Guide to Money in South America

Money in South America

Adding up Pesos and Bolivars

What to do about Money in South America

Every country in South America has a different currency (or even currencies!) and so you can't pursue a one-size fits all policy, although you'll find that US dollars are widely exchanged even where they aren't legal tender.

Using Cash Machines in South America

Cash machines are pretty widespread throughout South America, and many dispense both US dollars and the local currency. However, in rural areas things can be more difficult in that respect, and in a few countries you can run into trouble with some banks not being properly connected to international networks. However, these days you're unlikely to be far from a cash machine at any point unless you're going seriously off the beaten track.

Using Credit Cards in South America

In contrast to the ubiquity of cash machines in South America, there are big differences between countries in the use of credit cards. In Brazil or Argentina, people use credit cards regularly, and that's true to some extent in Chile, Peru and Ecuador. However, outside of the capitals in Bolivia or Paraguay, for example, it's vanishingly rare for people to people to flash the plastic.

We'd advise you to check the individual currency guides for each country for detailed advice on budgets, costs and what to do about cash in each country in South America.

The exchange rates below were correct as of 15:21 on 28 May 2017.
argentine peso

Argentina - Peso

The official currency of Argentina is the Argentine Peso, and recent reforms have greatly stablised inflation and the exchange rate. The current exchange rate is £1 = $20.4824

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bolivian boliviano

Bolivia - Boliviano

In Bolivia, the official currency is the patriotically-named Boliviano, but you will also find the US dollar in wide circulation. The current exchange rate is £1 = Bs8.9270.

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brazil real

Brazil - Real

The Brazilian Real is one of the strongest currencies in South America, and it's easily available in the UK both online and on the high street. The current exchange rate is £1 = R$4.1724.

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Chilean Pesos

Chile - Peso

Chile's Peso is a very stable currency, and is increasingly available in the UK, although it's easier to find online than on the high street. The current exchange rate is £1 = $860.5700.

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Colombian Pesos

Colombia Peso

It can be hard to get hold of Colombian Pesos in the UK, although some online suppliers do stock them. The current exchange rate is £1 = $3723.6001.

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US Dollars

Ecuador - US Dollar

Conveniently, in January 2000 Ecuador adopted the US Dollar as their official currency, which makes things easy for your holiday in Ecuador. The current exchange rate is £1 = 1.2799.

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paraguayan guarani

Paraguay - Guarani

Paraguay's official currency is the Guarani, but it is not easy to exchange outside of Paraguay. US Dollars aren't accepted for payment in Paraguay but you can easily exchange them. The current exchange rate is £1 = ₲7207.0801.

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peruvian nuevo sol

Peru - Nuevo Sol

In Peru, the national currency is the nuevo sol, but the US dollar is also widely accepted as well as exchanged. The current exchange rate is £1 = S./4.1902.

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uruguayan peso

Uruguay - Peso

Like its neighbour across the Rio de la Plata. Uruguay's currency is the Peso. You'll find that both US dollars and Argentinian Pesos are widely exchanged, but not actually used. The current exchange rate is £1 = 36.1610.

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venezuelan bolivar fuerte

Venezuela - Bolivar

In Venezuela, the Bolivar Fuerte (literally 'strong Bolivar') replaced the old Bolivar in 2008 to help fight inflation, but it has since been devalued several times. The current exchange rate is £1 = Bs12.7700.