Dollars, sols or credit cards in Peru?

Sep 3rd, 2014, 07:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 20
Dollars, sols or credit cards in Peru?

My husband and I are headed to Peru in November. We are looking for advice on the best way to pay for things in Peru. Specifically we want to know whether to take U.S. Dollars and if so, how much? Is it better to use credit cards while in Peru? Should we exchange some U.S. Dollars for sols before we go, if so how much? Any guidance would be much appreciated.
DharmaBum is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 07:58 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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If you can find soles in the U.S. -- admittedly difficult -- they'll be available at a very unfavorable rate. Wait until you get to Peru.

ATMs are readily available in most cities of any size including at the airport in Lima.

Peru is not one of those "Everybody takes dollars" countries. If you have cash dollars, they are of most use to you exchanging them for soles at a casa de cambio (money-changing place). You'll see them in most large cities.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Although Peru isn't a case of "everybody takes dollars", many businesses do, especially if they are guides or hotels. Any government agency (such as Machu Picchu entrance fee or boleto turistico) won't.

I would bring a few hundred USD as emergency cash. Then hit up an ATM for Peruvian nuevo soles and use your credit card for major purchases. Although, ask if the hotel gives a discount for cash or charges a credit card surcharge.

The ATM that I try to use when possible is Scotiabank. I try to avoid Global Net and BCP.
mlgb is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 01:16 PM
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try to avoid Global Net and BCP.


We also used Scotiabank, because there were many around and they're connected with B of A so there are not charges for using he Scotiabank ATM.
sf7307 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2014, 03:10 PM
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Global Net has a low withdrawal limit and charges a fee every time. Also a poor exchange rate. BCP (at least when I used it) also had a surprisingly high fee.

Every time I've used Scotiabank it was free of charges and the withdrawal limit is least 700 soles (and I think I may have gone up to 800 once). Good exchange rate too. They were fairly easy to find although some tiny towns may have only a single ATM. Or perhaps two.
mlgb is offline  
Sep 9th, 2014, 10:07 AM
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All good reasons!
sf7307 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2014, 08:24 AM
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Thanks! I'm keeping notes for our Nov trip.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 13th, 2014, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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We just got back from 8 days in Peru. There is no need to exchange dollars prior to getting to Peru. You can do this upon arrival in Lima Airport. Not sure of your itinerary, but there were small shops around the main square in Cusco to exchange as well. Hotels had worst exchange rate. We used the soles for shopping and cabs. All of the restaurants and hotels take your credit cards. We didn't see many places taking US dollars.
donnahelene is offline  
Sep 14th, 2014, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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We were there 4 years ago and had several money fiascos. I had been warned about possible problems with using credit/ATM cards so had a large amount of unblemished $20 bills. The first problem was at the Lima airport upon arriving from the US when the airline required us to pay our fee for changing the dates of our flight from Lima to Cuzco in CASH, US dollars. They would not accept an ATM or credit card. The change fee ( I won't go into why we had to change our flights) was per person and we are a family of 5. The total was several hundred dollars, leaving us slightly low on cash.

Upon arriving in Cuzco, we had arranged to be picked up and driven to Ollantaytambo.
Our taxi driver from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo also required cash in US dollars. Managed that ok as it wasn't that expensive...

Our second day in Ollantaytambo, a construction crew knocked out the power lines to town. All of the ATMs in town went down. We had gotten some money out of the ATM when we arrived in town but did not anticipate having problems getting more cash. None of the restaurants in town took credit cards at that time, neither did the hotel. There was a restaurant below the hotel and we arranged to eat there until the power was restored. We thought we had everything covered but the power was out for FOUR days!!!

Our last problem was when two of our children flew home ahead of the rest of us. The departure tax had to be paid in cash, which we had anticipated but the kids had forgotten. They just scraped enough together between them.
The take home message for us was to take even more cash than usual when we travel and to not count on anything, electricity, ATMs, or credit cards.
Good luck and enjoy your trip but take lots of cash!
cjon is offline  
Sep 15th, 2014, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
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We were there six MONTHS ago, and had no such problems. I do not recall using US $$ for anything. We used credit cards for meals and purchases, and readily got cash (sols) from ATMs everywhere.
sf7307 is offline  

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