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Can I use dollars in Ensenada?

Can I use dollars or credit cards in Ensenada? is a great question for preparing for you shore day or weekend adventure in Ensenada.

Short answer: You can get by with cardit card and smaller US bills.

Practically, all places associated with tourism accept US dollars in bills of $10 or less, most can handle $20 bills. Formal places also accept credit and debit cards.

The size of the currency bill is important because the seller may need to make change. If you change is in dollars, they may not have exact. Many businesses start the day with very little in the cash drawer, so if you are among the first few customers and have a large bill -$500 pesos or $20 dollars US, they may not have cash peso change either. And then you have to wait while they run to the neighbor store or local Oxxo for change. It works, but maybe a bit of waiting and hassel.

Paying in dollars, the exchange rate is about 5-9% worse for you than if you exchanged cash at a casa de cambio or withdrew from an ATM.

Established businesses - not street tacos or taxi guys on sidewalk, can also take credit or debit cards in Ensenada. You may have foreign currency transaction costs charged by your credit card if they charge in pesos. Very few businesses like our spa and blowhole budget wine tours can process US cards without transaction costs and accept Venmo or Zelle.

To save a bit, you can change currency. To get cash pesos, you have two easy options. You can exchange at a casa de cambio. Just walk up and they can change to pesos at the daily rate. Select one without commission is usually best. Near the cruise port, there is a casa cambio just off the boat, next to my favorite Falafel shop (Lázaro Cárdenas 1094 - Just go across the bridge on the highway - not footbridge- and it is on the left in orange strip mall).

Exchange Dollars for Pesos if you want to save a bit - maybe - and like foreign currency!

Exchange Dollars for Pesos if you want to save a bit - maybe - and like foreign currency!

You can also withdraw in pesos with at ATM. You probably will have ATM withdrawal fees orforeign currency fee charged by your bank or the ATM, but the rate of exchange the bank gives you is better than store. In the end, it is convenient, but only cheaper if you are withdrawing several hundred dollars or have no fees from your bank.

I suggest keeping your life simple with smaller USD bills and using credit or debit cards. However, if you are itching to save a bit, and like foreign currency as a souvenir. Change some US dollars at the casa de cambio.

To withdraw from ATM in dollars, there are only certain ATMs. Hotel San Nicolas Casino has one and is walkable from Carnival ship cruiseport.

Be Well and Travel Often!

Jesse Atkinson, MA