Currency in South America
Last Updated: 18th Feb 2014
All South American countries, with the exception of Ecuador have their own currency. Argentina has the Argentine Peso, Brazil the Real and Peru the Nuevo Sol. In all South American countries it is best to pay in the local currency. Some large shops such as grocery stores may accept US dollars or Euros however the exchange rate will not be favorable. It is best to travel with a combination of either US dollars or Euros, a credit card for emergencies and your bank card. Travelers’ cheques can be quite hard to exchange and generally the exchange rate is much less than for cash. The bills/notes that you bring of foreign currency to exchange should be in very good condition without even slight rips or tears and not old nor faded. Peru is particularly picky in regards to this point.
In Peru and Argentina it is easy to withdraw money from ATMs which can be found in all of the cities visited. If you have a PIN for your credit card you should also be able to do cash advances with no problems from bank machines. If not, most banks will allow you to do a cash advance in the bank but this can be a very long and arduous process that is best avoided. Please be sure to let your bank and credit card companies know that you will be travelling as they may freeze your account if they see too many transactions from South America.
In Brazil not every bank machine will be accept foreign credit cards however there are a couple in each place that will allow you to withdraw funds. Your Tour Manager will help to direct you to these machines upon arrival in each city.