Where can I buy Argentine Pesos?

I am headed to Buenos Aries for a rugby tour in 12 days, and have been attempting to understand the current dollar/peso exchange. It seems that the difference between the blue dollar and official rate is smaller than in recent past (both at around 14.5 pesos per dollar), so the devaluation is not as big an issue. So I was planning on bringing most of my spending money in dollars.

But, I would like to travel with some pesos, if only for getting to the hotel from the airport, and meals until I can change the rest of the money. But I cannot find Argentine pesos for sale. AAA, Bank of America, TravelEx…none of them sell this currency? What gives?

I expect you should be able to get some at the currency exchange booths at the airport, either on departure or certainly on arrival. However, in my experience the rates at such places are terrible. I’ve occasionally done it just to have enough for a taxi but it’s best avoided.

When I’ve traveled in Argentina, I was able to use my US debit card or credit card to withdraw currency from ATMs. In general, foreign ATMs will give you a rate very close to the official exchange rate, without charging the fees or inflated rates of currency exchange places or banks.

Be aware that the official and unofficial rates for currency exchange are quite different in Argentina. Here’s an article about the currency crisis from last year.

Some countries don’t allow the export of their currency. I believe Uruguay is one of those countries, where you simply have to exchange your money when you get there. Perhaps neighboring Argentina is the same.

Note that since the last Argentine election, the new administration has removed a number of the currency controls and the official currency rate is now much closer to the black market rate than it was even a year ago. See the sharp spike in the plot of http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&to=ARS .

And there will be ATMs at the airport. Make sure you tell your bank before going, though, or they may lock up your cards for your own safety.

Thanks for the replies. Exchanging all cash in country, and using my debit card there is the way I was heading, so that is confirmed for me. Weird that I cannot buy pesos here in the US.

Good tip. Also, it’s good to have a backup card in case for whatever reason your main card doesn’t work.

I’ve found Argentina pretty easy to deal with. No biggie. American currency is often readily accepted (because they know they win on the exchange rate).

There are ATMs in the airport. I seem to recall there being some in the baggage claim area. ATMs are easy to find (at least in Buenos Aires).

I’d rely on them before paying the ridiculous fees at the currency exchange booth. I use Bank of America and in 25+ countries, using the ATM has never let me down. Smaller banks and credit unions might be a bit less reliable.

It’s a good idea to call or use the online customer service portal to alert them that you’ll be traveling, although honestly, I forget half of the time.

USD is widely accepted, even preferred. I’d be a little uncomfortable walking around with a huge wad of cash, however. A surprising number of establishments also accept credit cards.

As others have implied, your taxi driver and restaurant will probably be more than happy to accept dollars, and at a rate that makes your ride and meal agreeably cheap.

We use our AAA account for currency when we travel. It’s pretty close to the exact exchange rate and Fed Ex delivery is free and fast (2 days or less).

But I went on there just now and saw there is no Argentine Pesos.

I’m surprised by your surprise. Visa or MasterCard will be accepted pretty much anywhere that has electricity; other brands are more difficult to push (Discover for example).

Most places I’ve been are still “Credit cards accepted at major hotels and tourist areas only.” I’m not used to being able to swipe for credit at corner stores and small restaurants.

Ah, but you’ve been to many places where electricity is not taken for granted :slight_smile:

I have always exchanged once I landed. Not at the airport, but at a bank or the street shops. In many places the street shops give you a better rate than the banks.

Also bring the new bills and nice and crisp to exchange.

My decision has been made. Bringing new $100 bills in country, and taking it from there. I have learned that the $100 is the gold standard in Argentina, and will get the “most bang for the buck”.

My impression is that the peso is so volatile, Argies do not trust their savings in that form. They much prefer to hold on to American hundreds, when they can get them, and will offer a generous exchange (of goods, services, or pesos) to do so.

I will also be bringing my debit and credit cards, and am notifying the holders of the dates of my trip. (Also my cell phone provider).

Funny how no one uses the term “volatile” to mean, “there is also a good chance of the currency value going up unexpectedly as well”. :slight_smile:

Yes, the ARS was about 3 to the dollar in 2002 is about 16 to the USD now (and when it was introduced in 1992 it was at par with the USD). So smart savings is kept in other vehicles.

This is typical in Brazil. People swipe even for purchases of a few bucks at lunch counters. I don’t know about Argentina, since it’s been some years since I was last there.

I was just in Brazil in November. My card does the exact exchange without any fees. I paid for really small purchases with it all the time. A glass of beer here, a candy bar there. Nobody so much as blinked over it.

BTW, the exchange rate is still close to 4 Reals per USD . I felt like a zillionaire down there. It was like Monopoly money. If any of you ever wanted to go, now’s the time!

Ditto this when I go to London.