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What form of currency should we take on a South American Cruise - Buenos Aires to Valpariso? Do most places take American Dollars?
When we did this cruise in January - we only used US Dollars or a credit card and had no problems.
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Take your cash in small bills, or get change on the ship. You will get any change in the local currency, not in dollars. We took $100 each in $1 and used this more than anything for inexpensive purchases such as sodas, postcards, cabs and tips. We also took some $5 bills but did not use a lot of these. I had some travelers checks that I could cash on the ship if needed, but never did use them. ATMs are a little hard to find in South America.
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I been reading conflicting reports about if USD's are accepted in Buenos Aires. Will be staying there for 2 nights before the cruise and will more than likely be buying a few souvenirs and knick knacks. I will not be taking any taxis and will probably be staying around the hotel area. Any help would be appreciated.
Most places that sell souvinirs will take US dollars. Of course, in major stores you could use a credit card. There will be very very places that will not take US dollars. We did not convert any money during our entire South America trip which between cruise and post cruise included a few days in Buenos Aires.
We were there this past February. Maybe we just don't go to too many typical tourist places, because no place we went to wanted american dollars. We also didn't to go any "trinket/souvenier" shops. On our first day there, we had large denominations of Argentine money and our taxi driver was unable to make change (a common problem in BA) and he wouldn't take US dollars. I had to get out of the cab, while DH waited w/ the meter running, while I ran through a mall to get someone to breakdown my large argentine bills into smaller ones. (I wasn't going to pay $20, for a $4. taxi ride!)
Some others on this board are reporting different experience and I'm not invalidating what they say. I'm just posting my experience in BA.
What we do on our pre-cruise stays is to get some local currency to use for places that don't take credit cards. Then when we check out of our hotel, we give all the leftover cash to the hotel to use towards our hotel bill. (minus what we need for a taxi to the pier or airport)
In Buenos Aires there was a cash machine across the street from our hotel. It was linked to our bank and there were no transaction fee's, so we took out a smaller amount knowing that we could get more every day if we needed it since we practically had to pass it whenever we left our hotel to go anywhere.
I don't like using US dollars in foreign countries unless I know they don't mind (like the flea markets of Rio and Russia). However, one has to be wary of unfavorable rate exchanges and often wind up negotiating for the proper one, which I personally find to be a hassle. As for tipping people, I just think it's not a polite thing to do. I'd hate to be a person who works in the tourist trade for tips and winds up at the end of the week sorting through Euro's, British Pounds, Peso's, Australian dollars, Japanese Yen, etc. Just my opinion.
Last edited by Jane110; December 20th, 2005 at 08:18 PM.
Jane, normally we do exchange money as you mentioned. We try to minimize it where possible given the fees associated with the exchange rates.
Our cruise started in Valpairaso and ended in Buenos Aires and since we booked our pre-cruise and post cruise Hotels through the cruise line we didn't have to worry about tips as these were taken care of by the cruise line.
As we stopped in various ports, we purchased very little and the little we did we just used our credit card. But, the stores that we went into did take credit card and most noted in their windows that US dollars were welcome. The only place that we needed cash was at the Interent Cafes and they took US dollars.
The transporation we needed in Buenos Aires involved a car from the Hotel to the Airport and the hotel put that on our credit card.
I agree with you that if you will take a taxi then you will likely need local currency. And, I'm sure there will be some places that want local currency depending on where you shop. The shopping that we did in Bueno Aires we had no problem with Credit Card.
I also agree with you that all of this will vary from place to place and obviously with the situations that you cited it was necessary for you.
My goal is always to minimize exchanges for local currency as you pay fees not only to convert the money the first time but if you have local currency left over and want to convert it back to US dollars you will pay the fee the second time. So, I do try to keep this to a minimum and for us since we didn't have to worry about cabs and because our hotel tips were included we really had very little need for cash this time around. That wasn't the case on our recent trip to Europe where we needed a fair amount of Euros.