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Travel Tales from Argentina and South America
The currency used in Argentina is the Argentine peso. It is a fairly fluctuating currency, the price of which varies a lot every day. That is why knowing where, how and when to convert your foreign currency into Argentine pesos is key. In this article we will tell you everything.
But there are more tricks and questions to keep in mind that we are going to tell you below.
Exchange houses or banks are the best place to make a reliable, transparent and safe transaction. However, in the downtown area of Buenos Aires, mainly in its pedestrian areas, it is very likely that you will come across the so-called “little trees”: these are people who offer to buy and sell foreign currency. These operations are illegal.
Another safe and legal way to obtain Argentine pesos is to do it at automated teller machines (ATM), which operate 24 hours a day and accept the main international cards.
To find out the price of the different currencies every day, you can visit exchange houses and banks or consult the official website of the Banco de la Nación Argentina.
It is advisable to carry out foreign exchange operations for small amounts since the value of currencies with respect to the Argentine peso is highly variable. In this way, you can also take advantage of cash to get better change in shops.
Some of the exchange houses you can visit at Buenos Aires airports:
Some of the exchange houses you can visit in the city:
This is the worst option you could ever choose. The commissions they charge you to withdraw money from the ATM is very high. Obviously it is an option for when you have to change money yes or yes, but it is the one that is most discouraged.
In the event that you need to use this option, within the bank locate the “ATMs” and differentiate them from the “self-service” since the latter will not be used to make that transaction.
The exchange houses in Buenos Aires were closed for several years due to exchange controls exercised by some governments. Currently, they are open and in them you can get change for the main international currencies.
Remember to always take your passport with you when you’re going to the exchange bureau. Usually, the exchange bureau only accepts banknotes higher than 20 USD or 20 Euro and changing coins is not allowed. Withdrawing money here is not available.
Things to keep in mind when you go to the exchange bureau (or casas de cambio in spanish):
Here you have a list of exchange houses in Buenos Aires.
If you go down Florida Street, it is very common to hear people saying “change, change” in all the languages you can imagine. We call them “little trees” (because they have dollars and they are green).
Never do any currency exchange operation on the street and don’t buy more money than you need. The “arbolitos” work for unofficial exchange houses and they will tell you what is the price they handle and where is the place where they work.
In these cases, the change will be more favorable for you because it is the unofficial price of the dollar, which is always higher than the official one. That is why they will give you more pesos than if you exchanged at an official exchange or bank.
There is a way to travel without cash to Argentina. In Buenos Aires there are several branches of XOOM and Western Union. In this way, you can transfer money from abroad and, once you get here, you can withdraw it. Of course, they will not give you dollars but they will give you pesos in exchange a little more favorable than the official one.
Take into account that there is a transaction fee. Both companies – XOOM and WU- charge around USD 25 per transaction per USD 500. Don’t forget to take a copy of your passport with you and the WU / XOOM code.
The waiting lines at the WU office can be long (up to 1 hour or more) but you make a lot of profit by exchange money in Buenos Aires with Western Union. That’s a free dinner for two.
Another option to not carry cash on your trip (although we always suggest carrying something in cash) is to use a credit card in the shops and restaurants you go to. In Argentina most of the businesses accept credit cards, so that’s why you won’t have a problem.
In the only case that you surely have to use money is when you pay tickets to national parks or want to buy in very small stores.
Not everyone knows this data. In various places such as cafes or supermarkets you can exchange money. In this case, Coto, a well-known Argentine supermarket offers a good quote for you to exchange your currencies.
To do this, you have to: buy something small in the store, such as a package of cookies. Once you buy that, you will pay with dollars with a high bill that leaves you a margin and the change will be given to you in pesos.
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