Money Matters

The unit of currency is the boliviano, which can be divided into 100 centavos. Bolivianos come in bills of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200. Coins come in denominations of 10, 20, and 50 centavos and 1, 2, and 5 bolivianos. At this writing, the exchange rate was just under (Bs)7 to the U.S. dollar. Bolivians frequently refer to their currency as pesos.

You can change U.S. dollars and European currency in banks, casas de cambio (houses of change), and on the street (not recommended). Most banks in Bolivia’s larger cities have ATMs, but muggings at these have become more common, so be careful and never withdraw cash alone or at night.

Most major credit cards are accepted in most cities and towns in Bolivia, but only in established retail chains, hotels, and restaurants. American Express is generally unpopular. If you are traveling in a rural area, make sure to bring along enough cash and carry it in a variety of small denominations (coins and notes lower than 10 bolivianos), as change is always an issue.

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