How to get 15 pesos for your US dollar in Buenos Aires!

Update (3 November 2014)

I arrived in BA today, and was able to exchange my dollars at the exchange rate of A$13.5 for US 1.00 dollars.  It appears that the peso has stablilized against the dollar, and has dropped from the 15 to one exchange rate that could be had a few weeks ago.

Update (22 September)

Today, the Blue Dollar in A$15 pesos of you are selling them for US Dollars, or A$14.80 pesos if you are buying them with US Dollars.  Everything else written below still applies.

Update April 2014

I just returned from Buenos Aires, and was able to trade my US $’s for pesos at the rate of 10 Argentine pesos / US dollar.  The official exchange rate during my was was approximately 8 Argentine pesos per US $.  This is an update from this previously written blog post.  Everything else written below still applies.

Original Posting – November 2013

The answer is most definitely, yes, however, you might want to think about what you are doing before you try to do this.

Official exchange houses in Buenos Aires today in Buenos Aires would have paid about 5.134 pesos to the dollar.  Why are people willing to pay 8 pesos for one US dollar?  People are willing to pay this much because the average citizen in Buenos Aires / Argentina has lost faith in their currency due to many issues that are too much to explain here.

On 29 October 2013, the official exchange rate was 5.89 pesos to the dollar.  A blue dollar exchange rate can be found daily at:

http://dolarblue.net/

I have a friend that exchanged $1,000 US dollars in Buenos Aires 3 weeks ago for 7.9 pesos to the dollar in March 2013.  He got back $7,900 pesos instead of  about $5,000 pesos at the official exchange.  Gee if the average tourist cold do that, he could cut his expenses while in Argentina by almost 60%.

Lets first see where the average tourist would get the chance to exchange their money for 8 pesos for one US dollar.  The place this is most likely to happen for most tourists in Buenos Aires is on Florida Street.  There you will find all sorts of people walking around saying “Cambio, Cambio”.  See below the types of people you will find of Florida Street offering “Cambio Cambio” services.

One of the individuals standing at the corner of Florida and Cordoba offering combio services on 04 April 2012
One of the people standing at the corner of Florida and Cordoba offering cambio services on 04 April 2012
A second individual I observed on Florida Street offering cambio services on 04 April 2014
A second individual I observed on Florida Street offering cambio services on 04 April 2014

Please understand, I am not saying anything about the integrity of these people above.  As far as I know, these people give the services they claim, and I do not know of any illegal activities performed by these people.

What is the point then?  From everything I have known or read, YOU DO NOT SHOW ANY MONEY, VALUABLES, CAMERAS, EXPENSIVE WATCHES, OR ANYTHING OF VALUE EVER ON FLORIDA STREET, or for that matter, anywhere in Buenos Aires.  This being the case, how are you going to get 8 pesos for one dollar from these guys.  There is NO WAY in the world that I am going to break out money on Florida Street and start changing money with these guys.  Of course, if want to, that is your choice.  Have a good life also.

To change any real amount of money, these guys, or others offering cambio services will take you to another place to do the real exchange of money.  Where you do this, you will be dealing with people you know nothing about, have no idea as to whether you will be robbed, of if not robbed, will be provided with some counterfeit money as part of your transaction.

My friend assures me that the $1,000 US he exchanged for A$7,900 pesos was does through a reputable source.  When I asked how he found the source, he told me that a trusted source told him where to go, and that someone called to the place he was going to do the transaction, and to confirm both his identity and the amount of money to be changed.  So even with a trusted source, it still gives me an uneasy feeling to have to exchange money like this.

How else can one get 8 pesos for one dollar in Argentina?

The real answer is to do all of your transactions in $’s for those that will do them.  This way, you can keep your direct exchange of $’s to pesos to a minimum.

When you first get off your international flight at Ezeza (EZE) or Aeroparque (AEP) arriving in Buenos Aires, you will need to pay in pesos to get to your hotel, and the current price for the trip to the hotel will be about 220 pesos (about $44 US at the 04 April 2013 exchange rate).  When I was here in Oct. 2012, it was 190 pesos.  The taxis will not take US dollars for your first transactions.  There is a bank and ATM’s in the arrival area.  You can get pesos there, but if you need to do this, get the least amount pesos you will need, and only a little extra.  After this try to do all of your transactions in US dollars.

You will need pesos for some things in Argentina, but may vendors will take dollars when you need to pay, and many of them will do it at a 7 to one, or 8 to one exchange rate.

Examples of where I did get a good exchange rate using US dollars:

1. Hotel in Bariloche two weeks ago had a posted sign in their window that all transactions could be done at the rate of 7 pesos to one dollar.

2. Shopping in a store in Buenos Aires today, the store owner converted 8 pesos to one US dollar when doing the transaction.

If you do a credit card transaction, it will be done at the official rate.  Today that rate again was about 5.134 (04 April 2013) pesos per dollar.

So while it is possible to get 8 pesos for one US dollar, you should be very careful.  Remember, if something is too good to be true, it is not really a good deal.

Have a good time on your trip to Argentina.  It is a wonderful place to visit, and it can also be an easy place to part with your money under conditions that you did not expect to happen.

17 thoughts on “How to get 15 pesos for your US dollar in Buenos Aires!”

    1. Actually, they told me you were backing them. They all remember the “loco piloto” de American Airlines.

      By the way, what is your split with them? 🙂

      The Pope

  1. Just landed in Mendoza and got 8 pesos for every US dollar. Yes, I was shocked because I read before arriving that it was 5 pesos for every US dollar. Anyway, I am happy I found this article to confirm that it wasn´t a mistake. After paying $160 to enter Argentina, I am very happy that the dollar is actually worth something here.
    1. John:

      Thanks for responding to by blog posting, and am very glad that you got 8 pesos for each US$.

      Mendoza is a beautiful place. I hope you enjoy your time there.

      Read my other blog postings on Mendoza. I hope they will help youl

      Rolfe POpe

  2. I have contacts here in Buenos Aires who take me to their preferred ‘cueva’ to exchange money. One is my American landlord who brings dollars in several times a year and exchanges $1000 at a time. I don’t have any major expenses since I am renting my home and just have my daily living expenses.

    Another possibility is to exchange money with people you already know (or friends of friends), i.e. private individuals who want to keep as much of their resources as possible in dollars. They will pay the dolar blue rate; it’s better for both parties than going through a completely unknown intermediary.

    1. Addendum: Last week I sold to some friends for the published rate of 8 pesos. I said they should pay a little less because I’m not trying to make a profit, unlike the cuevas, but they said to forget about that because the peso was going up anyway and they just wanted to get their hands on the dollars right away before I got another offer. The other day I went to a cueva and sent in an Argentinian friend first. I had a good sum of fresh $100 bills (nothing else gets that high a rate). They offered 8 pesos, but Andrea said no and turned to walk away, but the guy immediately came back with 8.5. We knew that he was selling that day at up to 9.0 so getting my money even with only a half peso margin, he makes 6% with just a few minutes’ work with each transaction, in and out. There is an upside to this that escapes a lot of visitors: having a lot of pesos on hand means you don’t have to use bank machines anymore! They are awful. First they charge (as of today) 33 pesos per transaction, so don’t even thing about taking out 100 pesos. The max in most machines is 900 so go for that if you have to deal at the official rate, and at that amount there goes another 3.6%. Depending on hour account back home you might also be paying the absolutely highest Interac fee (international), although if it’s worth you while you can switch to a more expensive account that allows you to make large numbers of withdrawals without Canadian charges — I have one and I get the seniors’ rate of 25% off. Up into now it has saved me a fortune over the years, but with dollars and cuevas I don’t need that for now. Then there’s the fact that every cajero in the entire city closes from 3 to 4 p.m. And that they often have no cash, although you only learn that at the very end of a long transaction. And that if you don’t check for the dates that seniors get their pension cheques or if the next day is a holiday (b/c they don’t refill the machines) you will be in a line about 30 people long, which means that (a) the machines might by out of money by the time you get to the head of the line, and (b) if it’s 3 o’clock all the machines close and the security guards escort everyone out. Beware too that these machines let you take your cash out first, while where I come from you yave to remove your card to get the money — so you don’t end up leaving your card in the machine. At least once per 6 month visit I am on autopilot so stuff my money into my wallet and walk away. The card doesn’t come out for a while, so even if you stay to count the cash, there may be no activity on the screen until you’re left. And if the card isn’t stolen then the machine will eat it.
      1. Thanks for your comment.

        We need more comments to my blog postings. This increases the interest in my blog.

        Rolfe

  3. Hi, I was born in Buenos Aires and I would recommend you to do all your transactions in dollars cash. Don’t use your credit card, if you use it you will get 5,55 pesos convertion. If you use cash your dollar will be valued almost 9 pesos for each dollar. I know that is really complex for you to understand. But do not change your dollars on florida street, it’s not secure. I do not want you to be robbed in buenos aires.

    Just use your dollars for EVERYTHING, no one will not accept a dollar. Trust me.

    1. I’m responding to your message of 4 hours ago. I don’t know of a single store or restaurant that will take dollars at the blue rate. If you find a place that does, then it is essentially an illegal money exchange places. Lots of them have false fronts, like jewelry or antique stores, but you can’t buy a pair of jeans at Zara with US dollars at the blue rate. They might take them at the official rate; some stores post their rate but it’s only a tiny bit better than the official rate.

      So JP, if you were born in Buenos Aires, how could you say “Trust me”. Please don’t mislead this person into trying to pawn off foreign currency to everyone like a fool. It won’t work. They should get reliable information about a cueva, or forget about all this and get the offical rate. But remember that the official rate is highly overvalued — which is precisely why the blue market is so strong now. If the peso is devaluated (some say this October) by a large amount, and if Argentinians are again allowed to get US money out of banks, then this huge gap will disappear and you can go back to credit and debit cards. But don’t lose sight of the fact that yesterday I got 56% more pesos per dollar than I would otherwise. Are you going to pass that up? And also remember that people are desperate to get their hands on them, and they’re not stupid. In the long term it pays for them to buy dollars even at a high rate, because if they want to save money in pesos, they’re going to watch it disappear due to inflation of 25% per year. The social, political and economic reasons for this are complex and interesting. But no, don’t got out shopping and dining with only US dollars.

      I live in the Congreso área. I’ve lived in 5 other neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires over the past 5 years. I have only rarely seen people using dollars, e.g. in the Coto grocery estores, but these were local people coming back from a vacación. Never happens anymore. In fact, the number of times I’ve anyone in the huge throngs of people out on the streets every day, since June 17, 2003, is so far zero. No reason to accept dollars when you get about 3 people per decade trying to do it in your shoe store on Callao.

    2. Thanks for your comments.

      I would agree with you, but there is an exception. I was in a famous Puerto Madero restaurant last March. I tried to get the blue rate of 8 pesos for one dollar then, and they would not give me the blue rate. In that case I did use a credit card. I think the reason that they would not give me that rate is because they bills were computerized. Once a place is computerized, it is hard to escape the government rate.
      Mil gracias por tu visita a mi blog, y tu comentario.

      Rolfe

  4. hi travelers i used a service that was really safe and give me great rate is call Exchangeinargentina.com is someone is going is a very good and safe option to exchange

    see you

    1. Thank you for your suggestion.

      I checked it you.

      I do not think this is a safe approach because you are giving some your ame and room number, and saying how much money you have to someone you do not know.

      Never give a stranger in Argentina you hotel room #.

      Rolfe Pope

      1. Rolfe,

        Did you or do you know of a decent way to convert the ARS to USD or to something that can be traded such as gold?

        Thanks,

        Traveling Soon to Argentina

        1. Actually, I am in Buenos Aires at the moment.

          Most people here do not want AR$ pesos, and only want US$, Brazil R$, or Euros.

          The current exchange rate is AR$ 5.8 to US$ 1.00.

          As far as I know, the official cambios will not change Argentine Pesos to US Dollars. The government will not let them. Some of the unofficial exchanges will at the rate of about 10 to 1.

          So the real thing is you don’t want pesos if you can help it. If you are in Argentina, I don’t know what to suggest. If you are coming into Argentina, change dollars to pesos at the best place you can find. Ask at the hotel, and they might have a suggestion for you.

          Hope this helps.

          Rolfe Pope

    1. This was brought by the comment below link to this web site: http://rastreadordenoticias.com/2014/02/nada-nuevo-bajo-el-sol-argentino/

      Below is the English translation of this web page:

      A few months ago I visited Buenos_Aires , the great city that is both Calcutta and Paris with their miserable suburbs and a grand ball. A walk through the pedestrian street Florida, in the heart of Buenos Aires , was enough to understand that the country was on the way to the abyss again . “Change , change” every two meters a man who was shouting rhythmically . They were traders of illegal currency * paying almost twice pesos per dollar at the official rate .
      The last time I was there , half a year before, was the distance between currency traders about ten meters between the black and the officer course at around 30 percent.

      The constantly hear this melody – change, change – led my thoughts to other times I’ve been in Argentina , under similar circumstances. It was similar, but not only the street scene, but also the reasons behind the growing chaos populist governments that steal much of the wealth of the nation, but still spend too much.

      The result is a large budget deficit, which is financed with borrowed money or even more common, thanks to the ever faster pace of ticket printers. This sets off the carousel of inflation and panic spreads fast. All that can flee weight, the value of the currency falls sharply and melody change, change is increasingly heard in the streets of Buenos Aires.

      This time all know that is a very serious crisis coming . It’s the end of a long populist economic cycle , which began in 2003 , due to a boom / unprecedented boom in exports, based on soy exports . This has given Argentina additional revenue equivalent to about two billion SEK during the last ten years, most of which have gone public finance expansion unprecedented in the history of the nation.

      So have reached public expenditure Argentine government levels about half of the country’s GDP and a system of subsidies that spans was created . It has made most dependent on warlords in power, benevolence Argentine authoritarian regime. While money was enough, you could make the rule of warlordism.

      The creativity of the government(Argentine) with the intention to survive has been great: the inflation numbers have been falsified, private pension funds were nationalized, the Central Bank has been forced to become dairy calf government , exporters have been penalized by high taxes and an overvalued peso , and so on.
      Measures intended to delay the moment of truth . But now we are there. Currency reserves are exhausted , but the patience of the Argentines. The poor plunder much as they can as often as it offers the convenience, others accumulate dollars, and a state of fatalistic mood is spreading. As I said, nothing new under the sun Argentina. [ Mauricio Rojas – Inget nytt under sun Argentinas Svensks Dagbladet.]

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