Is the U.S. Dollar your primary currency? If it is, congratulations are in order, because your money has rarely been worth more in relation to the Peruvian sol. Even though Peru is one of the most stable economies in South America, their currency, the Nuevo Sol, has declined against the U.S. dollar over the past several years. For the budget-minded traveler from the U.S. and territories, this is one of the best times in recent history to visit Peru.
The value of the dollar is expected to stay well above the 3:1 level (three sols to every dollar) through the end of 2016. (If you have internet service, you can find out the exact current exchange rate if you type in “USD to PEN” on your browser search bar.)
Options for Currency Exchange
The Nuevo Sol, the currency of Peru, was first placed into circulation in 1991. It comes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 soles.
Many places in Peru, especially hotels, restaurants and other venues that cater to tourists, will accept the U.S. dollar as payment, but there are many areas, especially outside of the larger cities, that will only accept the sol.
If you don’t exchange your dollars for soles while still in the U.S., you have four options for exchanging money in Peru: Banks, Exchange Houses (Casas de cambio), hotels, and street money changers. Make sure you know what rate of exchange they are offering (it should be standard, but sometimes isn’t).
Also, pay strict attention to the physical appearance of the soles you are given. Stand your ground and reject any currency (U.S. or Peruvian) that is torn, cut, or imperfect in any way. The reason is puzzling, but true: many Peruvians will not accept payment in paper money that has an obvious flaw. This trend is true for both dollars and soles. Any time you exchange money, make sure the bills you get – whether dollars or soles – are in great condition, without any rips, cuts, holes, fading or staining.
More Money Tips
In Peru, small change is a big deal, literally. Your travels will be much more pleasant if you make sure you always have change with you, for cab drivers, for eating out, and for any number of purchases.
Some people think there is a change shortage in Peru. Perhaps there is, because many vendors and service providers don’t have or won’t give change, even in the larger cities. They will often even refuse to sell an item if you don’t have the proper change. Unless you are prepared to simply pay more for your purchases because you can’t get change, make sure you bring a good supply of your own.
Peru is also primarily a cash society, especially in the country. You might be able to pay for goods and services with traveler’s checks and credit cards in the larger cities, but you’ll need cash otherwise. It’s also a good idea to get familiar with the Peruvian currency, and to understand what its watermark should look like, as counterfeit bills are in circulation.
With the value of the U.S. dollar at near-record highs in Peru, and with taking some of the advice in this blog about bringing cash with you, you can have the adventure of a lifetime on your next visit to Peru. Take advantage of this time and book your trip with us now.