ATMs IN BAJA

      It wasn't too many years ago that one of the most important parts of planning a trip into Baja was planning and bringing along enough cash to last through the whole trip. It has only been recently that Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) have begun to show up in Baja. As recently as the mid 1990's if you were out of cash in Baja you were also out of luck.

      Since ATM's run on electricity the vast majority of the Baja outback still does not have ATMs. But each year more and more cities and towns throughout the Peninsula offer ATM machines, so bringing down the necessary amount of cash is no longer a crucial part of a Baja getaway.

      Some of the larger towns where ATMs are currently n operation in Baja today include Tijuana, Rosarito Beach, Ensenada, San Felipe, Guerrero Negro, Santa Rosalia, Loreto, Ciudad Constitucion, La Paz and the Los Cabos area. Smaller towns are joining the club each year.


      ATM machines in Baja look the same as the ones in the US, except in Baja they speak Spanish!


      Unlike Las Vegas, Nevada or Walteria, California where ATM machines are available in almost every hotel or on almost every corner, ATMs in Baja are usually located only at banks. And rather than being outside and in the open, they are usually located inside an ATM room accessible from the outside by a glass door.

      Just like in the United States, ATMs in Baja require inserting a valid ATM card into the machine followed by the PIN (Personal Identification Number) that goes with the card. Several cash amount options are usually provided, but all of the choices pay jackpots in pesos, not US dollars.

      Because the cash dispensed from Baja ATM machines is provided in pesos, it is important to understand the exchange rate between Mexican pesos and US dollars. Here's where the 10 to 1 ratio comes in handy.

      For some time now the value of 10 pesos has had the approximate equivalant of 1 US dollar. So if a gringo ATM user needs $100 US, the equivalant withdrawl in pesos would be 1000. It seems a little scary at first to withdraw 1,000 of anything from an ATM machine, but don't worry. The deduction from you account will end up being the dollar amount of approximately 1/10 of the peso amount.

      To avoid confusion with balancing your accounts once you get home, it is important to keep the receipts that the ATM machines provide after you have deducted your cash. Carlos Fiesta keeps these printed receipts in the last page of his passport, to balance out the account when he gets home.




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