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Old 02-17-2013, 06:23 AM   #1
rasjay OP
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Changing U.S. Currency in CA and SA

This summer I'm planning a trip with my son from Minnesota to Buenos Aires on KLRs. During the trip we'll be exchanging some USD. What denominations seem the easiest to exchange along this route based on your experiences?

Thanks!!!!
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:55 AM   #2
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Many travelers now days don't carry Dollars to be exchanged. An ATM machine at a bank will spit out local currency with only a minor ATM fee. But just like a credit card, be sure to notify your bank that you will be traveling out of the country.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:51 PM   #3
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Yup, ATMs are everywhere. Stash away some emergency cash (a few hundred in USD) but otherwise, get out local currency in each country.

Also, El Salvador, Panama, and Ecuador use the USD as their national currency so it's easy to restock along the way. Nevertheless, it's easy to exchange USD at any border crossing - it's a good idea to use 20s (50s and 100s are not common). Have a great trip!
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Benny View Post
Yup, ATMs are everywhere. Stash away some emergency cash (a few hundred in USD) but otherwise, get out local currency in each country.
Exactly. Stash the emergency cash in twenties. You'll never use a hundy

Carry at least two ATM cards (from different banks, not same bank).
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Old 02-17-2013, 07:21 PM   #5
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Make sure the US bills are in immaculate condition

Howdy,
I'm in Colombia right now. My group has had quite a few $20 bills refused because they were dirty or slightly torn. I'm told it's because there is alot of counterfeit money floating around down here.

+ whatever number on using ATM's. You'd be surprised at the number of dusty little villages with ATM machines.

I didn't go to Argentina but I've been told that the black market exchange rate is something like 50% more than what you get from an bank so if that is still the case, it would make sense to carry enough $$$$ to cover that part of the trip. Or just pick up some dollars in Panama or Ecuador.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:48 AM   #6
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Pretty much what everyone has said above. Get some new US $$ to keep as emergency cash. Use the local ATMs for cash in each country.

In Central America, use the money changers at each boarder crossing to exchange whatever cash you have from the previous country into the currency for the new country.
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:16 PM   #7
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Always be aware of the 'official' exchange rates before wanting/needing to change your whatevers into different money.
Some countries don't seem to like their adjacent country's money...:)
USD are good to go and are the level.
Banks charge a fee. Money changers can sometimes offer a better than 'official' rate.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:45 AM   #8
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Rasjay may be from the " cash economy" . I often have cash I don't want to run into my bank account. In fact that is allot of my traveling money. I carry it in $50's and change them at a bank into local $ . Yes , a ATM is more simple and cleaner this method works for $ you want/need to keep out of the system. $100 bills freak everyone out. I always use local $ and never try to pass US $ anywhere, all ways change at the bank first. Lone Rider makes a good point on using street changers but have your own calculator and get your head on right when changing $ on the street.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:10 PM   #9
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....... get your head on right when changing $ on the street.
Distractions are a common tactic used on the street to get over on somebody.
Zero distractions or don't make a deal then.
Later can be only a few minutes.
When changing money, everything else in the world stops dead, and then restarts afterwards.
A narrow zone, so to speak...
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:10 PM   #10
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Distractions are a common tactic used on the street to get over on somebody.
Zero distractions or don't make a deal then.
Later can be only a few minutes.
When changing money, everything else in the world stops dead, and then restarts afterwards.
A narrow zone, so to speak...
+1 , and really , have your own calculator ... do the math
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:07 PM   #11
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Atm

We have used only ATM since we left June 22 2012. We have not had any issues getting money. In large tourist centres in Mexico they dispense both USD and Peso. The USD under 50$ is taken in Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica. Even the ATM at the Nicaraguan/Honduras border dispensed USD or Cordoba. Be prepared small towns may not have ATMs or there may not be cash left in them by friday afternoon.

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:33 AM   #12
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When you get much further south, be prepared for ATM's to be out of cash, especially in Argentina it can be hit and miss.

In Brazil I had issues finding an ATM that would accept my visa bank card, sometimes it takes several tries to find a machine that works.

In VZ, the black market exchange rate is about 20 Bs to the dollar, if you can get 18 that's ok as well. Never use an ATM or credit card in Venezuela as the official exchange rate is something like 4 to 1.

More recently, its better to use the black market in Argentina as well.

So yes, always have a good supply of US dollars as emergency cash and before entering Argentina or Venezuela. The US dollar is still the standard for many money changers all over Latin America.

Also when passing through the central american countries, be sure to get rid of all of your cash from the previous country as you cross the border. If you forget, you will be stuck with that cash for the rest of your trip and it will be useless to you unless you are coming back north.

Some places I was able to re stock with dollars at some ATM machines:

Mexico tourist areas
Guatemala City
Antigua, Guatemala
El Salvador (US dollar)
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Costa Rica
Panama (US dollar)
Bogota, Medellin, Pasto, Colombia
Ecuador (US dollar)
Peru touristy areas
Santiago, Chile
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crashmaster View Post
When you get much further south, be prepared for ATM's to be out of cash, especially in Argentina it can be hit and miss.

In Brazil I had issues finding an ATM that would accept my visa bank card, sometimes it takes several tries to find a machine that works.

In VZ, the black market exchange rate is about 20 Bs to the dollar, if you can get 18 that's ok as well. Never use an ATM or credit card in Venezuela as the official exchange rate is something like 4 to 1.

More recently, its better to use the black market in Argentina as well.

So yes, always have a good supply of US dollars as emergency cash and before entering Argentina or Venezuela. The US dollar is still the standard for many money changers all over Latin America.

Also when passing through the central american countries, be sure to get rid of all of your cash from the previous country as you cross the border. If you forget, you will be stuck with that cash for the rest of your trip and it will be useless to you unless you are coming back north.

Some places I was able to re stock with dollars at some ATM machines:

Mexico tourist areas
Guatemala City
Antigua, Guatemala
El Salvador (US dollar)
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Costa Rica
Panama (US dollar)
Bogota, Medellin, Pasto, Colombia
Ecuador (US dollar)
Peru touristy areas
Santiago, Chile

Good info to know. Saving it to my desktop


We still need to meet up for some cervezas when your back in AK I'm leaving for South America the end of this summer.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:50 PM   #14
crashmaster
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Originally Posted by Moto Mikey View Post
Good info to know. Saving it to my desktop


We still need to meet up for some cervezas when your back in AK I'm leaving for South America the end of this summer.

Sounds good. I'll be around.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:03 PM   #15
rasjay OP
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Thanks for all the great advice - I really appreciate. We roll down our driveway in Minnesota on May 21 and will hopefully arrive in BA in early Aug.
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