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Currency Suggestions For SA Cruise

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We are taking a SA cruise starting in Chile and finishing in San Diego, California next March. Can any suggest what currencies to get before departing for Chile or are USD used everywhere? Thanks! :)

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We are taking a SA cruise starting in Chile and finishing in San Diego, California next March. Can any suggest what currencies to get before departing for Chile or are USD used everywhere? Thanks! :)

 

We arranged mostly private excursions on our December 2016 - January 2017 LA to Rio cruise. All of them accepted dollars and a few also accepted credit cards. The most difficult thing was to stuff individual envelopes with the correct amount for each excursion before we left. We spent 4 more days in Brazil and changed a small amount of money at an ATM. We used credit cards for hotels, restaurants, and Iguazu Park tickets

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All of my excursions have been prepaid so it is really just spending money that I am interested in. Someone posted that USD were accepted just about everywhere except for Chile and for there it had to be the CLP.

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Someone posted that USD were accepted just about everywhere except for Chile and for there it had to be the CLP.

Not necessarily. We had no trouble paying in USD on our private excursion in Valparaiso in December 2016. I just checked their website (Patatour Chile) and if you request tours in English the price is quoted in USD. The same was true on the two sites I checked for San Antonio, Chile (which replaced Valparaiso as the port for many cruise lines in 2018).

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You probably will pay more in dollars and get local currency back as change. Our US bank chip debit card doesn't work here in Uruguay or Brazil but our Canadian bank ones do. I would make sure you have some dollars on hand in case you have the same problem. Here in Uruguay we find Visa preferred somewhat over MC and some restaurants only take cash.

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USD will work in most places you go. They like nicer bills if they plan to trade them in at the local bank, however I think there is probably an entire underground economy in South America where dollars are used and people are happy to have them. We used them for tips, souveniers, food, etc.

 

If you're stopping in Ecuador you can go to any ATM and get USD, that's their adopted currency.

 

I think the only place we got local money was Brazil and that was because we were going to be spending so much time there.

 

I start putting good $1, $5, $10 and $20's away months before I leave for a trip. For me, it's less painful finacially and it's just one last thing I have to think about before we leave

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Going to South America next year so helpful, except of course being Brits we have to buy dollars and the exchange rate is currently lousy for us.

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IF you are spending time travelling in South America keep in mind that in some countries such as Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, etc it is better to pay with a foreign credit card. VAT is often included in the price of a hotel or a restaurant meal. IF you pay with a foreign credit card you can have this tax, often as much as 17 percent, deducted from the bill. Most will do it automatically but it does pay to check. We found that we had to ask for it one or two places in Uruguay and Argentina.

 

Not certain about private port excursions but we found we absolutely needed local currency when we travelled in South America.

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Going to South America next year so helpful, except of course being Brits we have to buy dollars and the exchange rate is currently lousy for us.

 

If you’ve reached the golden age of Saga qualification, you might look into their credit card facility. We are frequent visitors to the USA and find that, even in the good times, their exchange rate was always better than the cash exchange figure. Check out Martin Lewis website money saving expert. He’s very keen on advising similar cards.

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We took a small amount of local currency for both Chile and Argentina and USD in $1, $5 and $10. If you're buying something small from a street person they usually want local currency because it's too hard for them to exchange but the bigger shop keepers will happily take USD, charge you their own exchange rate, and give you any change in local currency. Remember that if all you want is a coffee!

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IF you are spending time travelling in South America keep in mind that in some countries such as Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, etc it is better to pay with a foreign credit card. VAT is often included in the price of a hotel or a restaurant meal. IF you pay with a foreign credit card you can have this tax, often as much as 17 percent, deducted from the bill. Most will do it automatically but it does pay to check. We found that we had to ask for it one or two places in Uruguay and Argentina.

 

Uruguay has changed this recently and you now get back 9% with any credit card for certain things - restaurant meals, rental cars, some tourist services. Even locals get this if they use a credit card. ( It often appears on our credit card statement at a later date if not given at the time.)

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Uruguay has changed this recently and you now get back 9% with any credit card for certain things - restaurant meals, rental cars, some tourist services. Even locals get this if they use a credit card. ( It often appears on our credit card statement at a later date if not given at the time.)

 

Well today, the Government decided to go back to giving tourists using a foreign credit card the whole 22% IVA on restaurant meals, car rentals etc. Apparently Argentine tourists have been choosing to stay in Argentina rather than come here because of the higher prices here so our Government is trying to lure them back.

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I travel to South America frequently and always have local currency using ATM’s. No everywhere does not accept US dollars. You are best to educate yourself on the money scams that I never fall to hear about-numerous times every trip. (13)

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For my private excursion to Volunteer Point I'll take crisp US dollars, in Uruguay I'll use my Canadian Visa where possible.

I'll try to get a small amount of pesos for both Chile and Argentina at my currency exchange in Toronto before my trip and use my American Express to pay my hotels in Santiago and Buenos Aires.  Airport shuttle/taxi can be paid at the airport/in taxi with my Canadian Visa. Local currency for small purchases and credit cards for larger purchases in shops, airport.

Does this sound right?

Any info. on what daily lunch/dinner might cost? Breakfasts are included at hotels, but will probably take HOHO buses.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

 Check out Numbeo for average prices for meals etc. in the cities that interest you.  I find it quite accurate.

Edited by Lunenburg

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22 hours ago, Lunenburg said:

 Check out Numbeo for average prices for meals etc. in the cities that interest you.  I find it quite accurate.

 

Thank you for this site:  Numbeo.  I had not seen it before and it will be very handy to use.

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/

 

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I picked up some Brazilian currency before I left home to use while there to reduce credit card fraud.  I used credit card in Argentina, Falkland, Chile... no taxis, just uber and never picked up any other currencies.  Paid for tours in USD or Paypal.  Souvenirs I used USD or credit card.

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