What Denomination Of Pesos Should I Buy?

When traveling to Mexico, one of the first things you need to decide is what denomination of Mexican pesos you should get. Having the right denominations can make your transactions easier and prevent getting short-changed.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Focus on getting 200, 100, and 50 peso notes as well as 20, 10, 5, and 1 peso coins. This mix of smaller and larger denominations will allow you to pay exact amounts for most purchases.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the common denominations of Mexican pesos, recommendations on the best mix of bills and coins for travelers to have on hand, tips on where to exchange currency, and more.

Common Denominations of Mexican Pesos


When it comes to Mexican pesos, there are several common denominations of bills that you can find in circulation. These bills range from small denominations to larger ones, catering to different needs and preferences. The most commonly used bill denominations are:

  • 20 pesos: This is the smallest denomination of bill in Mexico. While it may not have a high purchasing power, it is still widely accepted and can be useful for small purchases or as change.
  • 50 pesos: The 50-peso bill is another commonly used denomination. It has a higher value than the 20-peso bill and is often used for everyday expenses.
  • 100 pesos: The 100-peso bill is one of the most frequently used denominations in Mexico. It is accepted almost everywhere and is suitable for various purchases.
  • 200 pesos: This is a relatively new denomination introduced in 2019. The 200-peso bill features the image of the Mexican independence hero Miguel Hidalgo and is gradually gaining popularity.
  • 500 pesos: The 500-peso bill is less commonly used but is still accepted in most establishments. It is often used for larger purchases or as a form of savings.
  • 1,000 pesos: The 1,000-peso bill is the highest denomination currently in circulation. While it may not be used as frequently as smaller bills, it is important to have on hand for larger expenses or emergencies.


In addition to bills, Mexican pesos also come in coin denominations. These coins are commonly used for smaller transactions or for providing change. The most commonly used coin denominations include:

  • 1 peso: The 1-peso coin is the smallest denomination of coin in Mexico. While it may not have a high value, it is still useful for small purchases or as change.
  • 2 pesos: The 2-peso coin is slightly larger in size and value compared to the 1-peso coin. It is commonly used for small purchases and can be easily recognized by its golden color.
  • 5 pesos: The 5-peso coin is another commonly used denomination. It has a higher value and is often used for everyday expenses or as a form of saving.
  • 10 pesos: The 10-peso coin is slightly larger than the 5-peso coin and is often used for small purchases or as change.
  • 20 pesos: The 20-peso coin is the highest denomination of coin currently in circulation. While it may not be used as frequently as smaller coins, it is still accepted in most establishments.

It’s important to note that while these are the common denominations of Mexican pesos, there may be other less frequently used denominations as well. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the current denominations before traveling to Mexico or exchanging currency.

Recommended Peso Denominations for Travelers

When traveling to a foreign country, it is essential to have the local currency on hand for various expenses. In the case of Mexico, the currency is the Mexican peso. As a traveler, it is important to know what denominations of pesos to buy to ensure a smooth and convenient experience.

Here are some recommendations to consider:

Focus on Mid-Sized Bills

When exchanging your currency for pesos, it is advisable to prioritize obtaining mid-sized bills. These include the 50, 100, and 200 peso notes. These denominations are widely accepted and can be easily used for most transactions, such as paying for meals, transportation, and small purchases.

Additionally, having a few mid-sized bills provides flexibility and avoids the need to carry around large amounts of smaller denominations.

Have Plenty of Small Change

While mid-sized bills are convenient, it is also important to have plenty of small change, especially coins, when traveling in Mexico. This is because many vendors, particularly in local markets or small shops, may not have sufficient change for larger bills.

By having smaller denominations, such as 10, 5, and 1 peso coins, you can easily pay for small items, use public transportation, or give tips to service providers. It is worth noting that some public transportation systems may only accept exact change, so having coins on hand can be particularly helpful in those situations.

Avoid Very Large Bills

While it may be tempting to carry large bills, such as 500 or 1000 peso notes, it is generally recommended to avoid them as a traveler. Many vendors, especially smaller establishments, may not be able to provide change for such large bills.

This can lead to inconvenience and potential challenges when making purchases. It is also important to note that some places may be hesitant to accept large bills due to concerns about counterfeit currency.

Therefore, it is best to stick to mid-sized bills and smaller denominations for a hassle-free experience.

By following these recommendations and having a mix of mid-sized bills and small change, you will be well-prepared for your travels in Mexico. Remember to exchange your currency at reputable establishments and consider the current exchange rates to ensure you are getting a fair deal. Happy travels!

Where to Exchange Currency to Mexican Pesos

When planning a trip to Mexico, one of the first things you may wonder is where to exchange your currency for Mexican Pesos. It’s essential to find a reliable and convenient place to exchange your money to ensure you get the best rates and avoid unnecessary fees. Here are a few options to consider:


One of the most common places to exchange currency is at a bank. Banks often offer competitive exchange rates and provide a secure environment for your transactions. It’s advisable to check with your local bank to see if they offer Mexican Pesos and inquire about any fees or restrictions that may apply.

Currency Exchange Offices

Currency exchange offices, also known as foreign exchange bureaus or forex offices, are another option to consider. These establishments specialize in currency exchange and offer a convenient way to convert your money.

However, it’s essential to compare rates and fees between different exchange offices, as they can vary significantly.

Airport Exchanges

An airport exchange booth is often the most convenient option for travelers as it is easily accessible upon arrival. However, keep in mind that exchange rates at airports are generally less favorable compared to other options.

If possible, consider exchanging a small amount of money at the airport and finding a better rate elsewhere for the rest of your currency exchange needs.


Using an ATM to withdraw cash in Mexican Pesos is another popular option. Many ATMs in Mexico accept international cards, making it convenient for travelers to access their funds. However, be aware that some ATMs may charge additional fees, and the exchange rate offered by the ATM may not be as favorable as other options.

It’s advisable to check with your bank regarding any fees associated with international ATM withdrawals.

Credit Cards

Using a credit card for purchases in Mexico can be a convenient option, especially for larger expenses. Most establishments in popular tourist areas accept major credit cards. However, it’s essential to inform your credit card company of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with your card being blocked.

Additionally, keep in mind that some businesses may charge an additional fee for credit card transactions.

Regardless of where you choose to exchange your currency, it’s always a good idea to compare rates and fees to ensure you are getting the best deal. It’s also advisable to have a mix of payment options, such as cash and cards, to have flexibility during your trip.

Remember to keep your money safe and be cautious when handling large amounts of cash.

For more information on currency exchange and travel tips, you can visit websites such as XE.com or Lonely Planet which provide valuable insights for travelers.

Tips for Managing Pesos While Traveling in Mexico

When traveling to Mexico, it’s important to have a good understanding of how to manage your pesos efficiently. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your currency:

Watch Out for Counterfeits

Counterfeit currency can be a problem in any country, and Mexico is no exception. To avoid falling victim to counterfeit pesos, familiarize yourself with the security features of the Mexican currency. Look for features such as watermarks, security threads, and raised printing.

It’s also a good idea to exchange your money at reputable banks or exchange offices to minimize the risk of receiving counterfeit bills. If you do come across a counterfeit bill, report it to the authorities immediately.

Keep Smaller Denominations Handy

While larger denomination bills may seem convenient, it’s advisable to have smaller denominations of pesos on hand. Many small businesses, street vendors, and public transportation may not be able to provide change for larger bills.

Having smaller denominations will make it easier to pay for small purchases, such as snacks or souvenirs. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have some coins available for tipping or using vending machines.

Exchange Leftover Pesos Before Leaving

It’s not uncommon to have some leftover pesos at the end of your trip. Instead of keeping them as souvenirs, it’s a better idea to exchange them back into your home currency before leaving Mexico. This will help you avoid potential losses due to fluctuating exchange rates.

Most major airports and banks offer currency exchange services, so it’s relatively easy to convert your pesos back into your preferred currency.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you manage your pesos effectively while traveling in Mexico. Remember to stay vigilant against counterfeits, carry smaller denominations for convenience, and exchange any leftover pesos before leaving the country. Have a great trip!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a denomination of pesos?

A denomination of pesos refers to the different values or units in which the currency is available. In many countries, including Mexico, Argentina, and the Philippines, the currency is known as pesos. Each country has its own set of denominations, which can include coins and banknotes of various values.

2. Why is it important to consider the denomination of pesos?

The denomination of pesos is important to consider when buying currency because it determines the value and purchasing power of each unit. Different denominations may be more suitable for specific purposes or transactions.

For example, if you are planning to make small purchases or use public transportation, having smaller denominations of pesos may be more convenient.

3. How do I decide which denomination of pesos to buy?

The decision on which denomination of pesos to buy depends on several factors. Consider the purpose of your trip or the specific needs you anticipate. If you are planning to make larger purchases or pay for accommodations, having larger denominations may be more practical.

On the other hand, if you will be making frequent small purchases, having smaller denominations can be more convenient.

It may also be helpful to research the local customs and tipping practices of your destination. In some countries, it is customary to tip in small denominations, while in others, larger denominations may be more appropriate.

4. Are there any advantages to buying a mix of denominations?

Yes, there can be advantages to buying a mix of denominations. Having a variety of denominations allows you to be flexible and adapt to different situations. This can be particularly useful if you are traveling to a country where certain denominations are more commonly accepted or preferred.

Additionally, having a mix of denominations can help you avoid the inconvenience of not being able to make exact change or having to carry around large amounts of cash. It can also come in handy if you encounter situations where certain denominations are more easily exchangeable or accepted.

5. Where can I exchange my currency for the desired denomination of pesos?

You can exchange your currency for the desired denomination of pesos at banks, currency exchange offices, or authorized money changers. It is advisable to compare exchange rates and fees before making a decision.

It is also recommended to carry out the exchange at reputable establishments to ensure the authenticity and quality of the currency.

When traveling, it is always a good idea to have some local currency on hand before arriving at your destination, especially for immediate expenses such as transportation or small purchases.

For more information on currency exchange and tips for traveling abroad, you can visit websites like XE.com or LonelyPlanet.com.


Knowing which peso denominations to acquire can simplify money transactions and budgeting in Mexico. Focus on getting plenty of 20, 50, 100, and 200 peso bills as well as a variety of coins for exact change.

Exchanging some currency at home provides you a safety net. Then once in Mexico, visit the ATM to replenish your pesos as needed. Finally, try spending leftover pesos before flying home.

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