Touristy parts of Mexico have long operated on an unofficial two-currency system, with many merchants accepting U.S. dollars as readily as the country’s own peso. But a new law designed to stifle drug trade money laundering is changing that, reports USA Today.
On September 14, several states in Mexico – including Quintana Roo, which governs the popular resort towns of Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen – adopted a measure that forbids businesses from accepting more than $100 in cash per transaction. The policy also limits the amount of money banks and exchange bureaus can change to $1,500 per person monthly.
Moreover, the law forbids airports across the country from accepting greenbacks for anything, including last-minute charges like luggage fees.
Despite the $100 restriction in many parts of Mexico, tour operators Apple Vacations and Funjet are warning customers that some business might not accept dollars at all, and are suggesting that visitors stock up on pesos or traveler’s checks in the U.S. before flying south.
If you’d rather not board the plane with a thick wad of cash, fear not; you’ll just have to swipe some plastic or withdraw pesos from an ATM to get that beachside margarita.