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Getting cash in south america.

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Getting cash in south america.

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1. Posted by PTS82 (Budding Member, 9 posts) 23 Jul '08 04:21

Hi, my friend and I are heading to Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru next month.

What's the situation with ATM machines in these countries? We have British visa debit cards. I'm pretty sure they'll work in Argentina but not sure about Bolivia or Peru.

Also, what do you do if you find you cant withdraw money?

Thanks.

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru, 2398 posts) 23 Jul '08 06:21

check visa's website to find out about this; it features an ATM locator.

If you can't withdraw money, living off your credit card is easiest and safest. Travellers' cheques are falling out of use rapidly, you'll have to look hard for a place where you can cash them

3. Posted by PTS82 (Budding Member, 9 posts) 23 Jul '08 08:36

Thanks for that, I just checked the website and they seem pretty common in the major cities, though none in Uyuni, Bolivia I notice.

Is it possible to exchange Euros? Or even Argentinian pesos in the border area?

4. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru, 2398 posts) 23 Jul '08 09:16

I'm surprised about Uyuni not having an ATM you can use with visa. Maybe it's worth to get a Master's debit card as well, I'm positive they operate an ATM there plus it never hurts to have some extra coverage.

Exchanging EUR and GBP I'm not sure about, my guess is that would be easiest in larger cities as well. Also, USD are accepted in most shops as regular currency.

5. Posted by AndyB24 (Respected Member, 167 posts) 24 Jul '08 07:47

Euros are exchanged in the bigger cities, and in peru at least, I know u can choose sols or dollars at the ATMs.

6. Posted by jhetland (Budding Member, 43 posts) 28 Jul '08 03:01

I used an ATM in Uyuni 2 months ago, on the Cirrus network. There is none in Tupiza, which might be first stop coming from Argentina, so use the ATM in La Quija (unsure of spelling) if coming from there.

Main lesson for us with ATMs, was to write down every attempt, keep recipts, and double check with your netbank if money was removed or not on failed attempts. It happened to us, you enter your pin, select your amount (allowed amount is low), then the machine says no, but you could find that it had still deducted your account. Pain to prove that to your bank if you dont have notes and are sure of yourself!

We found ourself going ATM hunting in Salta, tried 3, before we succeded, then had to make 5 successive withdrawals to get enough money to pay our way. Later checking showed that the 2 bank had also taken our money but not dispensed it to us.

Jo

7. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru, 2398 posts) 28 Jul '08 06:14

I second Jo's story: out of some 40 attempts to withdraw money in Bolivia in 2004, I succeeded roughly 20 times. Of the 20 failed attempts, about 10 were booked on my account nonetheless. Fortunately my bank was really very swift and friendly in setting the situation straight, but you need to HANG ON TO YOUR RECEIPTS!!!

8. Posted by Tena (Budding Member, 22 posts) 28 Jul '08 06:52

Quoting PTS82

Thanks for that, I just checked the website and they seem pretty common in the major cities, though none in Uyuni, Bolivia I notice.

Is it possible to exchange Euros? Or even Argentinian pesos in the border area?

Yeah they have plenty of places to exchange money.

No cash machines though! none in san pedro (chile) either!

9. Posted by tricky (Respected Member, 322 posts) 30 Jul '08 05:45

I am surprised nobody has mentioned getting a Nationwide Flex Account on this thread.

It is the only account which charges no fee for withdrawals overseas.

Ditto the comments about carrying enough cash for a few days in southern Bolivia. Changing cash is not a problem. In fact I found some of the rates very favourable earlier this year.

I carried 100 US hidden in my big back pack quite often. An easy currency to exchange. You wouldn't want to be caught short somewhere. Other travellers you meet will no doubt tell you what is coming up on your travels as you head towards area's with little or no atm coverage.

10. Posted by Benito2k (Budding Member, 37 posts) 14 Aug '08 05:25

Good call on the Nationwide account - we are looking into doing this when we go away.

A couple of years back the girlfriend boasted that her HSBC Maestro card had no fees for international withdrawals - brilliant, we thought. No so brilliant when the ATMs on Caye Caulker, Belize, wouldn't accept it, and the cash machines in Guatemala wouldn't take it!! Thankfully, my VISA card was fine in all, if a little costly!