchange rate? The US$ dollar to MX$ peso rate is favorable for those who have dollars. You get about MX$ 18 to 20 pesos for every US$1.00, which can stretch your buying power to experience more of Mexico in every way. Just divide by 20 to get an approximation.

Some examples:

  • a regular lunch at a “comida corrida” = MX$ 55.00 – 70.00 (with tip) ~ US$ 3.00
  • ticket with teacher discount at Cineteca = MX$20.00 ~ US$ 1.00
  • one ride (as long as you want) on the Metro = MX $5.00 ~ US$ 0.25

Compare these to New York City prices for the same things and you will be amazed at how much your quality of life could improve. Granted that you would have to like “comida corrida” (which has always been good in my opinion), like what’s offered at the Cinetea, and like to take the metro. It would be amazing to have a personal chef and a driver, but the Fulbright grant does not cover these.

  • New York restaurant (Flatiron-Grammercy): US$ 60/person ~ MX$ 1,226.00
  • New York movie, limited choices (Flatiron-Union Sq): US$20/ticket ~ MX$ 400.00
  • New York Subway to anywhere on the system (don’t go out): $2.75/ride ~ MX$ 56.00


MX$ 20.00 ~ US$ 1.00

MX$ 50.00 ~ US$ 2.50

MX$ 100.00 ~ US$ 5.00

MX$ 200.00 ~ US$ 10.00

MX$ 500.00 ~ US$ 25.00

Coins are handy in MX$ 10 / 5 / 2 / 1 / .50 peso and centavo increments.


  • Get a coin pocket with a zipper; with a keychain you have two functions in one item. Ones with “Mexico” stamped in leather or sewn into the design are great souvenirs.
  • Always have some coins for tips and when the register comes up with the odd cents.
  • Always have bills smaller than MX$ 500 when buying something at a small shop that is less than MX$ 100 because most shops won’t have change for you.
  • Pick your battle when haggling in a handicrafts market over MX$ 50, for example, since it’s US$ 2.50 on the one hand or the price of a lunch on the other. Yes, haggling is expected and you should get into it.

Do you have a money story or a travelers tip for Living in…? Write me in the Contacts tab. Thank you!


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