- Check the ATM conversion rate
On one of the last steps when withdrawing any amount, the ATM will ask you if you want to accept their conversion rate. This is never in your favor, so I recommend that you decline when you see this question pop up on the screen. Just this alone can easily save you up to 10%. Make sure you pay attention to it, because it can make a huge difference. Once you decline, the ATM will use your home bank’s conversion rate, which will be much better for your wallet. Just make sure you decline the conversion rate, and not the ATM fee, which is the previous step of the process. As a rule of thumb, even if venues accept USD, always have pesos on you, because otherwise you’re going to get an unfavorable exchange rate.
- What to do if you don’t have an international phone plan
You have many options for staying connected - you can either get a SIM card at the airport or in many places around El Centro and gas stations. You can find many affordable choices there. My personal pick is Google Fi, which costs me around $70 a month for unlimited data all around the world and free texting. I choose this because I travel often, but if you’re only in Tulum for a couple of days, maybe talk to your phone provider first to see if they can give you a temporary international plan. This might be the cheapest option, but if it’s not, you can always get a sim card once in Mexico
If you need to make use of this option while you’re staying in Tulum, there are many places you can choose from. In El Centro, you can get a haircut for anywhere from $3-$10, but if you’re down by the beach, expect to pay USA prices or more.
If you don’t want to lose your beach body while on the beach, you might be considering getting a gym membership. A venue I would highly recommend is Evolve fitness in El Centro. The monthly fee is around $45, as well as their daily/weekly rates. If you’re staying closer to the beach, you can check out Jungle Gym, which is a more pricey option. This will cost you $400 per month or $22 per visit. It’s a unique experience, so if it’s worth it for you, you can give it a try, but it’s still worth a pretty penny. The last option I want to mention is on Playa las Palmas. This is a space where you can go to work out free of charge right on the beach. It’s a more makeshift option, so don’t expect it to be too luxurious. That said, you get a fantastic view of the ocean, as well as a workout, so it’s also a great option to consider.