Focus On Mexico

Exchanging Currency

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  • Your home currency is easily exchanged in the Lakeside area. A variety of money exchange options are available such as:

    • Banks,
    • ATMs
    • Casas de Cambio (Money Exchange Houses)
    • International Money Transfers
    • Even some local stores

    The tabs below explain your various options for exchanging you currency into Mexican Pesos.

  • Exchanging Currency


    Your home currency is easily exchanged throughout the Lakeside area. A variety of money exchange options are available such as: banks, ATMs and casas de cambio (money exchange houses).

    Your best bet is to use your home bank debit card at an ATM and receive pesos to pay for your shopping, dining out and other purchases, because you will receive the current exchange rate rather than the arbitrary proprietor's rate. All the typical precautions should be taken. Airports and Hotels typically offer the worst exchange rates and should therefore be avoided.

    The exchange rates vary hourly as well as daily on the World Exchange. The rates fluctuate constantly, and while this is not normally an issue, it can be quite confusing to some travelers.

    There are money exchange houses or booths, called casas de cambio, located throughout the Lakeside area. Just look for the sign, along with the exchange rates posted. Casas de cambio do not charge a fee or commission. They will exchange mostly from U.S. and Canadian Dollars into Pesos, although, some will also exchange Euros. They will also exchange travelers’ checks.

    Casas de Cambio (Currency Exchange Houses)

    Money Exchange businesses in Ajijic, ChapalaAlthough some people will accept U.S. dollars at Lakeside, the official currency in Mexico is pesos. (Canadian dollars, and other currencies, are more difficult to exchange, so we recommend you bring U.S. Travelers Checks with you.)

    There are several "Casas de Cambio" (money exchange houses) where you can exchange foreign currency. You can find some Casas de Cambio in Ajijic, there are also some in Guadalajara. In the Casa de Cambio you will be able to exchange your American or Canadian Dollars to Mexican Pesos. Quite often the Casas de Cambio will offer a better exchange rate than the banks. Some even offer check cashing facilities but you will need to establish an account and provide references – usually local people with established accounts.

    We recommend that you change $50 to $100 dollars to pesos (small denominations as large denominations are difficult for the small shops to change) before you come so you’ll have some peso change to work with.

    If you continue to maintain a U.S. or Canadian bank account, you will be able to use your universal bank card at most of the ATMs in Mexico, as well as your major credit cards to take out cash advances.

    On our Focus on Mexico Program you will learn the very best way to bring large amounts of cash to Mexico and convert into pesos at the best possible rate, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in exchange. If you are buying a home in Mexico, you may be surprised and pleased to learn that most houses in the Lake Chapala area that are for sale are in U.S. Dollars so it’s not necessary to change to pesos (although you have the right to do so if you wish).

      HiFX Currency Online 

    Currency Online Ltd has been a technology leader in the money transfer industry since the business started in 1986 delivering one of the world’s first online money transfer platforms in 1997.

    Through its parent company company, HiFX Limited, we have continued to develop our technology in-house, ensuring clients enjoy a simple and efficient experience when transferring funds anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day.

    Our system incorporates a world class CRM program and has straight through processing capability that keeps our costs as low as possible enabling us to provide better exchange rates to our customers.

    Not happy with simply being one of the first global online service providers, Currency Online and HiFX continue today to evolve the platform ensuring they are at the forefront of the online FX service market.

    Please note: Currency Online are unable to offer our money transfer services to clients located in the United States of America (USA) and residents of Quebec (Canada). For clients located in other Canadian provinces we can provide spot transfers (not forward contracts).

    All clients located outside of the United States and Canada can still use the service and make international payments to / from the United States of America (USA) and Canada.ter exchange rates to our customers.

    To register or learn more about transferring money internationally... 


      USForex Logo

    USForex is a wholly owned subsidiary of OzForex, strategic investment of Macquarie Bank, Accel Partners and the Carlyle Group. USForex is part of the OzForex Group which also includes OzForex, UKForex, NZForex and Tranzfers.

    Since its launch in 1998, the Group has grown to be one of the world's largest online foreign exchange companies. USForex employs a blend of cutting edge technology and superb customer service to bring a better deal to corporate and private customers alike.

    The Company's client base includes small and medium-sized importers and exporters, as well as individuals who transfer financial assets, have recurring payments overseas, and individuals investing abroad.

    The USForex Board of Directors is made up of executives with significant experience in foreign exchange and the financial markets.

    Register or learn more about transferring money internationally...  


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    Mexico has a peso economyThe official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso.  Each peso, represented by the “$” symbol is worth 100 centavos, with the centavos being represented by the symbol "¢". Mexican peso coins are round and the 1, 2 and 5 coins have a golden/bronze center circle with a picture of the Mexican Coat of Arms (Eagle) in the middle with the outside surrounding being of silver color.  (The larger coins look somewhat like the Canadian loonie).  

    For easy calculation to know how much you are spending, just imagine every dollar to be worth $10 pesos (so a $200 peso item will cost you approximately $20 dollars).
    Universal Currency Converter -

    Mexican coins can be found in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent (centavo) pieces.  The larger peso coins are worth 1, 5, 10 and 20 pesos.  The size of the peso coins reflects its hierarchy of value.The Mexican peso bills are printed in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 notes.  I will caution you that it may be difficult to change the $500 and $1000 peso notes.  Always carry small bills and change with you.  It is much easier on the small tiendas.  When you give them big bills, it takes all their cash (and maybe some of the next store’s) to give you change.  Try and get your bigger bills cashed at the bigger stores or banks and have small change on hand for the local tiendas, street vendors, buses and taxis.The bills are in different colors and easy to differentiate.In most stores, you will find prices in pesos.  However, be careful if you are in the cities and especially the touristy areas on the coast – occasionally they price in U.S. dollars.