|Venezuela was a very cheap
country to travel in during the period of the fixed exchange
rates, provided you came with US dollars and changed them
on the black market. Since the bolívar was freed,
there has been a massive increase in prices of goods and
services. Still, travelers on a budget can easily get
by on US$20-30 a day; those looking for more comfort should
expect to spend at least US$50, or more if taking a guided
US dollars and American Express travelers' checks are
by far the most popular, so stick to them. Visa and MasterCard
have the best coverage for both cash advances and for
making payments in top-end hotels, restaurants and shops.
You can change money at a bank or at a casa de cambio
(authorized money-exchange office). Banks change cash
and travelers' checks, but casas de cambio deal only in
cash. Beware that lines for ATMs can be very long, especially
the first Monday of the month, when many banks are closed,
and the day before holiday weekends, when machines are
often cashed-out by midmorning.
|When we bring there in a foreign
country, especially in those less economically developed,
the doubt always comes: cash or credit cards.
We will limit there to give to you some suggestions without
answering to the question, also founding ourselves on
the personal esperiezes:
The Venezuelan coin is the bolivar, that is found in different
cuts both in coin that in banknote. For the devaluation
The change of the European ones or dollars in bolivar,
varied, to according to of where it is changed.
Changing the money in the bank around 2200 bolivars are
received for an European, while to the change to the black,
that also if not legal it is enough easy to be found,
it is also reached 3900 bolivars.
Only drawback is that you will have to turn with the cash,
even if the greatest part of the Hotels they have safety
The unit of Venezuelan currency is the bolívar, abbreviated to B. There are 50-, 100- and 500-bolívar coins, and paper notes of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 bolívares. Watch carefully the notes you pay and receive because some notes of various denominations have similar colors and are easily confused.
The usual official place to change your cash is at a casa de cambio (an authorized money-exchange office). They exist in most major cities and buy foreign currency (but don’t sell it) at the official exchange rate. There are a number of them in Caracas, Puerto La Cruz and Porlamar, but there may be just one or two in other large cities. Italcambio is the biggest and best-known company, with branches all over the country.
By far the most popular foreign currency is the US dollar. Other internationally known currencies, such as the euro or pound sterling, can be exchanged in a casa de cambio, but not all will accept them and the rates are usually poor.
US dollars are normally accepted by tour operators as payment for tours, and hotels may also accept dollars.
Visa and MasterCard are the most useful credit cards in Venezuela. Both are accepted as a means of payment for goods and services (though many tour operators may refuse payment by credit card or charge 10% more for the service). They are also useful for taking cash advances from banks or ATMs. Make sure you know the number to call if you lose your credit card, and be quick to cancel it if it’s lost or stolen. Also remember that just because an establishment claims that it takes credit cards, doesn’t mean that their machine functions correctly.
American Express is the most recognized traveler’s check brand. Corp Banca or a casa de cambio (try Italcambio) will cash your check, but it can be difficult to find one of these locations. Same casas de cambio will charge a commission of about 3% or more. Some tour operators will accept traveler’s checks as payment, but cash is generally preferred.
|Convert your money