Carrying or Bringing Cash to Ecuador and Peru

Old Jan 5th, 2011, 03:20 PM
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Carrying or Bringing Cash to Ecuador and Peru

Our Expat group is making plans for a visit to Galapagos and Machu Picchu later this winter. Some of us will spend additional time in Ecuador (Quito and Otavalo) and Lima (surroundings). This is my 1st trip to either country. It is my understanding that credit cards are in limited use and generally only for large establishments and hotels. Cash is most widley used.
What is the best and most widley used method to carry or obtain cash while in EC and Peru.
Are ATM machines becoming prevalent?
While stationed iin Asia we have been used to obtaining local currency via ATM's in most countries, since approx. 2001 and onward.
Suggestions welcomed..
wikmanr is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2011, 04:41 PM
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The ATM worked fine for me in Peru (Cusco, Aqua Calientes, Puno, Arequipa). I had some cash on me in case of emergency, but for the most part I used my debig card and the ATM machine with no problem. Of course I needed to be mindful that the bank at home charged a service fee everytime I withdrew money.
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Old Jan 5th, 2011, 06:06 PM
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In Cusco and Lima you won't have problems with ATM availability (although Visa will be the credit card of choice). In the town of Aguas Calientes there are only a few ATMS and I've seen reports that they can run out of cash especially on weekends. I would recommend visiting an ATM before you head there and withdraw enough cash for the entry fee(unless they've changed things, you need to pay it in the local currency). You also need cash for the bus and to buy bottled water. Most larger/upscale hotels, restaurants, stores will take credit card. Some hotels will charge an extra fee for the privelege, some won't. Small mom and pop restaurants and hotels and small vendors will likely only take cash, but often do take US dollars. You'll be able to withdraw USD at the ATMs as well as Nuevo Soles (PEN). Generally I found the equivalent of $100 per person lasted a few days for things like small souveniers, water, local meals, etc.
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Old Jan 5th, 2011, 06:37 PM
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Ecuador's currency is the U.S. dollar, so that makes things easy for U.S. visitors. As far as any cash you bring to Ecuador, make sure they are bills of $20 or smaller. Nobody will accept $50 or $100 bills for any payment of any amount since there are so many counterfeits in circulation.

One interesting thing you'll see in Ecuador is that there are few $1 bills in circulation. Almost everybody uses the old $1 coins bearing the image of Native American guide Sacagawea. Remember those from several years ago? They never caught on in the U.S., but they must have been all shipped to Ecuador. You'll likely get them in change.
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Old Jan 6th, 2011, 05:06 AM
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Just got back from a 10K road trip there plus Colombia no FE fee Venture Visa works GREAT

for me everywhere... ATM at big banks only

use for all transactions I can

back up USD in my money belt $20

new no tears not even small tears.

no Debit Cards for me too much risk "skimming"

Lots of couterfeit $50 $100 Peru #1 in the world for this

So be careful... for a heads up. always cheap wise...

Did my research carefully had a wonderful safe time...

Happy Journey,
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Old Jan 30th, 2011, 06:27 AM
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If I have excess soles left, would I be able to exchange it back to US dollars at the airport before leaving?
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Old Jan 30th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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