Posted June 5th, 2012, 04:37 PM
To respond to the original question...
Each circumstance is different but personally, I wouldn't bother with getting Colombian pesos. It's enough of an exotic currency that if you got some at a local forex before you go, that you'll take a bit of a bath on the difference they sell it to you and the actual rate. And then if you don't spend it all, you're stuck with essentially unusable pesos or taking another hit converting back to local currency.
Again it's going to depend on how long you'll be in town, where you'll be, and how much you'll want to buy. If you're just doing a day in port and you'll be seeing the main touristy sites, dollars are accepted nearly everywhere. Even if you pay in pesos, you'll likely still end up with "tourist" pricing in tourist areas.
We visited in December 2011 and exchanged for a bit of pesos before we left. We were pretty liberal with our spending (though didn't buy anything "big"), couldn't use up all our pesos, and ended up buying ridiculous stuff like hot sauce, etc.
Did you feel safe going 'walkabout' on your own?
The two of us didn't stray way far off the touristed areas but we felt safe. We walked northeast to the San Diego district of the old town where cruise pax were way few & far between and outside the gates to the Getsemaní district and never felt unsafe. YMMV of course.
Wished we have more time in town to explore more areas.
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