Dollars or Pesos?

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dollars and pesos in Baja California

Both work just fine. You can even use major credit cards.

Baja has been using dollars and pesos interchangeably ever since it received its first tourist a century and a half ago. Pretty much everyone accepts both, although out-of-the-way places, which keep very little money in the till, might make change in pesos. Even the symbol that both currencies use, $ (for solidus and shilling), is the same. To avoid confusion, the convention along the border is to use a distinctive suffix: “$25.00 m.n.” (moneda nacional) and “$2.00 dlls” (dollars).

The fun starts when you worry about the exchange rate. Every shop sets its own. Businesses that want dollars, such as supermarkets and Pemex stations, will offer a rate slightly better than the casas de cambio. Those that prefer pesos, usually the smaller operations, will offer a slightly lower rate. People who look to get the best price all around town will carry both currencies – but that certainly is not necessary.