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Blue rate

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Sep 30th, 2013, 09:20 AM
  #1
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Blue rate

I've read a lot about bringing US dollars to Argentina to exchange for the blue rate, but exactly how does one go about that in Buenos Aires? I will be entering Argentina after 10 days in Chile, but my husband and son will be joining me, flying directly from the US, so they could bring the necessary US dollars. But, it seems at least a little dangerous to be carrying so much US cash and then Argentinean cash. We will be in Buenos Aires for a couple of nights and in El Calafate and El Chaten for 5 nights. We are using points to stay at the Hilton in BA, but have booked the other hotels through an internet hotel reservation service. Has anyone had experience confirming the reservation and cash payment directly with hotels in these town and then cancelling the internet reservation? Thanks in advance for any help and comments.
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Sep 30th, 2013, 10:29 AM
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Kilgore97:

I suggest you read my post

http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...omment-8410892

and other comments in that thread.

Getting that nearly 40% off obviously comes at a price, which is the obvious risk of carrying cash.

The general rule is, repeating myself over and over, that any place which accepts payment via CC will most gladly accept cash pesos and may even give a discount.

Furthermore, I'd say you could CALL the hotels, telling them you have an Internet reservation and they should be quite happy if you reserve directly with them and cancel your Internet reservation.

A forum "lurker" recently paid his hotel in cash. He'll be back in the US next Monday.

I'll try to talk him into posting about his experience in this respect in a trip report.

Have a great time in our country with yout DH and DS, Kikgore 97.
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Sep 30th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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Where are you staying in El Calafate... i am looking for a luxury/active place for a week in December.
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Sep 30th, 2013, 01:57 PM
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I brought in a few g's on me after spending 2 weeks in Brazil first (which I was more scared of being robbed than in Argentina). I simply used one of those money belts with the zipper and a few hidden pockets with travel clothes from Scottevest (they have some cool stuff I recommend you check out).

I stayed in BA in an apartment via Airbnb and asked my landlord about the blue rate. Everyone in Argentina has a "money guy" and my landlord's came right on over to the apartment and did the exchange. Of course now I had a HUGE stack of pesos but thankfully there was a safe in the apartment. The fact that you will be with 2 other people, I would just split everything up between you guys and get money belts, put some in your shoes, different pockets, and keep some in your bags. Etc. If you do get jacked then at least you don't loose it all. Diversify if that makes sense.

After a week in BA I bussed over to Bariloche and was a little terrified about getting robbed or someone losing my now huge stack of pesos on the ride there. I just simply paid attention to my surroundings and everything was fine. But as the previous poster mentioned, if you want to the blue rate, it comes with the risk of having a ton of cash on you. Another idea might be to only exchange a little bit at a time so that you have a smaller stash of USD thus more "manageable" than having a huge stack of pesos. Believe me there are money changers everywhere in that country.

Lastly, don't exchange it all, make sure to keep a few emergency $100's - you never know what will happen and those Ben Franklins can get you out of a jam! Oh and make sure they are clean and crisp with no rips or tears - they will reject those even though you and I think they are perfectly normal.

Have a great time!
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Sep 30th, 2013, 04:58 PM
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All excellent advice from posty yore securing your cash in various places.

We were in Salta province a couple of weeks ago en route from Bolivia to Chile and exchanged using the blue rate in Salta town. There is. A street there where all the fx gut pays hang around. We took the advice of a friend and exchanged with a guy recommended in a cafe with no problems. Just out of interest I checked the rate in the official Cambio office in the same road and the rate was only slightly worse ( 9.0 v 9.1).

We found out later that the police and security services had a crack down a few weeks previously and and arrested all the exchangers and there clients!! So keep you eyes peeled!!

Worth noting that when we had surplus pesos left over we went back to the same guy and exchanged at the same rate which was an expected bonus.

We did hear reports of some exchangers slipping a few counterfeit notes in so do check. There are a number of websites which will tell you how to spot a fake.

Also worth noting that some smaller establishments were happy to accept dollars in payment at the blue rate.
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Oct 2nd, 2013, 11:13 AM
  #6
 
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We are arriving in December on a Saturday around 11:00 and then departing on Sunday for Patagonia. Will I be able to find a reputable person, not someone on the street corner, to exchange on Saturday at some time. avrooster, will you be around?
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Oct 2nd, 2013, 11:37 AM
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odie1: I thought it wasn't possible to do "blue" exchange business on a Saturday, but I recently discovered a "respectable" (LOL) place where it can be done, until 2 PM.

The people who went there will be back in the US on Monday (as I said above) and I'll try hard to talk him (he is a "lurker", not a poster) into writing a trip report, including his "blue" exchange experiences. He also exchanged dollars in Iguazú, but I told him he would get a bad rate and he did.

Ask me again about this later on.

Have a great time in our country with DH & DD, odie1!
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Oct 3rd, 2013, 07:31 PM
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will do avrooster, thank you!
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Oct 4th, 2013, 06:20 PM
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I just procured some crisp bills in preparation for my trip. I have to say that it is a bit disconcerting taking a wad of cash to a destination famous for its muggers and pickpockets.
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Oct 5th, 2013, 03:56 AM
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crosscheck: I strongly object to your description of BA as "a destination famous for its muggers and pickpockets."

I have lived in BA or its suburbs for almost 73 years and have NEVER been mugged or pickpocketed. But then, I know what I'm doing. LOL!!

On the other hand, when I first traveled internationally, in 1979 and landed in JFK, I paid the cabbie for the ride into Manhattan with a 20 dollar bill (yes, you guys have inflation, too) and he said I had given him a TWO dollar bill.

My reply was: "I may be a tourist, but I'm not stupid" and asked the Pierre's porter to call the cops. The cabbie drove off as fast as he could and I kept the two dollar bill. LOL!

If you just follow the simple (and obvious) safety advice I have given over and over again in these pages, chances overwhelmingly are that you'll have no trouble at all.

In a nutshell, it all boils down to "don't make yourself a target".

What I mean is that, if you stumble out of a tango show, at 2 AM in an intoxicated condition, flashing large amounts of cash and with a diamond-studded Rolex on your wrist, there is a chance you'll be relieved of both the cash and the Rolex, particularly if you board one of the cabs waiting in line outside the tango place. I have always suggested avoiding cabs waiting outside touristy places and instead having a radio taxi CALLED for you.

Have a great (and perfectly safe) time in my town.
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Oct 5th, 2013, 07:01 AM
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Thanks for the tip! I guess I will leave my diamond Rolex at home
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Oct 5th, 2013, 07:44 AM
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Oops, posted too soon. It wasn't my intention to "dis" your city. I was just commenting on the irony of having to travel with crisp $100 bills.

I know there is crime everywhere and that statistics are often exaggerated. (We live in the LA area and Europeans often ask how we could raise children in the land of drive-by shootings.) And as a native New Yorker, I apologize for the sleazy cab driver. Hope Bloomberg has taken away his medallion!
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Oct 5th, 2013, 07:45 AM
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I heard from a good source that you often wear TWO of those.

Leave BOTH at home. LOL!!!
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Oct 5th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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Well, in a way, our pickpockets ARE famous.

Years ago, they stole the purse belonging to one George Bush's daughters under the nose of your Secret Service. LOL!!!
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Oct 9th, 2013, 09:27 AM
  #15
 
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I was there a month ago and rates were all over the place. The hotel gave us the official rate (5.8). If we paid with USD in restaurants they were giving us up to 8. If you find an exchange house on Florida or somewhere else you can get between 8 and 9. And if you know someone, they will buy them from you for just over 9. It is a good time for the USD in Argentina right now. Bottom line is it depends what you need the money for. If you are shopping, take dollars and see what you can get. If you know the place only takes pesos, try to exchange beforehand for the best rate you can find.
BA is like any other big city, you just have to use your head. Do they have pickpockets? Of course. As does Rio, Sao Paulo, Lima, Mumbai, Delhi, NYC, and any other big city in the world. Don't be flashy, don't show lots of cash in public, and don't walk around with your new iPhone stuck to your ear. It is one of my favorite cities in the world. Have fun.
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Oct 12th, 2013, 05:02 PM
  #16
 
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Just arrived in Santiago after a glorious but short visit to Buenos Aires - I'm in love with the city and felt completely safe at all times, including during repeat visits to various exchange places. Highlights were a 7-hour bicycle tour, a private tango experience and...a fantastic dinner with the famoso av and family. Will post details in a mini trip report soon.
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Oct 15th, 2013, 06:57 AM
  #17
 
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http://www.ieco.clarin.com/economia/...011498874.html

Sorry, only in Spanish. Maybe the Buenos Aires Herald will publish an English version.

It says that THE GOVERNMENT estimates 2/3 of the dollars spent by foreign tourist are sold in the "blue" market.

Have a great time in our country, at 40% off.
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Oct 16th, 2013, 07:10 PM
  #18
 
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Thanks for that link, av. I found the comments from readers very interesting. I am in Santiago now and there is much discussion here about the blue rate and the Argentine economy. An Embassy official who I met (from a European country) mentioned that his driver offered him a rate of 9.3 as soon as he arrived in BA, assuming the official had dollars, even though the driver knew he was not American.

Many Chilenos are crossing the border for massive shopping sprees with dollars they get in Chile. Some Brits who I met paid 45% more for the same hotel where I stayed because they hadn't been tipped off. (thanks again, av).

I don't know a lot about global economics, but I find the situation fascinating and scary - On one hand I want to return and indulge in more cheap dinners and bargain purses. And on the other I'm not sure I want to contribute to what is sure to be a financial disaster.
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Oct 17th, 2013, 02:42 AM
  #19
 
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Hi, crosscheck!

IMHO, by spending with your credit card, you are helping the most corrupt of all the corrupt governments we have ever had.

By spending cash pesos, you are (in a way) helping the people who have to suffer such a government.

So, come and enjoy our country at 40% off, while this discount is available and "Don't cry for me, Argentina!"
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Oct 17th, 2013, 04:59 AM
  #20
 
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"I'm not sure I want to contribute to what is sure to be a financial disaster." You are not contributing crosscheck. In fact, if anything you are helping the argentine people. The (increasing) demand for hard currency comes from ordinary argentine people wanting to protect the value of their savings and avoid the dire consequences of the massive abrupt devaluation of the currency seen a decade ago.

I do question however , given the appalling behaviour and apparent ecompnomic incompetency of US politicians in recent days, whether the Argentine people would be better off buying Euros than dollars?

What is your prediction Avrooster. Another "official" devaluation at some point, a change of government .
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